Best Of 2020

Best Non-fiction Book of Regional Interest: "Lost Circuses of Ohio"

If you enjoy getting lost in a good book, it’s easier than ever thanks to the boom in “lost” books — those that seek to rediscover forgotten cultural gems of our past. One such book published in 2019 especially stands out for tackling an unusual and obscure subject of fascination in a way that’s very informative and surprisingly compelling: Conrade C. Hinds’ Lost Circuses of Ohio from The History Press. At first glance, it almost sounds like a put-on. But as you learn about, for example, the Cincinnati-based John Robinson Circus, whose owner had a Terrace Park mansion with barns and a practice ring for his animals, or the Columbus-based Sells Brothers Circus, one of the top traveling live attractions of the late 19th century, you realize this is really legitimate cultural history. The Sells Circus featured Annie Oakley before she moved on to greater fame with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Hinds also uses color reproductions of Strobridge Lithographing Co. circus posters from the Cincinnati Art Museum’s collection. The History Press, arcadiapublishing.com.