Saturday, March 21, 2009

Top 50 Non-Fiction Books

Top Non-Fiction Books [This includes religion, essays, humor, philosophy, history, biography, etc.]
Updated: March 2013

1. The Way of Life by Lao Tzu
2. The Immense Journey by Loren Eiseley
3. The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts
4. We Were Soldiers Once, and Young by Moore & Galloway
5. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (NEW listing)*
6. Magpie Rising by Merrill Gilfallan
7. Buried Alive by Myra Friedman
8. The Way of the Initiate by Roy Eugene Davis
9. Metropolitan Life by Fran Leibowitz
10. The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell
11. The Unexpected Universe by Loren Eiseley
12. Cosmic Consciousness by Richard M. Bucke
13. The Dilbert Future by Scott Adams
14. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
15. The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson
16. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer
17. The Diary of Che Guevara by Ernesto "Che" Guevara
18. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
19. The Golden Thread by Natalie Banks
20. The Master Game by Dr. Robert S. de Ropp

21. The Fifth Miracle by Paul Davies
22. The White Lantern by Evan S. Connell
23. The Politics of Experience by R.D. Laing
24. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
25. Rants by Dennis Miller
26. The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
27. Questions and Answers by Manly P. Hall
28. Light Elements by Judith Stone
29. The Honeymooner's Companion by Donna McCronan
30. Song of God (Bhagavad-Gita) trans. By Prabhavananda & Isherwood
31. The Messianic Legacy by Baigent, Leigh, & Lincoln
32. Notes by Eleanor Coppola
33. The Psychic Healing Book by Amy Wallace
34. Notes From a Small Island by Bill Bryson
35. The Vatican Connection by Richard Hammer
36. Remember: Be Here Now by Baba Ram Dass
37. The Killing Zone by Frederick Downs
38. The Mormon Murders by S. Naifeh, S. & G.W. Smith
39. The Way of Chuang Tzu by Thomas Merton
40. Everything But Money by Sam Levinson
41. Lawrence of Arabia by Anthony Nutting
42. Morning of the Magicians by Pauwels & Bergier
43. Stupid White Men by Michael Moore
44. Ace of Spies by Robin Bruce Lockhart
45. The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
46. The Book of Lists #2 by I. Wallace, I & D. Wallechinsky
47. Dave Barry's Guide to Guys by Dave Barry
48. Crazy English by Richard Lederer
49. What the Dogs Have Taught Me by Merrill Markoe
50. Social Studies by Fran Lebowitz
51. The Magic of Believing by Claude M. Bristol
52. Write If You Get Work: Best of Bob & Ray by Bob Elliott & Ray Goulding
53. Hollywood Babylon by Kenneth Angers
54. Veeck - As in Wreck by Bill Veeck & Ed Finn
55. What the Bible Really Says by Manfred Barthel
56. Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot by Al Franken

*The Devil in the White City is a new listing, a fascinating story of the Chicago Columbian Exposition (World's Fair) of 1893, juxtaposed with the story of a mass murderer taking advantage of the fair to lure many lonely women to their death at his hands. Leonardo DiCaprio bought the film rights in 2010, and a film will follow shortly (wrote this in March of 2013). Since he usually works with Martin Scorsese, I hope that Marty will be the director. It seems that Dicaprio would be the architect Burnham, in charge of putting together the fair, but he apparently wants to play the murderer, a part better suited for Daniel-Day Lewis.

Loren Eiseley is an amazing writer, a scientist with appreciation of the mysterious and miraculous; read all of his books (Immense Journey is his first, a great place to start), including his biography, A Fox at the Edge of the Woods by Gale E. Christianson, which was his description of mankind, "having emerged from the wilderness, we are now separate from it, and actually fear it, like a fox at the edge of the woods."

All of Joseph Campbell's books and television series on PBS are worth experiencing, and they'll help you understand all religions and cultures, as well as myths and parables.

Bill Bryson is the funniest non-fiction writer, once you start, you'll read all of his, the three of his I've read all made this list (#13, 14, 33). He's an American who emigrated to England, where "they don't destroy everything from the past to build strip malls" (from Thunderbolt Kid, about growing up in the American midwest, similar to Jean Shepherd from another generation).

Alan Watts wrote The Wisdom of Insecurity near the end of his life to "clear up confusion caused by my other books"; it's a succinct philosophy of wisdom that everyone should read: "the only constant is change, if you become rooted in anything, it will eventually change..."

We Were Soldiers Once is the most harrowing war book I've ever read, and its far better than the Mel Gibson film based on it.


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