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100 Major Works of Modern Creative Nonfiction

A Reading List

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100 Major Works of Modern Creative Nonfiction

The Art of Creative Nonfiction, by Lee Gutkind

(Wiley, 1997)

Essays, memoirs, autobiographies, biographies, travel writing, history, cultural studies, nature writing--all fit under the broad heading of creative nonfiction, and all are represented here: a list of 100 major works of creative nonfiction published by British and American writers over the past 80 years. The links will direct you to representative passages collected in our Scrapbook of Styles.


    A
  1. Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness (1968)
  2. James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941)
  3. Martin Amis, Experience (1995)
  4. Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970)


  5. B
  6. Russell Baker, Growing Up (1982)
  7. James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son (1963)
  8. Julian Barnes, Nothing to Be Frightened Of (2008)
  9. Alan Bennett, Untold Stories (2005)
  10. Wendell Berry, Recollected Essays (1981)
  11. Bill Bryson, Notes From a Small Island (1995)
  12. Anthony Burgess, Little Wilson and Big God: Being the First Part of the Confessions of Anthony Burgess (1987)


  13. C
  14. Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces (1949)
  15. Truman Capote, In Cold Blood (1965)
  16. Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (1962)
  17. Pat Conroy, The Water Is Wide (1972)
  18. Harry Crews, A Childhood: The Biography of a Place (1978)


  19. D
  20. Joan Didion, We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction (2006)
  21. Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking (2005)
  22. Annie Dillard, An American Childhood (1987)
  23. Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (1974)


  24. E
  25. Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America (2001)
  26. Gretel Ehrlich, The Solace of Open Spaces (1986)
  27. Loren Eiseley, The Immense Journey: An Imaginative Naturalist Explores the Mysteries of Man and Nature (1957)
  28. Ralph Ellison, Shadow and Act (1964)
  29. Nora Ephron, Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women (1975)
  30. Joseph Epstein, Snobbery: The American Version (2002)


  31. F
  32. Richard P. Feynman, The Feynman Lectures on Physics (1964)
  33. Shelby Foote, The Civil War: A Narrative (1974)
  34. Ian Frazier, Great Plains (1989)
  35. Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (1975)


  36. G
  37. Stephen Jay Gould, Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History (1977)
  38. Robert Graves, Good-Bye to All That (1929)


  39. H
  40. Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965)
  41. Pete Hamill, A Drinking Life: A Memoir (1994)
  42. Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast (1964)
  43. Michael Herr, Dispatches (1977)
  44. John Hersey, Hiroshima (1946)
  45. Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (2010)
  46. Edward Hoagland, The Edward Hoagland Reader (1979)
  47. Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts On The Nature Of Mass Movements (1951)
  48. Richard Hofstadter, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (1963)
  49. Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston, Farewell to Manzanar (1973)
  50. Langston Hughes, The Big Sea (1940)
  51. Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)
  52. Aldous Huxley, Collected Essays (1958)


  53. J
  54. Clive James, Reliable Essays: The Best of Clive James (2001)


  55. K
  56. Alfred Kazin, A Walker in the City (1951)
  57. Tracy Kidder, House (1985)
  58. Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Childhood Among Ghosts (1989)
  59. Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962)


  60. L
  61. William Least Heat-Moon, Blue Highways: A Journey into America (1982)
  62. Bernard Levin, Enthusiasms (1983)
  63. Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape (1986)


  64. M
  65. David McCullough, Truman (1992)
  66. Dwight Macdonald, Against The American Grain: Essays on the Effects of Mass Culture (1962)
  67. John McPhee, Coming Into the Country (1977)
  68. Rosemary Mahoney, Whoredom in Kimmage: The Private Lives of Irish Women (1993)
  69. Norman Mailer, The Armies of the Night (1968)
  70. Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard (1979)
  71. H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy: His Own Selection of His Choicest Writing (1949)
  72. Joseph Mitchell, Up in the Old Hotel and Other Stories (1992)
  73. Jessica Mitford, The American Way of Death (1963)
  74. N. Scott Momaday, Names (1977)
  75. Lewis Mumford, The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects (1961)


  76. N
  77. Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited, (1967)


  78. O
  79. P.J. O'Rourke, Parliament of Whores (1991)
  80. Susan Orlean, My Kind of Place: Travel Stories from a Woman Who's Been Everywhere (2004)
  81. George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London (1933)
  82. George Orwell, Essays (2002)
  83. Cynthia Ozick, Metaphor and Memory (1989)


  84. P
  85. Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1975)


  86. R
  87. Richard Rodriguez, Hunger of Memory (1982)
  88. Lillian Ross, Picture (1952)


  89. S
  90. David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day (2000)
  91. Richard Selzer, Taking the World in for Repairs (1986)
  92. Zadie Smith, Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays (2009)
  93. Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation and Other Essays (1966)
  94. John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley (1962)


  95. T
  96. Studs Terkel, Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (1970)
  97. Lewis Thomas, The Lives of a Cell (1974)
  98. E.P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (1963; rev. 1968)
  99. Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream (1971)
  100. James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times (1933)
  101. Lionel Trilling, The Liberal Imagination: Essays on Literature and Society (1950)
  102. Barbara Tuchman, The Guns of August (1962)


  103. U
  104. John Updike, Self-Consciousness (1989)


  105. V
  106. Gore Vidal, United States: Essays 1952-1992 (1993)
  107. Sarah Vowell, The Wordy Shipmates (2008)


  108. W
  109. Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose (1983)
  110. David Foster Wallace, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments (1997)
  111. James D. Watson, The Double Helix (1968)
  112. Eudora Welty, One Writer's Beginnings (1984)
  113. E.B. White, Essays of E.B. White (1977)
  114. E.B. White, One Man's Meat (1944)
  115. Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration (2010)
  116. Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968)
  117. Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff (1979)
  118. Tobias Wolff, This Boy's Life: A Memoir (1989)
  119. Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own (1929)
  120. Richard Wright, Black Boy (1945)
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