Inspiration! Suggestions needed!

I came home earlier today and decided to eat a cup of yogurt for lunch. I flipped on the television to watch some of the boob tube and actually found a really interesting show on the History Channel. The show is called, "America the Story of Us". It was an all day marathon I guess, but I just caught a few episodes that included Westward Movement, The Gold Rush, and the Civil War. I realized that though I've taken a few years of American History, I really didn't pay that much attention or enjoy myself while taking those classes in high school and college. Also, given what is going on with immigration reform, I am becoming more self-aware and more interested in our cultural history. The country is so vast that I don't think we learn much of history other than Colonial American History and these peoples' Westward Movement.

Because of this, I am calling all my followers and others that read this blog to help me out with inspiration for next year! I would like to read more books about American History that isn't the traditional history you learn in high school and college.

Here are a few topics that I find interesting:

  • The Black/African-American experience
  • The Asian experience
  • The Southwest (I'm originally from New Mexico and am much more interested in exploring Southwestern History since the passing of the restrictions on ethnic studies in Arizona)
  • The Native American experience
  • Women's History in America
  • The Cajun experience (I became interested in this when I went to Nova Scotia and learned about the Acadians, some of whom ended up in Louisiana)
  • War experience of minorities in America


I would just like to broaden my knowledge of history in the United States. I don't care if it is a novel, a non-fiction book, or if it's controversial. Running this blog has helped me become more open to different reading experiences. Also, if you happen to be from another country and can suggest an interesting novel or historical non-fiction book from your country (that's available in English), I would love to learn more about your culture and country's history as well.


Scrabblequeen said...

You've hit on one of my favoirte sunjects! I adore hisotry...and having taught my kids at home for twleve years, have (or have had) many good books on the subject. Have you read Farewell To Manzanar, about the Japanese Internment? I'll go through my stacks for other recommendations.

Carin said...

I have actually read parts of it I think. I've read a few books on the Japanese American internment by Roger Daniels I think his name was. I did pick up a book on Manzanar at one point, but I can't remember if that was the one for sure. I know it's one of the most famous about the camps. I'll put it on my list just in case. Can't wait to see what else you've come up with!

Judith said...

For African-American, I would suggest The Help by Kathryn Stockett (if you don't know it yet). It's fiction, but very believable and I think she based the book on real facts.

For Native American, a good fiction book is One Thousand White Women by Jim Ferguson.

The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck) is about the Depression in the thirties (if I remember well), although you don't mention that as one of your interests, it certainly is history.

From my own country, The Netherlands, Girl with a Pearl Earring is always a nice one. There's also a great book about the Tulip war in the 1700s which I haven't read, but I could try and find it if you like.

Happy reading!
Judith (

Carin said...

@Judith - Thank you so much for the suggestions! I will definitely put those in my TBR List. Kind of crazy that I never read Grapes of Wrath. The only Steinbeck I've ever read was Cannery Row (which I really enjoyed). Have you read The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass? It's amazingly good.

I would read stuff about The Netherlands for sure. In high school I had a good friend who was a foreign exchange student from Maasbree. I have always wanted to visit the Netherlands. I would love to read about the Tulip war!

leeswammes said...

How funny you had a Dutch friend!

The tulip book is this one: Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach. I haven't read it myself but know someone who did & liked it a lot.

Thanks for the Frederick Douglass suggestion. I don't know it, will look it up.

Jackie (Farm Lane Books) said...

How about Mudbound by Hiliary Jordon? I second the recommendation for The Help too!

I have heard wonderful things about Lonesome Dove too - I hope to read it over the summer.

Carin said...

@Jackie - Those books sound really interesting. I had no idea that's what The Help was about.I will definitely put those on my TBR List. Also, I've heard Lonesome Dove is great as well. Larry McMurtry is supposed to be amazing. Funny thing is, when I was a child they filmed a TV mini-series of Lonesome Dove in my hometown and my friend and her sister were extras in the movie!

Also, I am curious about the name of your blog. I noticed in Craig Ferguson's book, American on Purpose, that there he went to a rehab facility in the UK called Farm Lane. Is that where the name comes from?

Chelle said...

Civil War - Specimen Days by Walt Whitman. It's mostly non-fiction short bits about his volunteer work in make-shift hospitals and time spent around the D.C. area. He's more than just a poet and I don't think many realize that.

Southwest/immigration - Esperanza Rising. This is geared towards young readers but it's amazing. I really learned from it.

Native American - Anything by Sherman Alexie. My favorite is The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian

Allison said...

as far as Native Americans go, check out Lucia St. Claire Robson, especially Ride the Wind. I'm from Oklahoma and Ride the Wind tells a true story that took place not far from here as the Indian Nations were dying out. Great read.

Lonesome Dove IS a good read, I also highly recommend the mini-series.

I am about to read a book called Molaka'i that takes place in Hawaii in the early 1900s about a colony for lepers. I think it sounds great and can't wait to read it...has high GR ratings :)

Carin said...

@Allison - Thanks for the suggestions. I'll definitely take a look at them and add them to be TBR shelf on Shelfari.

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