It’s a little over halfway through the year, making it a good time to reflect on books read this year. I’m an eclectic reader, with a desire to expand my horizons with new authors and new ideas. While I read a lot of fiction titles, there are times I enjoy reading a good, solid nonfiction title. When thinking about the books to note in this article, the following three nonfiction titles stood out to me.
For fans of “Anne of Green Gables,” “The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables” by Catherine Reid offers a wonderful companion to L.M. Montgomery’s classic. Filled with lush photography, Reid combines the picturesque landscape of Prince Edward Island with a biographical sketch of Montgomery’s life, focusing on the influence of the Island’s landscape on Montgomery’s writing. Montgomery’s love for the land and for gardening/landscaping shines forth in this book, and Reid uses quotations from Montgomery’s writing to round out the book. Reid also draws connections between Montgomery and Anne Shirley, both young women somewhat ahead of their times and suffering from similar losses.
British royal histories fascinate me. When I first heard about Nancy Goldstone’s “Daughters of the Winter Queen,” I knew I had to read it. Elizabeth Stuart’s world changes completely when her father ascends to the British throne, being named King James I. Much is known of her brother, Charles, and his struggles that eventually led to the English Civil War. But, Elizabeth’s marriage and one season takeover as “queen” led to the conflict that we know today as The Thirty Years War. Throughout this time, Elizabeth shows strong resilience, raising her children to make their own marks on the world and on history. Goldstone moves from Elizabeth’s story to chronicle the lives of a few of these daughters, including Sophia, who plays an important role in British royal history. This is the perfect book for royal enthusiasts.
Kathryn Hughes’ “Victorians Undone” offers a very unique twist to exploring Victorian society. Hughes examines five individuals and, using an aspect of each person’s body, tells the story of Victorian societal customs. For example, Hughes looks at Charles Darwin’s beard and discusses the evolution of male facial hair during the 1800s. At times acceptable, at times considered savage, the beard represented a shift in dress and decorum during the Victorian Era. Other aspects covered in these individuals’ examinations include medical customs; laws; proper etiquette for a young lady; and dairy farming. Hughes illustrates each aspect in an easy to follow narrative. Those who enjoy learning about the Victorian Era will appreciate this book.
The above mentioned titles are available through the Adams County Library System. While checking these out, make sure to sign up for the Adult Summer Reading Program. Running through August 12, every book read earns a chance to win an exciting basket, which includes tickets for two adults to the Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum and a cupola tour. Stop by any Adams County Library location to sign up. Happy reading!
Submitted by Jessica Laganosky, Public Services Librarian