Week 2 Non-Fiction November | Book Pairings #nonficnov #orangecountyreads

Week 2 is hosted by Sarah’s Bookshelves. All month long, join our wonderful hosts with weekly prompts for discussing all the Non-Fiction Reads from 2019. Get all the details here. Want to be extra? Join in the Instagram photo challenge! So let’s get started!

Book Pairings

This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. It can be an “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.

The 2018 Book Pairings post was so much fun, I’ve been looking forward to doing it again and seeing everyone’s pairings.

Theme: Genealogy/ DNA

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro

What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?

In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history—the life she had lived—crumbled beneath her.

Inheritance is a book about secrets—secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in—a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.

All About Evie by Cathy Lamb

Set against the natural beauty of the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest, acclaimed author Cathy Lamb’s latest novel tells the emotionally compelling story of one woman’s life-changing discovery about her past . . .

As a child, Evie Lindsay was unnerved by her premonitions. As an adult, they have become a simple fact of life—sometimes disruptive but also inescapable, much like her quirky, loveable family.  Evie’s mother, Poppy, and her aunts, Camellia and Iris, are well known on San Orcanita island for their free-spirited ways and elaborately decorated hats. Their floral shop and Evie’s bookstore draw streams of visitors all summer long. This season promises to be extra busy: Evie’s sister, Jules, is getting married on the island.

As Jules plans her unconventional wedding, she arranges to do a DNA test with her mother, sister, and aunts, to see how much accepted lore about their heritage holds true. The results blow apart everything Evie has grown up believing about herself and her family. Spurred on by the revelations, Evie uncovers the real story of her past. But beyond her feelings of shock and betrayal, there are unexpected opportunities—to come to terms with a gift that has sometimes felt like a curse, to understand the secrets that surrounded her childhood, and to embrace the surprising new life that is waiting for her . . .

Theme: HBOT / Alternative Medicine

The Oxygen Revolution by Dr. Paul G. Harch and Virginia Mccullough

When Randy McCloy, Jr., the sole survivor of the Sago Mine disaster, finally walked out of the hospital to rejoin his family, it was in part due to the miracle of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). HBOT therapy is based on a simple idea: Oxygen can be used therapeutically for a wide range of conditions where tissues have been damaged by oxygen deprivation. Restore that oxygen, goes the logical thinking, and you can restore much of the lost function.

Inspiring and informative, The Oxygen Revolution, Third Edition is the comprehensive, definitive guide to the miracle of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. HBOT directly affects the body at the genetic level, affecting over 8,000 individual genes—those responsible for healing, growth, and anti-inflammation.

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

How far will you go to protect your family? Will you keep their secrets? Ignore their lies?

In a small town in Virginia, a group of people know each other because they’re part of a special treatment center, a hyperbaric chamber that may cure a range of conditions from infertility to autism. But then the chamber explodes, two people die, and it’s clear the explosion wasn’t an accident.

A powerful showdown unfolds as the story moves across characters who are all maybe keeping secrets, hiding betrayals. Chapter by chapter, we shift alliances and gather evidence: Was it the careless mother of a patient? Was it the owners, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? Could it have been a protester, trying to prove the treatment isn’t safe?

Theme: Investigative Journalism / Going Undercover

Ten Days in A Mad-House by Nelly Bly

Nellie Bly, posing as “Nellie Brown,” went undercover to investigate the deplorable conditions of insane asylums. Her memoirs of this event form the basis of “Ten Days in a Mad-House,” which forever changed the way the world looks at treatment and housing of the insane.

Woman 99 by Greer Macallister

As teenagers in the late 1800s, sisters Charlotte and Phoebe were captivated by investigative journalist Nellie Bly’s reported adventures. Never did they imagine Bly’s expose of the deplorable conditions in an insane asylum would become relevant to their own lives. When their parents believe they have reason to commit Phoebe, Charlotte blames herself and devises a plan to rescue her older sister.

She risks everything and follows her sister inside, surrendering her real identity as a privileged young lady of San Francisco society to become a nameless inmate, Woman 99.

The longer she stays, the more she realizes that many of the women of Goldengrove aren’t insane, merely inconvenient and that her search for the truth threatens to dig up secrets that some very powerful people would do anything to keep.

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  1. I’ve seen Inheritance named so many times as a favorite this year. I need to get to that one. And I love your idea of Investigative Journalism / Going Undercover pairings!!


    • Thanks! My celebrity story is that I went to hear Dani Shapiro speak because Jamie Lee Curtis was interviewing her! I’ve since read it and it really is interesting. I did feel she had an extremely privileged life and resources most wouldn’t have. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts.


      • I remember that from some other reviews, that it felt very privileged. But Roxane Gay said something interesting about that in an essay, like that there can always be an element of privilege but it shouldn’t be a reason for not telling a story if it’s well-considered (she puts it better than that because she’s Roxane Gay). So if she handles it well it seems worthwhile, still.

        That sounds amazing, to have Jamie lee Curtis interview her!!! How cool. I know Shapiro is a popular memoirist but I haven’t read anything of hers yet, I feel so behind!


      • Yes that sounds like Roxane. She’s right! I was very intrigued by this: Dani Shapiro always felt like she didn’t belong. Relatives would look at her as a child and tell her she didn’t “look” Jewish. This informed her entire career of writing books about family. Then to get a whammy like this! It really through her for a loop. Naturally.


  2. Ten Days in a Mad House and Woman 99 sound SO interesting! I’d also pair The Great Pretenders with those two.


  3. I’m intrigued by the investigative journalism pairing (my former life as a journalist coming to life there) though the subject sounds rather harrowing.
    Equally interesting is the Dani Shapiro – I do some genealogy research but have yet to be convinced about the use of DNA


  4. Interesting pairings – again, different from all the other ones I’ve seen. Home DNA testing came into a novel I just read (although I couldn’t mention it in the review as it would be a plot spoiler) and I’m sure it’s going to become more of an issue as time goes by and more people get tested.


  5. A very interesting list! Thanks for recommending “The Oxygen Revolution”. I loved “Miracle Creek” and now has to track this other book down.


  6. What a great post! I loved Miracle Creek so will definitely look up the book you recommend to go with that one. I’m also really interested in Woman 99 and Ten Days in a Mad House – I’ll try and get hold of both of those and then I can read them together.


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