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Recommend me a book where I'll learn something...

(31 Posts)
fiestabelle1 Wed 24-Aug-16 12:45:09

Have downloaded a few samples in the past few days and nothings grabbing me. Like fiction but like to learn something at the same time. Set in another country, time period, or with a background subject that i dont know anything about. Happy to try any genre, help me find something to get my mojo back! Best books are the ones that make me want to go away and read more about a place/time/event.

troglodite Wed 24-Aug-16 13:29:49

KNife man- about John HUmter an early medical pioneer. Very interesting

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks- about a young black woman with unique cells that are used all over the world inreserach now. raises questions about who owns our genetic material and should private companies make money from waht is given/taken freely.

fiestabelle1 Wed 24-Aug-16 14:58:20

Thanks, both look interesting, will have a better look when i finish work.

Another vote for 'Knife Man' - interesting and accessible.

'A Woman in Berlin' - about the aftermath of WW2.

'Complications' by Atul Gawande - he's a surgeon and this is an interesting and informative read.

And these two were both flawed imvho, but I did learn some stuff from both of them!
'Anatomy of a Soldier' by Harry Parker
'The Things they Carried' by Tim o' Brien

Sadik Wed 24-Aug-16 18:35:49

The Dispossessed by Ursula le Guin - good sci fi tale, but also tells you lots about how a society run on anarchist principles might work / not work in practice (it explores good and bad sides).

Anything of Mary Renault's Greek books, but especially the Alexander Trilogy - the easy way to learn classical history! (A friend of mine who was a classicist recommended them to me years ago)

InTheDessert Wed 24-Aug-16 18:45:54

Possibly biased, since I'm living there, but a fascinating insight into Saudi Royal life.

TinklyLittleLaugh Wed 24-Aug-16 18:51:32

Skalligrig by William Horwood. Out of print but you can get it on amazon. Brilliant, brilliant book about disability and the enduring power of love.

The Dispossed, mentioned upthread is great too.

TinklyLittleLaugh Wed 24-Aug-16 18:55:32

My spelling has gone to pot today.

DoItTooJulia Wed 24-Aug-16 18:56:06

Nothing To Envy

And The Signature of All Things is interesting, but maybe not quite what your after?

Arthur and George Julian Barnes. Very accurate by all accounts and fascinating too as someone fairly local to where s lot of the action takes place. Apparently the train timings are faithful! Weird fact!

EnglebertSlaptyback Wed 24-Aug-16 18:59:01

Sophie's world was a real eye opener!

'Arthur and George' is brilliant. 'Flaubert's Parrot' good too, although I don't like Barnes' other stuff.

fiestabelle1 Wed 24-Aug-16 21:04:52

Some great recommendations, thank you.

tripfiction Wed 24-Aug-16 21:29:30

Oh, I have just read Eva Sleeps by Francesca Melandri and it was amazing fiction that tells of the mid 20th Century struggles (so quite recent) between Austria and Italy over the Alto Adige/South Tyrol region. I definitely learnt about a period of history through great fiction:

storynanny Wed 24-Aug-16 21:31:54

I'm reading "The silk merchants daughter" and learning more about Vietnam in the 1950's

annandale Wed 24-Aug-16 21:35:45

Stasiland - about East Germany
On Being Mortal
The Noonday Demon - about depression
The Emperor of all Maladies - about cancer
Between Silk and Cyanide - about the SOE

Cheerful, eh. Stasiland is the easiest read, between silk the funniest. The others I've only managed parts of but they are all good.

Flanderspigeonmurderer Wed 24-Aug-16 21:39:46

One summer 1927 by Bill Bryson, very integrating read.

Flanderspigeonmurderer Wed 24-Aug-16 21:40:33


Kalispera Wed 24-Aug-16 21:42:52

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande; it's about how we could change the system by which elderly people receive care.

Or Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks; you'll learn a lot about the First World War. And it's just amazing to boot.

lifeisaconundrumattimes Wed 24-Aug-16 21:44:39

Guernica! Can't remember who it's by but it's a fantastic novel. Set in Spain and essentially a love story but very well written and deep.

Speaking of Bryson, 'A History of the World' and his Shakespeare one, although personally I far prefer his earlier travel writing.

'Inside Hitler's Bunker' by Joachim Fest.

standingonlego Wed 24-Aug-16 21:52:42

The disappearing spoon by Sam Kean. All about the chemical elements, a great and entertaining read

LearningHowToFly Wed 24-Aug-16 21:53:19

I'll agree with the people who suggested Bill Bryson, not fiction but he writes in such a brilliant way you'll be laughing out loud and learning something. I really like his book A Short History of Nearly Everything.

Jaimx86 Wed 24-Aug-16 21:54:44

I really really enjoyed
Heavenly Hirani's School of Laughing Yoga, set in Mombai. One of the best books I read this year.

SkydivingFerret Wed 24-Aug-16 21:54:57

The bees by (i think ) laline paull is an interesting book

JemimaMuddledUp Thu 25-Aug-16 06:31:48

Eight Months on Ghazzah Street by Hilary Mantel.

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