When I heard about Nonfiction November, I knew I wanted to participate. This is absolutely right up my alley, as I love nonfiction books and the bloggers who are behind this project are two of my favorites. (That would be Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness and Lu from Regular Rumination.)
I missed participating in the first two weeks of November, but I’m jumping in at Week Three, with the discussion topic of recommending a nonfiction book with a fiction book.
Two books that immediately came to mind: And the Band Played On: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic, by Randy Shilts along with Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan.
I believe that the AIDS epidemic is such an important period of time for people to read about and understand – especially people who didn’t live through the fear and the stigma that defined so much of the 1980s and beyond. (That’s one of the main reasons why I’ve set my own still-in-progress YA novel in that era.)
From my review of And the Band Played On (I don’t have a review of Two Boys Kissing yet, although I thought it was phenomenal):
“It’s more than a bit disconcerting reading And the Band Played On thirty years hence. It’s like going back to the future. It’s like reading a mystery novel where you know the clues – and you just want to reach into the pages and stop people and time in their very tracks, to shake them, to warn them about what’s ahead. Because we know – the good and the bad. Things are so different now and we know so much now that we didn’t know then, especially in the very early days, which are really, really tough to read about.”
In his majestic young adult novel Two Boys Kissing, David Levithan does what I hypothetically wanted to do with And the Band Played On: reach into the pages of the past and pay it forward bigtime into the future. Teenagers Craig and Harry are trying to set a world’s record for the longest kiss. Narrating their story are anonymous, once-closeted, now-bemused voices from a past and an era defined by an epidemic that turned young men like Craig and Harry into instant ghosts.
“There is a nearly perfect balance between the past and the future. As we become the distant past, you become a future few of us would have imagined.” (pg. 1)
What are some of your favorite Fiction-Nonfiction book pairings?