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Nonfiction November - week three

We are already into week 3 of Nonfiction November. The theme this week is Book Pairings. It is hosted by Liz who blogs at Adventures in reading, running and working from home, is an editor, transcriber, reader, reviewer, writer and runner. She likes reading literary fiction and nonfiction, travel and biography.

Week 3 (11/13-11/17) Book Pairings: This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. Maybe it’s a historical novel and the real history in a nonfiction version, or a memoir and a novel, or a fiction book you’ve read and you would like recommendations for background reading. You can be as creative as you like!

The book pairing is always a difficult one for me. I would ideally have read both the nonfiction as well as the fiction books I choose. After some consideration and thought, I found these two pairings.

Homerisk hemkomst (Homeric Homecoming, my trans.) by Sven Delblanc and The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer. In two essays, the author takes a look at the Iliad and the Odyssey. Interpreting the Iliad in the light of research through times. He is not overly impressed by the research, which he thinks is doomed to age. At the back cover Delblanc gives the following advice:

  • A good piece of advice for the reader: give up on all Homeric research.

  • First, read a simple tutorial in Greek mythology.

  • Then read the two works of poetry at a slightly slower pace than today's simpler novels.

  • You will soon re-read them.

  • And re-read them and re-read them, with ever-growing benefit and pleasure.

Might be the way to go about these two classic epics.

I continue with a biography about Thomas Mann and his family; Familjen Mann (Die Manns) by Tilmann Lahme. Excellent biography about a troubled family with many talented people. I would pair it with The Magician by Colm Tóibín, a historical fiction of the Mann family. If you have an interest in Thomas Mann, his family and his time, both of them are worth reading.

Nonfiction wrap-up

A short summary on what I have been reading the last week. In principle I am stuck in the Roman Empire. Not a bad place to be though, although you tend to be affected by all the corruption, intrigues, murder and mayhem that is going on. I read, or listen to actually. I am not a fan of audio books, but have noticed that nonfiction works rather well.

  • Kampen om romarriket (The Struggle for the Roman Empire, my translation.) by Eva Queckfeldt. Covering the period from 100 B.C. to 20 B.C., considering the most interesting and eventful part of its history. This is the time where we find the great names that have gone down through history; Julius Caesar, Marcus Anthony, Cicero, Cato the Younger, Pompey, and many more.

  • Romarrikets kvinnor, makt, mord och moderskap by Eva Queckfeldt. About the women of the Roman Empire. Not always easy to find a lot of written accounts about women, and very few writings by themselves. Queckfeldt gives us what there is to know. The undertitel is power, murder and motherhood, which explains very well the situation these women lived under.

Listening to Alexander the Great by Philip Freeman, so have moved a little bit back in time to Hellenistic Greece. Very interesting account of his life and struggles as he tries to conquer the east.

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