A month-long celebration of favourite non-fiction reads
Nonfiction November is an annual challenge to read, critique and discuss non-fiction books through the most autumnal of months. The five hosts will each in turn post a different themed discussion prompt every Monday. This week’s topic is introduced by Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves (5th–9th November).
Sarah has asked us: “…to 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.”
As usual, I am disobeying the rules and have chosen two non-fiction titles!
NONFICTION BOOK PAIRING
Two books I believe make a perfect pair are:
In Lucy Hughes-Hallett’s magnificent biography of the debauched and preposterous Italian poet and playwright Gabriele d’Annunzio, she examines his passions for art, politics, war and women – skilfully representing his journey from romantic idealist to right-wing revolutionary, inspiration to Mussolini and national hero. It was a worthy winner of the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction.
First published in 1947, Iris Origo’s popular diaries recording the effects of World War II on a small corner of Tuscany depict a country torn apart by German armies, civil war and the eventual Allied invasion. An English woman married to an Italian aristocrat, she wrote in vivid detail about the survival of a rural farming community.
You may also like to turn this into a trio of titles by reading A Chill in the Air: An Italian War Diary 1939–1940 by Iris Origo – published by Pushkin Press for the first time in 2017.