What are your must-read book recommendations?

I don’t read. It’s against my religion. Besides, even if I did read, I really don’t know if I’d ever be able to narrow it down to just one book.

If you like sci-fi, you’ve probably already read these titles. I cite them because like “Mona Lisa Overdrive”, they are both sci-fi and hard-boiled gumshoe detective fiction:

“The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton” by Larry Niven
“Ringworld” by Larry Niven

I read few spy/war novels, but I loved these:

“The Spy Who Came In From The Cold” by John Le Carre
“The Hunt For Red October” by Tom Clancy

If it’s not too late for a little light summer reading, try:

“A Year In Provence” by Peter Mayle
“Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories” by Jean Shepherd

And lastly, a couple of 19th century English classics:

“Barry Lyndon” by William Makepeace Thackeray
“Villette” by Charlotte Bronte
“Nicholas Nickleby” by Charles Dickens

I’ve got a new one on my list. I just finished reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

I haven’t seen Moby Dick, an all time great. Read it slowly.

Oh, and my friend W recommends The Very Hungry Catapillar

I mean I haven’t seen Moby Dick posted. Read the book, saw the movie. Both great.

Non-fiction: The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes. Superb in every way - as a set of biographies, as a history book, and as a physics primer.

Fiction: Being There by Jerzy Kosinski. Read it!

And, 'cause I just finished it and loved it: Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. If you like codes, computers, and modern history, it’s for you.

I will resist the temptation to list all my favourite science biographies eg. Turing, Bohr, Heisenberg. Let me know if you’re interested.

Just finished reading this: The Great Arc

Kinflicks by Lisa Alther
A Capote Reader - Truman Capote

Agreed. I thought it was the best of Neal Stephenson’s books.

Also, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace is one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Anything by Dickens, but David Copperfield is one of my perennial favorites.

Denis Johnson writes great books. Already Dead is a trip.

Anything by Philip K. Dick, but especially The Man in the High Castle.

Ok, I’ll stop now.

To anyone reading 1984, I’d whole-heartedly recommend reading Brave New World as well. Also the short stories of Anton Chekhov are an excellent read. Though it is fairly obscure, I’d also recommend Second Skin by John Hawkes; it’s gothic, gloomy, psychological and surprisingly humorous at the same time.

**The Grapes of Wrath
Fahrenheit 451

Well, I’m not a big literary genius so I’m not used to knowing what’s good and what isn’t. :smiley: It did take a while for me to get INTO the Secret History, but I liked it a lot. It’s about people.

My husband is ‘making’ me read Pillars of The Earth right now. That book is about fighting over stones…but I suppose it’s a classic


Heh… I don’t know how I forgot to put this one on my list.

Actually, I don’t read…

Fermat’s Enigma by Simon Singh. It’s about the questo to prove Fermat’s Last Theorem. Good even if you don’t like math - especially if you don’t like math, in fact, since it’s very accessible and a nice guide to how beautiful math can be.

The Floating Opera by John Barth.

First ones that popped into my head:

John Gardner’s Nickel Mountain (this is not the spy-story John Gardner, this is the other one - the one who persuaded me that “American literature” wasn’t an oxymoron after all.)

Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose.

Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet.

And his brother Gerald’s My Family and Other Animals.

[guilty pleasure voice]
The Saint-Germain books, by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
[/guilty pleasure voice]

I really like the Guy Gavriel Kay books… his Tapestry series is fantastic.

A Case of Need, by Michael Crichton (under his pseudonym Jeffrey Hudson) and Travels by M.C.

I second 1984 and Brave New World, and raise you Animal Farm.

Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley) is always a perrenial favorite at the Bobkitty House, as is the prequel The Forest House.

I’ve recently ordered new copies of Maus and Maus II (Art Speigelman) and am eagerly looking forward to re-reading them.

I’m sure there are more, but I’m away from my seven overflowing bookcases at the moment. Perhaps I’ll post more later. :slight_smile:


DAMMIT!!! There’s one now!!! And Foucault’s Pendulum.

Malarky. :smiley: You have no problem whatsover forming and justifying your opinions. Shit, I’m no literary genius but I am as judgmental as one ought to be.

Besides Tartt’s wasted erudition, I just didn’t find the people compelling. Or even remotely real. To me the SH seemed like a pretentious comic book. Then again, I would know all about stuff like that. :wink:

I have read Pillars of the Earth. A pretty good story, but also nothing exactly to write home about. Ken Follett’s a decent storyteller, but as far as I am concerned, there ain’t much redeeming about his work.


All the Pretty Horses - I doubt the movie’s worth a damn but the book was great.
Adventures of a Bystander - Peter F. Drucker
The Immense Journey - Loren Eisley

Anything by Orson Scott Card
Almost anything be John Steinbeck

“Whoever heard of a horse in the house” by Jacqueline Tresl, yup, exactly what it sounnds like, they take in a sick foal and it never makes it back to the barn.

I’m printing this list and I’m going to start reading them all.