Books

10 Books for the May 2019 #WotNReadingChallenge

2019 Reading Challenge banner

May’s #WotNReadingChallenge Prompt is…

A lot of pop culture can be devalued by “serious” people. You’ve probably met someone like this. They only read non-fiction and don’t see the value in knowing things about Westeros or when a movie was made. Their snobbery can be really irritating. But for you pop-culture nerds, these books get into the history surrounding pop-culture properties as different as Angels in America and The Bachelor. We’re going to be exploring this subgenre for the #WotNReadingChallenge this month.

10 Recommendations for the May 2019 #WotNReadingChallenge Prompt

The World Only Spins Forward by Isaac Butler and Dan Kois

May 2019 #WotNReadingChallenge - The World Only Spins Forward by Isaac Butler and Dan Kois
The World Only Spins Forward by Isaac Butler and Dan Kois (Feb. 2018)

Butler and Kois collected the history of Angels in America from people who had a hand in building its legacy. The recent New York production of the show is being published as an audiobook this month. You might be able to pair that with this.

I’ll Have What She’s Having by Erin Carlson

May 2019 #WotNReadingChallenge - I'll Have What She's Having by Erin Carlson (Aug. 2017)
I’ll Have What She’s Having by Erin Carlson (Aug. 2017)

Did you know that the romantic comedy used to struggle? The 20th-century romantic comedy renaissance can be ascribed to one woman: Nora Ephron. Carlson followed the path Ephron took the romantic comedy through three notable movies.

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop by Jeff Chang

May 2019 #WotNReadingChallenge - Can't Stop Won't Stop by Jeff Chang (Jan. 2005)
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop by Jeff Chang (Jan. 2005)

Chang discusses the history of hip-hop, and how the genre’s formation also formed a generation. To create this history, he interviewed a number of people who helped build the genre to what it is.

Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix

May 2019 #WotNReadingChallenge - Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix (Sept. 2017)
Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix (Sept. 2017)

Hendrix details the various trends in horror genre paperbacks. This book has actually inspired people to preserve these paperbacks. Even though that may irritate people who want to get 50¢ copies on the secondary market, preserving something indicates that it has value. Let future generations see these classics.

The Birth of Korean Cool by Euny Hong

May 2019 #WotNReadingChallenge - The Birth of Korean Cool by Euny Hong (Aug. 2014)
The Birth of Korean Cool by Euny Hong (Aug. 2014)

Euny Hong brings the reader through South Korea’s history and her experience there as a child to explain the new prevalence of K-pop. This is the selection among these where pop history most meets “history” history, and it’s fascinating.

Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman

May 2019 #WotNReadingChallenge - Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman (Mar. 2018)
Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman (Mar. 2018)

This book discusses the history and mechanics of the Bachelor/ette franchise from a fan’s perspective. Even if the Bachelor franchise is not your glass of rosé, this book is an interesting look into the American phenomenon.

Seduction by Karina Longworth

May 2019 #WotNReadingChallenge - Seduction by Karina Longworth (Nov. 2018)
Seduction by Karina Longworth (Nov. 2018)

Love him or hate him, Howard Hughes left an indelible mark upon Hollywood. Instead of doing a straightforward biography of him, Longworth looks at the lives of the women he was rumored (rightly or wrongly) to be with. She did this to emphasize his treatment of women, rather than let that history fall by the wayside. Karina Longworth is notable for her Hollywood history podcast called You Must Remember This.

I’ll Be There for You by Kelsey Miller

May 2019 #WotNReadingChallenge - I'll Be There for You by Kelsey Miller (Oct. 2018)
I’ll Be There for You by Kelsey Miller (Oct. 2018)

Miller explored the history of the popular sitcom, Friends. She discusses the behind-the-scenes details of the beloved show. Not only that, she explores its impact on our culture during its decade of airing and after.

The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore

May 2019 #WotNReadingChallenge - The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore (Oct. 2014)
The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore (Oct. 2014)

The history of Wonder Woman is tied (by her lasso!) to the history of her creator, William Moulton Marston, and his wives. His study of psychology and his belief in the lie detector test were crucial in putting the pieces of this heroine together. This story was turned into a biopic a couple years ago called Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, in case you need to bribe yourself with visual media. If that’s not your style, you can always pair it with your favorite run of Wonder Woman.

Paperback Crush by Gabrielle Moss

May 2019 #WotNReadingChallenge - Paperback Crush by Gabrielle Moss (Oct. 2018)
Paperback Crush by Gabrielle Moss (Oct. 2018)

Before there was Twilight, there were pastel paperback books like The Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High. Moss delineates the trends in this literature, as well as explaining the history behind them.

What are you going to read this month for the #WotNReadingChallenge? Do you have other pop culture history book recommendations? Talk about it with us in the comments and on social media!

 


Social Media logo PatreonFollow Word of the Nerd on

     

Get your nerd on!

About the author

Siobhan Dempsey

Siobhan is a 25 year old library professional with an MS in search of her library.

Advertisement

Check out our YouTube Channel

%d bloggers like this: