Each year I try to schedule in more non-fiction books into my reading lists. Sometimes I succeed in my attempts but most times I fail miserably. So what better way to force myself to read more non-fiction than by joining a challenge and being held accountable! I came across this challenge on one of my favourite blogs and was immediately hooked.
History is one of my favourite non-fiction genres. What particularly intrigued me about this challenge was the detailed requirements that I found to be eminently sensible.
1. The history books must be written by an historian and pure non-fiction. How many times have I been frustrated by books where the author is unable to understand the era which he is writing about, and the reader is left with much of the author’s opinions as well as modern ideas applied to historical issues? This requirement should minimize this problem.
2. It must be a work formed through investigation and research. Another issue that horrifies me is the number of new non-fiction histories which list a bibliography that includes only modern or relatively recent books. How on earth could the author get a reasonable perspective this way? So I will make sure my choices have broad investigation and research.
3. Biography can be chosen but not autobiography as it can lack historical objectivity. I had never even thought of this but I can certainly see her point. Another very sensible requirement.
4. She provides wonderful analysis questions to answer after the book is finished. An excellent way to get more meaning out of a read.
Now to try to narrow it down. I was going to go for the “scholar” level of 4-6 books, but, in keeping with my resolution to read less but more deeply next year, I will choose the “student” level of 1-3 books.
At the top of my list are the following:
I’ll have to check if they all qualify but these are what I could come up with off the top of my head.
Oooo, I can’t wait until the new year!
1. The Guns of August – Barbara Tuchman
2. The Way of King Arthur – Christopher Hibbert
3. Cicero’s Defence Speeches
4. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers