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.
To answer this question, I thought I’d just have to pick my favourite historical book from this year’s review list. Because I do read history and I enjoy it. But I’ve just scanned that list and have found, to my shame, that I haven’t read any history this year. I’ve read biography and memoir but they’re not really historical enough. This, of course, begs the question: ‘What is history?’
The most ‘historical’ of this year’s reads is Karen Armstrong’s The Spiral Staircase. This is the second volume of her memoirs taking the reader from (I think) the 1970s when she left her convent up to the present day. I’ve chosen it as a ‘historical’ book because she’s writing about a world that no longer exists and that, to me at this place and time, is what history is.
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Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme about (mostly) books and reading.