An Armchair BEA post.
I read a lot of non-fiction that I never talk about here. I read scholarly, historical, archaeological stuff for work, and I read adult non-fiction for pleasure as well--it cleanses my reading palate when I feel glutted with sci fi/fantasy.
The International Bank of Bob: Connecting Our Worlds One $25 Dollar Kiva Loan at a Time, by Bob Harris. It tells how Bob started lending money to Kiva, and then travelled the world to see just what his money was up to. He tells of the logistics of his travels, the lives of the people that he meets, and the historical and social contexts that have shaped those lives. And he gives some nice economic lessons about the potential impacts of micro-loans, without making it dry and boring.
I was inspired to pick this up because I have a young Nerdfighter in my home, and the Nerdfighters are busily decreasing "world suck" via Kiva-- 40, 244 of them (including my son) have loaned almost $2,500,000 to date (here's the Nerdfighter Kiva page). So I thought it would be useful for me to have details to share with him, and even hoped that if I left the book around the house, he'd pick it up....
He did, but it's a bit dense for him; fortunately, I have now been educated, informed, and entertained, and we can have nice little chats about the break-up of Yugoslavia and its horrible consequences, every day life in Rwanda today, the vast complexity of India, etc.
Quest for Kim: In Search of Kipling's Great Game. I know Kipling must be read critically viz English Imperialism, but still I love Kim very very much (I've been to Lahore, and seen the canon Kim sits on at the beginning of the book, shown on the cover--very exciting for me!). As I type this, I'm wondering to what extent Kim influenced writers of children's fantasy. So many of the things that are now common tropes of middle grade speculative fiction are right there--the plucky orphan with special gifts who must play a role in an epic greater than he had ever dreamed of, the quest through fantastic lands, the adults who help and hinder....
Please feel free to share any good non-fiction recommendations of a sciency/historical type! I'm always on the look-out for more.