We’re revisiting one of our newer discussion prompts this week with host Christopher of Plucked From the Stacks and talking about nonfiction that you’d find too unbelievable if it were fiction. This prompt made me realize that I’ve done a decent amount of depressingly real nonfiction reading this year, but I did find a few fun ones for the discussion today!
Book Pairing :This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title (or another nonfiction!). 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. Or pair a book with a podcast, film or documentary, TV show, etc. on the same topic or stories that pair together.
The Scandalous Hamiltons isn’t the best book I read this year, but it is one of the most unbelievable. To repeat the beginning of my review “This story of a woman who tricked Alexander Hamilton’s great-grandson into marrying her by purchasing a baby from a baby farm is almost too incredible to be true.”
This memoir of an era when flight attendants were viewed as incredibly glamorous, when the job meant good pay and an unusual amount of freedom for young women, feels to me like something out of a movie. This wasn’t a completely rosy view – the author shows the sexism and body shaming that were accepted parts of the job – but it’s such a different time that it also felt hard to believe.
Journalism in the Middle East
I Was Told to Come Alone was my favorite of several books on women doing journalism in the Middle East. What made this book feel almost unreal to me was that this author and at least one of the other authors I read had been kidnapped and survived to tell about it. It also seems like it’s not entirely uncommon for this to happen to reporters in this part of the world and for them to then keep on doing this dangerous job. To me, that bravery and the attitude that this is just a thing that happens made this book feel a little surreal.