The Greatest Norwegian, Irish "Nonfiction" Books Since 1900

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 270 '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. Autobiographies by William Butler Yeats

    This book is a collection of autobiographical essays by a renowned Irish poet and playwright, reflecting on his personal and professional life. It provides a deep insight into his early life, family, influences, and the evolution of his poetic and dramatic works. The author also gives a vivid account of the Irish literary scene and the cultural and political climate of his time, including his involvement in the Irish National Theatre and the Irish Literary Society.

  2. 2. Borstal Boy by Brendan Behan

    "Borstal Boy" is a semi-autobiographical novel that depicts the author's experiences in a British juvenile detention center, or borstal, during World War II. The young protagonist is arrested in Liverpool for his involvement with the Irish Republican Army and is sent to borstal where he spends his formative years. The narrative explores themes of patriotism, identity, and the complexities of adolescence, presenting a raw and compelling portrayal of life in detention and the relationships formed there.

  3. 3. The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad

    This book provides an intimate and eye-opening look into the everyday life of an Afghan family. The narrative follows a bookseller in Kabul, who despite the oppressive Taliban regime, courageously continues his trade. The story delves into his family dynamics, the struggles of his two wives, his children's lives, and the societal norms and customs they navigate. It paints a vivid picture of life in Afghanistan, exploring the themes of love, courage, resilience, and the power of literature.

  4. 4. The Kon-Tiki Expedition: By Raft Across the South Seas by Thor Heyerdahl

    The book is a thrilling account of a daring and adventurous expedition across the Pacific Ocean on a balsa wood raft named Kon-Tiki. The journey, led by a Norwegian explorer, is an attempt to prove that South Americans could have settled Polynesia in pre-Columbian times. The narrative is filled with descriptions of dangerous encounters with marine life, harsh weather conditions, and the challenges of surviving on the open sea. The expedition's success provides compelling evidence in support of the author's theory.

  5. 5. My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard

    The book in question is an autobiographical novel that delves deeply into the minutiae of the author's life, exploring his personal relationships, emotions, and the everyday experiences that shape his identity. It is a candid and introspective narrative that spans across various stages of his life, from childhood to adulthood, and examines themes such as family, death, love, and ambition. The author's unflinching honesty and detailed prose invite readers to reflect on the complexities of their own lives, as he scrutinizes the ordinary moments that, collectively, define who we are.

  6. 6. Selected Stories by William Trevor

    "Selected Stories" is a collection of short stories by acclaimed author William Trevor. The book features some of Trevor's most memorable and haunting tales, exploring themes of love, loss, and the complexities of human relationships. With his signature style of understated elegance and quiet, observant prose, Trevor creates characters that are both ordinary and extraordinary, capturing the subtle nuances of their lives and the emotions that drive them. From the Irish countryside to London's bustling streets, these stories offer a glimpse into the human experience and the ways in which we navigate the world around us.

  7. 7. A Vision by William Butler Yeats

    The book in question is an esoteric exploration of the cyclical nature of history, art, and the human experience, as seen through the lens of the author's unique system of symbolism and mysticism. Drawing upon a wide array of influences, including the occult, astrology, and the author's own imaginative faculties, it presents a complex framework for understanding the interplay of personal and universal forces. The work is divided into sections that delve into philosophical and poetic discussions, offering a vision of reality that is structured around the phases of the moon and characterized by a series of gyres or spirals, representing the evolution and involution of the soul, history, and civilization.

  8. 8. Major Critical Essays by George Bernard Shaw

    This collection of essays showcases the author's incisive wit and profound critical thinking as he delves into a variety of subjects, ranging from the intricacies of Shakespearean drama to the social responsibilities of the artist. The author's articulate and often controversial opinions challenge the status quo and provoke readers to reconsider their preconceptions about literature, theater, and society. His essays are celebrated for their intellectual rigor, humor, and the author's unwavering commitment to social reform, making them an enduring contribution to literary criticism and cultural discourse.

  9. 9. A Fanatic Heart by Edna O'Brien

    "A Fanatic Heart" is a collection of short stories that delve into the complexities of human emotions and relationships, often set against the backdrop of Ireland's lush landscapes and social upheavals. The narratives explore themes of love, betrayal, and the struggles of the human spirit through a variety of characters, from young girls to aging men, each grappling with their own desires, regrets, and search for meaning. The author's lyrical prose and keen insight into the intricacies of the heart and society weave together tales that are both poignant and revealing, offering a window into the soul of her characters and the cultural tensions of the time.

  10. 10. Essays Of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde

    This collection of essays showcases the sharp wit and insightful social commentary of one of the most celebrated writers of the late 19th century. The essays span a range of topics, from art and aesthetics to criticism and personal reflections, all delivered with the author's distinctive blend of eloquence and irony. The author's keen observations on Victorian society, his exploration of beauty and its relation to life, and his thoughts on the role of the artist make this compilation a treasure trove for readers interested in literature, philosophy, and the enduring complexities of human nature.

  11. 11. We Don’t Know Ourselves by Fintan O'Toole

    "We Don't Know Ourselves" by Fintan O'Toole is a collection of essays that explores the current state of Ireland and its people. O'Toole argues that Ireland's sense of identity has been shaped by its history of colonization and the struggle for independence, but that this identity is now being challenged by globalization and the changing social and economic landscape. He examines issues such as immigration, the Catholic Church's declining influence, and the rise of nationalism, and ultimately argues that Ireland needs to embrace a new sense of identity that is inclusive and forward-thinking.

  12. 12. The Complete Letters Of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde

    This compilation is an exhaustive collection of correspondence penned by one of the most celebrated writers of the Victorian era, known for his wit, eloquence, and flamboyant style. The letters provide an intimate glimpse into the author's life, covering his rise to fame, his relationships, his trials, and his time in prison. They reveal his personal thoughts on art, literature, society, and his own creative process. The collection is not only a treasure trove for literary enthusiasts and scholars but also a poignant, revealing portrait of a complex man who was a central figure in the aesthetic movement of the late 19th century.

  13. 13. One Of Us: The Story Of Anders Breivik And The Massacre In Norway by Asne Seierstad

    One of Us by Asne Seierstad is a detailed account of the 2011 terrorist attack in Oslo, Norway, carried out by Anders Breivik. The book explores Breivik's background, motives, and planning leading up to the attack, as well as the aftermath and impact on the survivors and families of the victims. Seierstad's thorough research and interviews with those affected provide a comprehensive and emotional portrayal of the tragedy, shedding light on the complexities of extremism and the devastating consequences of hate.

  14. 14. Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl

    This book is a captivating real-life adventure story about a Norwegian explorer and his crew who set out on a daring voyage across the Pacific Ocean on a balsa wood raft. The journey, undertaken to prove a controversial anthropological theory about the settlement of Polynesian islands, is filled with danger, excitement, and discovery. The author's vivid descriptions of the perilous journey, the magnificent sea life they encounter, and the ultimate success of their expedition make this a thrilling and inspiring read.

  15. 15. My Life As an Explorer (Amundsen) by Roald Amundsen

    This autobiography tells the story of a Norwegian explorer who led the first expeditions to reach the South Pole, traverse the Northwest Passage, and fly over the North Pole in a dirigible. The book provides a detailed account of his adventures, including his experiences with the indigenous peoples of the Arctic, his struggles with harsh weather conditions, and his insights on leadership and survival in extreme environments. The author's love for exploration and his respect for the natural world shine through in his writing.

  16. 16. Full Tilt by Dervla Murphy

    "Full Tilt" is a captivating travelogue that documents the author's adventurous bicycle journey from Ireland to India. The journey is filled with diverse landscapes, cultures, and people, as well as several challenges, including harsh weather conditions, illness, and political unrest. The author's resilience, determination, and passion for exploration are evident throughout the book, providing an inspiring and insightful perspective on solo travel and self-discovery.

  17. 17. A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard

    "A Death in the Family" is a deeply personal and introspective narrative that delves into the complexities of familial relationships, childhood, death, and memory. The protagonist, a writer, is forced to confront his past and his relationship with his alcoholic father after his death. The novel explores the impact of this death on the protagonist's life and his struggle to come to terms with his complicated feelings of love, resentment, and guilt. The narrative is a profound exploration of the human condition, the intricacies of family dynamics, and the lasting impact of grief and loss.

  18. 18. Poor Numbers by Morten Jerven

    This book critically examines the reliability of economic statistics in Sub-Saharan Africa, revealing a significant gap between the reported data and the actual economic realities on the ground. The author delves into the systemic issues plaguing statistical offices across the continent, including underfunding, political interference, and a lack of technical capacity, which collectively contribute to the production of inaccurate economic data. By analyzing the processes and methodologies used to gather and report these statistics, the book sheds light on the profound implications these "poor numbers" have for policy-making, economic development, and international perceptions of African economies. Through this exploration, it calls for a reevaluation of how economic data in these countries is collected and used, advocating for reforms that could lead to more accurate and meaningful measurements of economic progress.

  19. 19. Under the Eye of the Clock by Christopher Nolan

    This novel is a semi-autobiographical account of a young man with cerebral palsy who uses his intelligence and determination to overcome his physical disability. Despite being unable to speak or move without assistance, the protagonist excels academically, eventually earning a place at a prestigious university. The book is a testament to the power of the human spirit and the potential within us all to rise above our limitations.

Reading Statistics

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

Download

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.

Download