Nonfiction November – Book Pairing

NonfictionNovember-e1506979820517How has the beginning of your Nonfiction November been?  I’m doing well, but it may have not been the best idea to read three different medical books, all dealing with death in some way, at the same time (eep).  Thankfully some well-placed fiction has kept things moving nicely.

Speaking of fiction, this week Nonfiction November is pairing fiction and nonfiction together.  It took me a while to come up with a combo but finding it was a eureka moment! Without any further ado:

Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China by Leslie T. Chang

Lotus by Lijia Zhang

2635587Factory Girls is a wide-ranging, deep, and humanizing look at the women who work in the factories of China’s Southern coast.  Chang follows them as they arrive, jump factories for higher pay, and acclimate to a new way of living.  The author weaves insights from her own family’s history in a way that enlightens, and the prose is beautiful and engaging.  Solid reporting beautifully told, it’s a book that has stuck with me since I picked it up a year and a half ago.

31204038The novel Lotus makes for a great pairing, seeing as how it’s written by a former factory girl and takes place in the same area of China as Chang’s book.  Instead of working in a factory, though, Lotus is a prostitute that is navigating a life with many lousy options.  How can she find herself, then be true that person? Who is her ally, and who is better left behind? The deep characterization pulls us through as we watch the Lotus, her coworkers, and photojournalist Bing make their choices.  Grounded yet out of the ordinary.

That’s it for me – what nonfiction have you guys been reading this week?

In Bed with a Stranger by Mary Wine (McJames #1)


6025739Brodick McJames is an earl in name only. To secure his clan’s future he needs an English wife. Mary Stanford, daughter of the Earl of Warwickshire, will suit perfectly. He’s never met her, but what matter? She’ll grace his bed eventually, and once she bears his child he need see her no more.

Anne Copper looks just like her noble half-sister, but she was born illegitimate, and can never forget it. The best she can hope for is to stay a serving girl in her own father’s house. But when Lady Mary finds herself betrothed to a Scot, it seems there’s a use for Anne after all . . .

The woman who arrives in Alcaon is not what Brodick expects, and the passion that grows between them promises far more than a marriage of convenience. When fate draws two together, it may take more than a noblewoman’s plot to part them…


This book is so wrong for me.

First – you can’t tell from the description but it takes place during medieval times. Don’t let the talk of titles make you think it’s a Georgian/Regency/Victorian novel, like I did.

Second – it’s basically a Cinderella retelling complete with evil stepmom, evil stepsister, and a prince (er, Earl) that whisks her away. While of noble blood she keeps doing servant-level stuff. She even has to leave the castle before a certain time comes because… reasons. ~cough~

Third – instalust. Several times the heroine decides to say or do something next time she sees the Earl, but as soon as he walks in the room her mouth goes dry and hubba hubba music starts playing. (They had porntastic music back then, right?)

Third and a half – there were several scenes that went like this:

“Hey, your wife is hot.”
“I know! …you’re not getting any ideas, are you?”
“Nope. But she’s hot. Bet you’re looking forward to tonight.” ~winkwink~
“Am I!”~nudgenudge~

Say no more. -_-

Fourth – it takes someone the better part of a day to die from hemlock poisoning, when it should have taken hours at most. I mean, they didn’t give Socrates his tea, have dinner, sleep a bit, and then watch him die, you know? Even if the poison was weak it would have gone into effect fairly quickly.

Fifth – romances where the girl has zero agency are not my thing. She goes to the Earl in a proxy marriage, she’s pulled this way and that by others, but the only thing she gets to decide for herself is whether she’ll treat the blind girl nicely. (No brainer.)

While completely not a “me” book it somehow managed not to make me mad, so there you are.