Thursday, August 25, 2011


Sometimes I feel like the only person I know who finds reading history fascinating. It’s so full of amazing-yet-true stories of people driven to the edge and how they reacted to it. I keep telling friends that a good history book (as opposed to some of those textbooks in school that are all lists and dates) does everything a good novel does–it grips you with real characters doing amazing things.
Am I REALLY the only person who feels this way? When is the last time you read a history book? Historical biography? You know, something that took place in the past but was REAL.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot was an excellent history/science book. Granted, the history was only from the 1950s, but it was the history of the HeLa cells, and the story of the woman who made it possible.

The other most excellent history book I've read is The Devil in the White City by Eric Larson. This book gives two histories at once - the Chicago World Fair, and a serial killer. This reminds me that I'd love to read another of Larson's books. He does history well.

Also, we shall not overlook Sarah Vowell and her fun filled history adventures (Assassination Vacation, for example) that read more like stand-up. Love her voice. (literally and literaturely)

Any other great books I've missed?