An interior decorator can tell you which rug will go best with your new davenport, a sommelier can suggest a wine that will complement the flavors of your meal, and a shadchanit (not a yenta) may be able to find you a lifelong mate. Booksellers do something similar by recommending the right reads. Certain books might clash when read back-to-back, but a proper pairing … well, that’s two great tastes that taste great together. Today’s twosome is a perfect example, highlighting a novel that creatively reinvents the historical record and a contextualizing history that reads like fiction.
First up is Everfair by Nisi Shawl, one of the more refreshing SF works in recent memory. However much speculative fiction you’ve read, this is not likely a story you’ve heard before. It covers decades, continents, and oceans, but mainly focuses on the Victorian age and what used to be known as Darkest Africa ... [T]he next best pages to turn are those that make up King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild. His authoritative chronicle of colonial brutality is gripping, even necessary reading, particularly for those who want to know more about the history that Shawl is writing against in her fiction ... continued