I should perhaps add that while I do read or listen to the occasional fictional book, I tend to use them as a palette cleanser of sorts. After a while I found it beneficial to throw one in to wipe the slate clean by way being confronted with a narrative fundamentally different from what I’ve been consuming.
I’ll give you an example; As I mentioned I’ve been reading Vietnam: A History http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/96110.Vietnam by Karnow. He does a pretty decent job explaining the events prior to the US involvement in Indochina and I’ve read a few books on the subject over the years. I can tell you that it can get really messy, not to mention biased if you have one or more authors trying to wing it. Karnow however is in his element, that much is obvious. He was there, got as good a feel for the setting, the players and the stakes while he was there, which is more than you can say for others who have tried to explain the history of the area.
Anyway, if I were to go from that book to Will Durant’s series on the Story of Civilization I would probably throw in a palette cleanser. Asimov is a favourite of mine, especially his murder mysteries set in a dystopian future centred around robots.
The Caves of Steel has 55,414 ratings and 1,559 reviews. Lyn said: Donald, Hillary, Gary and Jill are drinking wine…www.goodreads.com
It’s thought-provoking and has proven to be relevant even today, despite its age, since Bill Gates recently suggested that we should tax the work of robots.
And while I’m at it, I can recommend this one if you want the same level of detail concerning the hundred years war, a conflict of equal complexity, but even harder to grasp given that the society of the time was so fundamentally different from the society of modern times.