You had me at hello….Posted: March 3, 2012
As we’ve established, I like a lot of fiction in my reading diet. My second favorite tends to be history. After all, if done correctly, it’s just another kind of story. 🙂 For the other history folks, HERE, HERE and HERE are some of the awards for history. If you’ve never ventured into this section of the bookstore or browsed the 900’s of your library, don’t assume they’re all textbooks lying in wait or a cure for insomnia. There’s some good stuff out there. For a fast paced, almost fiction-like read, I liked Eric Larson. Recently, I also enjoyed Salt: A World History. Another good foodie history book was Why We Eat What We Eat, which gave me some great tidbits to use in class (i.e. the Incans & freeze-dried purple potatoes).
I do have to admit though that choosing non-fiction for me is rarely, if ever, linked to awards. There just aren’t many of them out there, and most of them are fairly esoteric or academic. Sometimes a good cover design, or a good cover blurb is enough. Sometimes I have to open it up and read a page or two, so I make sure I’m avoiding a Western Civ 101 textbook in disguise. Another thing to ponder in history land is crediblity…written for laymen, sometimes BY laymen, some of the fact can get lost…just sayin’. Reader be aware. (I read a GREAT post about this recently, specifically about a book re: history of language, and cannot find it to save my life. Blogger, if you are out there, PLEASE let me know so I can add a link. You were much more eloquent than I.)
My current undertaking is A History of Wales, by John Davies. I picked it up b/c quite frankly my dears, I know just a little about Wales, mostly from the Sharon Kay Penman series I read in HS and only vaguely remember, and from a Welsh poet who was part of my college’s visiting author series. And they have mountains. And love them. Orginally written in Welsh, (which seems to add some credibility), the first line of this one grabbed me: “Once upon a time, the Welsh knew when their history began.” excellent. There should be an award for the best first lines.