Best Non-Fiction (non biography)

Share your picks for the best non-fiction books you've read - DO NOT INCLUDE BIOGRAPHIES
1

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3.97 avg rating — 306,160 ratings
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2

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3.91 avg rating — 499,161 ratings
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3

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4.04 avg rating — 372,037 ratings
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4

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4.17 avg rating — 180,282 ratings
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5

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3.98 avg rating — 164,897 ratings
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6

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3.92 avg rating — 567,184 ratings
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7

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4.09 avg rating — 323,988 ratings
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8

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4.17 avg rating — 133,748 ratings
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9

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3.88 avg rating — 416,504 ratings
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10

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4.09 avg rating — 278,415 ratings
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11

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4.05 avg rating — 108,727 ratings
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12

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3.72 avg rating — 174,326 ratings
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13

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3.86 avg rating — 301,164 ratings
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14

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3.88 avg rating — 155,249 ratings
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15

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4.28 avg rating — 597,232 ratings
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16

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4.02 avg rating — 327,225 ratings
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17

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3.97 avg rating — 109,246 ratings
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18

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3.89 avg rating — 150,613 ratings
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19

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3.59 avg rating — 152,445 ratings
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20

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4.29 avg rating — 126,011 ratings
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21

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4.10 avg rating — 156,595 ratings
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22

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4.32 avg rating — 142,892 ratings
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23

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4.08 avg rating — 112,106 ratings
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24

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4.29 avg rating — 77,666 ratings
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25

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4.25 avg rating — 41,028 ratings
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26

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3.98 avg rating — 83,686 ratings
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27

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4.03 avg rating — 89,423 ratings
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28

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3.85 avg rating — 75,935 ratings
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29

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4.18 avg rating — 103,281 ratings
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30

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3.98 avg rating — 127,131 ratings
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31

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3.84 avg rating — 66,008 ratings
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32

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3.91 avg rating — 43,666 ratings
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33

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3.95 avg rating — 61,818 ratings
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34

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4.03 avg rating — 83,577 ratings
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35

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4.15 avg rating — 598 ratings
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36

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4.16 avg rating — 49,914 ratings
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37

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4.06 avg rating — 77,050 ratings
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38

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4.35 avg rating — 65,107 ratings
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39

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3.92 avg rating — 22,362 ratings
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40

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3.95 avg rating — 39,179 ratings
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41

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4.27 avg rating — 102,601 ratings
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42

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4.34 avg rating — 45,101 ratings
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43

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3.79 avg rating — 105,536 ratings
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44

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4.10 avg rating — 82,940 ratings
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45

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3.89 avg rating — 45,840 ratings
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46

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3.72 avg rating — 34,518 ratings
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47

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4.08 avg rating — 67,915 ratings
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48

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4.30 avg rating — 156,966 ratings
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49

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3.79 avg rating — 27,268 ratings
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50

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4.10 avg rating — 332,063 ratings
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51

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4.04 avg rating — 29,150 ratings
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52

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4.06 avg rating — 108,515 ratings
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53

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4.22 avg rating — 23,305 ratings
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54

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4.13 avg rating — 42,655 ratings
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55

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4.08 avg rating — 55,326 ratings
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56

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4.33 avg rating — 16,433 ratings
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57

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4.05 avg rating — 77,099 ratings
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58

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4.36 avg rating — 16,277 ratings
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59

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4.09 avg rating — 236,317 ratings
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60

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3.86 avg rating — 51,256 ratings
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61

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4.41 avg rating — 35,862 ratings
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62

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 36,556 ratings
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63

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4.13 avg rating — 54,805 ratings
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64

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3.75 avg rating — 46,224 ratings
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65

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3.91 avg rating — 23,263 ratings
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66

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4.14 avg rating — 30,450 ratings
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67

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4.04 avg rating — 27,679 ratings
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68

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3.96 avg rating — 23,534 ratings
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69

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4.08 avg rating — 16,225 ratings
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70

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4.04 avg rating — 58,394 ratings
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71

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3.49 avg rating — 59,316 ratings
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72

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4.22 avg rating — 49,736 ratings
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73

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3.82 avg rating — 36,986 ratings
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74

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4.12 avg rating — 19,624 ratings
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75

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3.56 avg rating — 92,833 ratings
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76

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4.26 avg rating — 38,320 ratings
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77

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4.05 avg rating — 34,962 ratings
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78

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3.76 avg rating — 156,423 ratings
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79

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4.14 avg rating — 21,824 ratings
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80

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4.37 avg rating — 10,400 ratings
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81

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3.77 avg rating — 21,904 ratings
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82

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3.94 avg rating — 37,394 ratings
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83

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4.18 avg rating — 51,877 ratings
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84

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4.23 avg rating — 9,637 ratings
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85

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4.18 avg rating — 30,237 ratings
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86

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4.29 avg rating — 29,795 ratings
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87

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4.23 avg rating — 62,927 ratings
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88

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3.77 avg rating — 113,225 ratings
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89

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4.20 avg rating — 39,364 ratings
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90

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3.64 avg rating — 75,046 ratings
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91

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4.30 avg rating — 11,669 ratings
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92

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4.30 avg rating — 87,823 ratings
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93

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3.92 avg rating — 76,821 ratings
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94

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4.07 avg rating — 15,276 ratings
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95

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4.13 avg rating — 298 ratings
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96

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3.64 avg rating — 51,094 ratings
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97

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3.86 avg rating — 23,691 ratings
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98

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4.22 avg rating — 30,182 ratings
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99

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 498 ratings
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100

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4.25 avg rating — 16,802 ratings
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3,884 books · 5,720 voters · list created June 28th, 2008 by Susan (votes) .
Tags: best, non-fiction
1317 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Susan 1329 books
58 friends
Jessica 2336 books
105 friends
Jennifer 1752 books
52 friends
Cindi 2714 books
56 friends
Lisa 510 books
33 friends
Ben 576 books
57 friends
Brooke 754 books
42 friends
Rebecca 319 books
97 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-50 of 100) (100 new)


message 1: by jeff (new)

jeff Anyone else feel a little troubled by this list?


message 2: by jeff (new)

jeff From about #63 on maybe?


message 3: by Chanel (new)

Chanel Earl What happened to no biography?


message 4: by Angel (new)

Angel I am not sure why some folks seem to find this list troubling. Maybe I missed something? For me at least, there are a few titles I would not mind reading, like Salt. But I did wonder, I thought no biographies. What gives? Bourdain's book is (arguably at least) biographical as are a few others. Anyhow, this list this give me an idea or two to pursue later.


message 5: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Schindler's List is a novel. Pet peeve.


message 6: by brian (new)

brian thunder Im very concerned by this list too.
George Lincoln Rockwell?
I'm all for freedom of expression, but it seems odd to find him on a list with a Jewish Cookbook.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Caddie Woodlawn? Novel.

The Joy Luck Club? Novel.

I have my doubts about the appropriateness of 84, Charing Cross Road for this list, as well.


message 8: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Me too. I have read dozens of great non-fiction that do not appear on this list!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads It's easy to add books at the right of the screen.


message 10: by Jo (new)

Jo There is some real drivel here...and some good stuff, too. I think we need to pay more attention in putting Marley and Me on the same list as Shockwave. Yes?




message 11: by e. (new)

e. Seems like this list is ALL over the place!


message 12: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Jun 02, 2010 10:19AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I question the presence of The Odyssey and The Iliad on a non-fiction list.


message 13: by Foxontherun (new)

Foxontherun God I loved CandyFreak (I've met the author several times)...and Mary Roach is a GENIUS.


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Foxontherun wrote: "God I loved CandyFreak (I've met the author several times)...and Mary Roach is a GENIUS."

It was so entertaining. My friend Mary was able to read her book Stiff but I don't think I am up to that one. Have you read it?


message 16: by A. Steven (new)

A. Steven jeff wrote: "From about #63 on maybe?"

Yeah your right ... #92 really doesn't fit at all.


message 17: by Xenophon (last edited Jun 21, 2010 05:58PM) (new)

Xenophon Hendrix I've deleted The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley because the list clearly calls for non-biography, and I've deleted The Jungle because it is a novel.


message 18: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Jun 22, 2010 10:56AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads What about The Diary of Anne Frank? Or, for that matter, The Iliad and The Odyssey?


message 19: by Xenophon (new)

Xenophon Hendrix I've not read The Diary of Anne Frank, so I have no idea how much is biography and how much is observations of the current scene, etc. The librarians here are enjoined from removing items from lists unless the items are clearly wrong, so I'm not willing to stick my neck out.

Similarly, The Iliad and The Odyssey might be considered religious texts. The classical Greeks tended to think of them that way. I'm not about to open the can of worms of calling someone's religious text "fiction."


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads The two categories that I could slot Anne Frank into are auto-biography and novelized diary.


message 21: by Marla (new)

Marla Alice wrote: "Foxontherun wrote: "God I loved CandyFreak (I've met the author several times)...and Mary Roach is a GENIUS."

It was so entertaining. My friend Mary was able to read her book Stiff but I don't ..."


my dad gave me stiff for christmas one year--freakin' amazing. but gruesome. be warned. the one book i will not loan out.


message 22: by Shad (new)

Shad Marla wrote: "Alice wrote: "Foxontherun wrote: "God I loved CandyFreak (I've met the author several times)...and Mary Roach is a GENIUS."

It was so entertaining. My friend Mary was able to read her book Stiff ..."


Sorry to butt in...I loved Stiff. I'm not usually one for such topics but I found it fascinating. Gruesome is a good word. At times I thought I'd have to put it down forever. It's not all that way, though. Now I want to read CandyFreak!


message 23: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Vote "The Old Way: story of the first people" by elizabeth marshall thomas


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Please remove Water for Elephants on the first page near the bottom.


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

Angel wrote: "I am not sure why some folks seem to find this list troubling. Maybe I missed something? For me at least, there are a few titles I would not mind reading, like Salt. But I did wonder, I thought no ..."

Salt is very good. I enjoyed it far more than I expected. Hope to vote for it when I find it.


message 26: by Rc (new)

Rc Stephens deleted user wrote: "Foxontherun wrote: "God I loved CandyFreak (I've met the author several times)...and Mary Roach is a GENIUS."

It was so entertaining. My friend Mary was able to read her book Stiff but I don't ..."


I'm reading Stiff right now. She treats cadavers with as much grace and respect and humor as any of her other subjects, so while there are gruesome moments, those moments aren't uncalled for. If you liked her other books, you'll like this one. I heartily recommend it - except during breakfast.


message 27: by Amy (new)

Amy The Kite Runner is fiction.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Amy wrote: "The Kite Runner is fiction."

Could you remember where it was when you saw it? Make it a lot easier for me to remove it.


message 29: by Amy (new)

Amy Susanna wrote: "Amy wrote: "The Kite Runner is fiction."

Could you remember where it was when you saw it? Make it a lot easier for me to remove it."

It's on the second page, #156. Also, The Help, number 266 on page 3 is fiction as well. Both are great books.



Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Thanks! I shall go remove them.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Removed for being fiction:

The Kite Runner
Anne of Green Gables
The Help
Cutting for Stone

Should I remove Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson? And Walter Isaacson's bio of Benjamin Franklin doesn't look kosher, either. King of the World is apparently a bio of Mohammed Ali.

Frankly, I don't know what to make of Mein Kampf being here.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Also removed Water for Elephants (fiction).


message 33: by Angelica (new)

Angelica I would consider "A child called It" as a biography. At least the author claims that it is biographical.


message 34: by Denae (new)

Denae 277: The Little Prince
268: The Name of the Rose

both of the above are fiction


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Thanks, Dena - I'll remove them.


message 36: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Conner 330 Of mice and men
340 Catcher in the Rye
346 The Lincoln Lawyer
395 The Handmaidens Tale

All are fiction


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Will remove them - thanks for listing the location!


message 38: by Hayes (last edited Dec 17, 2011 11:30AM) (new)

Hayes 137 A Room of One's Own ... listed as non-fiction?
178 The Innocents Abroad


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I believe Innocents Abroad is non-fiction (I'm reading it currently, and in the author's note, I believe he explains how most of it was his account for the American papers at the time); haven't read the Woolf.

The note on the Woolf looks complicated; it seems to be half-and-half?


message 40: by Hayes (last edited Dec 17, 2011 12:50PM) (new)

Hayes I couldn't remember about The Innocents (I read it long ago), if it was a fictionalized thing, or not. The Woolf looked complicated to me too. So I guess it's best to leave them, but there are a lot of biographies that should go.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Well, starting with biographies: what about The Diary of Anne Frank?


message 42: by Hayes (new)

Hayes And Seabiscuit? And Feynman?


message 43: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Dec 17, 2011 01:43PM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads For that matter, A Child Called It?


message 44: by Amara (last edited Feb 21, 2012 07:03PM) (new)

Amara Fiction Removed:

Jack & Jill by James Patterson
Misery by Stephen King
Pop Goes the Weasel by James Patterson
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


message 45: by Taryn (new)

Taryn Some of the books I would question because they simply are not the best non-fiction - on the contrary, they are horrible. But to each her own I guess.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I need at least 200 votes for this list. LOL


message 47: by Cricket (new)

Cricket I know this much is true by Wally Lamb is fiction as well


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Where is it on the list?


message 49: by Cricket (new)

Cricket I know this much is True PG 4 #366.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Thanks!

Removed for being a novel:

I Know This Much is True


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