But then there are books that only YOU read. Instructional manuals for fly-fishing. How-to books for spinning yarn. How to cook the perfect souffle. Rebuilding car engines in three easy steps. Dog training for dummies. Rewiring your house without electrocuting yourself. Tips on how to build a NASCAR course in your backyard. Stuff like that.
What niche books do YOU read?
Despite majoring in History, there’s a lot of it I haven’t read, and one of my niches are history books, some academic (Sisters and Workers in the Middle Ages) and some popular (Sex with Kings). Some of the volumes currently jostling for space include The Women Troubadours, Life in a Medieval Castle, and Battle Cries and Lullabies. I also enjoy good biographical works, such as Guy’s My Heart is Not My Own and Starkey’s Six Wives. (Both of which also represent the smaller niche of Marian and Tudor history, but don’t mention my Ricardian interests.)
Culinary history is another niche subject I’ve been reading about for years, beginning with the very first cookbook I bought myself in high school, Fabulous Feasts. Learning about such an essential and intimate, though often overlooked aspect of the past fascinates me. I have even occasionally managed to work the subject into my studies as well, killing two birds with one well-aimed stone. I ❤ WorldCat!
I also read anything fairy tale-related, from Lang’s Colored Fairy Books and Zipes’ collected Bros. Grimm to H.C. Andersen to re-imaginings like Dean’s Tam Lin. I am also fond of non-fiction on the subject.
What particularly interests me, however, are reference books, especially elderly oddities. From my Roget’s to Camp’s Unfamiliar Quotations, How to Lie with Statistics, Self-Taught Gaelic, Lady Troubridge’s Book of Etiquette, and my Book of Euphemism. I can page through them for hours, or hurriedly look up scented pelargoniums in my copy of The Fragrant Garden.