Fiction & Non-Fiction Pairings


This week’s Non-Fiction November topic is hosted by Sarah from Sarah’s Book Shelves.

Sarah is asking us to pair up books of fiction with non-fiction books:

It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.

Here are my pairings:


I’m starting with an obvious pairing but there might be people out there who don’t know how Virginia Woolf came to write Orlando. In 1922, Woolf met fellow writer, Vita Sackville-West, and began a 6-year affair with her. Both women were married to men but continued their relationship regardless. In 1928, Woolf published Orlando, one of her most famous and acclaimed novels, and what many regard as a biography of Sackville-West. The protagonist in Orlando was so much like Sackville-West and caused such a stir & strain between the pair that their affair ended. Both women remained in contact until Woolf died in 1941 but their relationship was never the same again. These letters are a terrific peek into what the two women shared. Orlando, of course, then becomes a must-read.


I’ve paired Black, White and Jewish with Nella Larsen’s Passing because I think both books handle the subject of biracial identity really well. Rebecca Walker (daughter of writer Alice Walker) chronicles her life being passed between her black bohemian Womanist mother and her white suburban Jewish lawyer father, while Larsen writes about mixed-race characters ‘passing’ for caucasian during the time of segregation in the U.S. Walker does a great job of showing the struggles she faced having multiple identities imposed on her by friends and family while growing up, while Larsen’s novel invites us in to a frightening world of Jim Crow laws and the “one drop rule.”


These are two of my all-time favourite books. I’ve paired these together because both books take place in the segregated south in the 1930s and are written by two of the greatest black American writers of the 20th century. While Maya Angelou’s memoir covers the first 16 years of her life, Walker’s epistolary novel follows a group of black women and the bond of sisterhood they form to protect each other.

9 thoughts on “Fiction & Non-Fiction Pairings

  1. BothThe Color Purple and the Maya Angelou book have been on my list for quite awhile. Actually I’ve never read anything by Maya Angelou and I want to change that.
    Thx for stopping by.


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