Week 2: (Nov. 4 to 8) – Book Pairing
Hosted by Sarah of Sarah’s Book Shelves)
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.
Every year this prompt gets a little harder. It might be because overall my reading has been narrower, but I’m not sure. I did come up with a “pairing” though:
- Scripting Hitchcock: Psycho, The Birds, and Marnie by Walter Raubicheck & Walter Srebnick
- Psycho by Robert Bloch
- The Birds and Other Stories by Daphne du Maurier
Scripting Hitchcock provides a behind-the-scenes look at the writing of three classic Alfred Hitchcock movies. All three were based on existing works. I haven’t watched or read Marnie, but I’m pretty familiar with Psycho and The Birds. Both are very different from their subsequent movies, which makes the stories outstanding in both medias.
The end of the year is so great. After two months of spooky Perilous reading, it’s time for another one of my favorite blogging events: Nonfiction November! There’s a new prompt each week. (All the details!)
Week 1: (Oct. 28 to Nov. 1) – Your Year in Nonfiction
Hosted by Julz of Julz Reads
Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?
As usual, the largest topic of my nonfiction reading (4 of seventeen books) has been magic. Also, not shockingly, two of my favorite reads—ones that I would absolutely recommend are of this subject:
A couple of true crime books also captured my attention this year. Both focused on the length and complexity of serial killer investigations.
And lastly, a book I’d certainly recommend (and it was recommended to me!):
So, here we go. I’m sorry, books I added to my TBR last year that I haven’t gotten to yet. You’re about to have so many new friends…
Week 5: (Nov. 26 to 30) – New to My TBR (Katie @ Doing Dewey): It’s been a month full of amazing nonfiction books! Which ones have made it onto your TBR? Be sure to link back to the original blogger who posted about that book!
The biggest lesson I learned during the first year I participated in #NonFicNov was to bookmark/clip to Evernote every time I added a new title to my TBR. Pro tip of the year, right there. 😉 I was maybe a little more on the conservative side this year. There are so many books I want to read! New additions:
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
by John Carreyrou
This one is on a lot of lists, but I first was reminded of it on Week 1 by Kim @ Sophisticated Dorkiness.
Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World’s Most Famous Detective Writer
by Margalit Fox
A best-of-the-year biography from Words And Peace.
Week 4: (Nov. 19 to 23) – Reads Like Fiction (Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction): Nonfiction books often get praised for how they stack up to fiction. Does it matter to you whether nonfiction reads like a novel? If it does, what gives it that fiction-like feeling? Does it depend on the topic, the writing, the use of certain literary elements and techniques? What are your favorite nonfiction recommendations that read like fiction? And if your nonfiction picks could never be mistaken for novels, what do you love about the differences?
Weirdly, this is not a thing I think about before, during, or after reading nonfiction. I have a tendency to see narrative everywhere and also have a tolerance for information-driven info dumps in fiction (in contrast to plot info dumps). So, I feel that the majority of nonfiction I read has some narrative fiction qualities to it. Even a books like NeuroTribes or The Turk use story as example or to relay history.
Lately, though, I have noticed that organization is very important, in both “narrative” nonfiction and more didactic nonfiction. It’s probably the difference between a nonfiction book being readable and it just having lots of (good) information. One of the things that Erik Larson does very well is weaving histories and information together. On the poorer end of this is Heaven’s Ditch. Jack Kelly’s book has a lot of story, but the chronology of events was difficult to keep track of. (I’d still recommend it, but it’s not best of class.)
All in all, “does it read like fiction” is probably a question I’m going to give more thought too!
Week 3: (Nov. 12 to 16) – Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert (Julie @ JulzReads): Three ways to join in this week! You can either share three or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).
From me, it’s a little bit of all three: A list of great books, a few books on the same subject that I haven’t read, and a call-out for yet more books. And what’s my topic?
Female Magicians and Magicians’ Assistants
What I’ve Read
Adelaide Herrmann was extraordinary. She was the wife and assistant of Alexander Herrmann (known as Herrmann the Great). When he died in 1896, Adelaide picked up his mantle and continued to perform as a headline magician for another thirty year.! Magician Margaret B. Steele collected and published Herrmann’s memoirs in 2012 and a beautiful and exuberant illustrated children’s version was published in 2016.
Adele Friel’s career in magic was brief, but her memoir of the three years she spent with Harry Blackstone’s show gives a glimpse into what it was like to be a “box jumper”—an assistant who is often jumping in and out of boxes. Magician Ning Cai has spent time in boxes as well, but as an endurance artist and escapologist. Hers is also one of the few modern biographies I’ve found.
What I Haven’t Read…Yet
There are several books by and about female magicians that are hard to find, mainly due to the small-press nature of most magic publishers. Below are two that are at least available through a large retailer like Amazon. Dell O’Dell had her own circus in the 1920s and her own TV show in the 1950s. Frances Ireland specialized in magic for children and also took over her husband’s business when he died. L.L. Ireland Magic Co. is one of the oldest magic shops in the US. It still exists today in Chicago as Magic, Inc.
What Else is There?
I’m always looking for more books about magicians and magicians’ assistants. If you know of any, let me know!
Week 2 (Nov. 6 to Nov. 10)
Nonfiction / Fiction Book Pairing (Hosted by Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves)
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.
This is always a fun topic, but I never think I’ll have new parings. This year, I’ve come up with two:
My first “pairing” was inspired by a couple themed fiction/nonfiction lists I saw around Halloween. If you’ve read Dracula or the new Dacre Stoker prequel Dracul*, try Jim Steinmeyer’s Who Was Dracula? Actually, this book is more like “Who Was Bram Stoker?” Steinmeyer looks at Stoker’s background, career, and associates as he contemplates Stoker’s possible inspirations for the rather singular novel.
* I haven’t read Drcul, but I think it’s probably a good pairing none-the-less.
Okay, maybe I just can’t let Halloween go… Looking the list of nonfiction I’ve read this year, I realized that Eyeing the Flash by Peter Fenton could be a great companion to Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. In fiction, Will and Jim face the supernatural temptations of Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show. In nonfiction, teenage Pete Fenton succumbs to the lure of fast cash and becomes a double-dealing carnival huckster.
My favorite spooky book blogging events lead into my second favorite book blogging event: Nonfiction November! Each week a new host will present a new topic.
Week 1: (Oct. 29 to Nov. 2) – Your Year in Nonfiction (Kim @ Sophisticated Dorkiness): Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?
As is usual for me, I’ve read quite a few books on magic. The Secret History of Magic by Jim Steinmeyer & Peter Lamont has been a stand out, even if I was a little disappointed by some aspects. I also seem to have read a bit more historical crime this year. The Burglar Was Caught by a Skeleton by Jeremy Clay was a fun romp through sensational newspaper stories of the past, and Heaven’s Ditch by Jack Kelly provided an in-depth look at the history of New York as the Erie Canal was being built (and the murder and double-dealing that went along with that).
But my very favorite of the year, thus far, isn’t from either of those categories. It’s The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book and I’ve recommended it a few times since I finished reading it a few months ago.
I love Nonfiction November because it’s a chance to geek-out about a “genre” that sometimes doesn’t get much love and find the next book or subject that I didn’t know I wanted to know about. And spend sometime reading nonfiction too!
My November TBR