Best Non-Fiction (no biographies)

Share your picks for the best non-fiction books you've read - DO NOT INCLUDE BIOGRAPHIES
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3.99 avg rating — 431,757 ratings
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2

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3.95 avg rating — 613,088 ratings
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3

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4.20 avg rating — 244,620 ratings
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4

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4.02 avg rating — 229,368 ratings
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5

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4.13 avg rating — 428,693 ratings
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6

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4.15 avg rating — 338,387 ratings
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7

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3.95 avg rating — 594,877 ratings
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8

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4.18 avg rating — 165,285 ratings
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9

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4.06 avg rating — 149,630 ratings
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10

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4.32 avg rating — 847,198 ratings
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11

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4.05 avg rating — 494,463 ratings
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12

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3.91 avg rating — 196,030 ratings
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13

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3.92 avg rating — 420,383 ratings
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14

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3.74 avg rating — 191,417 ratings
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15

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3.99 avg rating — 139,122 ratings
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16

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3.90 avg rating — 202,657 ratings
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17

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3.62 avg rating — 167,359 ratings
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18

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4.35 avg rating — 274,130 ratings
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19

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4.16 avg rating — 234,097 ratings
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20

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4.33 avg rating — 185,386 ratings
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21

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4.05 avg rating — 138,272 ratings
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22

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4.08 avg rating — 159,998 ratings
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23

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4.02 avg rating — 109,505 ratings
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24

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4.28 avg rating — 58,159 ratings
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25

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4.05 avg rating — 184,318 ratings
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26

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4.28 avg rating — 142,178 ratings
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27

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3.84 avg rating — 86,219 ratings
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28

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3.99 avg rating — 84,703 ratings
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29

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4.04 avg rating — 92,447 ratings
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30

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4.36 avg rating — 98,196 ratings
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31

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3.93 avg rating — 52,216 ratings
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32

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4.13 avg rating — 116,663 ratings
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33

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3.87 avg rating — 91,018 ratings
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34

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3.96 avg rating — 29,311 ratings
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35

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4.16 avg rating — 72,084 ratings
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36

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4.32 avg rating — 245,842 ratings
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37

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4.39 avg rating — 67,398 ratings
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38

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3.79 avg rating — 135,623 ratings
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39

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4.11 avg rating — 85,327 ratings
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40

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3.96 avg rating — 46,657 ratings
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41

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4.18 avg rating — 429,979 ratings
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42

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4.08 avg rating — 93,713 ratings
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43

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4.06 avg rating — 163,649 ratings
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44

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4.23 avg rating — 32,297 ratings
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45

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4.45 avg rating — 225,086 ratings
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46

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4.11 avg rating — 83,100 ratings
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47

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4.04 avg rating — 40,743 ratings
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48

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4.09 avg rating — 95,914 ratings
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49

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3.74 avg rating — 48,221 ratings
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50

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4.25 avg rating — 24,382 ratings
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51

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4.16 avg rating — 58,967 ratings
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52

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4.02 avg rating — 53,123 ratings
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53

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4.16 avg rating — 84,045 ratings
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54

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4.43 avg rating — 55,227 ratings
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55

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3.80 avg rating — 33,465 ratings
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56

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4.19 avg rating — 41,441 ratings
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57

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4.07 avg rating — 77,779 ratings
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58

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4.12 avg rating — 2,358,605 ratings
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59

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3.91 avg rating — 69,266 ratings
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60

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4.39 avg rating — 19,931 ratings
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61

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4.20 avg rating — 63,957 ratings
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62

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4.06 avg rating — 39,766 ratings
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63

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4.27 avg rating — 50,394 ratings
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64

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3.90 avg rating — 32,680 ratings
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65

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4.06 avg rating — 259,568 ratings
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66

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4.15 avg rating — 33,183 ratings
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67

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4.23 avg rating — 66,391 ratings
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68

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4.26 avg rating — 83,643 ratings
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69

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4.08 avg rating — 18,699 ratings
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70

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4.22 avg rating — 51,883 ratings
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71

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4.31 avg rating — 65,023 ratings
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72

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3.59 avg rating — 107,031 ratings
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73

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3.94 avg rating — 30,318 ratings
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74

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3.84 avg rating — 46,348 ratings
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75

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3.80 avg rating — 216,339 ratings
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76

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4.06 avg rating — 41,914 ratings
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77

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3.98 avg rating — 110,796 ratings
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78

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3.96 avg rating — 48,344 ratings
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79

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4.30 avg rating — 37,628 ratings
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80

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4.38 avg rating — 13,598 ratings
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81

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4.24 avg rating — 38,080 ratings
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82

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4.08 avg rating — 27,143 ratings
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83

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4.28 avg rating — 129,907 ratings
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84

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4.17 avg rating — 47,172 ratings
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85

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4.08 avg rating — 407,169 ratings
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86

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3.54 avg rating — 86,927 ratings
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87

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3.77 avg rating — 24,375 ratings
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88

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3.83 avg rating — 138,884 ratings
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89

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3.68 avg rating — 91,469 ratings
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90

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4.34 avg rating — 15,183 ratings
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91

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3.87 avg rating — 31,477 ratings
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92

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4.11 avg rating — 21,006 ratings
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93

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4.26 avg rating — 275,155 ratings
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94

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3.87 avg rating — 62,960 ratings
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95

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4.28 avg rating — 22,396 ratings
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96

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4.26 avg rating — 11,766 ratings
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97

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4.11 avg rating — 55,768 ratings
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98

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3.58 avg rating — 30,587 ratings
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99

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3.98 avg rating — 564,497 ratings
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100

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3.66 avg rating — 57,925 ratings
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4,892 books · 7,055 voters · list created June 28th, 2008 by Susan (votes) .
2161 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Susan 1553 books
61 friends
Jessica 3413 books
114 friends
Jennifer 2333 books
50 friends
Cindi 2950 books
60 friends
bsc 576 books
55 friends
Brooke 809 books
52 friends
Rebecca 366 books
113 friends
Rob 1363 books
23 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-50 of 114 (114 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 Tanith 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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