I am excited to bring a new featured series to you all today – introducing Book Pairings! If you are anything like me, sometimes you get hooked on a subject while reading your current book and you can’t let it go upon closing the cover. Sometimes you want to know more about the real subject involved, while other times you might just want to pick up another novel about the same thing. Maybe you are even looking for other categories like film or music that might pick up on elements of something you read. Here is where Book Pairings comes in. Each installment of Book Pairings will have a theme that pairs up several books with something else that would compliment them beautifully (most often this will be other books). I’m excited to explore where this will take me!
So where will this inaugural installment take us? I wanted to continue with the Non-Fiction November theme and thought it might be fun to pair up some fiction with non-fiction on a similar subject. Then I thought “How cool would it be to integrate my selections from my Wish List this month?” Yeah, well, some of those titles were on very obscure subjects so I had to flex my mental muscle a little to find pairings (and one of them is something of a cheat).
In an effort to not repeat myself, if you want to know more about the non-fiction books on this list, check out my Wish List post. I will include blurbs for the pairings in the below post.
City of Light, City of Poison by Holly Tucker | Charlatan by Kate Braithwaite
I had to think long and hard about this one before I realized it shouldn’t have been so difficult. City of Light, City of Poison is a non-fiction book set during the reign of Louis XIV and is about Nicolas de la Reynie who was the first police chief of Paris. Much of his time was spent dealing with the dark occult underbelly of the city at the time. Charlatan, a novel released just a couple months ago by Kate Braithwaite exists in the same world and explores the Affair of the Poisons. A great combination! You can read more about Charlatan and the story behind the Affair of the Poisons in Kate Braithwaite’s guest post.
1676. In a hovel in the centre of Paris, the fortune-teller La Voisin holds a black mass, summoning the devil to help an unnamed client keep the love of Louis XIV.
Three years later, Athenais, Madame de Montespan, the King's glamorous mistress, is nearly forty. She has borne Louis seven children but now seethes with rage as he falls for eighteen-year old Angelique de Fontanges.
At the same time, police chief La Reynie and his young assistant Bezons have uncovered a network of fortune-tellers and prisoners operating in the city. Athenais does not know it, but she is about to be named as a favoured client of the infamous La Voisin.
"This book kept me reading into the night... luxury and squalor, royal scandal and sorcery... how could it not?" Fay Weldon, author The Life and Loves of a She-devil.
Ice Ghosts by Paul Watson | The Terror by Dan Simmons
The story of the Franklin Expedition to the Arctic has always been one of those tragedies that has fascinated me. The expedition was attempting to explore uncharted areas of the Northwest Passage and was stranded in the ice before ultimately all the men ended up dying. What is kind of cool is that Paul Watson, author of Ice Ghosts, was on the ship that discovered the wreck in 2014 of one of the Franklin ships the HMS Erebus, so that lends some legitimacy of the book. In The Terror Dan Simmons spins a tale of this Franklin Expedition and what they might have encountered and how the psyche might have been affected by being stranded in the Arctic. I really enjoyed this book and it would appeal to both historical fiction and horror fans while not falling squarely into either category. You can check out my review of The Terror here.
The Zoo by Isobel Charman | Minsk: Poems by Lavinia Greenlaw
Ok, so here is the cheated a little bit one – I noticed that I sort of worked myself into a real corner with the specificity of a book about the founding of the London Zoo – (The Zoo). Accordingly I had to be a little creative with this one and found something really kind of cool to pair with it. Minsk is a book of poetry about a bunch of things but one section focuses on the different exhibits as they opened at the London Zoo! How cool is that?! Segments such as “Bunk” feature the opening of The Raven’s Cage or “Spin”, The Giraffe House. There is a great preview of many of these poems on Google Books. I’m not the biggest fan of poetry, but I was excited to be able to tie these two together.
March 1917 by Will Englund | Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
The events leading up to WWI have been heavily studied and discussed and have resulted in several different interpretations regarding the onset of the war. March 1917 looks specifically at the entrance of the United States into the war and what the myriad of events that occurred during that month meant to the war – talk about a microhistory! In Ken Follett’s sweeping epic novel, Fall of Giants, he explores the war through the eyes of many different characters from varying backgrounds which I found all encompassing. There is even a chapter directly focused on March 1917. You can read my review of Fall of Giants here.
Battle Royal by Hugh Bicheno | Queen by Right by Anne Easter Smith
I don’t know about you, but I find the period of English history about The Wars of the Roses to be more fascinating that almost any other period of English history (closely in contest with Roman Britannia and the time of the Saxons/Norman Conquest). Battle Royal is part one of a two part series following these Wars during the 15th century. In Queen by Right, author Anne Easter Smith looks at the origins of the wars, beginning with the Duke of York, but from the perspective of his wife, Cecily. I really enjoyed seeing this perspective that is the road less traveled in Plantagenet history. You can check out my review of Queen by Right here.
Are there any better titles that you would pair with these non-fiction ones? I’d be interested to hear if you have anything else for The Zoo as I looked long and hard and didn’t want to venture into the SciFi world.