This week's Booking Through Thursday question (What’s the most informative book you’ve read recently?) is a little hard for me to answer. I mean, all books are informative in one way or another, aren't they? And even though I don't read much nonfiction, I feel that I learn something from most of the books I do read.
Several of the books I've read this year showed that their authors had done quite a lot of solid research on their subjects before writing. I'm thinking especially of The Longshot by Katie Kitamura, The Book of God and Physics by Enrique Joven, Angels & Insects by A.S. Byatt, and The Master by Colm Toibin; all of these were explorations of subjects I knew very little about when I started reading.
Recently, though, one of the books that impressed me the most was Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant. Her descriptions of life in a 16th Century Italian convent were fascinating and seemed chillingly real. I had never really given much thought to what that life must have been like, particularly if you were a young woman sentenced to a life shut up behind convent walls, against your will. It's a great story that really kept me turning the pages, but also taught me a lot. And isn't that what a good historical novel should do?