Friday 12 November 2021

Non-Fiction November Week Two - Book Pairings

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I’m late to the Non-Fiction November party this year, but when I saw the week two theme (provided by Katie of Doing Dewey) I couldn’t help but join in. 

The first two books of Gabaldon’s best selling series centre around the time leading up to the infamous Battle of Culloden. For a look at the expansive history of the Jacobites which includes, but is no means limited to, the activity around Bonnie Prince Charlie, Seward’s book offers an overview of almost 120 years of the Jacobite movement.

Dark Emu
by Bruce Pascoe, Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia edited by Anita Heiss and The Secret River by Kate Grenville

Grenville’s novel explores the relationship and violence between colonists in Australia and the Aboriginal people who have looked after and lived in the land for thousands of years. Dark Emu challenges the impression of Aboriginal people as hunter gatherers and shows how white history has retold their history to suit their own prejudices. Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia gives us a glimpse of life in modern Australia that reveals the ongoing impact of colonialism.

Black Tudors: The Untold Story by Miranda Kaufman and A Book of Secrets by Kate Morrison

Morrison’s book centres on a strong, intelligent, black woman in Tudor England. Enslaved, but later saved from slavery, she overcomes a number of challenges to succeed in a time where the colour of her skin and her gender would have led many to underestimate her. Kaufman’s book seeks to raise the voices of those who are often erased from the history of the Tudors, and reassesses the view that slavery was almost inevitable, urging us to think again about what caused a radical shift in perspective in the seventeenth century.

The Shadowy Third
by Julia Parry
and The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen

Parry’s enthralling book traces her grandfather’s affair with the writer Elizabeth Bowen through their correspondence, bringing her grandmother to the fore, who had destroyed her own letters from the time. This is a fascinating book that makes you think about how history is constructed. Reading it will definitely make you want to explore some of Bowen’s writing and The House in Paris is the novel cited as being central to the family’s myth around Bowen, so makes a good place to start.

Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-Doctors in Victorian England by

Sarah Wise and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Brontë’s ‘madwoman in the attic’ speaks powerfully to us through the years, inspiring creative responses and intriguing the casual reader. Wise’s book gives a startling insight into the way those considered mad were treated in Victorian England, as well as those who weren’t but were conveniently diagnosed as such to keep them out the way.

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