This is a TTT post. On Tuesdays we make lists, we love books, and we makes lists about how much we love books. Wednesdays are for wearing pink.
This week’s list is broadly on the topic of learning, since most of us are either going back to school, know someone who is, or are hauling our own offspring in. So here are ten of the nonfiction books I’ve read and really learned from.
1. Having Faith, Sandra Steingraber. Nowhere else have I found such an easily accessible work about the science of pregnancy. Steingraber makes the complicated biology understandable, and throws in super interesting dashes of pregnancy & childbirth history as a bonus.
2. The Ghost Map, Stephen Johnson. Victorian London was filthy, can I just say. Also, cholera is terrifying.
3. House of Testosterone, Sharon O’Donnell. More a series of humorous essays than a self-help kind of book. I laughed until I cried, mostly because I could relate to everything.
4. The Year 1000, Robert Lacey & Danny Danziger. I adore learning about the era when there was no such thing as buttons but there were definitely, 100% real demons running around. This book is specific to the British Isles, which means it’s catnip for me.
5. 1215: The Year of Magna Carta, Danny Danziger & John Gillingham. For all that it’s limited to one specific year, this year in British history is PACKED with famous stuff. The Magna Carta, Richard the Lionheart, The Crusades, King John, the start of the first legends of Robin Hood. 1215 was the year to be in.
6. Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners. A bit sensationalist, for sure, but a fascinating read.
7. The Anatomy of Hope, Jerome Groopman. It turns out, hope is one of the most important parts of being human. Hope keeps us going when nothing else can. The most inspiring read on this list.
8. Kill as Few Patients as Possible, Oscar London. “Unassailable logic”, “rapier wit” and “reality checks” from a real doctor. Hilarious, short, and accessible essays from behind the lines. I’m not a doctor or involved in medicine in any way, and I still loved this book.
9. Stiff, The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Mary Roach. Gross, yet educational. Maybe don’t read this one while you’re eating, but it’s incredibly interesting.
10. Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything, Lydia Kang & Nate Pederson. Also a tad sensationalist, but how could I resist learning about the time when liquid gold was prescribed for immortality? From the times when “try it and see what happens, you might survive” was a recognized medical practice.