I’m 100% sure that this is a burning question that none of you have actually wondered whether or not I ever read non-fiction. Well, the answer to that is yes, yes I do. Not as much as I used to, back before college, but I do still read it. When I do read non-fiction, I have a few very narrow fields that I read.
English Royal History
I am fascinated by the history of the English royal family. Don’t ask me why. And to be even more precise, it’s about the women of the English royal family. I love Eleanor of Aquitaine and Elizabeth I. That doesn’t mean that I won’t read about any royal woman, because I totally will. I particularly like to read books by Alison Weir. She is a historian and focuses on the women of the royal family. She writes biographies where she shows all her academic work, but she also writes historical fiction, that takes all that work and, well, fictionalizes it.
One of my favorite books by Weir is a book about Katherine Swynford, called Mistress of the Monarchy. She was the mistress of John of Gaunt. He was the son of Edward III, and the founder of the House of Lancaster. Well, I say mistress, but they eventually married, with Katherine as his 3rd wife. Their 5 children, all born prior to their marriage, were eventually legitimized and given the last name of Beaufort. Beaufort is a huge name in English and Scottish history. In fact, her son is what gave Henry Tudor his claim on the throne. Anyway, every reigning king or queen of England since the mid 1400s has been descended from Katherine, which is pretty damned impressive.
Poxes, Pandemics, and Plagues
Yup, I like to read about plagues and pandemics. Back when I was in college two of my favorite classes where taught by the same woman. She had a double doctorate, a PhD in history and an MD. She taught a class about plagues in history and one about the Black Death. Those were fascinating classes, and of all the classes I took, the books from those classes were some of the only books I kept. I was a single mother trying to do college, even with all the financial aid I could get, I needed the money from selling back my books. I can still lay my hands on those books, even after a cross country move and 20+ years. I have more on my Kindle.
And yes, I am fascinated by watching the history of what’s going on happening right in front of us. And scared.
While I do have those two specific narrow topics I read, I also have some random non-fiction books that I read. They may be biographies, like the book about RBG, or books that could fall into the self-help categories, like 3 by various drag queens. I also have books about queer history. And I can’t miss the books about true crime and forensics.
So, yeah, I read non-fiction. I suppose I should review one some day.