Nonfiction November: Book Pairing!

Every November, four wonderful bloggers (Kim and Leslie and Katie and Rebecca) team up to bring us the marvelous Nonfiction November. The theme of this week is book pairings, in which we pair our fiction reads with a nonfictional counterpart.

Earlier in the year, I had the inestimable privilege of participating in Alice (of Reading Rambo)’s readalong of Matthew Gregory Lewis’s book The Monk. It was…deeply stupid. HOWEVER. As I was scouring my reading spreadsheets for nonfiction books to highlight in this book pairing, I remembered that I read a book earlier this year in which every insane thing done by Evil Nuns and Evil Monks was completely non-annoying BECAUSE IT WAS TRUE.

I give you: The Nuns of Sant’Ambrogio.

The Nuns of Sant'Ambrogio

I read a review of this book that said it was the story of a nineteenth-century convent in which many scandals occurred, and I admit, I came to it with a skeptical eye. I was like, I mean, a scandal in the 1800s is like, not even a blip on the radar of our modern, cynical times. But I was so, so wrong.

Here’s all you need to know about the book: A relatively well-connected nun emerged from the convent at Sant’Ambrogio insisting that the nuns there were engaged in idolatry and wicked sexual practices. Not only that (she said), but when this nun refused to cooperate with this stuff, the novice mistress tried repeatedly to murder her. And she was not exaggerating. If anything she was underplaying it. IT WAS ALL GLORIOUSLY TRUE.

Don’t read The Monk; it’s stupid. Read this instead.

(Nonfiction November Hosts: That’s…not really what a book pairing is?

  • Seems like a perfect book pairing to me!

  • I LOVE YOU FOR THIS. I had put this book on one of my lists back before it came out and completely forgot about it. But now it’s on my library list because it sounds amazing.

  • nikki

    Well this sounds totally awesome. Good job.

  • Care


  • Jeanne

    Some of us, and perhaps this shows that we are twisted in some way, really enjoyed the Monkalong reviews, because they were so snide and impatient with the stupidity of the book. That’s a pleasure nonfiction cannot recapitulate.

  • Stupid and not stupid. Sounds like a great pairing to me!

  • Chrisbookarama

    Scandalous! I must read this, especially after The Monk.

  • Added it to my TBR. Have you see the movie The Magdeline Sisters? Those were some evil nuns too.

  • lulu_bella

    As a host, I think this is perfect. My college roommate LOVED The Monk, but I think at least partially because of how stupid it was… she thought it was (unintentionally?) hilarious. The Nuns of Sant’Ambrogio sounds amazing and I’m buying it right this second, so thanks for the suggestion!

  • Stefanie@SoManyBooks

    A definite case of the truth is stranger than fiction! Lewis obviously didn’t have to make much up.

  • This is exactly what a book pairing is! I want to read this SO MUCH. But not The Monk, that sounded awful 🙂

  • Christy

    Nice! A coda to the fabulous Monkalong reviews. 🙂

  • After your experience with The Monk, I thought you would never mention it again but lo and behold it appears in this post 😛 This one certainly does sound a lot better than the other, especially since there isn’t a monk in this one, ha

  • Bina @ IfYouCanReadThis

    Haha I loved your Monkalong commentary! I was wondering all the time if it was a case of it’s so bad it’s good or if you wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole. The nonfiction one sounds nuts, but irresistable 😀

  • I got this out of the library a few weeks ago, but they wanted it back before I could read it. I will try again! A Monk-like scandal which avoids being stupid by being true sounds like something I’d enjoy!

  • AnneBennett

    Two books I haven’t heard of before. Guess I’d better checkout the nonfiction selection, huh?

    My Nonfiction Pairs

  • Bex

    This sounds amazing!

  • Haha, your recommendation is so awesome, I don’t care if it’s technically a book pairing or not! It sounds awesome. I could definitely see pairing it with Grave Mercy and it’s assassin nuns instead – although perhaps a YA pairing is the wrong choice, haha.

  • OK – just by the tone of your post I have to subscribe to your blog!! Awesome! How have I never come across your blog before now?! Plus, nun scandals sound fantastic.

  • Pingback: Nonfiction November Week 2 Round Up! | Regular Rumination()

  • Pingback: The Week in Review: November 15th, 2015 | The Literary Omnivore()

  • Haha, this post is brilliant. It also highlights how much I trust your opinion, I won’t be reading The Monk.

  • Definitely sounds very scandalous. Now you have me very curious about this book.