_The Pinecone: The Story of Sarah Losh, Forgotten Romantic Heroine - Antiquarian, Architect, and Visionary (Faber and Faber) by Jenny Uglow tells of an architectural fantasy.
An old book of spells, The Long Lost Friend: A 19th Century American Grimoire (Llewellyn Publications), tells us about its users and their needs and beliefs.
The Story of Ain't: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published (Harper) by David Skinner says a lot about how we feel about our dictionaries and our language.
Fever Season: The Story of a Terrifying Epidemic and the People Who Saved a City (Bloomsbury Press) by Jeanette Keith tells the story of the 1878 plague.
Shooting Victoria: Madness, Mayhem, and the Rebirth of the British Monarchy (Pegasus Books) by historian Paul Thomas Murphy demonstrates how the assassins empowered the monarch.
Ken Perenyi in Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger (Pegasus Books) tells a forger's secrets.
The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo - and the Sacrifice that Forged a Nation (Little, Brown and Company) by James Donovan is a fine recounting of the famous story.
In Treacherous Beauty: Peggy Shippen, the Woman Behind Benedict Arnold's Plot to Betray America (Lyons Press), Mark Jacob and Stephen H. Case show how Benedict Arnold didn't go it alone.
Alexander J. Hahn in Mathematical Excursions into the World's Great Buildings (Princeton University Press) gives a history of two great interconnected disciplines.
Sin: The Early History of an Idea (Princeton University Press) by Paula Fredriksen shows that defining what sin is and isn't was a product of culture, even in the early church.