Criticism & Features

NBCC Reads

The NBCC’s Good Reads Long List for Nonfiction


It would be silly to act as if the NBCC’s Good Reads List encapsulated everyone’s taste. To do that we’d need a list nearly a thousand books long. But in the interest of showing the breadth of voting in our winter list, here are are the nonfiction titles which received multiple votes, from David Rieff’s “Swimming in a Sea of Death” to Eliot Weinberger’s “An Elemental Thing,” to “This Republic of Suffering,” by Drew Gilpin Faust, pictured left, historian and the first female president of Harvard. The titles are shown alphabetically within the order of highest votes received (i.e., the first eight books tied with the same vote totals).

Drew Gilpin Faust, “This Republic of Suffering,” Patricia Hampl, “The Florist’s Daughter,” Daniel Walker Howe, “What God Hath Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848,” David Michaelis, “Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography,” Ben Ratliff, “Coltrane: Story of a Sound,” Marcus Rediker, “The Slave Ship: A Human History,” David Rieff, “Swimming in a Sea of Death: A Son’s Memoir,” Alan Weisman, “The World Without Us,” Judith Freeman, “The Long Embrace: Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved,” Ben MacIntyre, “Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love and Betrayal,” John Richardson, “A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932,” David Shields, “The Thing About Life is That One Day You’ll be Dead, ” Rajiv Chandrasekeran, “Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone,” “The Letters of Noel Coward,” edited by Barry Day, Martin Duberman, “The Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein,” Orlando Figes, “The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia,” Peter Gay, “Modernism,” Peter Godwin, “When a Crocodile Eat the Sun,” David Hajdu, “The Ten Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How it Changed America,” Christopher Hitchens, “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” Adam Kirsch, “The Modern Element: Essays on Contemporary Poety,” Rosemary Mahoney, “Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman’s Skiff,” Janet Malcolm, “Two Lives: Gertude & Alice,” Charlotte Mosley, editor, “The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters,” Joyce Carol Oates, “The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates, 1973-1982,” Katha Pollitt, “Learing to Drive and Other Life Stories,” Luc Sante, “Kill Your Darlings: Pieces, 1990-2005,” George Saunders, “The Braindead Megaphone,” Roberto Saviano, “Gomorroh: A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples’ Organized Crime System,” Charles Taylor, “A Secular Age,” Alexander Waugh, “Fathers and Sons: The Autobiography of a Family,” Tim Weiner, “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA,” Eliot Weinberger, “An Elemental Thing,” Maryanne Wolf, “Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain,” James Wood, “How Fiction Works.”