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?

23 thoughts on “Nonfiction November: Book Pairing!”

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

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

  4. 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

  5. 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 😀

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

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