Showing posts with label Reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reading. Show all posts

Friday, December 28, 2018

Early Results for the Best Nonfiction Poll

It has been one month since this online poll has begun.  There have been 27 responses to the poll so far with a wide variety in the books receiving votes.  Of the 112 books listed, 69 received at least one vote.  The top vote receivers so far are listed below.

Title, Author (Year)
Votes (%)
On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (1859)
11 (40.7%)
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1962)
7 (25.9%)
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (1988)
5 (18.5%)
Walden by Henry David Thoreau (1854)
5 (18.5%)
The Diary of a Young Girl (The Diary of Anne Frank) by Anne Frank (1947)
4 (14.8%)
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (1976)
4 (14.8%)
Relativity by Albert Einstein (1916)
4 (14.8%)
Cosmos by Carl Sagan (1980)
4 (14.8%)

Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species is the early leader with 40.7% of the vote followed by Rachel Carson's Silent Spring with 25.9%.  Walden by Henry David Thoreau and A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking are tied for third with 18.5% of the vote.  Four books are tied for fourth with 14.8% of the vote each.  

The voting is open ended with no final voting date.  Respondents can suggest new books with the other option.  I will post the results from time to time as new responses come in.  This is a living breathing poll.

One respondent suggested a poetry book by TS Eliot.  I believe that poetry is neither fiction or nonfiction.  If you disagree, you may register it in the comment section below.  I will take it under consideration.  I also created a poll on blog Facebook page on this subject. Make your voice heard!

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Friday, November 30, 2018

Vote for the Best Nonfiction Books of All Time

Last week I discussed the PBS series The Great American Read and the need for an online poll for the greatest non fiction book of all time.  This week I thought I would take it upon myself to create such an online poll so that you can make your voice heard on the matter.  Admittedly this is not a scientific survey.  Respondents can vote as often as they like.  

Respondents may go to the survey page by clicking on the survey page tab at the top or this link, check on the books that you think are deserving out of the 100 that I have selected, and then submit your vote by clicking the submit button.  There is an other box at the bottom where you can suggest a book that I have missed.

I have compiled the list from other online lists of the greatest (or most popular) nonfiction books. It is admittedly a Euro and male centered author list as it has been a male and Euro dominated world for many centuries.  Only 10 authors are female.  Six authors are African American.  The lists from which I drew were also euro and male dominated.  I did make an effort to include non-European books and authors such as Confucius, Sun Tzu (Art of War), and the Kama Sutra.  Ancient as well as modern authors are included.  

So as not to bias the voter to one book over the other, only the title, author, and date of publication for the book are presented.  There are no images in this post for the same reason.  The voter can look up information on the book if he or she are unfamiliar with a title.  As yet there is no fixed end for this poll.  I will post the results as they change.

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Friday, November 23, 2018

The Great American Read-Nonfiction Edition

I thought I would take a break from the recent election to discuss another topic I was thinking about.  I really enjoyed watching The Great American Read (GAR) on PBS last fall.  They put together a list of 100 novels and or series of books and profiled them on their program.  They had celebrities endorse their favorites on the list and then asked viewers to go on their website and vote for the ones that they liked.  You can see the list of books they chose and who won here.  To Kill a Mockingbird won the online poll (people could vote for more than one and more than once) followed by the novel series Outlander and Harry Potter, Pride and Prejudice, and The Lord of the Rings series.

All of this is interesting but I wonder why non fiction books do not receive the same attention.  They can have at least as great of an impact on society as 1984 or Huckleberry Finn (it didn't make the GAR list of 100 but Tom Sawyer did).  The most impactful books are often the most controversial such as Charles Darwin's the Origin of Species or Karl Marx's The Communist Manifesto.  Others can fill a void such as Dr. Benjamin Spock's Baby and Child Care.  

Like fiction, nonfiction covers a wide variety of Genre's.  26 of the 100 books in the GAR poll were science fiction/fantasy as were three out of the top five finalists in the poll.  Nonfiction can cover any book based in fact be it a cookbook, a dictionary, biography, science, or history.  To their followers religious texts like the Bible, The Quran, or the writings of the Buddha are factual books but nonbelievers of those faiths may not see it that way.  The biggest challenge is which books to include.  

Goodreads has an online poll for the best nonfiction books of this year with the sub-genres of biography, history, and science.  Robert McRum published his own list in the Guardian of his top 100 nonfiction books of all time written in English presented in chronological order.  I say why not have the crowd weigh in on the top text books of all time?  Why just focus on English texts?  I might be willing to create such an online poll if no one else will.  I have advertised many nonfiction books on this site

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