Time’s 100 Best Nonfiction

Meme ganked from Mental Foodie, but I’ve seen variations of it elsewhere:

Politics and war, science and sports, memoir and biography — there’s a great big world of nonfiction books out there just waiting to be read. We picked the 100 best and most influential written in English since 1923, the beginning of TIME … magazine

Green Text – Have read
Purple Text – Already on TBR list
Orange Text – Did Not Finish

Autobiography / Memoir





Food Writing




Nonfiction Novels



Self-Help / Instructional

Social History



Honestly, that’s about what I expected – a number of to-reads but very few actually read. I only counted the books that were honestly on my TBR list before doing the meme (in more of a way than “hey, I’ve heard of that and would read it if somebody handed it to me”, which would include at least ten more of these), but you can bet my list is longer now!
Absolute highlight from reading through their list? How to Cook a Wolf by M.F.K. Fisher: “When a cookbook has a chapter called “How to Make a Pigeon Cry,” you know it’s going to be about more than recipes.” I’m also particularly interested in And the Band Played On, which is about the 80s AIDS epidemic; Carry Me Home, about the Civil Rights Movement; Godel, Escher, Bach; The Fatal Shore, about Australia’s tumultuous beginnings (in relation to Europeans, that is). The Best and the Brightest, a Vietnam expose from 1972; and Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, I’m still not sure what it’s about, also sound interesting (oh, what a loaded word).
I also read, I am realizing, academic articles in college based (?) on Anderson’s ideas from Imagined Communities, which posits that our modern nation-states are, well, imagined communities. I may actually have read Anderson himself, though I can’t remember. I would definitely read the whole book if I came across it in a used book store. Same goes for Orientalism by Edward Said – seems to be a very important book that influenced the people/thinkers who have influenced me.
I’m getting too babbly here, but The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer reminded me of author Sarah’s Monette’s extensive Nazi readings and her very intelligent reviews/reactions/thoughts on her livejournal. I went back and read them all (including the non-Nazi books she reads*) because she is just so smart and great and I may have a secret wee crush on her as I do lots of smart people. Anyway, the point is that she says she likes Shirer in one of her posts, which makes me think I should read this.
This list also made me think about my favorite nonfiction. I can’t make a definitive list w/o missing something, so I’ll just mention a couple: A Primate’s Memoir by Robert Sapolsky and The Power of Babel by John McWhorter (no relation to the McWhorter above, far as I can tell).
*For her Unread Book Challenge, which is reading the books she owns but hasn’t read. Must do this. Mustmustmust.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s