I enjoy reading history (as long as I don’t have to cram for an exam), but I am not what you would call a history buff. I’m certain I have a better grasp of American history than world history, but I’m sure that much of what I learned in high school and college has been forgotten.
I read a lot of fiction, but I try to have some non-fiction around to further my knowledge in whatever area catches my attention through a book cover or title. Over a period of many months, I happened to bring home these four books: Zondervan Handbook To The Bible; Bernard Lewis’ What Went Wrong? (The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East); The Handy History Answer Book edited by Rebecca Nelson; and Let There Be Clothes (40,000 years of fashion) by Lynn Schnurnberher.
I was reading a little of each book as the mood struck me. There was no plan or schedule to my reading, and the books were scattered around my house. But as I read, I began to see certain events (such as, the beginning of and the decline of the Ottoman Empire) mentioned in all four books. I was getting a biblical timeline perspective, a general historical perspective, a political world view perspective, and , yes, indeed, a fashion perspective on that and other events. Pulling the facts and ideas together was exciting, unlike much of my textbook reading in school. I found myself putting the books in one spot so I could refer to one and then another, and really get the big picture. I know that if I had to write a paper on, for example, the Ottoman Empire, I would certainly have to refer to several if not many books. But I don’t know that I would have pulled a biblical reference book and I surely know that I would not have referenced a fashion book!
So, lesson learned: studying history (or any other area of learning you may choose) can be like a treasure hunt if you have the right materials. Seemingly diverse books can pull together information when you least expect it! So, branch out! Pick something new, different, and unusual – and see where the reading takes you.
Small Town Gal