November Nonfiction II

It's the second week of Nonfiction November, and here is my second entry, much more on time than the first:

 Book Pairing with Katie at Doing Dewey: This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. 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.


I think this year I will make a somewhat unusual choice.  At the last Spin, my title was the Popol Vuh, the Mayan book of scripture, history, and legend.   While the general understanding of non-fiction is that it's factual, or at least somebody's opinion, mythology counts too, and I enjoyed the Popol Vuh so much.  Here's a short paragraph from my post about it:

One and Seven Hunahpu are ballplayers, gamblers, and adventurers.  They go to Xibalba (the underworld of death) and are defeated and killed by the Xibalbans, but magically impregnate a daughter of the underworld.  The resulting twins are Hunahpu and Xbalanque -- also ballplayer, but hunters too, and they are able to defeat the Xibalbans and impose some safety on the world.

 And, I just started a novel that so happens to draw on Mayan myth for its story.   It's Gods of Jade and Shadow, by Silvia Morena-Garcia.  I'm about a third of the way through this YA novel, so I don't know yet if it's going to be really good, or a dud (One strike against it: it uses the dreaded X of Y and Z title formula!  One in favor: I really like the cover).   So far I'm interested.  Here's the summary:

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.  Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother...

So.  It's the 1920s, and our girl is going to travel across Mexico and through Mayan myth to accomplish her quest.  Hun-Kamé, Lord of Xibalba, is her partner, looking to defeat his brother, Vucub-Kamé  (Hun-Kamé being One Death, I presume that Vucub-Kamé is Seven Death, in keeping with the naming system I learned about in the Popol Vuh).  I hope it's a good story!


  1. Oh I hope you enjoy! I had a lot of fun with Gods of Jade and Shadow just by virtue of its being a road trip book, which I can never resist. The worldbuilding was great too, but gosh I was so thrilled to be reading a road trip book.

  2. What an interesting pair, thanks for sharing.

  3. Nice pairing! Even though I have sworn never to read another X of Y and Z book, I'd consider this one. It does sound too interesting to pass up. And good on you to have gone to the source for the mythology. Hope it will turn out to be all you hope for.

  4. Fascinating theme, I really want to know more about this theme.
    Here is my post:

  5. I loved Gods of Jade and Shadow, I hope you do too! It's a bit of a formulaic "quest" story but I loved the mythology. It sounds like I should read the book you paired with it.

  6. Ha! It does always surprise me that myths and religion make it into the nonfiction section and I love that you've used that in your pairing. These books seem like they'd go perfectly together.


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