Non-Fiction November – Week Two


Week 2: (Nov. 9 to 13) – Book Pairing (Julz of Julz Reads): 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’ll start with the book pairings I have actually managed to combine in recent times.
But now comes your part!
I have some book pairings that I would like your feedback on. 
  • This year I watched The Great (tv series) – a tremendously fun romp around the court of Catherine the Great before she became Great! I would love to pair this book with some great non-fiction about her. Can you recommend any?
  • In an opposite pairing request, I loved Hisham Matar’s Month in Siena a lot earlier this year. I would love a good literary fiction also set in Siena, possibly about the art world or historical in nature. Can you recommend any?

22 thoughts on “Non-Fiction November – Week Two

  1. I loved Robert K. Massie's biography of Catherine the Great. I chose it for a book group a few years ago and it was a great hit, which was a huge relief as it's more than 600 pages long (though a lot of it is endnotes and index.) My library also had an audio download which was excellent. I look forward to your thoughts on Elizabeth von Arnim, one of my favorite writers.


  2. Also forgot to mention there's an excellent Russian miniseries about Catherine called Ekaterina, it's available on Amazon Prime in the US. I haven't seen The Great or the HBO series with Helen Mirren yet but I really enjoyed Ekaterina.


  3. Really good pairing here. I was not so fascinated by Moby Dick so can't imagine reading any nonfiction. Although, having just read The Gospel of the Eels, I found the facts very fascinating. Should maybe read a nonfiction on whales…hm?I am reading The Plague as well, just some 30 pages left. It describes a lot of features that we have gotten used to today, but I still find it somewhat depressing to read. Maybe it is just the times.


  4. I can't offer any suggestions on your two questions, although Siena is one of my favorite places in Italy so I'll be interested to see what others suggest. I just read The Fire This Time and The Vanishing Half and highly recommend both. Thanks for the recommendations.


  5. The times we're living through certainly affect our reading habits. I certainly could not have read this book early in the pandemic, but then I got to a point when I wanted to know if we could learn something from history – or more to the point – why we hadn't learnt anything from history!! I get so frustrated at our collective inability to learn from the past.


  6. These are some interesting pairings. Elizabeth+Garden is on my TBR, so thanks for those recs. And I see you paired up The Plague too with a Zadie Smith, going to check that as well. The Great is an awesome show, completely agree — have you tried the Helen Mirren version?Also, thanks for the tips on blogger commenting — greatly appreciated 🙂


  7. Was one of the tulip books by Michael Pollan? The Botany of Desire? If you haven't already read the tulip section of this book, you should! It was very memorable.


  8. No, I have not read that one. Those I listed in my post are also very good, if you're interested in the topic, I highly recommend them. And, of course, I'll look for the one you suggested. Thanks.Happy Reading.


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