Books

10 Books to Help You Understand the Indescribable

Some works of nonfiction are about subjects that are easy to quantify: a biography of a major political figure, for example, or a history of a nation during a particular set of years. But what happens when an author has something more complex on their minds? What about those books that set out to document concepts and ideas that can’t be easily documented?

In some cases, these books can survey a host of head-spinning concepts. In others, they may dedicate tens of thousands of words to explaining as best they can contradictory, ambiguous, or paradoxical information. That’s one of the pleasures of reading the right book: the amount of space an author has at their disposal can allow for a thorough survey of a subject, even when that subject may not be one that lends itself to an easy overview. Here’s a look at ten books which turn the ineffable into sentences and paragraphs, and help to give us a better sense of the world around us.