Occasionally I find that my reading takes a turn from where I expected it to go. This year, I planned on revisiting novels I’ve enjoyed in the past but don’t remember specifics (or enjoyed so much the first time I wanted to read them again). While I have spent time revisiting favorites, I’ve also spent more time with nonfiction.
Reading nonfiction helps me focus on something other than the many anxiety-induced worries twirling around in my brain. Instead of going back in time to escape, I take a deep dive into learning.
Given my interest in historical fiction, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that my other chosen books to escape with are microhistories. My recent interests lean toward science/healthcare topics, but there are so many microhistories to choose from filled with nuggets of knowledge and (possible) explanations for why things are the way they are. Plus, lifelong learning is good for your health (especially your brain!).
Microhistories take you on a deep dive into a (occasionally obscure) subject. I’ve read books covering traffic, boobs, immunity, and desire. I do not remember everything, but there are a few tidbits and brain wrinkles I’ve picked up along the way. For instance, did you know that zipper merging is the most efficient way to keep traffic moving? All those late mergers are good for traffic flow! A few of my favorite microhistories include:
- Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond by Lydia Denworth
- The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
- Marijuana: A Short History by John Hudack
- The Library Book by Susan Orlean
- Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
Sometimes one topic encompasses SO MANY pieces like healthcare in America or the justice system – there’s too much for one well-researched, but informative book. There needs to be a book to tackle each aspect, to hit all the topics where an intersectional analysis matters. The medical-industrial complex, the opioid epidemic, private equity in healthcare, and parenting, have made up a big chunk of my reading over the last couple of years. One of my recent favorites even helped me solve the mystery surrounding Richard Webber in the most recent episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, I didn’t need Deluca to solve anything 😊. A few of my favorite general nonfiction books you should also read:
- An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take it Back by Elisabeth Rosenthal
- The Danger Within Us: America’s Untested, Unregulated Medical Device Industry and One Man’s Battle to Survive It by Jeanne Lenzer
- Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick by Maya Dusenbery
- Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women’s Pain by Abby Norman
- Jane Against the World: Roe v Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights by Karen Blumenthal
- Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy
- Fentanyl Inc: How Rogue Chemists are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic by Ben Westhoff
- Bad Therapist by Evan Wright
If reading helps you escape your house and your brain, then do more reading. I’ve missed a lot of binge-worthy TV shows because my nose is stuck in a book…and I’m OK with that. BUT I have watched lots of shows about the topics I mentioned above. I can’t get enough of our horrid healthcare system and the greed that has overtaken the industry.
But if reading to escape isn’t your thing and you have Netflix, watch these 😊: