Recently its been all books on cd. I'm trying to do a bunch of whittling and listening to stuff passes the time quickly. I need it to slow down actually. since my thesis show is fast approaching.
So I really like historical fiction. There is usually something awful about the actual writing. sometimes in a good way though. its either boring or over-the-top romantic. I think it comes from the fact that the author is primarily a historian/nerd more than a solid writer. i like the boisterous ones. All the hyperbole and adjectives in the world can't seem to get across how dastardly and complex John Wilkes Booth or Joseph McCarthy were. When someone gets super excited about what they are researching there might be some personal dignity relinquished just to make an image stick. Aside from all the drama, I get into the "facts" as they are presented and enjoy drawing connections between the little amount of history I remember and the highly detailed, flowery context the author describes. So I'm going to go ahead and say that I like the excited puppy history writers more than the dry ones that probably have voices like the adults from Peanuts.
I also like learning about world history through a material. I've read a book loaned to me by Walter Lee on gunpowder. Fascinating. I read one that took me through all the changes in technology and culture as new metals were discovered and mastered. I'm currently reading a book on the history of wood. Yeah it sounded a little vague to me too but it goes way far back to hunters and gatherers and brings us up to how it is still a sound ecological, functional, and economical building material. Anyway I like how in something like 400 pages an author isn't afraid to tackle all of human existence. It is bold, filled with generalizations and takes on an almost geologic perspective. Like humans are only going to really take up a little of earth's time. Its humbling and comforting to me at the same time.
the twelve-day chase for Lincoln's killer
The Age of Anxiety,
McCarthyism to Terrorism