Mailvox: Favorite nonfiction

Zek asked for a list of my top ten non-fiction favorites. This is difficult, as I don’t read non-fiction in the same way that I read fiction, so it tends to sort of blur together in my mind. Plus, one has to fight the tendency to list the classics as a reflexive response.

But there are certain works that I turn to time and time again, sometimes because I am in search of insight and sometimes because I simply enjoy reading them. It’s a rather eclectic list; Spacebunny is encouraging me to try to put together a more organized one according to subject, but for now I’ll just eye a few well-worn favorites from my bookshelves. So, in no particular order:

Meditations, Marcus Aurelius

The Second World War, Winston Churchill

The History of Economic Analysis, Joseph Schumpeter.

Sexual Personae, Camille Paglia

The World of the Shining Prince, Ivan Morris

State and Revolution, Vladimir Lenin

The Cambridge Medieval History Series

Daily Life in Ancient Rome, Jerome Carcopino

Tragedy and Hope, Carroll Quigley

A History of Warfare, John Keegan

Hmmm, there should be something covering medieval Italy here, and one covering medieval England as well, but there’s no single volume that stands out. I also laughed when I saw a book on the Spanish Armada, which blew my mind more than any book I’ve ever read.

Not because of the content, but because it was given to me on a birthday that was marked by a particularly Dionysian celebration. Things had wound down by 4 AM but I was still wide awake, so I decided to peruse one of my new books as I waited for the room to stop spinning. When the very first word on the first page that greeted me was my name, I snapped the book shut and wondered if my mind was significantly more impaired than had previously been my impression.

As it turned out, there was a gentleman involved in the historical proceedings from whom I am apparently descended. But at the time, well, let’s just say that an accidental tumble into an alternate universe was the most rational of my suppositions.