The Guardian’s top 100 nonfiction books

The Guardian released its list of the 100 greatest nonfiction books recently, and I was simultaneously shocked and unsurprised at how unread that list made me seem. I’ve read three books on that list in their entirety (A Brief History of Time, Walden, and Anne Frank’s diary, if you’re wondering–and I read the first two this year!), and I own one more that’s on my to-read list. Of course, I’ve read snippets of a few of the others, but a large part of that list is completely foreign to me. Biography? Culture? Society? (Even though the book I own to be read is in the society section.)

Maybe I should read a few of those books. As humanities-centered as the list is, it’s a good place to start for someone who doesn’t have a clue about, say, art. Godel, Escher, Bach, the lone math book on the list, has been on my to-read list for years. I’ll get around to reading it one day. Really.

I find myself wondering how many of these books the average person has read in full. I’m willing to bet that most people haven’t read that many unless they study a humanities field in great depth or enjoy nonfiction. How many of these have you read? Is my read count of three high, average, or low?

4 thoughts on “The Guardian’s top 100 nonfiction books

  1. I’ve read some of ‘A Brief History of Time’, but that’s about it. I’m surprised I haven’t read ‘The Art of War’ yet. I’m certain I recall a friend recommending this to me… as well as ‘The Book of Five Rings’, which I have read.

    • I haven’t had either of those explicitly recommended to me, though I did go through a phase where I read only so-called classics, so surely at least The Art of War was on the to-read list at some point. Maybe I should re-add it.

  2. I’ve only read three from that list, too: Anne Frank’s diary, Silent Spring, and A Room of One’s Own. Some of the others look really interesting, though.

    • A Room of One’s Own is the one I own that’s waiting to be read. My roommate through most of college got it for me, and I still haven’t read it yet. Oops. How is it?

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