• Activity
  • Votes
  • Comments
  • New
  • All activity
  • Showing only topics with the tag "nonfiction". Back to normal view
    1. Any recommendations for reading classic non-fiction in modern times?

      I've been on a long and steady roll reading classic literature, both fiction and non-fiction. I think it's important to get a perspective from earlier times that influenced our current culture and...

      I've been on a long and steady roll reading classic literature, both fiction and non-fiction. I think it's important to get a perspective from earlier times that influenced our current culture and also because many of these works have withstood the test of time.

      However, I'm having real trouble reading some of the non-fiction e.g. Plato's Republic and Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals. With both fiction and non-fiction I accompany my readings with Sparknotes to make sure I'm not missing anything important. In the case of non-fiction I often can barely get a cohesive thought out of the original text. In some cases the text is too old to be understood on it's own and in others the author has great ideas but poor writing (e.g. Nietzsche, famously). But Sparknote's is much too brief—I'd like a more involved experience.

      My request is this: I'm looking for books (or resources to find such books) about classic non-fiction that

      1. distill the concepts without watering them down
      2. provide context with either modern culture and/or other works that are related
      3. are written for an intelligent layman; prose meant to communicate to a non-expert audience but with scholarly rigor

      Basically, I read at a high level but I am not a professional scholar of literature, philosophy or history, yet I would like to have a bridge to such an understanding.

      EDIT: I found this site to be exactly what I was looking for: https://plato.stanford.edu/index.html

      10 votes
    2. What are your favorite non-fiction audiobooks?

      I'm about to finish my semester and, since I've been taking a lot of walks lately, I figured I should listen to some audiobooks. In particular, I'd love some suggestions for nonfiction audiobooks....

      I'm about to finish my semester and, since I've been taking a lot of walks lately, I figured I should listen to some audiobooks. In particular, I'd love some suggestions for nonfiction audiobooks. I recently read Boom Town by Sam Anderson, a sort of pop history about Oklahoma City and its basketball team, and I listened to Silver Screen Fiend, by Patton Oswalt, about his addiction to movies.

      Are there any audiobooks you recommend? Preferably they would be good books that also have particularly good audio versions (well-produced).

      Thanks!

      10 votes
    3. How do you all do "deep readings"?

      I'm reading a book right now that I am finding fascinating, but I don't want to forget the thoughts and ideas presented in each chapter by the end. I was wondering what you all do when reading...

      I'm reading a book right now that I am finding fascinating, but I don't want to forget the thoughts and ideas presented in each chapter by the end. I was wondering what you all do when reading books like this. In college, I would usually jot down a few notes on the chapter I was reading, but I always found the act of interrupting my reading to write to be very disruptive.

      • Do you take notes and highlight directly in the book, or use another notebook or software?
      • Do you take notes as you go, or wait until the end of a chapter or section?

      I want to arrive at a system that works well for me, so I'm looking for suggestions here.

      15 votes
    4. What authors do you recommend on the basis of writing style?

      I'm in the middle of writing my thesis and I've been (re)reading some excellent, unconventional style guides (The Sense of Style by Stephen Pinker and Stylish Academic Writing by Helen Sword). I'm...

      I'm in the middle of writing my thesis and I've been (re)reading some excellent, unconventional style guides (The Sense of Style by Stephen Pinker and Stylish Academic Writing by Helen Sword). I'm also rereading Thank You for Arguing by Jay Heinrichs, which is less about style but is essentially a guide for effective communication.

      In reading these books and applying their teachings to my writing, I've been reinvigorated with a passion for writing, namely for the craftsmanship of prose. All three books analyze excerpts from examples of great (and sometimes poor) writing. But, I'm now looking for a more immersive experience in good (i.e. stylish, evocative, concise etc.) writing in the hopes that, with my newly refined perspective and sensitivity, I can improve my own writing even more. Good writers read good writing.

      Now, starting new books now won't help my current cause (my thesis) but my academic career will call for much more writing in the future. And I'm hoping that maybe the suggestions I get here will help me prioritize my current queue of books and articles—I know they're all great books but I'd like to read the ones with better writing, first.

      So, I would love some recommendations on authors who you would consider as masters of writing. It can be either books or articles. Preferably non-fiction and modern (20 years?), only because fiction and older books have different standards (FWIW I love old-school sci-fi, but that's definitely not the style I'm after). My current shortcut is to read basically any "longread" on WIRED, as most of the time they are high quality and often explain complex topics.

      Any other resources are also welcome! Though maybe no more style guides...

      12 votes
    5. What non-fiction books have had lasting explanatory power?

      I was telling someone about a psychology book I'm reading at the moment. Intending to read it themselves they messaged me later to ask for the title. And I felt a bit unsettled at sharing it!...

      I was telling someone about a psychology book I'm reading at the moment. Intending to read it themselves they messaged me later to ask for the title. And I felt a bit unsettled at sharing it!

      Whilst it's interesting and I'm enjoying it, I doubt I'll remember its lessons or claims in a year or two. Which got me thinking about books that I read years ago which still help me understand the world.

      So I thought I'd make a post asking which books other users still found helpful year(s) later.

      tldr; share books that are:

      • Non-fiction (or at least serious fiction).
      • First read over a year ago.
      • Have been helpful to you multiple times since.
      18 votes
    6. Favourite non-fiction books of the last couple of years?

      The main focus of the book community seems to be fiction (easier to enjoy with friends I guess), so I would love to hear your top non-fic picks of the last years and the reason for your decision....

      The main focus of the book community seems to be fiction (easier to enjoy with friends I guess), so I would love to hear your top non-fic picks of the last years and the reason for your decision. Any books that changed the way you look at certain things?

      4 votes
    7. Favorite Non-Fiction Subjects and Recommendations

      Non-fictions lovers, what are your favorite subjects to read about, and what are your recommended readings for them? My personal areas of interest are: American Civil War Battle Cry of Freedom by...

      Non-fictions lovers, what are your favorite subjects to read about, and what are your recommended readings for them? My personal areas of interest are:

      American Civil War

      • Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson - Perhaps the definitive overview of the Civil War
      • The Confederate War by Gary Gallagher - A look at the war from the perspective of the Confederacy
      • A Short History of Reconstruction by Eric Foner - A relatively brief but complete analysis of the years following the war

      Custer

      • Cavalier in Buckskin by Robert Utley - A very balanced, comprehensive study of Custer’s life (there is a large hardcover version available that also contains a lot of interesting pictures)
      • A Terrible Glory by James Donovan - Well researched and covers more of the aftermath of Custer’s Last Stand than the typical Custer book
      • Custer Victorious by Gregory J.W. Urwin - An extensive examination of Custer’s distinguished Civil War career

      OJ Simpson

      • Without a Doubt by Marcia Clark - A fascinating, detailed read written by the lead prosecutor herself
      • The Run of His Life by Jeffrey Toobin - The best book written about the case by someone not directly involved in it
      • Murder in Brentwood by Mark Fuhrman - Despite what reservations people may have about Mark Fuhrman, his account of the trial is thorough and eye-opening

      The Atomic Bomb

      • The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes - A long-winded history of the creation of the bomb, including the physics behind it
      • Hiroshima in History and Memory by Michael J. Hogan - A collection of essays detailing the decision to drop the bomb, and the effects it had on Japan and American afterward
      • In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Richard Polenberg - Contains the transcripts of the J. Robert Oppenheimer trial, “father of the atomic bomb,” who was put on trial several years after the end of World War II for being a suspected Soviet spy
      5 votes