The British newspaper The Guardian recently published a list of what it considers to be the 100 greatest non-fiction books of all-time.
How many have you read? I was somewhat surprised to find that I had only read four of them in their entirety (The Souls of Black Folk, Good-Bye To All That, The Histories, Homage To Catalonia). Yes, it makes me feel like a Philistine. I had read selections or excerpts from many more, but, I haven't read anywhere near as many of these books as I have some other lists', such as the Modern Library's 100 best non-fiction books.
To be honest, I am surprised that more of these books were not assigned to me in school. I took a lot of history, american studies, and political science courses in college, but apparently did not take enough philosophy or capital-H humanities courses to make a larger dent into this list. Our blogmigo Ellen Wernecke has read 18, which, if I had to guess, is more than anybody I know (with the possible exception of Paul Smecker).
For what its worth, I fared much better on The Guardian's list of the 100 best novels, which I think is a more interesting list, given its parameters, than the Modern Library's, which is kind of on the stodgy side. For what its worth, Radcliffe College's list of the 100 best novels of the 20th Century may be my favorite.