I go to the Barnes and Noble and browse the stacks. I rummage through the biographies, then the history section, then over to the travel adventure section, always the childrens books, and sometimes when I am doing a special private study of something I look up books about whatever it is. For instance, I love a particular writer...Alison Weir. She writes about Henry the VIII, His children, His wives, and other notables from that era. Her books are extremely well written and fascinating to read even though the subject matter in the hands of another author might be dry and hard to stick with.
I have a whole row of books about China. Mostly autobiograpies of people who had lived there, during the Mao era, before the Mao era. It was reading Pearl Buck books that sparked an interest in China. Pearl Buck, though old and dead, is my favorite author of all time. I usually don't enjoy fiction much but I devour most of her writings like candy. I feel like I am in China while reading one of her books, or India, or Japan...but her western setting books don't quite ring true for me. I think because her heart was in China and she always longed to go back there. She was raised in China and lived a good portion of her adult life there. Her first language was Mandarin...not english.