If you’re someone who considers yourself to be a dyed-in-the-wool bookworm, then certain things are probably true of you. You most likely take great pride in being well read. You probably have multiple walls graced with well-stocked bookshelves at home, not to mention an enviable collection of ebooks stashed away on your Kindle. Books and information are favorite topics of conversation and, of course, you wouldn’t even consider going somewhere without at least one book in tow “just in case.”
You most likely are always also on the lookout for more things to read. That’s where local interest literature comes in. It covers a wealth of different topics for even the most voracious reader and information lover to explore. However, it’s also a subgenre even avid readers sometimes forget to consider.
Here’s a closer look at just a few of the ways getting into local interest books can improve even the most fulfilling intellectual life. Where will you be starting your next great intellectual journey?
1. You develop a richer understanding of American history.
When most of us are young and still in grade school, we think of American history as a seemingly never-ending list of names and dates. Eventually, if we undertake our own studies on the topic, we learn to put those names and dates into context. We begin to grasp the incredible intricacies of American history as a result.
Regional interest books add to your understanding of history’s richness by personalizing it for you. They don’t just teach you about important cultures, but also people and individual communities. You don’t just learn about the concepts behind American industry, agriculture, or law enforcement, but also the experiences of what it was really like to be an important part of those things. In other words, regional interest literature brings history to life in exciting new ways you never would have considered before.
2. You cultivate a deeper connection to your own roots.
Every family comes along with a family history of one sort or another. We all have the grandfather full of war stories from his youth or the great-grandmother who can still remember immigrating to Long Island from Italy, Israel, or Greece. We may have deeply intimate personal connections to the cities and neighborhoods where we grew up.
Regional interest literature can help you expand on those connections by enriching your understanding of what they’re really all about. Learn how your hometown was established or why your favorite local landmarks were built. Explore the experience of being an immigrant, a veteran, or an entrepreneur in America through the ages, with firsthand accounts and gorgeous vintage photography.
3. You develop a deeper understanding of your purpose as a human being.
If you were to sum up the importance of studying history in a nutshell, it would be how it teaches us about ourselves, not just as individuals, but as a society. History is humanity teaching itself how things started and how they continued over time. Most importantly of all, history sheds light on where we are now and where we’re likely going. It helps us avoid repeating past mistakes and allows us a fighting chance at creating the best possible future.
Local interest literature supplements broader history studies by filling in the gaps. You can explore the background of your profession of choice and get to know others who sought out the same profession before you. You can deepen your understanding of why national parks are important or why it’s critical that each of us study cultures other than our own. You gain a priceless understanding of what it means to be human in the process.
4. You get to know new places and people.
When you stick only to broader history texts, you’re more likely to keep reading about the same people, places, and events, again and again. Regional interest literature, on the other hand, is the perfect way to explore new places, new people, and new concepts you’re unlikely to have heard about otherwise.
Yes, regional interest books can help you build on your knowledge of well-known locations and peoples by adding new details to the mix. However, they can also introduce you to small towns and little-known communities from all over the nation. You’ll hear about them from the perspective of local experts and historians who know them inside out. After all, history isn’t just about the people and places who were so big they couldn’t help but make your high school curriculum. Each town, community, and neighborhood is also part of the equation.
5. You enter an entirely new world of information to explore.
If you’ve been reading all your life, you only think you’ve studied just about everything there is to study about history. One trip through a really good regional interest catalog will show you that you haven’t even scratched the surface yet.
Regional interest books cover a near limitless number of topics from an historically or culturally significant perspective. You can learn about not only immigrant culture, but the unique immigrant communities who populated every city in America. You can research regional cuisine or American cultural traditions. Dig more deeply into the background of your favorite county fairs, retail outlets, restaurants, or amusement parks. Even explore the roles your favorite sports have played throughout American history.
Start the Adventure Today
Regional interest literature teaches you that for every topic—every neighborhood, pastime, favorite food, or landmark—there’s an entire rich history just waiting to be explored. Learn all there is to know about anything at all, on a level that is as fascinating and personal as it is informative and educational.
Make sure you choose a solid publisher known for distributing high quality volumes written with care and published with passion. (Arcadia Publishing is an excellent example.) Start with one topic of interest and let your imagination lead you from there. You’ll love the way your world (and your mind) opens right up!
About the Author: Harry Parsons is a freelance writer who currently writes for a publishing company to pursue his passion of reading and writing.