Single nonfiction book read by the most Dopers?

I was telling CateAyo about spending the weekend reading Jared Diamond’s Collapse, which I’m finding interesting, if not as good as Guns, Germs, and Steel. At which point I speculated that the latter book would probably be the one nonfiction book read by more Dopers than any other.

Anyone else got another nominee?

The Straight Dope, More of the Straight Dope, and Triumph of the Straight Dope. I’ll have to look up the author. :slight_smile:

Smart ass! :stuck_out_tongue:

The local telephone directory?

Do you mean read some of or read all of? If the former, my bet would be the Bible.* Lots of Christians here, lots of former Christians, and even many of the never been Christians have read parts of it to see why they don’t want to be.

*For certain values of “nonfiction,” anyway…

Yeah, the answer for most read nonfiction work is pretty much always “The Bible.”

(Though I raise my hand as being among those who have read Germs, Guns, and Steel)

Never read GGaS. I have read parts of the Bible (talk about a preachy book :stuck_out_tongue: ). Some suggestions:

A Tale of Two Cities
Catcher in the Rye
Green Eggs and Ham

The first two are required reading for most American high schoolers, but Catcher in the Rye maybe a little too Amer-centric. Green Eggs and Ham is just a classic and I believe that Seuss has been translated into a helluva lot of languages.

Come to think of it, I read parts of the Bible in English lit junior year…


Whether the Bible is “non-fiction” is extremely debatable.

I would guess that a lot of Dopers have read Carl Sagan’s Demon-Haunted World.

I was going to nominate Cosmos.

Perhaps Bill Bryson’s Short History of Nearly Everything?

“Non-fiction” is anything that isn’t a novel or a short story. Those are fiction. Everything else, in a library, is non-fiction, including plays, poetry, myths, Holocaust denial literature, and tons of other things that aren’t strictly (or at all) factual.

I have read both the Bible and GGaS. And also the DS books. :cool:

I’ve noticed many people mentioning that they have read Lies my Teacher Told me by James W. Loewen. I’ve also read it and thought it was really good. Anyone else want to chime in?

When you say you have read the Bible, does that mean you have read every single word in there?

So A Tale of Two cities and Catcher in the Rye are alright but Catch 22 wouldn’t be?

The Bible isn’t really what I had in mind. Plus, as treis points out, very, very few of us have actually sat down and read the Bible – I was thinking more of a book that you start, er, “in the beginning” with and read straight through.

I personally haven’t read the Sagan books mentioned (the only thing by him I’ve ever read was Dragons of Eden, and since I read that after Jaynes’s Origin of Consciousness…, I wasn’t particularly impressed.

I own the Bryson but haven’t read it yet. It is in the bookshelf right next to me as I type, which is basically the front of the very long queue.

Definitely the Bible

I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of dopers have read Martin Gardner or Douglas Hofstadter. And if you read Cecil Adams you probably have also checked out similar (but lesser I hasten to add) writers in the genre like Joel Achenbach, Jan Brunvald, David Feldman, and William Poundstone.


I never got that right in elementary school either.

I was going to nominate Guns, Germs, and Steel, on the off-chance that it wasn’t mentioned in the OP. Indeed, that wasn’t very likely. I’ve read Lies My Teacher Told Me, but not anything by Carl Sagan. No Straight Dope books, either.

I’m not sure I understand the question. Are you asking if the first two are fiction, and Catch 22 isn’t? Or the other way 'round? Or what?

All three are novels, and therefore fiction. A novel may have history or fact in it, and still be a novel. A novel may feature a historical person as the protagonist and still be fiction, because the author is still writing to tell the story and structuring, adding, writing dialogue, etc. Does that help?