Category Archives: reading list

a history lover’s dislike of history books

I’m just going to come out and say it — while I love history, I kind of hate history books. I can never finish them, though I try multiple times. Battle Cry of Freedom has been attempted at least three times, but for some reason I always fall asleep. This is unfortunate because it’s rather difficult to develop my history interest if I can’t bring myself to read books on history.

Every now and then, though, I discover a great history book that renews my interest. Way back in high school, it was Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. In college, it was Strangers from a Different Shore by Ronald Takaki. A year ago, it was Brad Gooch’s biography of Flannery O’Connor.

More recently, I finished The Warmth of Other Suns. It was amazing. I couldn’t put it down, and never once did I fall asleep. The author’s methodology is rooted in oral history, and the narrative she writes is so well developed that it doesn’t feel like I’m reading history. I would really love if more history books felt that way — like stories instead of facts, because that’s how I think of history.

Do you have recommendations for history books that don’t feel like history books?


Posted by on November 1, 2011 in reading list



favorite books read this year

A wannabe librarian’s blog just isn’t complete without some mention of leisure reading.  My goal is to read at least 52 books this year for fun.  I met this goal last year, but I didn’t start grad school until the fall semester.  I’m on track so far this year at 23, and below is a list of my favorites.  Let’s hope I keep the momentum going.

The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family’s Century of Art and Loss (Edmund de Waal):  This book is hands down my favorite read of this year so far.  It has definitely made it to my list of all-time best reads.

A Red Herring Without Mustard (Alan Bradley):  I just love this series of Flavia de Luce mysteries.

Little Bee: A Novel (Chris Cleave):  I couldn’t put this book down after I started, and everywhere I read it — the waiting room of my dentist, the metro, etc. — someone always commented on much they loved it.

The Weird Sisters (Eleanor Brown):  I’ll admit I didn’t have high expectations for this book when I started reading it, but I ended up really enjoying it.  It’s written in the plural first person, which sounds odd at first, but it really makes the book.

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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in reading list


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e-journal digital preservation: to read list

CC image courtesy of Mot on Flickr

I’m in the process of researching digital preservation of e-journals for a side project, so I thought I’d share some of the things I plan on reading.  I’m only listing items that are open access, so my real list is much longer.  If you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them!


digital history: to read list

I meant to write a real post this week, but life (procrastination?) got in the way.  So much for my time management skills.  Instead, I’m offering a few articles that I’ve been meaning to read about digital history.  I’ve looked through several course syllabi on digital history because I doubt I’ll have the chance to take a class on the subject (though I’m dying to attend a THATCamp)  — so here’s my attempt at self-education.

I’m also kind of obsessed with the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University but have yet to browse all their projects.  And I seriously need to catch up on Digital Campus podcasts.

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Posted by on February 24, 2011 in digital humanities, links, reading list