Nonfiction that’s stuck with me

When I saw Amy Sundberg's post listing ten nonfiction books that had stuck with her, my first thought was: Have I actually read ten nonfiction books? All the way through?

Turns out I have, but maybe not a whole lot more than that. Had to look at my bookcase for ideas. Eventually came up with a list of ten that I particularly like, but I don't know if I'd be able to expand this to twenty.

Some that I've particularly liked and/or that have made a big impact on me:

  • Skin: Talking about Sex, Class, and Literature, by Dorothy Allison.
  • The Body Project, by Joan Brumberg.
  • Times Square Red, Times Square Blue, by Samuel R. Delany.
  • An Almanac of Words at Play and Another Almanac of Words at Play, edited by Willard Espy.
  • 84, Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff.
  • Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott.
  • Stranger Here, by Jen Larsen.
  • West with the Night, by Beryl Markham.
  • Plagues and Peoples, by William H. McNeill.
  • James Tiptree, Jr: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, by Julie Phillips.

I want to say Gödel, Escher, Bach, except I never actually read all of the nonfiction parts of that. Also haven't yet read some bits of The Jewel-Hinged Jaw. I guess I could say Anne Frank's diary. Or Fun Home, or Persepolis. Or Jon Carroll's collection of columns Near Life Experiences. Or Delany's Heavenly Breakfast.

I do read a fair bit of nonfiction on the web, in bite-sized pieces. But sitting down to read a whole book-sized work of nonfiction feels like real work to me; I tend to shy away from it, unless it's a topic that I'm very interested in and I really like the author's writing. Even then, it might take some effort to get me going.

(Written in September 2014 but never posted.)

(See also my post about not reading nonfiction from 2013.)

(See also Facebook thread for this post.)

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