Nonfiction November 2022: Book Pairings

Nonfiction November 2022

#nonfictionbookparty: Instagram Daily Challenge
Click on the logo to see the detailed schedule

Here is the topic for Week 2 (Nov. 7-11):
Book Pairings
hosted by Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction?

This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title
(or another nonfiction!)

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.

I usually do nonfiction/fiction pairs, but the list of nonfiction books I read this year didn’t inspire me really for fiction titles I have read, or they are not yet available in English!
So I’m offering 5 pairs, either by the same author or on the same topic.
The book on the left of each pair is one I read this year.

Click on the covers to get more details



L'Axe du loup Consolations of the Forest

Sylvain Tesson is an impressive traveler (often on foot), and his books are so hauntingly beautiful.
The first one I read by him is stunningly beautiful:
The Consolations of the Forest: Alone in a Cabin on the Siberian Taiga (2013).
Here is an excerpt of my review:
“I totally fell under the charm of its writing, a mix of haunted beauty on the nature setting, of deep and sometimes ironic or humorist reflection on the human condition, and notes on lots of books the author took with him, when he decided to go live by himself for 6 months in a little cabin on Lake Baikal, in Siberia.”



Down and Out in Paris in London  Finding George Orwell in Burma

Down and Out in Paris and London is Orwell’s autobiographical details on his miserable time in both cities.
Years ago, I read an excellent book by Emma Larkin, “a fascinating political travelogue that traces the life and work of George Orwell in” Burma, aka as Myanmar: Finding George Orwell in Burma.



After the Romanovs The Romanov Sisters

Helen Rappaport is an impressive historian, focusing on Russian history. Her books are so documented, yet so pleasant to read.
The first one I read by her was The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra.

A short excerpt is included in my review.



Wabi sabi Wabi Sabi

Wabi Sabi is a fascinating Japanese concept or way of life.
Wabi Sabi, by Mark Reibstein and Ed Young (liustrator), is a great way of presenting it to children … of all ages!



Absolutely on Music Murakami T

Haruki Murakami is my favorite contemporary Japanese author.
he’s mostly written novels, but he has also a few interesting nonfiction novels.
His interviews of Seiji Osawa are so fascinating.
On the lighter side, it was fun reading about his favorite T-shirts!


Nonfiction November: My Year 2022 in Nonfiction

Nonfiction November 2022

#nonfictionbookparty: Instagram Daily Challenge
Click on the logo to see the detailed schedule

Like every year, a bunch of really cool bloggers are co-hosting Nonfiction November.

Here is the topic for Week 1 (Oct 31-Nov 4):


Hosted by Katie @ Doing Dewey:
Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions:
What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?
Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year?
What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?
What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

Here is the recap of the nonfiction I have read (the links will send you to my review when it’s posted).
Having finished my Bible project, my number of nonfiction this year is far below the one from the past two years, but with 18 (actually 19, if I consider than I read one twice), I’m still happy. That’s 15% of all I have read so far in 2022.
And I am planning on finishing at least 3 more before the end of the year.

Here are the titles, in the various categories:


  1. Passport, by Sophia Glock
  2. L’Axe du loup : De la Sibérie à l’Inde, sur les pas des évadés du goulag, by
    Sylvain Tesson
  3. Down and Out in Paris and London, by George Orwell
    these top 3 memoirs deal also with travels
  4. Revenge of the Librarians, by Tom Gauld – in cartoons

On science / environment / contemporary issues:

  1. Digital Hell: The Inner Workings of a “Like”, actually read in French: L’Enfer numérique, by Guillaume Pitron

On history:

  1. After the Romanovs: Russian Exiles in Paris From the Belle Époque Through the Revolution and War, by Helen Rappaport
  2. The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women, by Kate Moore
  3. Thomas Jefferson’s Crème Brûlée: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America, by Thomas J. Craughwell

On Japan/self-help:

  1. Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life, by Beth Kempton

In literary criticism:

  1. Agatha Christie Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World, by Mark Aldridge

On nature:

  1. A Brush With Birds: Paintings and Stories from the Wild, by Richard Weatherly

On music:

  1. Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa, by Haruki Murakami and Seiji Ozawa

In Orthodox spirituality:

  1. Les Chemins du cœur : l’enseignement spirituel des Pères de l’Église, by Placide Deseille
  2. This Holy Man: Impressions of Metropolitan Anthony, by Gillian Crow
  3. Beginning to Pray, by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom (I actually read this one twice this year)


  1. River of Stars: Selected Poems of Akiko Yosano
  2. The Year of My Life, by Kobayashi Issa
  3. Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke

I’m very happy for the diversity of topics covered.


What were your favorite nonfiction reads of the year?

L'Enfer numérique  L'Axe du loup

It turns out both are French.

What nonfiction books
have you recommended the most?

  L'Enfer numérique Revenge of the Librarians

Digital Hell: The Inner Workings of a “Like” is supposed to be published in English on March 7, 2023 by Scribe US.
But I have written a detailed review and talked about it to many people. Everyone seems to be eager to discover this. It is such a major issue, with such an impact on the environment, that so few people are talking about.
And because I read this book, I have drastically reduced by online activity.
So I will not participate in the daily #nonfictionbookparty Instagram challenge this year.

As for Revenge of the Librarians, I have mentioned it to several students and members of my book club, and the reaction was, OMG, I’m buying a copy right now for a Christmas gift for such and such in my family.
So authors and publishers, from my library copy, you are going to get quite a few sales!

Do you have a particular topic
you’ve been attracted to more this year?
Not really, and I am glad for the diversity

What are you hoping to get out
of participating in Nonfiction November?
As usual, to get acquainted with more nonfiction readers
and find good titles unknown to me.



Paris in July 2022: Day 6

Paris in July 2022 (Bigger Sunset)

Paris in July 2022
Co-hosted by Readerbuzz and Thyme For Tea

Day 6

Sharing more on the 26 French books I have read so far this year.
Actually a lot of these I have listened to.

Click on the covers to read my full review,
or get more details on the books

Read in April-May:

Code Lupin Vanda

Code Lupin
The very first by Bussi. Not too good back then.

VERDICT: Another powerful and very touching portrait of precariousness by Marion Brunet. She won’t let you be indifferent, and might even change your view of contemporary France.

Code 612 Nouvelle Babel

Code 612 : Qui a tué le Petit Prince ?
This one is a fun enigma trying to decipher a possible code hidden in The Little Prince, that would reveal what happened ultimately to its author – his body was never found.
I liked how Bussi managed to come up with so many ideas, based on true events, places, and texts.

Nouvelle Babel
Wow, another fantastic novel by Bussi, this time a mix of scifi, dystopia, and thriller. And a majestic reflection on totalitarianism, freedom, and globalization.
Plus a fantastic sample of the most amazing places on earth – not surprising from a geography teacher!
Technology now allows people to teleport wherever they want – almost. But at what cost?

L'Axe du loup La Nuit des temps

L’Axe du loup
Another brilliant book by Tesson. This time, he wants to walk in the footsteps of the 7 prisoners who escaped (maybe?) from the gulag, as retold in the fascinating book, The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom, by Slavomir Rawicz.

La Nuit des temps
I loved how this scifi book worked on the tension between the very old and the new (some of the inventions described in that book exist now, but not when he wrote the book I believe).

  Les Dieux voyagent toujours incognito Le Pays où l'on n'arrive jamais

Les dieux voyagent toujours incognito
Like in Intuitio, Gounelle seems to enjoy focusing on some psychological dimension. At the beginning, this novel even sounds like a self-help book about self-confidence.
But it becomes much more than that, and goes from twists to more twists!

Le Pays où l’on n’arrive jamais
I adored it as a teen.
Just as sublime. Loved it so much, and I’m sure I appreciated even more the amazing descriptions of nature, of forests.

  Le voyage d'Octavio The Mystery of Henri Pick

Le Voyage d’Octavio
This is the delightful portrait of a both simple (illiterate even at first) and sophisticated man (a real artist) in Venezuela.

Le Mystère Henri Pick
Wow, how come I had never read anything by Foenkinos?
Really enjoyed this mystery/literary fiction focused on the world of books, libraries, authors, and publication.
I loved the characters, their stories, and how one plot leads to the next.