Often, summer is a time to slow down and catch up on reading you don’t have time for the rest of the year.
Recently, we posed the question, “What history books are you reading?” to the AHA’s LinkedIn group, and received a number of very interesting responses. For example, group member Stuart Hatfield explained that he picks themes for his reading each month, and decided that for April he’ll focus on the Seven Years War. He’s currently reading Francis Jennings’ Empire of Fortune: Crowns, Colonies & Tribes in the Seven Years War in America, Franz A.J. Szabo’s The Seven Years War in Europe: 1756–1763, and Daniel Marston’s The Seven Years’ War.
Below, we link to some NPR picks and student-focused reading lists, to help you find some good books this summer. What are you reading? Let us know in the comments.
Just in time for the holidays last year, NPR Books put together lists of the Best Books of 2011, broken up into categories like “The 10 Best Novels of 2011” and “The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy.” In the history category, NPR Books offered:
- A Passion For The Past: 2011’s Best Historical Fiction
The author of this list explains that historical fiction inspires her to go beyond the book and learn “more about the time, the country and the characters who actually lived.” The five books included here “take readers back to ancient Israel, Saxon England, Elizabethan England, Colonial Massachusetts, and Paris in the Roaring ’20s.”
- The Lives of Geniuses: Five Brilliant Biographies
James Madison, Van Gogh, Marie and Pierre Curie, Kurt Vonnegut, and Steve Jobs are “some of the world’s best-known prodigies.” Explore their lives and work in the five biographies included in this list.
Traditionally, it’s students who are assigned summer reading lists. So we’ve included links to some resources for them, though these suggestions may appeal to an audience wider than the school-age crowd.
- EDSITEment’s Recommended Reading List for College-Bound Students
Not only does EDSITEment offer a detailed list of fiction, drama, poetry, nonfiction and autobiography, government, mythology, religion, and philosophy books, it pairs these picks with related lesson plans.
- King’s College History reading list
King’s College has an online reading list for students entering its history program, but is a great resource for any student in history. The selections are broken up into specialties, including English history (medieval, early modern, and modern), classical narrative histories, novels, studies of societies, and general interest.
- We The People Bookshelf
For the past seven years, NEH’s We The People program has compiled reading lists, or “bookshelves,” of books, broken into different grades (K–12), that relate that year’s theme. Themes have included “Courage,” “Freedom,” “Becoming American,” “Pursuit of Happiness,” “Created Equal,” “Picturing America,” and “A More Perfect Union.”
- Young Adult Library Services Association History List
The Young Adult Library Services Association, part of the American Library Association, offers this list of outstanding history books for young adults.
And of course historians are allowed to read books for fun, as well. We would love to hear about the books you will be taking to the beach, or resting on the nightstand for enjoyment during your down time. Let us know what you’re reading in the comments section below.