Lots of great recommendations here.What I find really interesting is how the English language developed into the wonderful mess it is today. Bill Bryson's book The Mother Tongue - English And How It Got That Way takes on this subject and is about the history of the English language. Actually, all of his books are great, interesting topics but written for non-experts. In his books he either tackles a subject he's unfamiliar with or is an account of his travels, I highly recommend them.The novel the Last English King by Julian Rathbone was a good read, it's about England in the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings, I don't know how accurate it is but still enjoyable.
Love Bill Bryson. I read "At Home" earlier this year. He tells social history through the lens of the various usage rooms in his old rectory would have had through the ages, things they would have had in them, etc. Very interesting.