This week The Guardian published their list of the 100 greatest non-fiction books of all time. Three of these were grouped into the literature topic – The Lives of the Poets by Samuel Johnson, An Image of Africa by Chinua Achebe and The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim.
A good fact about Achebe, author of Things Fall Apart, No Longer At Ease and A Man of the People, is that when he started at university in Nigeria he was admitted as a Major Scholar to study medicine, only to change subjects after a year to English, history and theology. Who knows, maybe if it had not been for this change of heart the world may never have been treated to Achebe’s brilliant literature.
The book featured in the list, An Image of Africa, attacks Joseph Conrad for his depiction of the African as an unruly savage in Heart of Darkness.
Other books to make it on to the Guardian’s list include Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant, The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking and The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer.
But what are YOUR favourite non-fiction books? Everyone loves talking about their favourite novels/poems/short stories, but how often do you sit down and think about your favourite piece of non-fiction?