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?