Non-Fiction

  • Blankets

    Craig Thompson

    i thought i would be with this book — which clocks in at nearly 600 pages — for at least a few days. but then it turned out i could have breezed through it in one long sitting. it’s hard to put down and the art often takes advantage of the full page, so it reads pretty quick.

    the coming-of-age story is well-constructed; even...more

  • Palestine

    Joe Sacco

    Joe Sacco spent two months in the occupied territories in 1991–1992 interviewing people and gathering stories. like Persepolis this book shows how powerful graphic novels can be with historical and political subjects. Palestine is a direct chronicle of his time there, a comic of him making the comic...more

  • Persepolis

    Marjane Satrapi

    amazing memoir of growing up in iran during the islamic revolution — i was unfamiliar with iran’s history and this gives a good overview from the perspective of being a girl from a resistant family, growing up in the late 1970s and early 1980s. the drawings are stark black and white, there is a lot of humor amid the painful parts. i...more

  • Fast Food Nation

    Eric Schlosser

    incredibly in-depth and well-focused, this bestseller looks at the influence of fast food in the US (and, to a certain degree, beyond). Schlosser starts with a solid foundation of the history of fast food companies and afterwards builds a framework of how the companies and the companies they control run today....more

  • Marginalia: Readers Writing in Books

    H.J. Jackson

    celia suggested this book to me a while back when i found someone’s notes in one story of a Mavis Gallant book. it is the first book to look at the history and argue for the value of writing in books.

    marking books in any way is a practice largely unaccepted for most of the books...more

  • The Death and Life of Great American Cities

    Jane Jacobs

    i have spent the last week getting myself to the halfway point on this. it’s always a little bizarre to read non-fiction books and realize that while reading fiction, my brain must not be engaged as intensely or something, because suddenly i’ve “read” several pages and don’t remember a thing.

    this is a...more

  • Kafka was the Rage

    Anatole Broyard

    this claims to be a “Greenwich Village memoir,” but it didn’t give me much of a sense of greenwich village directly after WWII, perhaps because this book was never finished. the stories and perspectives are interesting, but it feels more like a series of sketches than a cohesive work....more

  • Beloved Chicago Man: Letters to Nelson Algren 1947‑64

    Simone de Beauvoir

    Published as A Transatlantic Love Affair in the US

    it was bound to happen, and it was likely to be during the summer, that i would find many distractions from...more

  • Power Politics

    Arundhati Roy

    we saw arundhati roy speak last month, with her cleverly titled Instant-Mix Imperial Democracy (Buy One, Get One Free). i expected nothing less than these eloquent essays about globalization and privatization of public assets in india. her writing is so engaging and accessible that...more

  • Camera Lucida

    Roland Barthes

    theories on photography by someone who is not a photographer. knowing little of the technical aspects of photography, Barthes attaches his own kind of technicality by applying his own terminologies to the observation of photos. the first section is much heavier, laying out his basic theory; though the second part, written at a later date...more

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