Books I love on topics I don’t care about

I have a new nomination:

[Alice] Sheldon (1915-87) was the most important sf writer ever to live in the
Washington area.  She also was, in her varied career, a psychologist, a
CIA officer and a chicken farmer.  Her biographer, Julie Phillips,
combines diligent archival work with more than 40 interviews to
successfully portray one of sf’s most brilliant — and tortured —
authors.

That is from a review of James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice Sheldon, by Julie Phillips.

Do, in the comments, give us your nominations for this category, but please make sure you don’t have any intrinsic interest in the topic of the book.

Comments

Straying from the letter but not the spirit of the assignment: the movie "Queen."

More than 40 years ago, Dr. Richard Backus of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution introduced me to a wonderful little book by Edward Morse called "Japanese Homes and their Surroundings". Morse was an American biologist who went to Japan in 1877 to study brachiopods and became fascinated by Japanese culture and particularly by the archtecture of Japanese homes. He travelled through the country, talking to people and sketching their homes—the furnishings, the architectural detail, and the tools used by Japanese artisans to create that detail. Morse is a fine draftsman, and the pen and ink drawings are lively and informative; he's also a sensitive observer, with a deep respect for the culture that created the architecture that he found so admirable.

"Japanese Homes" was published in 1885, and it's currently available in an excellent Dover edition. Over the years, I've re-read the book several times, and I've given a number of copies to friends.

I'm only mildly interested in architecture, and this is pretty much the only book I've read on Japanese culture, so my appreciation of it adheres to the rules you've set for this game.

Steven Pinker's _Language Instinct_. A really wonderful book laying out the state of the art (c. 1995) in linguistics and, I guess, cognitive-science-relating-to-linguistics. It covers a lot of ground, from fairly technical linguistice to pop grammarians. I have since tried to read other books about linguistics and been bored silly, and I don't even like Pinker's other books, but this one is great.

Sunday Money by Jeff Macgregor. In it the author spends the entire Nascar season living in a RV going from race to race. Brilliantly written and entertaining it's like reading an anthropological study of some strange culture.

"Memoirs of a Sword Swallower" by Dan Mannix.

I enjoy, as literature, Roger Ebert's reviews of movies I will never see.
I want to read "Positively 5th Street", although I don't play poker.
I enjoyed a book by a guy who made albums out of Wagner's ring cycle, although I don't know opera or recording - it was enough that the author was passionate about his subject.

"Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World" is an interesting book. And I really don't like fish very much.

I am probably swimming up stream with this one, but Alice in Wonderland is not only good, but intuitive, enthusiastic, and a work of art from my prospective.

So much lies beneath the simple obvious story line. Filled with parodies, satire, parables, puns non-sense riddles and filled with, what one might call, asymmetrical logic, this makes for a great book.

The Ptolemies by Duncan Sprott.

I came across this book accidentally and being a Macedonian and archaeologist I was quite exited. Anyway, as soon as I started to read the book I just couldn’t believe my eyes.... If someone gets the right to write about history he should do his best to present it as accurate as possible... I mean... since when the Ptolemies are Greeks and since when they are the Greek Dynasty in Egypt. It’s just an assault to the Macedonians and to Alexander the Great himself!!!!! And just to be a bit more assaulting everywhere you search on the net about the book says the same. The Ptolemies - Greeks and not Macedonians. I am not trying to say that the book is bad, as I haven’t finished it yet, and I have to admit that I am enjoying it so far but seriously... Greeks...
Please reference to Professor Eugene Borza for more information on Ancient Macedonia and Hellenistic period.

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