Monday, 25 November 2019

Nonfiction November - week 5

We have reached the last week of Nonfiction November. It has been a great month, with many discussions on nonfiction, various subjects and inspiration from people with other interests than my own.

This week is hosted by Rennie @ What's Nonfiction and the task is to go through recommendations through the month, and see what ended up on your TBR. In my case, they entered into my list of Wish to Read I am not entirely sure I will be able to track all of my recommendations, so sorry about that. If you recognise it, please let me know, and I will add your link.

The Brontë sisters are a big interest of mine. I love their books, but also enjoy reading about them. I have already read quite a few books, but I am happy to have received tips on some books, of which I was not aware. Lisa of Hopewell recommended three interesting books, and they all seem different from the ones I have read before. It is always good when an author/expert manages to near the subject from a different angle, whether it is fiction or nonfiction. Here are the three:

The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects by Deborah Lutz
The Brontës: Charlotte Brontë and Her Family by Rebecca Fraser
The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë by Syrie James "A fictionalised look that I enjoyed (You know much more so may not! I don't always enjoy royal fiction for that reason)"

While on the Brontës, I also received a tip from What Cathy Read Next:

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis. "It is a historical crime mystery which casts the Bronte sisters in the role of amateur detectives. It's a lot of fun and you might spot more allusions to their lives and novels than I did."

I don't think Mel @ The Reading Life, participates in Nonfiction November. Nevertheless, he often has very interesting reviews on Biographies, of which several has ended up on my wish list. He recently had a post on Elizabeth Cobbs' fictional account, The Hamilton Affair. Mel suggests to read Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton, before starting with the fictional one. So, both books will go on my wish list.

Here are four interesting books, I would like to look more into. If it is you who recommended, please send me a comment. I tried to find the expert...!

I love The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan, and was so happy when someone recommended two books about him.

Beyond The Thirty-Nine Steps A Life of John Buchan by Ursula Buchan
Modern John Buchan: A Critical Introduction (scholarly reflections from a modern perspective on Buchan's books) by Nathan Waddel
Looking forward going into his world.

The last two are based on literary characters. Always interesting to read such analyses. Darcy is one of Jane Austen's fascinating characters, and I look forward reading about who he really was in There's Something About Darcy by Gabrielle Malcolm.

Another beloved and intriguing character is Alexander Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo. Maybe we find a real character behind the enigmatic count in The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal 
and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss. Emma at Word And Peace recommended this book. Emma and I seem to like the same kind of books! Having now read her post, I will add another three books to my list. Two by Alberto Manguel.  I recently read his excellent A History of Reading, so he is high on my list for other books. Fabulous Monsters: Dracula, Alice, Superman, and Other Literary Friends and Packing My Library: An Elegy and Ten Digressions. Another interesting subject is old manuscripts. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts, by Joshua Hammer, probably has everything I like about history and old manuscripts.

Something to look forward to read in 2020. I have very much enjoyed this month. I am still reading Simon Sebag Montefiore's Stalin, The Court of the Red Tsar. It is thick, but I am nearing the end. It is terrifying reading, and sometimes one just must stop. So many terrible things happened and it is difficult to take in at once.

Thank you all for your recommendations and comments. Looking forward to next year.


  1. So glad The Black Count made your list. Wonderful book! My post is here:

  2. Thank you Emma. I have updated my post. We seem to like the same kind of books. I recently read a book by Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading ( I like the way he writes and the views he has, very talented man. I will add the two books by him that you recommend. Sounds very interesting.
    This is another one which is right up my sleeve. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts, by Joshua Hammer.
    I have added to my list and updated my post with your suggestions. Many thanks.

  3. I enjoyed this month so much. I thank you for all the books you shared.

    1. A totally enjoyable month. I got so inspired by other people's reading, a great exchange of nonfiction books. Looking forward to next year. Will keep up the nonfiction reading though. Thank you for hosting.

  4. I hope you enjoy the additions to your TBR!

    1. I did. This month has been so inspiring, reading about other people's interest in nonfiction books. A great challenge. I will definitely keep up the nonfiction reading.

  5. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu sounds so good! I also read Court of the Red Tsar a few years back and had the same experience as you, I had to read it much more slowly than I usually would and take lots of breaks. It was terrifying. I liked the first part of his biographies, Young Stalin, a lot too. It was still grim but moderately less horrifying than what came later.

    1. I can imagine that his younger years was slightly less horrifying. I just finished Owen Matthews' 'Stalin's children. Three Generations of Love and War', which tells about his grandfather who was taken away, without a reason. It is interesting to get a personal account on how it was to live close to someone that was arrested. His grandmother was put in a camp, but survived. His mother, who was only 3 or 4, and his aunt in her teenage years, were put in orphanages, growing up without parents. Terrible times. I think I have to wait with Stalin's younger years for a while. In the mean-time I will try to find the new books I have added to my TBR.