The prompt for week 2 of Nonfiction November is “Book Pairing” (hosted by Julz of Julz Reads), where we pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. I’ve got three book pairings for you today! The fiction titles I’ve chosen have the same subject matter as their nonfiction counterparts.
C and I have been reading through the young people’s version of Neil deGrasse Tyon’s Astrophysics for People in a Hurry and are enjoying his goofy sense of humor and knack for explaining huge concepts in an easy-to-understand manner. I recently read To Hold Up the Sky by Cixin Liu [my review], which incorporates a lot of astrophysics and quantum physics in its hard sci-fi short stories. Some of those stories put the “hard” in the term “hard sci-fi,” so I ended up feeling thankful to be reading the deGrasse Tyson book at the same time.
I read The Radium Girls by Kate Moore back in April for my virtual book club. In August, I read an alternate history/speculative sci-fi novella by Brooke Bolander called The Only Harmless Great Thing. Bolander’s story combines the tragedy of the radium girls with the death of Topsy, an elephant at Coney Island. The story is heartbreaking, off-the-wall, and intelligent. And after reading The Radium Girls, the ending of The Only Harmless Great Thing couldn’t have been more satisfying.
Annaka Harris’s book Conscious explores consciousness through neuroscience and subjective experience. In Karen Thompson’s The Dreamers, a mysterious illness spreads through a town, putting people in a deep sleep state. Even though I would have liked more science in The Dreamers, the overall subject matter of Conscious—especially brain processing and how much we still don’t know about it—was in the back of my mind as I read. I thought these two books complemented each other well.