5 Non Fiction Articles to Pair with Classic High School Novels

Are you searching for new ways to inject some life into the teaching of your novels? Have the staples of your curriculum grown stale? I use the pocket app to save great pieces of non fiction that I come across. Typically, I go back each month and revisit some old classics that get pushed further down the line with each article that I add. Here are five favorites from the last few years and some suggestions about the novels with which they can be paired.

It is not an exclusive list. As you will read, many of these articles are so well written that they can apply to a number of great novels. I encourage you to share your ideas on how they would fit into your curriculum in the comments below.

1. I Am An Object Of Internet Ridicule, Ask Me Anything

by C. D. Hermelin/ The Awl

Pair it with: The Catcher in the Rye

Topic: Phoniness

“A picture of me typewriting had made it to the front page of Reddit. For those who don’t know, being on the front page of Reddit is hallowed ground—the notoriety of being on the front page can launch careers, start dance crazes, inspire Hollywood…. But the overwhelming negativity towards me, and the “hipster scum” I represented, was enough to make me get up from my computer, my heart racing, my hands shaking with adrenaline.”

2. The Only Black Guy at the Indie Rock Show

by Martin Douglas/ MTV Hive

Pair it with: Frankenstein

Topic: Cultural Assimilation/ Identity

“When I listened to rock music as a kid, it often felt like I was sneaking past the guards of racial barriers and into a cool party I wasn’t invited to. But I didn’t want to feel that way. I just wanted to enjoy the music just like everybody else.”


3. Is Google Making Us Stupid: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains

by Nicholas Carr/ The Atlantic

Pair it with: Fahrenheit 451

Topic: The future of reading

“I can feel it, too. Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading.”


4. The Solitary Leaker

by David Brooks/ The New York Times

Pair it with: 1984

Topic: Trust within a society

“Big Brother is not the only danger facing the country. Another is the rising tide of distrust, the corrosive spread of cynicism, the fraying of the social fabric and the rise of people who are so individualistic in their outlook that they have no real understanding of how to knit others together and look after the common good.”


5. Our Kind of Ridiculous: Yous, Mes, and Blackness as Probable Cause

by Kiese Laymon/ Gawker

Pair it with: To Kill a Mockingbird

Topic: Race

“If white American entitlement meant anything, it meant that no matter how patronizing, unashamed, deliberate, unintentional, poor, rich, rural, urban, ignorant, and destructive white Americans could be, black Americans were still encouraged to work for them, write to them, listen to them, talk with them, run from them, emulate them, teach them, dodge them, and ultimately thank them for not being as fucked up as they could be.”

* Warning: as you can see from the quote above, this article has some pretty explicit language.

As a bonus, here’s a fantastic piece, and I want you to tell me what you would do with it in the comments section below.



9 thoughts on “5 Non Fiction Articles to Pair with Classic High School Novels

  1. Great article…I’m curious to know if anyone else has any other pairings. This is exactly the approach I’m taking this year with a Brit Lit course

  2. The “Lincoln at Gettysburg” piece gave me goosebumps. I will use portions of her analysis when we discuss rhetoric in 10th grade and diction in the 9th grade this year. Her analysis discusses techniques critical to analysis and writing. I am looking forward to using it!

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