Fiction and non-fiction pairings with Jim Murphy books

26 Jan

My grandma, Evelyn Gillespie, was born on June 6, 1911.  She died when I was 22.  She was a gentle soul, and I wish we had lived nearer each other and I had known her better. There is a line in out family with bad skin and lungs. She had them, as do my dad & I.  This is the only picture I have of her.

Scan 4

A story I remember my dad telling me about Grandma was that when she was a girl, she spent some time in the Hamilton TB sanatorium, although she didn’t have TB.  In doing a little research, I have discovered that there was a Preventorium attached to the Sanatorium and I wonder if that was where she spent some time, I wish I’d been able to ask her about that.

Like many people I often have great ideas for novels. One of mine was to write about her experience in the sanatorium. But, as T. S. Eliot wrote in “The Hollow Men”,

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

Besides, in addition to being more of a dreamer, I’m not that great a fiction writer. And it’s been done. A while back I read Queen of Hearts by Martha Brooks, set in a TB Sanatorium in Manitoba.


It was pretty good, not great, but would pair up nicely with Jim Murphy’s Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure.


Another Jim Murphy book that lends itself nicely to a pairing with a novel is An American Plague  which tells about the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793.  Laurie Halse Anderson made this the title of her 200 YA novel, Fever 1793.


Picture books can also pair  nicely with Murphy’s books. Take the Christmas truce of 1914 on the Western Front.

9780545130493  9781568462202

And The Soldiers Sang by J. Patrick Lewis came out in 2011.

Jim Murphy is only one non-fiction who has books that pair nicely with fiction.  What pairings have you found that work well?

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