Tuesday 5 November 2019

Week 2 - Non-Fiction November

Week 2: (Nov. 4 to 8) – Book Pairing (Sarah of Sarah’s Book Shelves): This week, 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. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.

Book Pairing was made easy for me this year, thanks to my most recent book group read. Normally I highlight the books I've read during the year, that go together nicely (I could have done Moby-Dick and Why Read Moby-Dick? or the bio about Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter, Mary Shelley with Frankenstein, The Monsters we Deserve, FranKissStein and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.) But no.

This year, I'm asking for your help to pair me up with a book or two.

For November we read Confession with Blue Horses by Sophie Hardach. I quickly realised as I was reading that the history of the GDR was one that I was very unfamiliar with. I'm not sure how that happened.

I've studied WWII, the Holocaust, the Russian Revolution, the Cuban Revolution and the Chinese Revolution. I've read about the American war in Vietnam and I studied Germany between the wars. In fact, I've circled right around the GDR, but have never entered.

I vividly recall the night in 1989, in my final year at Uni, when we all sat around in the common room together to watch the Wall come down. We were young and full of our own futures, but that night, we were suddenly made aware that we were watching history in the making.

And now thanks to Confession with Blue Horses I want to know more.

I currently have these non-fiction options on my wish list:
  • Günter Grass - From Germany to Germany
  • Anna Funder - Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
  • Christa Wolf - Patterns of Childhood
  • Jana Hensel - After the Wall
And thanks to week one of Non-fiction November, I have added: 
  • Nina Willner - Forty Autumns: A Family's Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall
Do you know of any more (non-fiction) books about the Wall, the GDR perspective, history, the after effects etc? Please help.


  1. I'm afraid I can't help in your quest but Confession with Blue Horses looks really good. I can see how it would spark an interest in learning more!

  2. It was in my first year of university and I remember clustering around a TV, too. Later on, two friends were in Russia when the Soviet Union dissolved!

  3. I'm especially interested in Forty Autumns. Thank you for the fiction recommendation about the wall. I need to write that one down.

  4. Yes! U think you would really like The Tunnels by Greg Mitchell. Check out my review here: https://julzreads.com/2016/12/30/the-tunnels-by-greg-mitchell/

    1. Thanks Julie, I’ve added The Tunnel to my wish list.

  5. I was in high school when the wall came down, and I remember our history teacher explaining how momentous it was, but we were only interested in if it would be on the upcoming test. Thanks for sharing your pairing.

  6. Anonymous13/11/19

    Hi Brona, Try The Collapse by Mary Elise Sarotte.


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