random book recommendations on american history

Someone asked me for book recommendations on American History so here are some off the top of my head that I really enjoy. I’m a recovering history major. These aren’t meant to be the be all end all- but just some books I think give you an entertaining entree into history.


The Great Influenza: All about the rise of modern science and the first World War. 

The Original Knickerbocker by Andrew Burstein/ Washington Irving: A Life, Brian Jay Jones: Why do Americans think Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492? Why do we call New York “Gotham”? Why do we celebrate Christmas in the weird way we do? Why do we have such a satirical sense of humor? The answer is because of a guy named Washington Irving. 

Miracle at Philadelphia, Catherine Bowen: Pretty standard reading in American highschools, how the Constitution got written and what it smelled like.

Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War, Tony Horwitz. I’m actually not a Civil War buff but I did really enjoy this travelogue because it’s hilarious and really interesting.

Lies My Teacher Told Me, Loewen. Worth it to know just what a BAMMF Helen Keller was. 

Populuxe, Thomas Hines: I think this is the book- if not, one very similar. Basically about Post-War culture and how radically society changed after WWII. (We got hobbies and we wanted to consume a lot of stuff). 


Confederacy of Dunces, O’Toole: I feel like it captures NOLA and weirdness

Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton: So many people hate this specific book but I love it. She perfectly captures a certain New England/Vermonter winter crazy.

American Born Chinese, Gene Yang. How does it feel to be an immigrant kid? These stories explore that idea. The art is gorgeous. 

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon: About the start of comic books, immigrants, NYC, and the shift in attitudes pre-war to post war.

Okay, brain fried. Anyone else got any good ideas?


whenever you find yourself cringing over something embarrassing/awkward that you did, just ask yourself if it’s a good enough story to tell in the red chair

you’d be surprised how much better it makes you feel about yourself when it’s not

(via grahamnortonshow)


April 23, 1789: Amid much pomp, George Washington arrives by barge in order to assume the office of President of the United States; large crowds accompany him to his new residence on Cherry Street.

Armchair [made of relic wood from George Washington’s former Cherry Street home], ca.1856-1857. Oak. New-York Historical Society,Gift of Benjamin Robert Winthrop, 1857.11








please watch avril lavigne’s new video it is so much worse than you are imagining as you are reading this, it is so much worse than anyone could have ever guessed it would be

oh my god it’s like everything regrettable about my junior high years was given a budget and a video camera

It’s like Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku appropriation phase + the nightmare sequence from Heathers + dubstep made specifically for a mid-2010 car commercial + those kids with cat ears that used to follow me and my friends around in high school + the inner monologue of a middle school girl character written by an adult man.

I don’t even

The fact that this hasn’t turned into an international fiasco is blowing my mind


there seriously is not any way the above words can prepare you for this

there’s literally a breakdown to someone making sushi for avril lavigne


Immediate Thoughts:


2) “Huh, I’ve been mispronouncing ‘kawaii’ all these years.”

3) MLP followers: you might as well suck it up and listen to it, because you’re going to be getting three months’ of Pinkie-themed AMVs set to this shit unless something comes along to replace it soon.

4) You know they say that part of the reason old people call modern pop music “noise” is because as you age the bones in your inner ear fuse and don’t vibrate the way they used to so you literally perceive certain frequencies of sound as “noise” even though they are actually music?  THIS SONG IS WHAT ALL MUSIC IS GOING TO SOUND LIKE WHEN THAT FINALLY HAPPENS TO YOU.  LISTEN AND DESPAIR.  THIS IS YOUR FUTURE.

I lasted 30 seconds, it sounded like mice.


blergherator Now I just want to yell “THIS IS NOT A POSTMORTEM” at people.

I think it should be the new popular curse word.  Someone cuts you off in traffic?  Roll down your window, lean out and scream “THIS IS NOT A POSTMORTEM!”

Except in the current environment I think that could be interpreted as a death-threat.

hahahahaha. My personal car curse is “DINGUS” but for Lent I tried to cut down/be mindful of my car cursing and I almost eliminated the habit.


Have a really shitty morning but watching dead-people-cant-stand school people fills me with joy.

Now I just want to yell “THIS IS NOT A POSTMORTEM” at people

“Let’s examine a traditionally male-dominated role that is very well-respected, and well-paid, in many parts of the world — that of a doctor. In the UK, it is listed as one of the top ten lucrative careers, and the average annual income of a family doctor in the US is well into six figures. It also confers on you significant social status, and a common stereotype in Asian communities is of parents encouraging their children to become doctors.

One of my lecturers at university once presented us with this thought exercise: why are doctors so highly paid, and so well-respected? Our answers were predictable. Because they save lives, their skills are extremely important, and it takes years and years of education to become one. All sound, logical reasons. But these traits that doctors possess are universal. So why is it, she asked, that doctors in Russia are so lowly paid? Making less than £7,500 a year, it is one of the lowest paid professions in Russia, and poorly respected at that. Why is this?

The answer is crushingly, breathtakingly simple. In Russia, the majority of doctors are women. Here’s a quote from Carol Schmidt, a geriatric nurse practitioner who toured medical facilities in Moscow: “Their status and pay are more like our blue-collar workers, even though they require about the same amount of training as the American doctor… medical practice is stereotyped as a caring vocation ‘naturally suited‘ to women, [which puts it at] a second-class level in the Soviet psyche.”

What this illustrates perfectly is this — women are not devalued in the job market because women’s work is seen to have little value. It is the other way round. Women’s work is devalued in the job market because women are seen to have little value.”


I can’t get over how I got invited to Guy I Liked’s Girlfriend’s Birthday Party.

I get how we’re friends and you invite friends to things to be nice, but also, it’s on a Friday four hours away, you know I was interested in you and you weren’t and why would I care about your girlfriend who I’ve never met who looks exactly like your ex-wife?

Especially since you went out of your way to plan a surprise birthday party for her. 

things i do not enjoy about my job

  • no benefits
  • no set work hours
  • must bill hourly, no salary
  • no coworkers
  • working weekends
  • high stress
  • constant wacky microaggressions
  • dismal work environment
  • fast paced
  • clients
  • high stakes
  • low pay
  • feeling like I’m doing everything wrong
  • in a profession with the worst social skills besides engineers
  • people do not understand job
  • people dislike me based on job title
  • constantly explaining job to people who give disapproving stares
  • can’t really talk about specifics of job


Anyone else having one of those days where they feel like all of their emotions are a sort of blister on the inside?

Because that’s how I feel today. Like I’m actually in a glass cage of emotion.

I know I’m stressed out but I’m also sitting here thinking that this is idiotic.