Truths and Tales: Nonfiction Book Pairing

This week’s Nonfiction November prompt is geared at pairing fiction and nonfiction books with common themes, which makes for some fantastic recommendations.

nonfic pairs

Our Endless Numbered Days and Pilgrim’s Wilderness

Though the specific circumstances are different, there are many eerie similarities between the secluded father and daughter in Claire Fuller’s novel Our Endless Numbered Days and the real life family living way off the grid in Tom Kizzia’s Pilgrim’s Wilderness.

Shotgun Lovesongs and The Hard Way on Purpose

There’s just something about small town, Midwest/Rust Belt life that’s familiar, even between towns hundreds of miles apart. Both Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler and The Hard Way on Purpose by David Giffels get to the heart of that feeling, through fiction and nontfiction essays.

nonfic pairs2

The Enchanted and Just Mercy

The heartbreaking world of life on death row is captured in Rene Denfield’s novel The Enchanted, while Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy fights against it. Both books can be emotionally tough, but beautiful and important reads.

Frog Music and Alice + Freda Forever

Though Emma Donoghue’s Frog Music is based on another real life story, it shares a similar time and tone with the nonfiction tale of Victorian love and murder in Alice + Freda Forever.


  • I like that you’re doing these pairings. Will look into the recommendations for Frog Music and Shotgun Lovesongs, because I’ve read and loved them.

  • Wow, Alice and Freda sounds like quite the story. Somehow I’m more interested in the nonfiction choices here; not sure why. I really have to read Just Mercy ASAP.

  • lulu_bella

    I’ve heard so many great things about Just Mercy and I totally forgot about The Enchanted, which I definitely wanted to read! Thank you for reminding me. These are great pairings – so many books I want to read!

  • Boom – quite an accomplishment to find nonfiction pairings for Our Endless Numbered Days and Shotgun Lovesongs! I loved both books and now you have me interested in their respective nonfiction twins.

  • Care

    I like how you think. I just knew you would have excellent suggestions this week.

  • Pilgrim’s Wilderness is calling to me now. And, I had forgotten about The Enchanted – I still have to read that! Alice + Freda sounds fascinating.

  • I’ve yet to read Our Endless Numbered Days, but the paperback edition is out soon and I’m not giving up – it’s still on my list! Shotgun Lovesongs was so great; thanks for sharing the recommendation for its pair. I love seeing what people have matched up this week; mine will post tomorrow, and it was fun to put it together!

    • It was really fun to come up with some matches! I think you’d love Our Endless Numbered Days – hope it gets to you soon!

  • Alice + Freda Forever is calling my name…

  • Amanda

    The Enchanted was so heartbreaking and beautiful! I really do need to read Just Mercy. I am very curious about Frog Music and Alice & Freda both now.

  • Books on the Table

    I love these pairings — especially The Enchanted and Just Mercy, two of my favorites from last year.

  • JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing

    I just loved Shotgun Lovesongs and am adding The Hard Way on Purpose to my wish list. Great pairings!

  • These are super interesting pairings! I’m going to have to add Pilgrim’s Wilderness to my TBR pile, for sure.

  • Interesting what you learn about a book when it’s paired with another! I’ve heard of several of these but wasn’t really familiar with the subject matter. You’ve reminded me that I want to read Our Endless Numbered Days and The Enchanted.

    • Yes! I didn’t think that would happen, but as I’m going through these pairings there are definitely some lightbulbs going off for me.

  • Wow, I think any real similarities to Our Endless Numbered Days would be very creepy! Both Frog Music and Alice + Freda Forever sound like great reads :)

  • Shannon, Shannon, Shannon. You’re just making me want to add so many books to my shelves. I had my fingers on Shotgun Lovesongs last week at B&N and passed. What was I thinking?

  • This pairing topic is quickly becoming dangerous to my wallet. Adding more to my list of books I want. :)

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  • I grew up in a small town and often find myself nostalgic for it. There is something very peaceful and calming about thinking about it, but then I visit my hometown…and nope. No way. I’ll stick to reading about it (and thus pick up The Hard Way on Purpose).

  • Nice pairings. The Enchanted is a terrific book!