Recommend me some non-fiction

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For every non-fiction book I read, I read five fiction books. I need to balance the scales a little bit I think. So if anyone has some great recommendations (preferably not related to cinema or music), I would appreciate it!

Gear! (can Jung shill it, Mu?) (Gear!), Sunday, 20 March 2005 19:56 (fifteen years ago) link

'Le Ton beau de Marot, In Praise of the Music of Language' by Douglas R. Hofstadter.

M. White (Miguelito), Sunday, 20 March 2005 20:30 (fifteen years ago) link

"The Little Food Book: An Explosive Account of the Food We Eat Today" by Craig Sams

schmutzie, Sunday, 20 March 2005 23:02 (fifteen years ago) link

Anything by John McPhee, but in particular "Oranges" or "Levels Of The Game".

"Times Square Red, Times Square Blue" by Samuel Delany.

Casuistry (Chris P), Sunday, 20 March 2005 23:11 (fifteen years ago) link

Naples '44 by Norman Lewis.

Ann Sterzinger (Ann Sterzinger), Sunday, 20 March 2005 23:22 (fifteen years ago) link

"Pity The Nation: Lebanon at War" by Robert Fisk.

DV (dirtyvicar), Sunday, 20 March 2005 23:32 (fifteen years ago) link

The Art of Eating -- M.F.K. Fisher
The Power Broker -- Robert Caro
Palimpset -- Gore Vidal
Anne Sexton -- Diana Wood Middlebrook

lovebug starski (lovebug starski), Monday, 21 March 2005 00:09 (fifteen years ago) link

btw Ann, I noted some of the books you acquired in Italy and am off to buy some of them (as well as some from this thread!) thanks, keep em coming!

Gear! (can Jung shill it, Mu?) (Gear!), Monday, 21 March 2005 00:19 (fifteen years ago) link

Excellent Cadavers - Alexander Stille
Conquest: Montezuma, Cortes and the Fall of Old Mexico - Hugh Thomas

Ken L (Ken L), Monday, 21 March 2005 02:58 (fifteen years ago) link

Midnight in Sicily - Peter Robb
The Spanish Civil War - Hugh Thomas
Memory of Fire Trilogy - Eduardo Galeano
A People's History of the United States - Howard Zinn

Steve V, Monday, 21 March 2005 13:02 (fifteen years ago) link

Le Ton Beau is great, if you like that kind of thing (which I do, but I could see a lot of people being bored by it). Also, of course, there's Godel, Escher, Bach by the same author, k-classic.

The Making of the Atomic Bomb - Richard Rhodes

W i l l (common_person), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 17:12 (fifteen years ago) link

Evan S Connell - Son of The Morning Star

Come to think of it- I should have recommended some of his book-length poems on Aimless's recommend me some poets thread.

Ken L (Ken L), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 17:21 (fifteen years ago) link

Fowler's Modern English Usage, 2nd Edition.

Casuistry (Chris P), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:24 (fifteen years ago) link

Last year I picked up an old copy of Ernie Pyle's war correspondence, Brave Men for one dollar. It is an excellent counterweight to reading histories of war, which tend to be retrospective, remote and omniscient. Good plain stuff from the front lines.

Aimless (Aimless), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 19:05 (fifteen years ago) link

That reminds me: Charles Willeford's autobiography Something About A Soldier is pretty good.

Ken L (Ken L), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 15:24 (fifteen years ago) link

Ann S OTM.

Again, I'll recommend Stephen Jay Gould (I know, I know) - one of his essay collections might be best. They're all great.

Have you read Gangs of New York? It's fascinating, and nothing like the film that was derived from it.

Markelby (Mark C), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 18:01 (fifteen years ago) link

Pretty much any book by any of the authors mentioned in the New New Journalism: Calvin Trillin, William Langewiesche, Tom Conover, Alex Kotlowitz, etc.

Jessa (Jessa), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 18:51 (fifteen years ago) link

Andrew Rose, The Intellectual Life of the British Working Class is one of the best non-fiction books I've read in the last few years - its bif though, and the subject matter might not be to everyone's taste.

Sven Linquist, A History of Bombing is much shorter, and an interesting read - for its subject matter, as well as the way the book is structured.

Paul M, Wednesday, 23 March 2005 22:20 (fifteen years ago) link

I agree with Casuistry that John McPhee is an excellent choice, 'Annals of the Former World' was the best book i read last year. Barbra Tuchman is also a good choice; her history of the opening days of the great war is a classic of the genre. If you like math (who doesn't really) Fermat's Enigma, by Simon Singh is great, and Barry Mazur's Imagining Numbers uses metaphor to help the non-mathematically inclined get a hold on imaginary numbers. Happy reading.

Docpacey (docpacey), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 22:49 (fifteen years ago) link

Some other non fiction works that I have read and recommend includes:

Robert Massie - both Dreadnought (about the lead up to WW1) and Peter the Great were excellent
Daniel Yergin's - The Prize. Who would have thought that the history of the oil industry could be fascinating
Jared Diamond - Guns Germs and Steel, a geographers explanation of history, which I found very convincing
Peter Robb - noticed someone mentioned Midnight in Sicily, also try M the enigma of Carrevagio
Paul Kennedy's - Rise and Fall of Great Powers
John Julius Norwich - his histories of Byzantium and Venice, and Shakespeares Kings about the lead up to and outcome of the war of the roses.


oblomov, Thursday, 24 March 2005 05:41 (fifteen years ago) link

I saw Peter Robb read from his Brazil book, which I want to read but haven't. The reading was a hip event of sorts- it was at a bookstore owned by the art gallery owner Paula Cooper, Paul Auster and his wife were there, as was some big Brazilian diplomat, as was Andy Schwartz, he of New York Rocker fame. Robb read well.

Ken L (Ken L), Thursday, 24 March 2005 15:45 (fifteen years ago) link

Recommending non-fiction is tough. I think people tend to be very personal with subject matters they choose to read (or maybe it's just me...). Still, if you're asking, here's some non-fiction I've enjoyed:

John Steinbeck - A Russian Journal
Ryszard Kapuscinski - Imperium
Steven Pinker - The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language
John McWhorter - The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language
Paul Theroux's travel writing

zan, Thursday, 24 March 2005 22:07 (fifteen years ago) link

If you're aiming for something breezy, yet literary, I'd suggest Anne Fadiman's Ex Libris and Lynne Truss's Eats, Shoots and Leaves.

Arjun S, Saturday, 26 March 2005 12:35 (fifteen years ago) link

I've read Ex Libris. I grabbed it on a whim from the library. It was pleasant enough, but I don't really remember anything about it beyond "it was pleasant enough".

Casuistry (Chris P), Saturday, 26 March 2005 12:57 (fifteen years ago) link

The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes. Best NF book I've ever read.

Timmy

Timothy Bushnell, Tuesday, 29 March 2005 15:52 (fifteen years ago) link

yay!

W i l l (common_person), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 16:31 (fifteen years ago) link

"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman", by Mr. Feynman.

Casuistry (Chris P), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 19:04 (fifteen years ago) link

Travels With Mr Death Ron Rosenbaum
Crypto Steven Levy
Curahee! A Screaming Eagle At Normandy by Donald Burgett
Friday Night Lights Buzz Bissinger

VegemiteGrrl (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 30 March 2005 03:52 (fifteen years ago) link

In line with all of the World War II books being recommended, I would suggest reading E. B. Sledge's "With the Old Breed." It's the memoir of a young man from Alabama who enlisted in the Marines and served in the Pacific theater; many regard it as the best memoir of the war ever written.

Mark Klobas, Sunday, 3 April 2005 16:56 (fifteen years ago) link

Search for the title Wine And War, a great history of WWII from the winegrower's point of view. Very original.

Orbit (Orbit), Wednesday, 6 April 2005 22:41 (fifteen years ago) link

fourteen years pass...

I am looking for a recommendation for a non-fiction book for a gift. Preferably history, social science, biography, or political science and slight preference to American subject matter.

Warmth of Other Suns was my first choice, but giftee has already read it.

Mazzy Tsar (PBKR), Monday, 9 December 2019 15:47 (six months ago) link

Just discovering Tristan Gooley who writes about being able to read significance of various parts of nature/geology /meteorology and related for walkers etc.
Not sure if he's more UK based or what but pretty informative.

Stevolende, Monday, 9 December 2019 16:46 (six months ago) link

i wanna read something gnarly & factual abt surviving harsh winters before the advent of modern living, electricity etc; thinking more pioneer ish times rather than earlier ~ recs?

johnny crunch, Monday, 23 December 2019 15:57 (six months ago) link


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