Nonfiction November: Week 2

This is the week where we pair up books!  The theme is fiction/non-fiction book pairings, and it's hosted at Sarah's Book Shelves:
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.

Lots of people love this question, but I have a really hard time with it.  It may be that I'm not very imaginative.  I was looking at my shelves, and it seems to me that a lot of the time, my tastes in fiction vs. non-fiction really don't overlap very much.  I don't really care for historical fiction, though I love to read history.   But Brona saved me, by pairing up books from her TBR shelf, and so I went and looked at my shelf and came up with a couple of things...

When the World Spoke French, by Marc Fumaroli, and Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo.  I'm scared of French literature, but I do want to read both of these!

In the French vein, I did read two great books a while back: The Black Count, by Tom Reiss, and The Man in the Iron Mask, by Alexandre Dumas.  Even better would be The Count of Monte Cristo, since it was inspired by Dumas' father's life.

Thames: the Biography, by Peter Ackroyd, and Our Mutual Friend, by Charles Dickens.  Peter Ackroyd is just as long-winded and discursive as Dickens, and what's a Dickens novel without the Thames as a major character?  From what I hear, Our Mutual Friend is a very Thamesy novel.

And it finally did occur to me that I read a nice pair just earlier this year.  I've already wittered about Danubia, by Simon Winder, but it also inspired me to read a Polish epic poem, Pan Tadeusz, by Adam Mickiewicz.  That was an excellent pair.


  1. These are great pairings! I'm almost done with Les Mis (getting a bit bogged down in the barricade section) and When the World Spoke French sounds like a good follow-up. I'm also slowly reading The Three Musketeers (it's on my e-reader for when I can't sleep or don't have anything else) and am interested in The Black Count. And you know I want to read Danubia ...

  2. Great post, Jean, and some wonderful pairings! It's making me think of my shelves ..... hmmm ...... I wish I could participate in Non-Ficton November but I have too many fiction books on the go. Oh well, perhaps next year!

  3. Like Lory I'm getting a bit bogged down in the barricade section of Les Mis!! but I had forgotten that I have the perfect pairing for this book & this moment - The Novel of the Century by David Bellos because I was concerned about spoilers, I've been waiting for the last 6 weeks or so of the readalong to start it.

    The Black Count sounds intriguing too & will keep that in mind when I read Dumas.

  4. Fun pairings! I didn't know about Ackroyd on the Thames, but yes, Our Mutual Friend is a particularly Thames-y Dickens novel. That sounds particularly interesting.

  5. Yeah, I'm really tempted to go full into Anglophile mode and read nothing but Dickens and Ackroyd now!


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