I've noticed that people really seem to like lists. They seem to be everywhere I look now: the great Internet site Flavorwire always has them; Cindy Orr always lists some at the Readers' Advisor Online blog; they often seem to be an article category on such literary web sites as The Millions and Book Riot. And, very kindly, several people have emailed to let me know about Time magazine's recent "All-Time 100 Best Nonfiction" list.*
I guess I like lists as much as the next person; I always look them over, and give them some thought. I'm pretty sure that at some point in my life I had a list of books or movies that I wanted to read or see (and I know I had a list of characteristics the perfect guy would have--evidently I had a lot of time on my hands in college). But lately I can't seem to find any lists that light me on fire. This Time list is no exception.
But of course now I feel that there's a challenge in the air. Best all-time nonfiction books? Tough. Especially since Time went back to 1923, the first year of their publication. And by rights, yes, a "best all-time" list should include all the nonfiction ever written. But I'm going to take a whack at this list, and I'm going to call it the "Best 100 Nonfiction Titles that People Might Actually Enjoy Reading."
We'll take it in sections. I'll post the Time picks, my picks, and ask for your picks in the comments. At the end I'll post the master list of everyone's titles! So: tune in tomorrow for the first section, Autobiography/Memoir.
*Unruly Reader has also blogged about this list recently. And thanks to everyone who emailed!