What's the SDMB required reading list?

In [thread=554992]this thread[/thread] *Guns Germs and Steel *is described by Wendell Wagner as being ‘practically part of the SDMB required reading list since it’s mentioned so often on the board’. What’s the rest of the list? Ender’s Game? The Moon is a Harsh Mistress? God help us, Hogg? What else should we be swotting up on?

Just from my perspective, O’Brian’s Aubrey & Martin books, Pratchett’s Discworld series, Butcher’s Dresden Files, and Fraser’s Flashman series always come up on the boards.

I would also mention anything by William Poundstone, and of course the Straight Dope books.

As for anything else - does Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene come up a lot?

Also, let me just say - Nova is a better (and more appealing) Delany book than Hogg ever was.

this is going to be a long list, but it starts with The Lord of the Rings

Salt has often been mentioned alongside Guns, Germs, and Steel.

I don’t know that it’s required, but it seems that many Dopers are very familiar with Stephen King’s The Stand.

Having a well-read copy of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable close by is always a good idea.

Agreed. World War Z by Max Brooks probably also qualifies.

Replay, by Ken Grimwood, seems to be a board favorite.

The entire five volumes of the Hitch-hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. No, that wasn’t a misprint - five volume trilogy.

If you at all begin liking the series, then the fifth book will seem like a depressing let-down. But you must still read it so that you can shake with righteous fury when you angrily post that the fifth book never.HAPPENED!!

Are we not counting And another thing…?

Oxford English Dictionary, and CIA Factbook. No, you don’t have to read them all the way through, they’re for reference.

Given the number of passionate Libertarians/Objectivists around here, I’m sure there are works by Ayn Rand and Hayek on the list, but I’ll let them argue over which ones. Oh, and I bet Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations made the cut too.

I have not read them, but Terry Pratchett’s books seem to be mentioned quite often.

I have “The Gift of Fear” on my to-read list due to its frequent mentions on the board

Hitchhiker’s Guide has 5 books?! I barely made it through the first one. I think it’s one of those books you have to read as a teen to love. Reading it in my 40s, I was quite meh about the whole thing. Ditto the EarthSea Trilogy–read that for grad school class and found it fairly tame/dry.
I’ll add to the Required Reading List Catcher in the Rye, just because it’s iconic, not out of personal preference.

Carl Sagan is very highly regarded here, not just his works on astronomy but works on pseudoscience and critical thinking such as The Demon Haunted World.

It’s hard to imagine a thread in which a Vonnegut reference will go unnoticed, sometimes even the more obscure stuff like Mother Night or Deadeye Dick.

I belong to a minority here (though not a tiny minority) in that I don’t care for Tolkien, but many are rabid fans. One of if not the longest threads ever was “LotR as written by ____”. Those of us who aren’t appreciators of Middle Eart are tolerated and slowly gaining rights ever since we began marching back in '02 or so.:wink:

If Sagan was so into critical thinking, why did he spell the word “Qur’an” incorrectly repeatedly in that book?

Actually, I like the book anyway, but the repeated error made me batty.

I dislike/am disinterested in a number of the books mentioned in this thread so far. It feels more like people are mentioning books they like personally, as opposed to books the Dope frequently mentions or recommends.

I had to do a search on why you mentioned Hogg - I missed that drama. Do people know just what an exceptional writer Delany is? It would be a shame if all he was known for nowadays was Hogg. His output in SF speaks for itself, but other stuff like his autobiography The motion of light on water, about being young, gay (and married) and trying to make it as a writer in 60s NY is just outstanding.

I’ve seen China Mieville mentioned a lot on this board, and I read his first two Bas-Lag novels on the basis of people recommending them here. Definitely required reading for any SF / fantasy fans. More than that, The Scar is a superb example of the technique required to write a SF novel (IMHO - not that I’ve ever written a novel :)). Imagine the plot of the Scar in the hands of a novice - it would be a complete disaster. If I was trying to get into writing this would be like a text book for me.

Neal Stephenson is another writer who is widely read and referenced on this board - although that’s probably true for any board on the internet. He’s pretty much the reigning heavy weight champion of technology driven SF.

How did he spell it? I prefer the spelling “Koran” myself, but I’ve seen several “Proper” spellings using both the “K-” and “Q-” beginnings.

Most of the books I was going to mention (The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide Trilogy, The Flashman Papers, and The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress) have already been mentioned, but I’ll add:

Freakonomics
A Walk In The Woods
(Actually, anything by Bill Bryson)
At least one of the Sherlock Holmes stories
The Day Of The Jackal (Frederick Forsyth)
The War Of The Worlds* or The Time Machine (H.G. Wells)
The Big Sleep or The Maltese Falcon (Raymond Chandler/Dashiell Hammett)

Also, the Discworld novels seem to get mentioned quite frequently here, although I personally haven’t read any of them.

Atlas Shrugged comes up a lot as well.

I see several already mentioned, so I’ll add five of the other “Must Read” books on my shelves…
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End by Ken Follett

For fans of Sci-Fi,
Eon by Greg Bear
And of course, the entire
Foundation series by Isaac Asimov