Here we are in week 3 of Nonfiction November. This week we’re going to History Class. We’re going to cover a socialite librarian with a secret, Britain’s Regency period, ancient queens, Victorian childrearing, a lesbian landowner in the 1800s, and the creation of Jell-O. I have very wild taste, friends.
Today’s topic: History
An Illuminated Life: Belle da Costa Greene’s Journey from Prejudice to Privilege by Heidi Ardizzone
I’ll be honest. I started this in 2017 and never finished it. Life happened and I really want to finish it. It’s top of the list on purpose. I heard about Greene on a podcast and she fascinated me. Belle da Costa Green lived quite the life and I mean to learn about it.
The Regency Years: During Which Jane Austin Writes, Napoleon Fights, Byron Makes Love and Britain Becomes Modern by Robert Morris
Another that I started (although this one’s more recently during the move) and really would like to finish. I hold a fierce fascination for this era, exclusively because of romance novels so this is way in my wheelhouse.
When Women Ruled the World: Six Egyptian Queens by Kara Cooney
Ever since they taught us about Ancient Egypt in 6th grade I was hooked. Cooney’s The Woman Who Would Be King was well researched, yet made sure the reader was entertained. I decided on the audio this time and was not disappointed. Cooney is engaging and knowledgable and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
Ungovernable: The Victorian Parent’s Guide to Raising Flawless Children by Therese Oneill
I really enjoyed Oneill’s Unmentionables so when I heard the next was going to be on the raising of Victorian children, I was interested. Unfortunately, I was less than thrilled. The Q&A style didn’t quite come through in my opinion. But the photos and captions are great.
Gentleman Jack: The Real Anne Lister by Anne Choma
Queer people have always existed. Unfortunately they don’t always get to live their truth which is why it’s so amazing that we actually have Anne Lister’s diaries detailing her life. She was not a perfect person (pretty much a rich landowner who gave zero fucks about her tenants), but problematic queer people also need to be recognized.
Jell-o Girls: A Family History by Allie Rowbottom
This is the only title on the list that I’m like “why did I add this?” Then I think about how at my grandparents’ 50th anniversary they made sure to have Jell-O as a dessert for the grandkids, and how we would make Jigglers like they were something fancy (I was a poor kid in the 80s, they were fancy af) and realize Jell-O is nostalgic and comfort.
Are you reading any good history books? Share them with me!