WHILE THE FIRST collection of recommended books focused mainly on common fictions, this selection belongs in a true scholastic library. I do not have most of these books, but I've been able to read snippets of them online.
1. The Origins and Development of the English Language, John Algeo and Thomas Pyles
2. The Possessive Apostrophe: The Development and DECINE of a Crooked Mark, College English, vol. 38 No. 2
3. "Modernist Painting" by Clement Greenberg (the essay that changed the world), and 4; After Modernist Painting, by Craig Staff.
Now, the above two are the only explanation of how "modern" and post-modern art happened in world history. Why we had the movement, what the movement was, and what's still happening AFTER the modernist movement are all questions addressed in Craig's book.
I will end this recommendation now, hoping that people will see this post (even bypass the first two options), and find themselves a copy of Craig Staff's explanation of the following essay.
The Essay: http://www.yorku.ca/yamlau/readings/greenberg_modernistPainting.pdf
A book on the Essay: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/after-modernist-painting