Nonfiction November: A no-brainer fiction/nonfiction pairing

Last week I joined in for Week 1 of the event Nonfiction November, with the prompt to look back at your year in nonfiction. This week, I am joining in again, with the prompt to 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,” according to host Sarah of the blog Sarah’s Bookshelves (click to see Sarah’s post – and a linkup of other bloggers- on the topic).

This was an easy one for me since I just read them last month during Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway and Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises by Lesley M.M. Blume. I purchased a Hemingway collection earlier in the month from our library’s bookstore that includes The Sun Also Rises, and then as I was preparing my readathon stack, I remembered that I had purchased as a Kindle deal last year Everybody Behaves Badly about the “making of” the book. It was a no-brainer for me to pair the two together for the readathon, and now after I’ve read them both, a no-brainer for me to use them both as my choice for nonfiction/fiction pairing for this event.

I had read The Sun Also Rises, back in high school or in college or maybe both, and remembered enjoying but I didn’t remember the story specifically. So it was good to revisit the book and become reacquainted with why I liked Hemingway in the first place: his quick, back-and-forth dialogue, on the one hand, and his almost stream-of-consciousness descriptions, on the other hand.

I was less acquainted –and by that, I mean, not at all– with the story behind the book. I didn’t realize that he had based all of the main characters off people he knew and the story off one specific trip to Pamplona with that group of people. In fact, when the novel was originally published, some thought of it as more of very good journalism than a very good first novel since Hemingway was a newspaper reporter at the time. While that part of the story about the real people behind the characters was good, I think the parts about the other people, especially those in the publishing world, enhanced the book. For example, Hemingway “hung out” with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and Sherwood Anderson, just to name a few authors of the time.

Whether or not you’re participating or not in Nonfiction November, I’ll leave you with a question, based on this week’s prompt: Can you think of any books fiction and nonfiction that pair well together?

Author’s Note: I was going to try to pair an alcohol with the book too, but then after looking around online, most notably this post that listed every drink in the book and this post that included a map of everywhere the characters drank and what and how much they drank, I couldn’t narrow it down to just one alcohol.

Next week (Nov. 11 to 15) Katie from the blog Doing Dewey will be hosting Week 3 of Nonfiction November with Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert, where: 1.) You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), 2.) You can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or 3.) you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert). 

The following week (Nov. 18 to Nov. 22) Leann from the Instagram account Shelf Aware will be hosting (for the first time) with the topic of what makes a nonfiction book one of your favorites. Is the topic pretty much all that matters? Are there particular ways a story can be told or particular writing styles that you love? Do you look for a light, humorous approach or do you prefer a more serious tone?

The final week (Nov. 25 to 29) Rennie from the blog What’s Nonfiction will finish up Nonfiction November with the topic of what new nonfiction books you added to your TBR (to-be-read) after reading other participants’ posts. 

My Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon for October 2019

Tomorrow starts another Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, and starting today, I’ll be keeping track of the readathon here and on Instagram, from pre-readathon prep to post-readathon analysis on Sunday. I’m in the midst of convalescing from arthroscopic knee surgery this past Tuesday (to learn more about that, visit my previous post), and I haven’t gotten much reading done so far, thanks to a slight haze of Norco (hydrocodone and acetaminophen). However, now that I’m coming out of the fog, I’m ready for some reading.

Pre-readathon prep

I only have two books on my list that I definitely want to get to, one in a collection:

  • Four Novels: The Sun Also Rises; A Farewell to Arms; For Whom The Bell Tolls; The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway that I bought last week from our library’s bookstore.
  • Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises by Lesley M.M. Blume that I was reminded that I had bought last year in ebook when I saw The Sun Also Rises among the four novels.

I’m thinking that they will complement each other well for tomorrow’s readathon.

I also have other possibilities, but most likely they will be saved for next week, while I’m still off from work, and probably even later for some:

  • Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  • Heaven, My Home (A Highway 59 Mystery Book 2) by Attica Locke
  • Orphan X (Orphan X, #1) by Gregg Hurwitz
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (an annual Halloween reread tradition)
  • Ruth Galloway Series: The First Three Novels by Elly Griffiths
  • The Lord God Made Them All (All Creatures Great and Small Book 4) by James Herriot
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike Book 1) by Robert Galbraith
  • A Morbid Taste for Bones (The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael Book 1) by Ellis Peters.

This past week I finished one book, A Story To Tell by Lisa R. Howeler (my sister), and started another, The Best American Poetry 2014 (edited by Terrance Hayes, guest editor, and David Lehman, series editor) that I probably will finish today before tomorrow’s readathon.

My wife and I also started watching Mindhunter, Season 2 on Netflix Wednesday night, and we plan on possibly getting to these other series this coming week:

  • Good Omens, Season 1 on Amazon Prime
  • Narcos Mexico, Season 1 on Netflix
  • Money Heist, Season 2 on Netflix
  • Criminal: UK, France, Germany, and Spain on Netflix

We had started watching the Narcos and Money Heist seasons previously, but have yet to get to the other three.

The Readathon

8 a.m.: Opening Survey!

  1. What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Northcentral Pennsylvania
  2. Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? The Sun Also Rises, the first book on my “stack” of two, the second being a nonfiction book about The Sun Also Rises
  3. Which snack are you most looking forward to? Crackers, cheese, and wine, especially after having arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this week.
  4. Tell us a little something about yourself! I had arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this week and now that the pain meds are wearing off, I’m ready to focus on reading.
  5. If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? I’m not going to be as obsessed with time. Just read as much as I can, and especially with aforementioned knee surgery, rest as I need.

Update No. 1: 10 a.m.

  • I’ve read 50 pages in The Sun Also Rises.
  • I remember why I love Hemingway: the short, back-and-forth dialogue.
  • I do:n’t remember the use of the casual n-word, but when it came 50 pages in, it slapped me in the face. “The n***** drummer waved at Brett.”
  • I had breakfast: sausage, egg, and Swiss cheese on a croissant.

Update No. 2: 12:40 p.m.

  • I’ve read 165 pages in The Sun Also Rises.
  • I’m about to grab lunch: probably a turkey and cheese sandwich on rye bread with potato chips on the side.
  • I’m still enjoying the book, not just the dialogue, but the long, almost stream-of-consciousness descriptions at times. I’m remembering why he is one of my favorite authors.

Update No. 3: 2 p.m.

  • I just finished The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway.
  • And I just got these two books, in the mail, a perfect break from my Hemingway reading:
  • I’m starting with The Score.

Update No. 4: 6:30 p.m.

At about 2:30, I took a nap and woke up about 4:30, had a snack and then got back to reading The Score. I’m more than halfway through.

Best quote so far

The book is about a group of robbers planning a heist of a town. In the one part, the one robber explains to the other about taxes:

“You’re a young man, you still can learn. Pay attention to this. You can steal in this country, you can rape and murder, you can bribe public officials, you can pollute the morals of the young, you can burn your place of business down for the insurance money, you can do almost anything you want, and if you act with just a little caution and common sense you’ll never even be indicted. But if you don’t pay your income tax, Grofield, you will go to jail.”

Littlefield in “The Score” by Richard Stark

8 p.m.: Mid-Event Survey

  1. What are you reading right now? Nothing right now, but about to start Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises by Lesley M.M. Blume.
  2. How many books have you read so far? Two: The Sun Also Rises and The Score by Richard Stark.
  3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Everybody Behaves Badly. Other than that, I’m not sure what I’ll read although I have possibilities (see above).
  4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? I’ve had several, including a two-hour nap. I’ve rolled with them, because I’m recuperating from arthroscopic knee surgery earlier in the week.
  5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? That I forgot my sister was sending me two Parker novels by Stark in the mail. It was a nice surprise and came at the right time when I needed a break from Hemingway. Now back to…well…about Hemingway, anyway.

Shortly after completing this survey, I had a small glass of wine and then promptly felt tired, so I went to bed. I did get up at about 5 a.m. and started Everybody Behaves Badly. I will be continuing that later today with my own readathon.

Post-Readathon Analysis

Especially considering that I am recovering from knee surgery on Tuesday, I am pleased with reading two books, although they weren’t the two books I expected to read. I also got started on another, the second one that I had intended to read.

What are you up to this weekend? Readathon? If so, what is/was on your stack of possibilities? If not, what have you been reading good lately or what do you have good planned to read? Whatchya up to otherwise?