Looking for a summer read that’s a little weightier than the norm? Check out the Guardian’s list of the 100 greatest non-fiction books. Some samples:
- Art: The Shock of the New, by Robert Hughes, traces the story of modern art.
- Biography: Robert Graves talks, of course, about his childhood and marriage in his autobiography Goodbye to All That, but also gives a brutal account of WWI.
- Environment: Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring is credited with launching the environmental movement.
- History: We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families, by Philip Gourevitch, is a terrifying account of the Rwandan massacre.
- Journalism: In The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe follows Ken Kesey on a cross-country, LSD-infused road trip.
- Memoir: Mahatma Gandhi recounts his early struggles in The Story of My Experiments with Truth.
- Philosophy: Plato’s The Symposium meditates on the nature of love via a dinner party debate.
- Politics: Mary Wollstonecraft makes a case for women’s education in her 1792 book, A Vindication on the Rights of Woman.
- Religion: The Golden Bough by James George Frazer identifies elements the world’s religions share.
- Science: Stephen Hawking explores the origins of the universe in A Brief History of Time.
- Society: Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem is a classic series of essays about California in the 1960s.
- Travel: Jonathan Raban recounts a voyage from Seattle to Alaska in Passage to Juneau.
Click for the complete list
, or if you’re in the mood for something a bit lighter, try these