January 2010

Stories that words tell us


This book

is essentially a reference for those who love learning about the origins of words. Printed in 1918, it was written by an author who had a passion for historical topics (as can be seen from her other equally interesting books). Unfortunately, a print version of this book can be hard to come by; it is available in audio format from a number of stores as well being accessible in online format via Project Gutenberg.

Like I mentioned earlier, this book traces the possible origins of English names. The chapters are divided into the various sources of different names (e.g. names from places or ethnic groups). For this reason, the whole book is a kind of etymological discovery for anyone with a keen interest in the evolution of English words.

Historical Fiction

Do folks like historical fiction because they have an interest in history or do they read the books purely for the enjoyment of the main tale? Whatever the case, I would guess that history buffs would welcome fictional stories which contain generous bits of information about world history. As it is, when in school, I used to look for fictional stories and movies set in a particular period that would coincide with the timeline I was studying. Well, that was my reasoning for watching Once Upon a Time in China but in hindsight it is safe to say that Jet Li and the opening theme had more to do with me hoarding that movie.

The Story of the Middle Ages

I love promoting history books to my younger cousins. Thereby, When looking for general history books, I look for something that covered a greater number topics whilst being easy to read. More to the point, I wanted something that would be easy reading for someone who was not well-versed in the subject at hand. And I must say that The Story of the Middle Ages by Samuel B. Harding fits the bill.

The author covers the tentative beginnings of what we know as the Middle Ages all the way to its end. Thus, he has divided the various chapters into various time periods, paying particular attention to the prominent themes in each period. He starts out with the older German tribes and how they moved around in Europe.

The Social History of Smoking

The Social History of Smoking is one of those weird history books. If you look obscure facts about our habits and such or if you are merely curious about the ongoing trends involved in smoking itself, this book will make a good read. The book was written by G. L. Apperson and it traces the various social habits formed around smoking. Do keep in mind, this book covers the smoking habits of various folks in England. Nonetheless, it is interesting to note what has made its way to other countries.

The author divides the different habits according to various time periods. So it ends up as a fascinating journey for the reader as you follow the changes from the introduction of the first pipes in England to smoking trends in the early twentieth century.