The Greatest Canadian, French "Nonfiction" Books Since 1990

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. To The Friend Who Did Not Save My Life by Hervé Guibert

    The book is a candid and harrowing autobiographical novel that chronicles the life of a man grappling with the devastating impact of AIDS during the early years of the epidemic. Through a blend of fact and fiction, the narrative delves into the protagonist's personal experiences with illness, the medical establishment, and the emotional complexities of friendship and mortality. As he confronts his own declining health, the protagonist reflects on the relationships with those around him, including a close friend who is also facing the disease, and the betrayal he feels when a promised miracle cure fails to materialize. The novel is a raw and poignant exploration of the human condition in the face of an unforgiving illness.

    The 2356th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. No Logo by Naomi Klein

    This book explores the negative effects of corporate branding and globalization. It critiques the marketing strategies of large corporations, arguing that they exploit workers and manipulate consumers. The author also discusses how these corporations have a significant influence on culture and public space. The book suggests that consumer activism and grassroots movements can serve as effective counter-forces to corporate power.

    The 3167th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

    The book examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success. Through a compilation of anecdotes and analyses of various cultural phenomena, it argues that success is not simply a result of individual talent or intelligence, but rather the result of a combination of opportunities, hidden advantages, cultural legacies, and the amount of time spent practicing a specific task. The author challenges the traditional notion of the "self-made" individual by emphasizing the importance of external influences and timing, such as being born in a certain era or having access to specific resources, in shaping one's ability to achieve extraordinary accomplishments.

    The 3411th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Essential Cuisine by Michel Bras

    "Essential Cuisine" is a comprehensive guide to gourmet cooking, written by a renowned French chef. The book provides readers with recipes that highlight the chef's innovative and unique approach to cooking, focusing on the use of fresh, local ingredients. The book also includes stunning photography of the dishes and the chef's home region, making it as much a visual feast as a culinary one. It is a must-have for anyone interested in haute cuisine and the art of fine dining.

    The 4823rd Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein

    This book explores the concept of "disaster capitalism", the idea that global capitalism thrives on disaster and chaos. The author argues that free market policies are often pushed through while countries are reeling from wars, natural disasters, or economic crises. She provides a historical analysis of these events, from Chile in the 1970s, to Russia in the 1990s, to the war in Iraq, demonstrating how governments and corporations exploit these periods of shock to implement economic reforms that would otherwise be rejected.

    The 5000th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. The Taming of Chance by Ian Hacking

    "The Taming of Chance" delves into the evolution of the concept of probability and its societal implications. The book takes the reader through the historical progression of probability and statistics, illustrating how they have shaped and been shaped by societal norms. The author highlights the profound impact of this mathematical concept on various aspects of life, including law, science, and philosophy, and how it has fundamentally changed our perception of the world.

    The 5104th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. The Montreal Massacre by Louise Malette and Marie Chalouh

    The book provides a detailed account of a tragic event that took place at an engineering school in Montreal, where a gunman targeted female students, resulting in the loss of numerous lives. The authors delve into the societal and cultural factors that may have contributed to the perpetrator's motivations, examining issues of gender-based violence and misogyny. Through interviews, personal reflections, and analysis, the book seeks to honor the victims and explore the broader implications of the event for Canadian society and the ongoing struggle for gender equality.

    The 5174th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. The Straight Mind by Monique Wittig

    The book is a collection of feminist essays that challenge the conventional understanding of gender and sexuality, positing that the concept of "woman" is a social construct created by a heterosexual society to uphold a binary gender system. The author argues that this system perpetuates the oppression of women and LGBTQ+ individuals by reinforcing the straight mind, a heteronormative way of thinking that marginalizes any form of difference. Through a radical rethinking of language, literature, and social structures, the essays advocate for a new feminist perspective that seeks to dismantle the straight mind and create a society where all forms of identity and expression are valued equally.

    The 5329th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle

    The book is a guide to spiritual enlightenment that emphasizes the importance of living in the present moment to achieve true happiness and fulfillment. It argues that many people are trapped in their own minds, dwelling on past regrets or future anxieties, which creates a barrier to inner peace. Through a series of insightful questions and meditations, the book encourages readers to shed their ego-based state of consciousness, embrace the now, and discover a deeper sense of self beyond their thoughts and emotions. The central message is that by connecting with the present moment, individuals can free themselves from suffering, access a higher state of awareness, and experience a profound transformation in their daily lives.

    The 6528th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. The Social Construction Of What? by Ian Hacking

    "The Social Construction of What?" explores the concept of social constructionism, a theory that argues various aspects of our everyday lives, including knowledge, truth, and social realities, are shaped by social processes and interactions. The book critically examines how this theory is applied across different fields such as science, mathematics, technology, and gender, questioning what exactly is being constructed and the implications of labeling something as socially constructed. The author delves into the debates and controversies surrounding social constructionism, offering a nuanced perspective on its uses and limitations, and encourages readers to consider how social factors influence our understanding of the world.

    The 6627th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty

    This book provides a comprehensive analysis of the dynamics of capital accumulation and distribution over the last few centuries. The author argues that the rate of capital return in developed countries is persistently greater than the rate of economic growth, leading to high levels of wealth inequality. The book further suggests that the level of income inequality is not primarily a result of differences in individual labor income but rather the result of differences in capital ownership and the income derived from it. The author proposes a global tax on wealth to prevent soaring inequality.

    The 6638th Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. The Warrior's Honor: Ethnic War and the Modern Conscience by Michael Ignatieff

    The book explores the moral and ethical challenges faced by modern societies when confronted with ethnic conflicts and wars. It delves into the complexities of humanitarian intervention, the role of the media in shaping public perception, and the struggle to reconcile the principles of human rights with the brutal realities of ethnic violence. Through a series of case studies and philosophical reflections, the author examines the tension between the universal claims of morality and the particular loyalties of kinship and nationality, questioning the capacity of moral conscience to mediate in conflicts where deep-seated cultural and ethnic animosities are at play.

    The 6657th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. Capitalism, Socialism, Ecology by Andre Gorz

    In "Capitalism, Socialism, Ecology," the author explores the complex relationships and conflicts between economic systems and environmental sustainability. He critically examines the failures of both capitalism and real-existing socialism in addressing ecological crises, arguing that neither system is adequately equipped to tackle the environmental challenges of our time. The book advocates for a new ecological order that transcends traditional economic paradigms, proposing a radical restructuring of societal values and economic practices to prioritize sustainability, social justice, and human well-being over profit and growth. Through this analysis, the author contributes to the broader discourse on environmental politics and the search for viable alternatives to unsustainable economic models.

    The 6687th Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. Écrits: The First Complete Edition in English by Jacques Lacan

    This book is a comprehensive collection of essays by a renowned psychoanalyst, offering readers an in-depth understanding of his theories on human psychology. The author delves into complex topics such as the unconscious, the mirror stage, and the concept of the Other, while also exploring the intersection of psychoanalysis with philosophy, linguistics, and anthropology. The book challenges conventional understanding of subjectivity and identity, making it a seminal work in the field of psychoanalysis.

    The 6712th Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. A History Of Reading by Alberto Manguel

    This book offers a captivating exploration of the evolution of reading throughout the centuries, tracing its transformation from a privileged art practiced by a select few to a widespread pastime enjoyed by many. The narrative delves into the intimate relationship between readers and texts, examining how reading practices have shaped human history, culture, and personal lives. Through a tapestry of anecdotes, analysis, and personal reflections, the work celebrates the reader's role in giving meaning to the written word and considers the future of reading in the digital age.

    The 6825th Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. Reflections Of Eden by Birute Galdikas

    "Reflections of Eden" is a captivating memoir by a pioneering primatologist who delves into her immersive experiences studying orangutans in the remote rainforests of Borneo. The book chronicles her profound journey, beginning as a young researcher inspired by Louis Leakey and evolving into one of the world’s leading authorities on orangutans. Through her vivid narrative, the author shares the challenges and triumphs of her fieldwork, her deepening understanding of orangutans, and her relentless efforts in conservation. The memoir not only highlights scientific discoveries but also explores the emotional and ethical complexities of her life’s work in the context of the environmental and cultural pressures impacting the region.

    The 6998th Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. Passagère Du Silence by Fabienne Verdier

    "Passagère du Silence" is a memoir that chronicles the transformative journey of a young Western woman who immerses herself in the ancient traditions of Chinese art and philosophy. Seeking to understand the depths of Chinese painting, she endures years of rigorous training under the tutelage of venerable Chinese masters, navigating cultural barriers and personal challenges. Her narrative weaves together her artistic growth with introspective reflections, revealing how the disciplined practice of calligraphy and painting leads to profound insights into the nature of silence, creativity, and the human spirit. Through her experiences, the memoir explores the fusion of Eastern and Western perspectives, ultimately portraying a quest for universal truths within the realm of art.

    The 7783rd Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. Acts Of Resistance by Pierre Bourdieu

    "Acts of Resistance" is a critical examination of the negative impacts of neoliberal policies on various aspects of society, including culture, education, and the economy. The book argues that these policies, which prioritize market values and corporate interests, undermine the foundations of democratic life and social justice. The author, a prominent sociologist, calls for intellectuals and citizens to resist these trends by defending the values of public welfare and social solidarity. Through a series of essays, the book explores the ways in which power and media manipulate public opinion and emphasizes the importance of critical thinking and collective action in the face of growing inequality and social fragmentation.

    The 7784th Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. The Backyard Astronomer's Guide by Terence Dickinson

    "The Backyard Astronomer's Guide" serves as an essential resource for amateur astronomers, providing comprehensive insights into the tools, techniques, and enthusiasm needed to explore the night sky from one's own backyard. The book offers practical advice on choosing and using telescopes and other equipment, tips for observing planets, stars, and galaxies, and updated information on digital photography, which allows readers to capture spectacular celestial images. It also addresses modern developments in technology and stargazing techniques, making it a valuable guide for both beginners and seasoned stargazers looking to enhance their astronomical experience.

    The 7828th Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. 12 Rules For Life by Jordan B. Peterson

    "12 Rules for Life" by Jordan B. Peterson is a self-help book that offers practical advice on how to navigate the complexities of life and find meaning and purpose. Drawing from a wide range of disciplines, including psychology, philosophy, and biology, the author presents twelve rules that encourage readers to take responsibility for their actions, confront chaos and suffering, and strive for personal growth and fulfillment. With a blend of personal anecdotes, scientific research, and philosophical insights, this book aims to provide readers with practical tools to improve their lives and find harmony in an increasingly chaotic world.

    The 7905th Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. The Years by Annie Ernaux

    "The Years" is a compelling narrative that blends autobiography and collective history to depict the evolution of French society from the 1940s to the early 2000s. Through a blend of personal memories, shared experiences, and common artifacts, the book captures the passage of time and the changes it brings to individual lives and collective identity. The author uses an innovative form of writing, eschewing a traditional linear narrative and personal pronouns, to create a reflective and powerful exploration of memory, aging, and the continuous transformation of societal norms and personal aspirations.

    The 7915th Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. The Boy In The Moon: A Father’s Journey To Understand His Extraordinary Son by Ian Brown

    "The Boy in the Moon" is a memoir written by Ian Brown, a Canadian journalist, about his life with his severely disabled son, Walker. The book chronicles Brown's struggles to understand and care for his son, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder that leaves him unable to walk, talk, or even eat on his own. Brown's journey is one of heartbreak, frustration, and ultimately, acceptance, as he learns to love and appreciate his son for who he is, rather than who he might have been. Through his compelling and deeply personal narrative, Brown sheds light on the challenges faced by families with disabled children, and offers a poignant meditation on the nature of love, family, and the human condition.

    The 7922nd Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. Enriching The Earth by Vaclav Smil

    This book provides a comprehensive exploration of the pivotal role that the Haber-Bosch process has played in transforming agriculture and supporting global population growth. By synthesizing ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen, this technological innovation enabled the mass production of fertilizers, significantly boosting crop yields and thus, food supply. The narrative delves into the scientific, historical, and environmental aspects of this revolution, examining both its monumental contributions to human society and the challenges it poses, including resource depletion and environmental degradation. Through a detailed analysis, the work underscores the delicate balance between technological advancement and sustainable development.

    The 8227th Greatest Book of All Time
  24. 24. Lives Other Than My Own by Emmanuel Carrère

    "Lives Other Than My Own" is an emotionally charged narrative that explores the lives of two women who have experienced immense loss, one from a tsunami and the other from cancer. The author, through his personal encounters, delves into the raw emotions, resilience, and the profound bonds of family and friendship that emerge from these tragic circumstances. The book is a thoughtful exploration of empathy, offering a poignant look at the strength of human spirit in the face of adversity.

    The 8296th Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. Energy At The Crossroads by Vaclav Smil

    This book provides a comprehensive analysis of global energy challenges, focusing on the transition from traditional fossil fuels to more sustainable energy sources. It delves into the historical context of energy consumption, the environmental impacts of current energy use, and the technological, economic, and social hurdles that need to be overcome to shift towards renewable energy. The author critically examines the feasibility of various alternative energy sources, including solar, wind, and nuclear power, and emphasizes the importance of energy efficiency. Through a detailed and realistic assessment, the book presents a nuanced perspective on the complex interplay between energy, environment, and society, urging for a more informed and strategic approach to energy policy and innovation.

    The 8400th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.