Books Every History Nerd Should Read

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly meme held by The Broke and the Bookish – is ‘Ten Books Every ___ Should Read’ and I chose history nerd because, newsflash, I am one and I’ve read a lot of historical fiction. I also consider myself to be pretty good at picking out the more realistic and accurate fiction.

Please let me know if there’s any more books that history nerds should read, I’d love your recommendations and so would everyone else I’m sure!

Ruta Sepetys

I’m giving my favorite historical fiction author her own category because, face it, she’s cool enough to deserve it. Her works – Between Shades of Grey, Out of the Easy, and Salt to the Sea (which my European history teacher loved, by the way) – are some of the most moving YA fiction I’ve ever read.

Read my Review of Salt to the Sea

Read my Review of Out of the Easy

The Royal Diaries

While the Royal Diaries is geared for younger readers, I think anyone could enjoy it. Its a series written for

See them all on Goodreads

The Young Royals Series by Carolyn Meyer

If you, like me, grew up reading The Royal Diaries then Young Royals is for you.Carolyn Meyer even wrote some of the Royal Diaries and then expanded upon some of those stories to make them for older readers. I’m throwing in her other works (because I think all she writes is historical fiction) and I’ve never read a book by her I didn’t love.

See them all on Goodreads

Read my Review of Cleopatra Confesses

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas

I read this book (the abridged version) for 8th Grade Honors English and I feel in love. Its one of the most exciting books I’ve ever read and sometime when I have a bit more time I fully intend to read the entire book. If you like movie adaptations you need to find the older version, while the more recent movie isn’t bad by itself, its nothing like the book.

We Hear the Dead by Dianne K. Salerni 

This is a rare book that takes real people and gives them life. The Fox sisters started the Spiritualism movement and so if you want to understand American history from the mid to late 19th century I reccomend checking this out.

Da Vinci’s Tiger by L.M. Elliot 

This is a book with very split reviews, people either seemed to love it or hate it. Personally, I loved it and that may be because I was reading it for the historical perspective as much as the plot (because there certainly seemed to be more history than plot at times).

Read my Review

Daughter of Venice by Donna Jo Napoli

I read this in my freshman year in high school while I was taking world history and I loved it so much that I leant it to my teacher (who is now my AP European history teacher) and she said she was very tempted to assign it as reading to the AP Euro students because of how good it is. If you want proof that Jews are the scapegoats of history, even long before the Nazis, look no farther than this.

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

For a rare exploration out of Europe that is not just a European on a ‘spiritual journey’ The Ghost Bride expertly displays some of the more unique aspects of Chinese beliefs and shows just how diverse the culture is, while mixing history with a bit of mysticism and magic.

Read my review

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

This is a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights, and I include it because I’m so happy to finally find mainstream YA that retells something other than traditional European folktales or the Brothers Grimm. And its just so well written!

Read my Review

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Now we’re hopping over to America, which is admittedly not a setting that I read a lot of historical fiction about. However, A Northern Light is a good story with a very unique writing style that you won’t want to put down.


13 thoughts on “Books Every History Nerd Should Read

    1. I love Greek and Roman Mythos! I actually took latin in school so I learned a lot about the history and culture (and I’ve added “The Sandcastle Girls” to my reading list because I was devastated to learn about that in my Euro class this year (I, a nerd, had never heard of it). It should be discussed more often.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The Count of Monte Cristo is SO good. I’ve both read it and listened to an audiobook version, and I can’t get over how wonderful the story is. I want to read it again sometime when I find the time. This is a great list of books, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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