I recommend the following books in no particular order though I have enjoyed all of them…each for a different set of reasons.
One of those little books that every young person should read. I myself read it in bed when I was 18 from 1-3 in the morning. Never regretted it. Buy Now.
An unputdownable novel, and full statement of Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy. Provocative and exciting. If you fall in love with Ayn Rand, you might also read “The Fountainhead,” and “Anthem.” Buy Now.
Nabokov’s best-known work, and a brilliant and provocative novel. Read it for all the right reasons.
Your future life developmentally, an eye opener.
A brilliant mathematician’s life in mathematics and friendship with John Von Neumann, an even more brilliant mathematician if possible. Buy Now.
An important book by a passionate and important thinker.
Science fiction at its best by a contemporary giant.
One of Ludlum’s early thrillers …steeped in paranoia.
A beautiful coming-of-age story, poignant and full of youthful angst.
Brilliant, impish and erotic short stories by a master storyteller.
Hard to find, but worthwhile to read. After identifying “cumquat” and “eggplant” as two words that cropped up more often than they should in my writing, I wondered if they were favorite words. Then I began to wonder what John Updike’s favorite words were, and Norman Mailer’s etc. Eventually I wrote to the most gifted people I could think of at the time asking about their favorite words. . . and to my delight they wrote back with hilarious, sometimes brilliant, and often fascinating answers. Read it and you’ll see what I mean. A fuller exposition of this book, containing the best of the original with many exciting new additions and a new intro will be published by Marion Street Press in trade paperback under the title Favorite Words of Famous People in May of 2011.
FRAMES OF MIND
By Howard Gardner
Again a book to make you think in which Gardner first proposes his theory of multiple intelligences.
Irving’s blockbuster that put him on the map. Extremely inventive and funny.
POLITICAL POWER AND PERSONAL FREEDOM
By Sidney Hook
A seminal book by a clear thinking political philosopher.
The classic children’s book. . . still charms and amazes. If you escaped childhood without having read it, read it now. Buy Now.
Another children’s classic that shouldn’t be missed.
One of the books that had a profound influence on me early. Dazzling in it’s originality. Everyone should read it. It may change your perspective on life and the world. Buy Now.
Who could not be enchanted by The Great Gatsby? The ease with which Fitzgerald cobbles together a romantic thriller using language as seductive as Gatsby himself makes almost everyone who reads it wish he had written it. Buy Now.
Malamud who wrote “The Natural,” and taught at Bennington College gives us a superior version of the Professor falls for student story, with all its attendant pains and pleasures. Buy Now.
Not one of Lewis’s best-known novels. Set in the pre-civil rights South, Kingsblood Royal deals with bigotry and loyalties in straight-forward, powerful language. Buy Now.
Wonderful story full of mind-bending surprises. Stretches one’s understanding of human nature, and human values. Styron at his best. Buy Now.
The opening is written with such surpassing beauty that you will be unable to stop yourself from finishing this book in a sitting. Yes, it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1942 and became the basis for the musical show, South Pacific. Buy Now.
Maybe one of the most original and spellbinding tales ever told albeit through the lens of fantasy and science fiction. Burroughs, who wrote Tarzan, creates a magnificent love/adventure story which becomes the first of an entire series of John Carter stories set on Barsoom or Mars. Buy Now.
Yes, I am a romantic, but I cannot even get to the fifth act of Cyrano before I break out in tears. If you don’t read, rent the old Jose Ferrer film in black and white. It will have the same effect on you. Buy Now.
WHOM THE GODS LOVE
by Leopold Infeld
The story of Evariste Galois, one of the most prodigiously gifted mathematicians who ever lived. He didn’t live long, but he lived fully.
Another entrancing story by Alice McDermott who I believe is one of our finest writers. If you don’t read “Child Of My Heart”, then read “Charming Billy.” Buy Now.
Tough to find, but one of the most original and devilish fantasies ever written. Published in 1935 I believe, Finney also died young. It was actually made into a film called “The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao,” in which Tony Randall stars. Buy Now.
DEATH BY BLACK HOLE AND OTHER COSMIC QUANDARIES
by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Neil is one of those gifted human beings who is not only a first rate scientist, but also a first rate educator and writer. He writes with clarity and style. If you don’t read Death By Black Hole, read any of his other books. You will be better for it. Buy Now.
Another gifted writer who makes science come alive. His description of encountering Wolf Spiders at night in the Amazon Basin is not only brilliant but takes you inside the mind of a truly great scientist who communicates the passion he feels for what he does. Buy Now.
The opening lines of The Gargoyle may well be the most horrifying description in all of literature. If you wish to go on proceed at your own pace. Buy Now.
This is the case against organized religion, argued with an acid tongue and angry voice. Whether or not you agree with Hitchens is beside the point. Hitchens does make you think, and opens philosophical questions you may not have have asked yourself before. He also writes with scholarly authority and dares you to dispute him. In a filmed TV debate with Hitchens, the Reverend Al Sharpton arguing the other side actually gave as good as he got. Buy Now.
He who reads this book will never forget it. See the film version with Jeremy Irons. Buy Now.
The Wasteland, The Quartets, Prufrock …surely Elliot is one of our greatest poets, if not our greatest. Language just doesn’t get any better than some of the lines he has penned. If you’ve never read Elliot, now is the time to do so. Buy Now.No tags for this post.