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Fab 5 for Non-Fiction

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Brad Elliott
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 10:54 pm:   

Thought I'd ask what are some of the favorite non-fiction titles around here. My "fab 5" are:

Willy Ley's Exotic Zoology - written in the 50s, Ley discusses the unicorn myth, sea serpents, the dodo bird, and other interesting and off-beat zoology

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable - one of my favorite browsing books

The Aztec Treasure House (Evan Connell) - an essay collection on the history of a number of subjects (my favorite is Shackelton's exploration of Anarctica)

Up in the Old Hotel (Joseph Mitchell) - meet some unusual characters in NYC in the early 20th century

The Night is Large (Martin Gardner) - wonderful essays by a great philosophical mind (my favorites are when Gardner debunks some far out ideas)

Other favorite non-fiction: Frazer's Golden Bough, Robert Merton's On the Shoulder of Giants, and the Oxford Classical Dictionary (another browsing book).

I'd love to see what some other favorite non-fiction books people love to read. I'm always looking for old and unusual books in the used book stores. Someday I would love to get my hands on a copy of Avram Davidson's Adventures in Unhistory -- guess I'll have to wait until someone gets smart and reissues it.
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lwmarti
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 11:18 pm:   

I would have to say that the Oxford English Dictionary is right at the top of my list. The best part was that the price was right. During the dot-com boom, an on-line bookstore managed to accidentially apply a huge discount to the price, and I ended up paying $300 for it. Oh, and since it counted as ONE ITEM, there was an additional $3.95 shipping charge.

Yep, that's for the complete 20-volume set that arrived in five heavy boxes. I really feel that I got my money's worth out of that particular shipping fee.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2005 - 10:44 am:   

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius --- Dave Eggers

A Walk in the Woods--- Bill Bryson

Me Talk Pretty One Day ---- David Sedaris

It's Not About the Bike--- by Lance Armstrong and whichever ghost writer his publisher chose (this book was really corny, but I liked the story he had to tell).

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