Statement the first: I miss learning.
Statement the second: I have some great friends.
My fiancé recently went back to school. He’s one of the older students, and he was a bit out of practice when it came to test-taking and needing to study a few hours each night, but he fell into the routine very quickly. I would come home, unwind and then repeatedly peer over his shoulder to see what he was reading. I felt this itch that I just couldn’t scratch; a weird jealously bubbling.
I was jealous that he was learning. I had a sudden longing for my university days, full of long lists of required reading, late nights with several internet windows of academic articles open at once and mornings that would have been impossible without coffee. Granted, I hated those days when they were happening, and yet somehow, I now feel nostalgic for them. I mentally went through my usual work day in my mind and realized that I don’t learn as much as I used to.
I immediately strode across our floor at work, to where my friend Andrew sits with his team. Andrew has a very eclectic taste in books and will try nearly anything if it has a good enough recommendation backing it, but by far his true love is non fiction. I asked Andrew if he could put together a list of 10 non fiction books, but curated towards someone who is primarily a fiction lover. Not one to turn down a challenge, a stack of books appeared on my desk two days later accompanied by a printed list of why each one was recommended. The list featured a bunch of narrative non fiction, as well as subjects he knew I was interested in. Even a bonus graphic novel was added as I do quite love the comics.
Thanks to him, I now have a few months worth of fantastic learning material! Andrew has a blog of his own, so go check out his extremely clever literary ponderings over at Tea in the Cloister. He posted about this list, so I am going to steal his text to describe his book choices. Enjoy!
Also, let me know about your relationship with non fiction!
(From Tea in the Cloister)
History | The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown | A misfit rowing crew takes on the Berlin Olympics in a book that is higher, faster, stronger.
History | The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King | My riskiest suggestion for her tastes, but a stunning, snarky voice that makes Canadian history interesting.
History | A Spy Among Friends by Ben MacIntyre | Captures deep friendship, brutal betrayals, and the English class system in a good old fashioned Cold War intrigue.
History | In The Kingdom Of Ice by Hampton Sides | The talk of the book office at the moment, an epic of comradeship, adventure, and Arctic survival.
Memoir | An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth by Chris Hadfield | Umm, it’s Chris Hadfield. Why haven’t you read it yet?
Memoir | Drink by Ann Dowsett Johnston | An intimate self-portrait by a woman who had it all and lost it in a bottle. Because drinking isn’t just a guy problem.
Memoir | Buddy by Brian McGrory | Who wouldn’t want to read a story about a couple who fell in love, healed, and built a family around a pet rooster?
Cultural | Behind The Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo | Eye-opening reporting on globalization from the bottom of the world’s heap.
Cultural | Sex And The Citadel by Shereen El Feki | Want to understand how the Middle East is changing in the modern world? Then figure out their sex lives (still the best cover of 2013).
Science | How Mother Nature Is Trying To Kill You by Dan Riskin | An ewww-worthy book that uncovers the less nurturing side of Mother Nature.
And, as a bonus, because I know she likes the comic books| The Great War by Joe Sacco | A twenty-four foot graphic extravaganza.