I would have enjoyed and learned so much more from my middle school and high school social studies and history classes if they had been centered on books. And I don’t mean textbooks! Even though my school years are long behind me, I find that I am learning more than ever by reading books that put me in the shoes of someone who lives (lived) in a different place and/or during a different time.
Memoirs, fiction, history books and historical fiction can sometimes give the reader a better sense of a society and history than a series of facts laid out without any of the “human” contexts. Of course, books are a reflection of the author who wrote them, along with their values and beliefs, but textbooks sometimes share the same biases. While a textbook will provide one point of view, reading many books will provide insights and help history "come alive."
I’ve just finished four excellent books that I’d like to recommend, three of which were read as part of the 2017 Hub Challenge. Two non-fiction books (memoirs) and two books of fiction.