Wednesday, May 27, 2009

List of the Day: The Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction

The BBC awarded its first Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction in 1999. The prize "is the richest non fiction prize in the UK, worth £20,000 to the winner. . . . [T]he prize aims to reward the best of non-fiction and is open to authors of all non-fiction books in the areas of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts." A few non-fiction books are included in some of the Must Read lists here on Rose City Reader, but this is the first exclusively non-fiction list I have posted. I enjoy non-fiction more and more, but my default reading choices are novels. To remind myself to read more non-fiction, I have adopted this list -- it is a short one, the books are contemporary, and (so far) only one is pure military history. A couple, shown in blue, are on my TBR shelf right now, but I haven't read any of these books yet. 2008 The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale 2007 Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran 2006 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro 2005 Like A Fiery Elephant: The Story of BS Johnson by Jonathan Coe 2004 Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder 2003 Pushkin: A Biography by TJ Binyon 2002 Peacemakers: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 by Margaret MacMillan (the American title is Paris 1919) 2001 The Third Reich: A New History by Michael Burleigh 2000 Berlioz Volume 2: Servitude and Greatness by David Cairns 1999 Stalingrad by Antony Beevor If anyone else is reading these prize winners, please leave a link in a comment and I will add it to this post.

6 comments :

farmlanebooks said...

I'm not a big non-fiction reader, so was very surprised to discover that I have actually read two of these. I loved The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, but wasn't so keen on 1599. I should probably make an effort to read more non-fiction books.

Caitlin said...

Imperial Life in the Emerald City is a great book, although it will disgust you beyond belief at the rampant waste & incompetence. Really great & in many ways necessary read.

Laura said...

I would say I usually read novels, too, but when I do an actual accounting I'm surprised to discover how many nonfiction books I've read.

When are you going to have a list of Newbery Award winners?

Rose City Reader said...

I find myself enjoying non-fiction more and more -- when I remember to read it. The Mr. Whicher book looks particularly good. Emerald City does't sound appealing to me, but it must be better than it sounds.

Newbery? That's kids books, right? One of the few lists I don't follow. I'm afraid to post it, because then I may feel compelled to read them all, and adding a genre is NOT what I need to be doing at this point.

Laura said...

Kids books? Genre? Do I smell a pigeon hole? (And I'd hate to think what one smells like.)

Letters on Pages said...

Hurray for Non-Fiction! I've not read any of these...I haven't even heard of most of them. Which is kind of embarrasing considering I am a non-fiction book reviewer!

Imperial Life looks great though!

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