I love conversing with people who know history and are sparkling, highly opinionated storytellers. Often these are foreigners or emigrants speaking about their country. They're unafraid to draw sharp, outspoken conclusions that frame major situations (e.g. that some leader was an incompetent fool or that an accident of geography is what will ensure conflict between two groups continues). What are some book equivalents of that conversational experience? They can be on any period or region. I do not want a magisterial treatise. I want a keen-eyed, slicing talk with someone really well-informed and cynical over several drinks who's gonna say what's what.
posted by shivohum
on May 22, 2014 -
My nine year old just read "Number the Stars" by Lois Lowry. It is her first introduction to really high quality historical fiction. She is excited to read more books that teach her about history, but are also fun to read because they are fiction.
Do you have any ideas about historical fiction books that are excellent quality like "Number the Stars" but that are age appropriate for my nine year old?
posted by lynnie-the-pooh
on Dec 15, 2013 -
I'm looking for book recommendations for thorough, engaging, and rigorous histories of Savile Row tailoring and/or books that talk about the history and philosophy of fine men's tailoring and dress. I'm not averse to books with technical information, as well as historical and cultural information. Thank you!
posted by moxie_milquetoast
on Sep 15, 2013 -
Another book recommendation question. I'm looking for a few general history books to read as preparation for diving into Thomas Pynchon's "Against the Day". [more inside]
posted by Lorin
on Sep 4, 2012 -
I saw Cave Of Forgotten Dreams
and loved it. Now I want to read more about early human history. Please recommend some good books on the beginnings of human art in particular and the emergence of human society and the beginnings of conciousness in general. I'm not a scientist and I'm not looking for a textbook, but I'm not afraid of a challenging read, either.
posted by vibrotronica
on Mar 26, 2012 -
Are there any good novels that use Greek trade in or around the 6th c. BC as a way of exploring ancient cultures? Also, how far did Greeks travel during that time? Did they make into India? To the British Isles?
posted by jwhite1979
on Feb 20, 2012 -
I am trying to read more 'classics' this year and find I am continually running to Wikipedia for background on things the authors assume I should know. What books can I read to round out my general education somewhat and fill in some of these gaps? [more inside]
posted by JoannaC
on Jan 24, 2012 -
Who is Victor Serge quoting here? "A French essayist has said:'What is terrible when you seek the truth is that you find it.' You find it, and then you are no longer free to follow the biases of your personal circle, or to accept fashionable clichés." [more inside]
posted by crazylegs
on Jun 19, 2011 -
[Philosophy/Language/HistoryFilter]: What's the name of this rhetorical or logical technique, where you explain a subject by making a lot of lists? [more inside]
posted by gallusgallus
on May 27, 2011 -
Just finished reading Hemingway's Moveable Feast, and want more. Specifically, more about the time and place - Paris in the 20s, the Lost Generation, novelists, artists, poets, patrons and the hangers-on. Suggestions welcome for the best of anything with that flavour: biographies, novels (from then or now), films.
posted by reynir
on Mar 3, 2011 -
In order to prepare a competitive examination, I've got to delve deep into North American counterculture history. What should I read ? [more inside]
posted by nicolin
on Feb 8, 2011 -
Sacrifice, speech, writing and art: I am interested in the different ways in which a sacrifice, a sacrament, a spoken word and a written word act as signifiers. The notion for instance that the sacrament, at the point of its acceptance, is understood as becoming
the signified. What can you tell me / what has been written about the notions of sacrifice and their relationship to speech, art and the technologies of writing? [more inside]
posted by 0bvious
on Feb 24, 2010 -
What are the most fun, memorable, interesting, exciting, and long-lasting learning experiences you have had? [more inside]
posted by Cygnet
on Nov 20, 2009 -
Did Borges read Schroedinger?
The arithmetical system of Tlön "states that the operation of counting modifies quantities and changes them from indefinites into definites."
The sequence of history makes it possible. Borges's omnivorous reading habits and academic/social prowess help the probability. Yet Schroedinger's initial obscurity in the matter makes it less plausible.
Google has done nothing to answer the vital question: did Borges hear about Schroedinger's cat before he wrote Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius
? [more inside]
posted by es_de_bah
on Apr 2, 2009 -
I am looking for writings on mimesis
in regards new, digital, hypertext and hypermedial technologies and cultures. [more inside]
posted by 0bvious
on Feb 16, 2009 -
Seeking relatively well-known, canon-caliber fictional accounts of imaginary encounters between actual, historically significant figures -- especially encounters that could well have taken place, but which we know did not or remain undocumented. Philip Levine's poem "On the Meeting of Garcia Lorca and Hart Crane" typifies what I'm looking for. Mark Twain's _A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court_ does not (respectable evidence out there of a historical Arthur notwithstanding). The literary field is rife with examples, I know -- say, some novel casting Charles Lindbergh and Adolf Hitler into a tete-a-tete. But, ack, I'm drawing a blank. [more inside]
posted by taramosalata
on Feb 5, 2009 -
I recently read a novel which made me curious about attitudes toward contraception and abortion in the Edwardian United States, in particularly in New York City. [more inside]
posted by Phlogiston
on Dec 28, 2008 -
I've never read the Bible, and I'd like to. Which version should I read and what resources are good ones to help me understand and historically contextualize what I'm reading?
posted by arcticwoman
on Oct 16, 2008 -
LiteratureFilter: Yo metafilterland. I'm on a quest for two things: literary representations of the new york city subway, the more personal and sensorial the better, and literary representations of a new york city without subways, circa before 1904. Non-fiction and suggestions are welcome as well, as are examples that use less stringent definitions of "text" (film, song lyrics, dance etc).
posted by billtron
on Sep 22, 2008 -
Any battle where there were no survivors? Last two men standing kill each other as well? History preferred, literature accepted.
posted by IndigoJones
on Aug 22, 2008 -
When was the last time scholars discovered a previously unknown piece of literature from ancient Greece or Rome? Has it happened at all in modern times? If you were to speculate on the chances we'll ever rediscover another play from Euripides, Sophocles, et al, are there any relatively recent discoveries of new works from ancient Greek and Roman authors you could use as examples?
posted by mediareport
on May 19, 2008 -
Does anyone know of concise histories of imperialism and/or colonialism? These will be used for developing a 12th grade history/literature curriculum, so extra credit is available for those who can make a literature connection. Plus, books focusing on India and Africa will be appreciated.
posted by partner
on May 16, 2008 -
Can anyone reccomend good books, or documentaries, about Australia (history, culture, politics) written by people from outside Australia? [more inside]
posted by Jimbob
on Feb 7, 2008 -
How is the meaning
of art and artefacts being altered by the methods we use to: Experience
them... In other words, in what ways have technologies been used to experience, re-define and/or preserve art and artifacts? [more inside]
posted by 0bvious
on Feb 5, 2008 -
I am looking for well regarded books/scholarly papers about writing. Most specifically in the areas of Nonfiction (the essay style of article writing) and Children's Fiction (for a young adult audience).
Any tips? Go as far and broad as you can. I'll be off to the British library tomorrow, so the sky is the limit. [more inside]
posted by 0bvious
on Jan 9, 2007 -
Where can I find some fairly easy-to-read, factual books about historical events? Amazon is overwhelming and Google is unhelpful [more inside]
posted by angryjellybean
on Nov 16, 2006 -
'The Flâneur': What fascinating titbits can you add to my knowledge about this concept? Art, history, philosophy and literary theory links all welcome. [more inside]
posted by 0bvious
on Oct 25, 2006 -
There is so much literature out there. What are some of the highlights from the past 3000 years? My only requirements are that it's in English/English translation, and is generally though of as not depressingly boring. [more inside]
posted by parallax7d
on Nov 21, 2005 -
JewishHistoryFilter : Can anybody recommend a good book that dissects the common Jewish conspiracy theories and discusses their history? Extra points for readability. [more inside]
posted by afroblanca
on Jul 16, 2005 -
Have perceptions of time changed in the last few hundred years? Did people used to speak more casually about periods of time? I'm reading Jane Eyre, and Charlotte Bronte uses "ten minutes" in an odd way. I suspect she means (by today's standards) 30 seconds. Is this sloppy writing, cultural difference or what? [more inside]
posted by grumblebee
on Mar 28, 2005 -
Does anyone have some good info on writer Langston Hughes, aside from obvious Google sources? Any information gotten off the beaten path? I'd love to get some relatively unknown info on him, if anyone has it, or some particulary good access sites/books. Writing a paper and am tired of following everyone elses footsteps with information access.
posted by codeofconduct
on Mar 12, 2005 -
I'm trying to learn about the Edwardian era especially (but not exclusively) in England, Ireland, and Canada. What excellent materials (fiction and non-fiction books, movies, websites, etc.) have you read and seen about this period?
posted by orange swan
on Mar 1, 2005 -