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Summer reading list from a New Orleanian reader: 100 non-fiction and 100 fiction reads

Folwell Dunbar

Editor's Note: Educator and New Orleans native, Folwell Dunbar, knows that when the summer hits, the city slows down. Many flee the heavy heat for the close-by shores, and whether you are in the city or at the beach, there are pages that beg for your eyes. As an avid historian and reader, Folwell has put together his top 100 non-fiction and top 100 fiction books. 

100 works of non-fiction

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
  2. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann
  3. 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created by Charles C. Mann
  4. All the President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
  5. All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release by Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon
  6. American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham
  7. The Atlas of the World by National Geographic
  8. Art of War by Sun Tzu
  9. Autobiography of Mark Twain by Mark Twain
  10. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley
  11. Beautiful Crescent: A History of New Orleans by Joan B. Garvey
  12. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson
  13. The Civil War by Bruce Catton
  14. The Civil War: A Narrative by Shelby Foote
  15. Che Guevara: A revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson
  16. Chronicles: Volume One by Bob Dylan
  17. Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom
  18. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
  19. Conquest: Montezuma, Cortes and the Fall of Old Mexico by Hugh Thomas
  20. The Conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar
  21. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  22. Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns by Clayton M. Christiansen
  23. Don’t Know Much About History by Kenneth C. Davis
  24. The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E. B. White
  25. The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  26. Europe: A History by Norman Davies
  27. The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America's Banana King by Rich Cohen
  28. Free to Choose by Milton and Rose Friedman
  29. The Frontier Thesis by Frederick Jackson Turner
  30. Good to Great by Jim Collins
  31. God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens
  32. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
  33. Helmut Newton: SUMO by June Newton
  34. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
  35. A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor
  36. Huey Long by T. Harry Williams
  37. The Hummingbird and the Hawk: Conquest and Sovereignty in the Valley of Mexico 1503-1541 by R. C. Padden
  38. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  39. The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
  40. John Adams by David McCullough
  41. Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft by Thor Heyerdahl
  42. Lee by Douglas Southall Freeman
  43. Lives of the Caesars by Suetonius
  44. Meditations of Marcus Aurelius by Marcus Aurelius
  45. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  46. The Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie
  47. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  48. The Life of Birds by David Attenborough
  49. The Life of Mammals by David Attenborough
  50. A Little History of the World by E. H. Gombrich
  51. The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
  52. The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam by Barbara W. Tuchman
  53. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  54. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
  55. The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris
  56. Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts
  57. National Geographic: The Photographs
  58. Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat
  59. New Orleans: Elegance and Decadence by Richard Sexton and Randolph Delehanty
  60. No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan by Robert Shelton
  61. On Writing by Stephen King
  62. The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
  63. Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi
  64. Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen
  65. Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative by Ken Robinson
  66. The Oxford English Dictionary
  67. The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870 - 1914 by David McCullough
  68. A People’s History of The United States by Howard Zinn
  69. The Private Life of Plants by David Attenborough
  70. The Prince by Niccolo Machievelli
  71. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy
  72. Reconstruction After the Civil War by John Hope Franklin
  73. Rising Tide by John M. Barry
  74. The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
  75. Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases
  76. The School’s Our Children Deserve by Alfie Kohn
  77. Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
  78. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
  79. The Second World War by Winston S. Churchill
  80. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
  81. The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley
  82. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Colbert
  83. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
  84. Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered by E.F. Schumacher
  85. Somebody: The Reckless Life and Remarkable Career of Marlon Brando by Stefan Kanfer
  86. The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois
  87. The Story of Art by E.H. Gombrich
  88. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  89. Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris
  90. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by John Meacham
  91. Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
  92. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
  93. Why the West Rules - for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future by Ian Morris
  94. 100 Photographs: The Most Influential Images of All Time by the editors of Time Magazine
  95. Venice: A New History by Thomas F. Madden
  96. The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History by Michael H. Hart
  97. Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe
  98. Walden: Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau
  99. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
  100. The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman

100 works of fiction


  1. 100 Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda
  2. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  3. 1984 by George Orwell
  4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  5. The Aeneid by Virgil
  6. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone
  7. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
  8. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  9. Being There by Jerzy Kosinski
  10. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  11. Bloom County: The Complete Collection by Berkeley Breathed
  12. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  13. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
  14. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  15. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  16. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  17. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams
  18. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  19. The Complete Stories by Franz Kafka
  20. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  21. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
  22. Contact by Carl Sagan
  23. The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes
  24. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  25. Deliverance by James Dickey
  26. Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee
  27. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  28. E. Cummings: Complete Poems, by E.E. Cummings
  29. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
  30. The Exorcist by William Blatty
  31. Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  32. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (trilogy)
  33. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  34. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  35. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  36. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
  37. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  38. Griffin & Sabine by Nick Bantock
  39. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  40. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  41. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  42. The Human Stain by Philip Roth
  43. I, Claudius by Robert Graves
  44. The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  45. James Thurber: Writings & Drawings by James Thurber
  46. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
  47. The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
  48. The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper
  49. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  50. The Lyrics: Since 1962 by Bob Dylan
  51. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
  52. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  53. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (trilogy)
  54. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
  55. The Martian by Andy Weir
  56. Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian
  57. The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
  58. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  59. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  60. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  61. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  62. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  63. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
  64. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  65. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  66. Pierre by Maurice Sendak
  67. The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
  68. The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
  69. The Quiet American by Graham Greene
  70. Rabbit Run by John Updike
  71. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  72. Savages by Don Winslow
  73. The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano
  74. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  75. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
  76. Side Effects by Woody Allen
  77. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  78. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  79. Stewart Little by E.B. White
  80. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
  81. Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins
  82. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
  83. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemmingway
  84. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  85. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
  86. Tinker, Tailor, soldier, Spy by John le Carré
  87. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  88. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
  89. The Ugly American by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer
  90. Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry
  91. Underworld by Don DeLillo
  92. Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee
  93. The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot
  94. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  95. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  96. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  97. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  98. White Teeth by Zadie Smith
  99. The World According to Garp by John Irving
  100. The Wretched Stone by Chris Van Allsburg


Folwell Dunbar is a New Orleans educator, artist and survivor of many things, from roaches to German U-boats and heartbreak. He is putting together a collection of these short stories and survival tales called He Falls Well (his name is pronounced “fall well”). NolaVie is honored to preview some of those stories here. Email him at fldunbar@me.com.