Fiction & Non-Fiction Pairings


This week’s Non-Fiction November topic is hosted by Sarah from Sarah’s Book Shelves.

Sarah is asking us to pair up books of fiction with non-fiction books:

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.

Here are my pairings:


I’m starting with an obvious pairing but there might be people out there who don’t know how Virginia Woolf came to write Orlando. In 1922, Woolf met fellow writer, Vita Sackville-West, and began a 6-year affair with her. Both women were married to men but continued their relationship regardless. In 1928, Woolf published Orlando, one of her most famous and acclaimed novels, and what many regard as a biography of Sackville-West. The protagonist in Orlando was so much like Sackville-West and caused such a stir & strain between the pair that their affair ended. Both women remained in contact until Woolf died in 1941 but their relationship was never the same again. These letters are a terrific peek into what the two women shared. Orlando, of course, then becomes a must-read.


I’ve paired Black, White and Jewish with Nella Larsen’s Passing because I think both books handle the subject of biracial identity really well. Rebecca Walker (daughter of writer Alice Walker) chronicles her life being passed between her black bohemian Womanist mother and her white suburban Jewish lawyer father, while Larsen writes about mixed-race characters ‘passing’ for caucasian during the time of segregation in the U.S. Walker does a great job of showing the struggles she faced having multiple identities imposed on her by friends and family while growing up, while Larsen’s novel invites us in to a frightening world of Jim Crow laws and the “one drop rule.”


These are two of my all-time favourite books. I’ve paired these together because both books take place in the segregated south in the 1930s and are written by two of the greatest black American writers of the 20th century. While Maya Angelou’s memoir covers the first 16 years of her life, Walker’s epistolary novel follows a group of black women and the bond of sisterhood they form to protect each other.


My Year in Non-Fiction (Non-Fiction November: Week One)


It is Week One of Non-Fiction November and Julz from JulzReads has taken the reigns first.

As an introductory topic, Julz has asked that we take a look back at all the books we’ve read this year and answer a series of questions about them.

Here are the non-fiction books I’ve read this year so far:

  • Wildflower by Drew Barrymore
  • The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla
  • The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  • The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae
  • I Put a Spell on You by Nina Simone
  • Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
  • Official Book Club Selection by Kathy Griffin
  • Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog
  • Kathy Griffin’s Celebrity Run-Ins: My A-Z Index by Kathy Griffin
  • We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby
  • American Indian Stories by Zitkala-Sa
  • An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
  • It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll: Thirty Years Married to a Rolling Stone by Jo Wood
  • Boy by Roald Dahl

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Non-Fiction November & Native American Heritage Month


It is the start of November which, in the online book world, means the beginning of Non-Fiction November – a month long readathon-type thing that encourages readers to pick up more non-fiction books.

I tend to read a lot of non-fiction anyway so this isn’t going to be a huge leap for me but it’s still fun to see what other people turn to over the next 4 weeks.

November is also Native American Heritage Month. If you’re planning to take part in Non-Fiction November, now would be a good time to honour Native American Heritage Month and learn a few things about native American history and indigenous peoples. And even if you’re not taking part in Non-Fiction November, why not check out some really great native American fiction writers? I’m going to leave some recommendations (non-fic and fic) down at the end of this post.

For now, here’s my tentative Non-Fiction November TBR. On the blogosphere, Non-Fiction November is being hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey, Julie at JulzReads, Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves, Lory at Emerald City Book Review and Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness. As the month goes on, I’ll be responding to whatever those hosts ask us in later blog posts.

Meanwhile, the Booktube hosts, Gemma at NonFic Books and Olive at ABookOlive, have come up with 4 categories (Love, Home, Substance, Scholarship) to try and put your books into. They’ve been left open to interpretation so I’ve tried to fit in what I can from my current TBR pile.

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What’s Up Wednesday: Back to Blogging, Mexico, & Thinking of the Future


What’s new?

I haven’t blogged properly for 3 months but now I’m back.

I’m trying to think of an update for these last few ‘summer’ months but am struggling. I really haven’t done a lot other than work. Back in July, I flew up to Vietnam to visit an old friend from Korea for a few days. But, apart from that, life has been pretty low key on this island.

Earlier this month I had a lovely week off from work. I thought about going on holiday somewhere nearby – Bali, Penang, Thailand, Philippines. But in the end I decided to stay here and enjoy a bunch of lie-ins, cafe visits, cinema trips, and long walks. It was something I really needed and I felt so refreshed after.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what to do next year. My work contract is up at the end of March and I have to make a choice over whether to stay or move on. I think I’ve already made my choice but there are always a ton of things to consider for each option.

I wish I could be more specific but, right now, I’ll just have to remain annoyingly vague.

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Booktube-A-Thon 2017 TBR


The 2017 Booktube-A-Thon has been announced and, while I’m not a booktuber myself, I’m an avid viewer and have chosen to take part this year anyway.

For anyone who doesn’t know what Booktube-A-Thon is, it is an annual read-a-long for booktubers to come together and read as much as possible in the space of one week (24th July – 30th July).

There are video challenges set up for the creators to take part in, as well as a list of reading challenges. Neither of these things are mandatory and the only real thing you should be trying to do during the week is read. (You can find more information on the official youtube channel here.)

Like I said, I’m not a creator on booktube but I thought it might be a fun way to get through some of the books I have on my shelves anyway so here is my TBR:

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Teaser Tuesday – 04/07/17


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by The Purple Booker, that wants you to add books to your TBR or just share what you are currently reading. How it works:

+ Grab your current read
+ Open to a random page
+ Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
+ Be careful not to include spoilers
+ Share the title & author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers


“Thank you, ma’am,” said Mary Poppins with icy politeness. “But I bring the children up in my own way and take advice from nobody.” – Mary Poppins Comes Back by P. L. Travers


New Reading Goals & A Mid-Year Book Freak Out


There hasn’t been a lot going on with me recently. My reading slowed down at the start of June when I picked up War & Peace before shortly coming to a complete stop. I found myself juggling five books at the same time but had no motivation to pick up any of them. That’s right. A complete and utter book slump.

This really shouldn’t have been an issue but reading is my number one hobby and, when I’m not immersed in some kind of book, it feels weird.

I finally figured out that trying to read so many books all at once was the problem. I have enough trouble trying to balance two. Five was overwhelming and I really wasn’t getting into the stories properly so I decided to DNF the one I was having the biggest trouble with and concentrate on each one at a time.

It worked like a charm and, before I knew it, my reading mojo returned. 😀

Another reason I think I fell into a bit of a funk was that at the end of May, I achieved my New Year’s resolution of reading 30 books this year.

That had been my only reading goal for 2017 so once I’d done it, I was like, Okay, what now?

So, as it’s midway through the year, I’ve decided to add a few extra reading challenges to see me off for the next 6 months.

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