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Send questions and comments to Paul Phillips <>
Copyright 1994, 1995, 1996, Paul Phillips.

The 120 Days of Sodom

Written by the Marquis De Sade

Jason W. Neiss <>

Jason: Erotic, obscene, compelling, disgusting, thought-provoking, and horrifying, all at the same time. De Sade wrote 'the 120 Days' as a prisoner in the Bastille, and presents moral, political, and philosophical concepts later expounded upon by Camus, Nietzsche, Rand, and others, in a format that cannot be ignored. A truly visionary thinker -- and the book is also the most complete catalog of humanity's perversions available. De Sade's '120 Days' makes Krafft-Ebing's 'Psychopathia Sexualis' look like a children's book.

2001: A Space Odyssey

Written by Arthur C. Clarke

Amaury Arce <>

An inspirational, yet accurate work of science fiction, that has profoundly influenced me since childhood, helping inspire me to a career in science. On the one end, its "ascent of man" theme is of nearly religious proportions, while, on the other end, its scientific/technological theme shows how far humanity can really get. I have yet to find a science fiction novel that is as faithful and accurate. Compared to 2001, most other sci-fi is more akin to a fantasy-adventure within a technological setting, rather than plausible yet imaginative science.

84 Charing Cross Road

Written by Helene Hanff

Carolyn Gordon <>

Absalom, Absalom!

Written by William Faulkner

Jay Wigley <>

In his most ambitious work, Faulkner not only engages myriad facets of the human experience, he goes further by crafting a novel that has levels above the workings of the text. The method, diction, order, and narrators of the novel play crucial roles in what the reader "knows" about the main characters on the stage. The very nature of history is the fabric of the novel.

The Acid House

Written by Irving Welsh

Jill Neal <>

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Written by Mark Twain

Ken Pennington <>

The Age of Innocence

Written by Edith Wharton

Rose Van Wormer

The Age of Reason

Written by Thomas Paine

Terry J. Foster <>

A scathing and unanswered indictment on the folly of Christianity, followed by a magnificent treatise on the "One True Religion" ... Deism.

The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream

Written by Paulo Coelho

Charlene Kingston <>

This small book contains all the advice your parents wanted to give you to prepare you for finding your way in the world. I reread this book a couple times a year -- every time my heart is weary or my mind is confused about what to do next, or how to make sense of the circumstances I am in. This is medicine for the heart. It reveals the mysteries of how the heart finds its own course in life and how the only life worth pursuing is spent following your heart. My parents didn't teach me to talk to myself this way, but now that I have found this book, I am teaching myself.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Written by Alcoholics Anonymous


The book _Alcoholics Anonymous_ describes precisely how to stop compulsive drinking if you have lost control. The nature of the solution is spiritual, however the book is not religious, meaning that it does not employ the dogma of a specific religion. The book cannot usually be obtained at traditional book stores, however, it can be obtained at virtually any A.A. meeting, and some will even give them away for free because the members feel that it is so important to the recovery of alcoholics. Since I was introduced to this book at 21, and have practiced the methods within, I have not had to take a drink. That was over eight years ago. It has truly changed my life.

The Aleph

Written by Jorge Luis Borges

Leo Kantor <>

Best book I've read from the best writer I've ever met digging through the vast ocean of printed words.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass

Written by Lewis Carroll

Will Briggs <>

Annotated by Martin Gardner. Gardner's notes explain a lot of things you might not have known (why are hatters mad?), and describe how Carroll's ideas relate to things like quantum mechanics. Also, the song parodies are funnier once you've seen the originals.

Alicia: My Story

Written by Alicia Appleman-Jurman

Lauren Kane <>

I originally received this book as a required reading to be read over several weeks, but I ended up finishing it in a few days. This remarkable story of a Holocaust survivor is one of the finest you'll ever read. Her tale is not only heart-wrenching but also reads like a suspenseful adventure novel. Her stories of tragedy and triumph give even Anne Frank's memoires competition. This is a truly excellent book about the human spirit and the difference one person can make. This is a book that everyone should read.

All the Little Animals

Written by Walker Hamilton

John Evans <>

This book was read to our 6th-grade English class in 1968 by a teacher ahead of his time. I read it again 20 years later and was still moved. It concerns a retarded man who escapes from his step-father into the English countryside and takes up with a recluse who buries all of the animals killed by on the highway. Strangely enough, although Hamilton died in 1968, I found this in a local library in 1988.

All The Pretty Horses

Written by Cormac McCarthy

Mike Pingleton <>

A century from now, McCarthy will stand with the likes of Melville and Twain. Wake up to the best kept secret of American fiction in the past thirty years.

All Quiet on the Western Front

Written by Erich Maria Remarque

Anne Snyder <>

WWI from the perspective of a young German. Anti-war at its most subversive and ironic... You'll never think the same way about the "enemy" again.

All the King's Men

Written by Robert Penn Warren

Barbara Shovers <bshover@UOFT02.UTOLEDO.EDU>

Ostensibly a political novel, the writing and story are lyrical and do a moving job of expressing the contradictions of the human experience.

Always Coming Home

Written by Ursula Le Guin

Vicki Rosenzweig <>

In this book, Le Guin paints a far-future society that is both plausible and livable, and in the process throws some light on our own world. Science fiction, though only loosely a novel -- it includes sections of poetry, stories separate from the main narrative, and what amounts to cultural description on everything from religion to food -- but will appeal at least as much to people who are not science fiction fans. I've read this book several times in the years since it first came out, and part of me has lived in the Na Valley ever since I first read it. If you're willing to change your view of the world slightly, but aren't looking for Answers to everything, this one is well worth your time and attention.

Amazon Diary, The Jungle Adventures of Alex Winters

Written by Hudson Talbott and Mark Greenberg

Eva Sandler <>

This is a book for kids. I am 11 and I have never seen a book like this before. All I want to do now is to make my diaries look just like this book, which is a fictional diary of a 12 year old boy who gets stuck in the jungle in the Amazon and is then rescued by Indians. It almost seems real and I think it is a totally great unique book!

The American

Written by Henry James

BridgetX Navoda <>

A grand tale of a wealthy American in Paris looking for a wife. Through the veils of French - v - American, we can be proud of our humble beginnings, and find strength in our "singleness."

An American Childhood

Written by Annie Dillard

Cheryl Camp <>

Technically, this book is an autobiography, but mostly it is about what it means to grow up. She describes better than anyone I have ever read what it feels like to wake up and turn into a person -- what it feels like to be alive. It is a gift to return to that time and consider the choices you're making.

American Psycho

Written by Bret Easton Ellis

Brent Halliburton
Mario van den Ancker <>

Brent: After writing NYT Best Seller Less Than Zero, Bret Easton Ellis was dropped by his publishing company, which refused to publish this work. A nightmarish description of how modern life can mold and break someone like an overheated crucible. Brilliant. Changed the way I look at people. Not for the weak of heart.

Mario: After reading it, it certainly gave me food for thought about how alienated people can become from one another, and about how well you actually know people (or how well people actually know me, for that matter.)

Among Whales

Written by Roger Payne

Tim Ereneta

A rare treat: a scientist whose passion for his work comes across in clear, concise prose and fascinating stories of discovery. Vivid travel writing, lucid explanations of natural history, and outspoken opinions on the politics surrounding whales and their protection.

And No Birds Sang

Written by Farley Mowatt

Brent Trenholm

It's basically his memoirs of the first three years of World War Two. It's a wonderfully written book and one of the most poetic I've ever read - Mowatt's account of his military service is funny, depressing and horrifying all at the same time. Most of all, it's an account of how he grew up and when.

And The Ass Saw The Angel

Written by Nick Cave

Bryan Subbert <>

Unbelievably well written! The story of a boy, born mute, to a drunken mother and inbred father in the hills of the deep south. A beautifully naked, terrifying tale of a human soul serching for love, spirituality, and his angel, in a time of dark and brutal confusion.

Angela's Ashes

Written by Frank McCourt

K.Hall <>

_Angela's Ashes_ is currently on the NY Times best sellers list, so this may not be a great revelation. However, this book is not to be missed. Frank McCourt tells us about growing up in Limerick, Ireland in a family which had more than its share of troubles. Although his childhood was unbelievably poor he portrays many of the situations with great humor. There's info on the author at, and he's writing a sequel which will continue the story (_Angela's Ashes_ when he emigrates at age 20).

Angry Candy

Written by Harlan Ellison

Jonathan Peterson <>

Harlan at his angriest, railing at the Gods for the deaths of many of his friends and fellow writers in a short period of time has created some of his best writing. I was blown away by Angry Candy when I first read it. I re-read it after my own father's death; the catharsis and insight into death and grief it gave me has left me with a debt I can never repay Mr. Ellison.

Animal Dreams

Written by Barbara Kingsolver

Rebecca Drury

I don't re-read many books anymore. I've read this one 3 times in 2 years, and the author is the only one to whom I've ever written.

Animal Farm

Written by George Orwell

Angi Kridler <>

On the surface, _Animal Farm_ is the name of the farm where the animals revolt, drive off the humans, and begin to run the farm themselves. I've lost track of how many times I've re-read this book since I discovered it when I was about 13, but it seems to just get better, and deeper, every time. This is the origin of the classic line, "All animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others."

Anna Karenina

Written by Leo "Papa" Tolstoy

Jim McGough

This book achieves the perfect balance between high art -- vivid character development, delicately interwoven plot-structure, author's instinct -- and good, trashy romance.

The Annotated Sherlock Holmes

Written by William S. Baring-Gould

Les Moskowitz <>

This has become THE definitive compilation of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Besides reproducing the original sixty stories, the editor has included pictures, maps, diagrams and a huge amount of commentary about the detective, his author, organizations, parodies and pastiches and, of course, the stories themselves. In short, it provides everything you might possibly want to know about a fictional character who has thousands of fans world-wide.

Another Country

Written by James Baldwin

Greta Polo <>

Another Roadside Attraction

Written by Tom Robbins

Nancy Vandermey

Every one of Tom's novels is wonderful and thought-provoking, books that make you stop and think. Choosing a favorite is difficult, so I just picked the first alphabetically. Jesus did not rise from the dead, the Popes have kept his body in a dungeon under the Vatican for 2000 years. The books are hard to describe, but sexuality and paganism are common themes.

Antarctic Navigation

Written by Elizabeth Arthur

Barrie Trinkle <>

This is a book about all sorts of things -- science, identity, relationships, and Antarctica. It affected me so deeply that I changed my travel plans to see the _Fram_ Museum in Oslo, the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, and the _Discovery_ Museum in Dundee. Very long, but very worthwhile.


Written by Ayn Rand

Michael Myers <>
Midge Garza <>
Lori Brennan <>

Michael: This is a short book about individuality that really helped me when I needed self confidence. It has helped me see that the "good" of the many can often be the tyranny of the many instead. In some sense it's plot of much of Rand's work in a small, easily digested package.

Midge: This one small book illustrates well my political belief in the ultimate value of the individual. I keep several copies at all times so that I can share with others to help them understand why I feel the individual is more important than the masses.

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

Written by Richard Hofstadter

Mark Schaeffer <>

Wonderful insights using our own history to help illuminate why contemporary life is really not so convoluted.

Antony and Cleopatra

Written by William Shakespeare


Anvil of Stars

Written by Greg Bear

John Joseph Barry

Anywhere But Here

Written by Mona Simpson

Julie Tucker <>

This book reminds us that children have their own perspective and voice from a very young age. Mona Simpson is one of those rare writers who can sum up vast truths in very few words.

The Armageddon Rag

Written by George R. R. Martin

Eric Schulman <>

I've read this book many times, and each time I find new insights into life, love, music, politics, and people. It's also a great story.


Written by John Steakley

Edward Young <>

Extremely good science fiction, while exploring the psychology of depression.

Art and Lies

Written by Jeanette Winterson

Wendy McRae <>

This book is written in color, and I don't mean the ink! Winterson's prose is achingly beautiful, poetically resonant, but also bawdily unpompous. Her artistic vision lifts the shroud from our dead society and offers us something to believe in. This book is a both a challenge and a consolation. Ignore it if you dare.

Art and Physics

Written by Leonard Shlain

C. Dodd Harris IV <>

It does not require more than a cursory knowledge of either Art History or Physics, while tracing the interesting and sometimes startling parallels in the development of both. Mr. Schlain will provide you with a good layman's grasp of both. This book changed the way I think, which isn't easy to do!

Art is a Way of Knowing

Written by Pat B. Allen

Jason C. Katraovzos <>

_Art is a Way of Knowing_ links art and spirituality in a deeply personal way. You need not be an artist to read this...but you will be inspired to explore your creative talents! Allen overlaps describing her personal life experiences with the discussion of the whole image-making process. A beautiful, sincere, simply written book for everyone!

The Art of Warfare

Written by Sun Tzu

Robert Gray <>

This book has helped me a great deal in dealing with relationships in a taoist way. The terminology like 'War' should not be taken as off-putting. Gems herein such as 'if you truly know your enemy there will be no battle'.

The Artifact

Written by W. Michael Gear

John Brown

An ancient and powerful artifact is found on an Earth colony world. The government sends a ship to investigate and to try to bring this thing back. It wreaks all kinds of havoc throughout the book in little flashbacks to its own past, which is the history of the Galaxy.

Ask the Dust

Written by John Fante

Matt Laughlin <>
Renato Targa <>

Matt: The best book written by one of the best kept secrets of early 20th century American literature. _Ask the Dust_ is more novella than novel, but its slight size is no indication of the power and compassion contained within. The great Arturo Bandini is an antihero for the ages; and though his plight is no more compelling than that of the common man, his pathos is.

Renato: John Fante is the Dostoevsky of America, and Arturo Bandini is the Raskholnikov.

Atlas Shrugged

Written by Ayn Rand

Scott Kruger <>
Eric Juteelstad <>
Peter Peck <>
Joshua E. Randall <>
Al Wong <>
Jason E. Swihart <>
Mark Zieg <>
Bill Wellen <>
Charles Ormsby <>
Alex Harisiadis <>
Joan <>
Steve Hearon <>
Shelby Spillman <>
Richard T. Breeze ll <>
Darren Billings <>

Scott: I personally disagree with most of what Ayn Rand says, but there is no mistaking her genius and her very strong mind.

Eric: Profound insight into the art of living.

Peter: Read this as a teenager and was profoundly introduced to the individual vs society argument at an early age. I am not a libertarian but realize that we all must be accountable for our own actions and as such must make our own choices and not have society make them for us.

Al: It gives us perhaps what is the most important message to the world today. That the Bible had it wrong in saying the meek would inherit the earth. It is the strong to whom the future belongs. We all should be proud of our ability and accomplishments. Humility is only for those who have nothing to be proud about.

Jason: Everyone seems to know that something is wrong with society. Ayn Rand is one of the few who identified what it is -- and what is the solution.

Mark: Americans have somehow lost the fierce love of independence and self-determination that once made our country the embodiment of freedom and opportunity. This book aims to set that right.

Bill: "Civilization is the process of setting man free from men."

Joan: Unlike any book you have ever read. A mystery about the murder and rebirth of mankind's spirit. Read it and discover one of the of the most enjoyable and moving books ever.

Steve: You will know when you read it.

Shelby: Life is too short to be lived at the price of self. Selfishness is the right of every human being. When everyone pursues their own self interest society is better served. The strong are not in debt to the weak.

Richard: Very thought provoking fiction. Is it happening today? Think about it!

Darren: A book that weeds through the errant ways of thinking we have all embraced through our upbringing. Rand's greater influence awaits the loss of many of today's thinkers as her thought embraces rationality vs feeling. As long as Philosophy teaches the masses to not trust reality, i.e. to accept religion, humankind will progress despite itself. When Rand's influence spreads amongst the masses, and religious thought is abandoned, we will witness a true advancement of humankind.

The Auctioneer

Written by Joan Samson

Shelly Waxman <>

Tremendous satire. Rivals Jonathan Swift.

The Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Girl: The True Story of 'Renee'

Written by Marguerite Sechehaye, Grace Rubin-Rabson

Kelly Alpert <>

This autobiography was written in the 1950's by a German girl who developed schizophrenia at the early age of five, a very rare occurrence. Renee recovered in her mid-twenties, and shortly thereafter set out to describe her experiences growing up with this frightening disease. Renee describes her visual and auditory hallucinations and how they related to the progression of her increasingly paranoid delusions in incredibly graphic detail. Renee's long-time analyst and "mother" figure explains, in a few chapters at the end of the book, how she believed Renee had developed schizophrenia and why she chose her method of treatment. I am fascinated by mental illness and the ways in which a person's mode of thinking can be altered. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to be a little girl who, instead of playing with other little girls, was preoccupied with the fear of a "system" that judged her every thought and every action. This is a book about courage in the face of one of the most paralyzing illnesses imaginable. It is a quick and truly excellent read.

Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini

Written by Benvenuto Cellini

Mary Beaty <>

One good translation is by John Addington Symons. "All men of whatsoever quality they be, who have done anything of excellence, or which may properly resemble excellence, ought, if they are persons of truth and honesty, to describe their life with their own hands." Here is the meat and sweat and bravura and vitality of the Renaissance, set before us not in Machiavelli's ascerbic rules but in the astoundingly tempestuous memoirs of an artist whose ego drove his talent (and whose duels and amorous escapes often drove him out of town). Read the glorious account of his casting of Perseus (we read it out loud every Christmas, along with _Cold Comfort Farm_). Everyone in the family has their own copy of this book. Every adolescent needs this work as a graduation present.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Written by Malcolm X with Alex Haley

Marc Lindstrom <>

No book has come close in terms of its contribution to my spiritual and intellectual growth. Required reading for every American, especially the prejudiced.

The Awakening

Written by Kate Chopin

Shawna Bishop <>

This is a seemingly simple local-color story of a woman unhappy with her life; upon further examination, however, this book explains the inner-turmoil a single person can experience when faced with some seemingly simple choices. It is haunting, disturbing and perplexing. This book was met with much dissapproval when first published in 1890 because of its frank discussion of a woman's sexuality and desire for happiness. It was called "an evil book". Only recently has it been discovered and accepted into the dubious 'literary cannon'.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Written by Frank Miller

Gary Evans <>

Gotham City: the future. A gang called "the Mutants" controls the street. The cops are in over their head. Batman hasn't been sighted in ten years. James Gordon, Gotham's resident hero cop is 70 and about to retire. Bruce Wayne is 55 and restless in his forced retirement. But as Gotham slides into ruin, salvation arrives in the form of a bat...

Battle for the Bible

Written by Harold Lindsell

Mike Maish <>

Beach Music

Written by Pat Conroy

Sally Milliken <>

"Beach Music" played memories of myself and my SC high-school friends who have long since left the South to start new lives. Mr. Conroy's main character is warned, "You'll be back soon. The South's got a lot wrong with it. But it's permanent press and it doesn't wash out." My hunch is that many people leave home, vowing never to return. This book sheds light on the difficulty of keeping that vow. Besides, I still love to shag to real beach music!

Beachcombing For a Shipwrecked God

Written by Joe Coomer

Jezebel <>

I once read an article that Jodie Foster was planning on preparing a screenplay for this book, so I thought I'd pick it up and see what it was about... And it turned out to be one of my most favorite books! It is rare that I laugh out loud when reading a book; this one managed to pull a few guffaws out of me. It's about a woman whose husband has just committed suicide. She takes off, by herself, irritating her in-laws by writing them a letter explaining she does not want to tell them where she has gone. She goes onboard a small boat owned by a crazy old lady artist who is slowly but humorously losing her mind. Also on the boat is Chloe, a pregnant teenager who is on the brink of womanhood. Anyway, the book is zany! It deals with death, loneliness, self-confrontation, and more. A few times, I had to recheck the cover to see if it was really written by a man; Joe Coomer does a fabulous job at getting to the insides of a woman at all stages of her life. I laughed AND cried. This book made me think...that's a good sign.

The Bean Trees

Written by Barbara Kingsolver

John H. Matthews <>

An incredible insight into the human desire to survive. Kingsolver's grasp on emotions evokes the naturalness of change, from tears to laughter within a single line. When tragedy strikes in real life, there is no background music to warn you. Thank you, Barbara.

The Beautiful and the Damned

Written by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Alexis Massie <>

I think of it as an alternate reality to _The Great Gatsby_. What would happen if you took Gatsby's passion and Daisy's materialism and put them together in an actual relationship? Would they survive? It's a stunning and painful tale of delusion and hope from the truest romantic ever to lay pen to pad.

The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women

Written by Naomi Wolf

Sarah Stennes <>

Yes, this is a work of feminist literature and yes, this suggestion is coming from a Women's Studies major but whether or not you consider yourself a feminist and no matter what gender you are, this book must be read. It tells us why we see what we see when we look in the mirror and how modern society manages to screw it all up.

Been Down So Long, It Looks Like Up To Me

Written by Richard Farina

Marion Delgado <>

Richard and Mimi Farina were famous musicians. He died on the way home from the party celebrating this book. It has a message that is pretty disturbing; basically, if you want to keep your individuality and power, don't fall in love. Another one is; don't get involved with political crusades. I think he was a very insightful writer. His novel is a lot like his songs.

Being Digital

Written by Nicholas Negroponte

Daniel Burgin <>

Having sought for years the critical mass of insight that is necessary to start a career, I was fortunate to stumble onto this gem of perspective. It was a quick read, but has had a lasting impact on my life and has been partly responsible for helping me to make my living pushing and pulling new computer technologies into marketable commodities.

The Bell Jar

Written by Sylvia Plath

Jami Dwyer <>

Beneath the Wheel

Written by Herman Hesse

Brian E. Wilson

The Best of Myles

Written by Flann O'Brien

Andrew Wayne

A truly great book. A collection of pieces published in the Irish Times by Flann O'Brien, under the pseudonym "Myles". It is witty, intelligent and light hearted. Everyone who claims a sense of humor should read it. More enjoyable than being impaled on a sharp stick.

The Bible

Written by [Religious Text]

Michael G. Koopman <>
Bradley E. Young <>
Thomas P. Burkes <>
Lee Katchen
Greg Clements <>
Tim Robinson <>
Petie Bigenho <>
Jannie du Plessis <>
Andrea Rohrke
Adam Dean <S941065@UMSLVMA.UMSL.EDU>
Gary Bisaga <>
Ron Bock <>

I am no longer accepting commentary on any mainstream religious text. See the end of the list for details.

The Big Orange Splot

Written by Daniel Manus Pinkwater

Ada J. Kerman <>

This is a book with pictures drawn by the author in magic marker. If you are embarrassed to be seen reading a picture book, think of it as a modern parable. Pinkwater didn't make up his name, either - he got it from his father, and shares it with his wife. Practically everything by him is excellent. Think "zany."

Big Sur

Written by Jack Kerouac

Mike Vandenberg


Written by Sebastian Faulks

Paul Sloane <>

A poignant and moving novel of love and of the horrors of the Great War.


Written by William Wharton

Nina Contini Melis <>

A wonderful book about freedom of the mind, about friendship... I was going to suggest _Slaughterhouse Five_ as the one book everyone should read about the absurdities of the human experience, but it's already on the list. _Birdy_ is another one worth diving into.

Black Sun

Written by Edward Abbey

Sara P Franzen <>

A beautiful and timely love story.

The Blind Watchmaker

Written by Richard Dawkins

Douglas Adams

Blood Meridian

Written by Cormac McCarthy

Kathleen <>

Made me trash my own writing in despair -- but it was worth it. Horrifyingly beautiful. All a mesmerizing inferno. "The flames sawed in the wind and the embers paled and deepened and paled and deepened like the bloodbeat of some living thing eviscerate upon the ground before them and they watched the fire which does contain within it something of men themselves inasmuch as they are less without it and are divided from their origins and are exiles."

Blood Music

Written by Greg Bear

Amanda Van Rhyn <>

I first read this book at the age of 12 after receiving it as a gift from a writing teacher. I couldn't put it down; it was the most engrossing and thought-provoking science fiction novel I had read to date, and it still is. Basically, it's about a scientist who creates sentient, thinking cells and injects them into his bloodstream. The cells begin to multiply and evolve at a furious rate, and all life as we know it changes irrevocably. One of the things that makes this novel so convincing is the fact that the author apparently knows the technicalities of the science involved, a skill perfected by far too few SF writers. Just an incredible book.

Bloodline of the Holy Grail

Written by Laurence Gardner

Scott MacKenzie <>

This book answers many of the questions posed by books such as _Holy Blood_ and _Grail_. It is written with authority, as the foreword is by Prince Michael of Albany, head of the House of Steward and the 'pretender' to the Scottish throne. The book traces the geneaology of the Stewards back through Arthurian times and explains that the Stewards were direct descendents of Jesus Christ through David and Solomon. It explains the role that the Knights Templar and the Stone of Destiny had in Scottish history. It is a must read book if one can face the truth about the history of Europe and ultimately the world.

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories

Written by Angela Carter

Kat Hore <>

This benchmark adult retelling of fairy tales showed me that the raw stuff of fairy tales is really the basis for every story ever told. In reading Carter's adult fairy tales I found that I could go back to the roots of all storytelling, to bypass the sanitized Disney versions and find the real tales underneath. Reading _The Bloody Chamber_ also helped me rediscover feminism at a time when I was becoming disillusioned with all of the irrelevant political posturing and academic debating in the movement. Carter's writing is magical, dark and realistic all at the same time, filled with stunning imagery but never once dependent on the cliche. Everyone must read _The Bloody Chamber_ to remind themselves just what storytelling is really all about. Even if her particulars versions do not grab you as they grabbed me, they do show that the raw stuff at the base of all tales is there for the taking of any and all.

Blue Highways

Written by William Least Heat-Moon

Loretta Wood <>
Carole Gregory <>

Loretta: William Least Heat-Moon's account of his journey around the U.S. expresses perfectly the restlessness and sometimes even discontentment with our present lives that everyone experiences at least once. But, _Blue Highways_ is not a dark book. Heat-Moon's inclusion of his conversations with the people he meets shows what small-town America is about and sheds light on the wonders of everyday life.

Carole: Though the book was published back in the seventies, it still has the ability to touch you. It's the true story of a journey through America as the author travels the "blue" highways -- those roads so sparsely traveled that they only rated a thin blue line on a road map. Get off the beaten path and enjoy the journey.

The Bluest Eye

Written by Toni Morrison

Sally <>

The Body

Written by Harry Crews

Vince Lanning <>


Written by Noel


A fantastic must-read!

The Bone People

Written by Keri Hulme

Amy Shand <>

A wonderful story of relationships, mythology, and New Zealand culture. Beautifully written, and very evocative. At times it becomes almost poetry.

The Bonfire of the Vanities

Written by Tom Wolfe

Catherine Brace <>

Catherine: This is a gripping tale of Eighties America. Wolfe uses the juxtaposition of fabulous wealth with dead-end poverty to weave a fascinating tale of the downfall of successful stockbroker Sherman McCoy. The book is well-paced and exciting, full of suspenseful moments. The characters are very well drawn, especially Sherman McCoy and the boozy journalist who helps to bring about his downfall. The dialogue is also completely believable and natural. Wolfe has closely obseverved the excesses of New York in the '80s and has constructed a biting satire out of them that works on many different levels. By the way, the film does this eminently readable book no favors at all.

The Book

Written by Alan Watts

Robert A. Lapiska <>

Sultan604: Clarifies many of the problems with which Western thought has left us.

Robert: Watts touches the essence of everything, in his perception of what we commonly refer to as our existence. Instead of viewing oneself as seperate he suggests we realize the unseparable nature of all events in a timeless continuum; or as the Beatles wrote, "...come to realize you're only very small and life flows on within you and without you".

The Book of Lists

Written by David Wallechinsky, Irving Wallace and Amy Wallace

Nep Smith <>

It offered a sample of the weirdness and variety of human knowledge and achievement while I was at an impressionable age, and also was great to read on long car trips, especially out loud to irritate my parents.

The Book of Mormon

Written by [Religious Text]

Kip Landon
Suzanne Houghton <>
R. Brigham Young II
Eric Peterson <>
Bob Wood <>
Smith N. Brickhouse <>
Scott Braithwaite <>

I am no longer accepting commentary on any mainstream religious text. See the end of the list for details.

The Book of the New Sun

Written by Gene Wolfe

Mike O'Brien <>
John Swapceinski <>
Chris Horn <>

Mike: This is the greatest novel of redemption that I have ever read. It is a novel in four volumes. They are _The Shadow of the Torturer_, _The Claw of the Conciliator_, _The Sword of the Lictor_, and _The Citadel of the Autarch_. There is strong stuff in here, and it is hard going. Many words are ancient, odd, and obscure (but none are imaginary). It is still the best book I've read in twenty years.

John: This science fiction/fantasy series paints an unforgettable portrait of a man who rises from being a torturer to holding the world's highest office in a future so distant that today's culture is but a rumor. The style and language used by Wolfe is breathtaking and you will not completely understand the series until the 2nd or 3rd reading. If you read _The Lord of the Rings_ as a teenager and thought it was the best series ever, read _The Book of the New Sun_ and be prepared to crown a new favorite.

Chris: While the tale is a somewhat difficult read because of the sheer breadth of the language Wolfe employs, one is rewarded with a deep and rich vision of the journey into manhood and redemption. There is no doubt in my mind that it is among the very few classic pieces of science fiction that will still be remembered centuries from now.

The Book of Revelations

Written by Rob Swigart

John Logue <>

I think this novel is out of print -- very hard to find.

The Book of Skulls

Written by Robert Silverberg

Eve Phillips <>

The gripping in-depth psychological analysis of the four main characters in the book, who are in search of immortality, was more frightening than any horror book I've read. A must for any SF fan or anyone who appreciates real characters.

Bored of the Rings

Written by Henry N. Beard and Douglas C. Kenney

Jim Karas <>

This book provides three significant benefits: First, it presupposes that you've read the Hobbit and Ring Trilogy. Second, it serves large doses of therapy in the form of belly laughs that make one's cheekbones ache. Finally, it reminds us that there's little in this world that can't be laughed at.

Boys and Girls Together

Written by William Goldman

Tony Dobson <>

This novel was one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read. It details the inter-relationships of all the main characters, and the ways in which their environments and pasts influenced these relationships. Everyone who reads this book will immediately recognise either themselves, or someone close to them in the story. Do yourselves a favour and read this book from a great writer... You may find it hard to get, alas; it is no longer available!

Boy's Life

Written by Robert R. McCammon

Gabriel Lee <>

Although it was just written in 1991, I can say with conviction that this is the most beautiful novel that I have had the pleasure of reading. McCammon captures the beauty of an American boy's childhood with such accuracy, it made me wonder how much of the book may be autobiographical. This book reminds us of the miracles that happen during our childhood (not all of them pleasant), and how these miracles shape us as we become adults.

Brave New World

Written by Aldous Huxley

Scott Kingsley <>
Joe Mullally
Meredith <>

Scott: Somewhere between _Animal Farm_ and _1984_ lies this humorous but stinging book. Thoroughly dated, yet totally relevant, Huxley predicts the death of the individual through genetic engineering, mind-numbing entertainment and free love.

Meredith: This was required reading at my school three years ago, and as for all other required books, I thought I would hate it. It was a very thought provoking book, and I encourage others to read it. Most people will not have read it since it has been banned from most schools, but I see it as a very important book that everyone needs to read. It deals with what could happen if people try to perfect the world we live in. Trying to become politically correct in everything we do or trying to create a perfect race of people can have a major impact on our society. I encourage people to read this book and think about the meaning it has.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Written by Truman Capote

Derek Scally

A gentle, unusual love story. A strong-willed heroine, and a bitter-sweet ending. The perfect book for when you have the "Mean Reds." It is also memorable for its depiction of a New York that doesn't exist anymore, and of course Tiffany's of Fifth Avenue: a place in the mind as much as a place on the map for Holly Golightly. Truman Capote's simple, unaffected prose tells a simple tale of great beauty, humour and sadness.

Breakfast at the Victory: The Mysticism of Ordinary Experience

Written by James Carse

Kevin Liparini <>

This book explores enlightenment in ordinary experience. The author discusses seemingly ordinary experiences which occurred in his life and how they lead him to moments of satori or instant awakening. This is a must read for fans of Robert Pirsig, who said "Everything that James Carse writes I agree with." Now that's an endorsement.

Breakfast of Champions

Written by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Blaine Hipes <>
Chris Harrell <>
Jeff Smith <>

Blaine: Vonnegut at his funniest. "Make me young, make me young!" -- Kilgore Trout

Chris: I first read this book at age fifteen, and I got so turned on to Vonnegut that I proceeded to read all of his published works I could find over the next two years. This novel puts the reader inside the mind of an insane man, and hopefully it will change the way you think about thinking (or something like that). Illustrated by the author, who is an admittedly terrible artist. Hysterical, satirical, brutal, a really great (and quick) read! And it's classic Vonnegut. I re-read it every year when I really need a good laugh.

Jeff: The first novel I ever read and still the best.

The Bridge Across Forever

Written by Richard Bach

Sean Ahern <>
Abby Fisher <>

Sean: This book is for anyone who has ever looked for that one special person to make life complete. An exercise in learning how to love and what Love is. Simply a "GOTTA READ" for anyone wanting to find their soulmate, or even those who already have.

Abby: These books have profoundly affected my life in ways i cannot describe -- I began a whole new awakening of my spirit by Richard's words... his journey to meet the one woman where connections are always complete.

Bridge of Birds

Written by Barry Hughart

Walter Williams

Li Kao may have small flaws in his character but the book is flawless! Its approach to story telling is fresh, funny and occasionally breaks one's heart slightly. Just enough to make an impact.

Bridge to Terabithia

Written by Kathrine Paterson

Nat <>

This is a warm but sad book about the friendship between a boy and a girl who make up a magical place called Terabithia. But a tragedy ends their relationship forever. A book worth reading out loud and to yourself.

The Bridges of Madison County

Written by Robert James Waller

Toon Bovy

I have never read a more sensitive and emotional book, not even by D. H. Lawrence!!

A Brief History of Everything

Written by Ken Wilber

Robert Drake <>

This is a fascinating book, for it provides a context into which one can view the world. Finding a single context in which to do this is a major achievement, and learning how to see in Wilber's way will given anyone tools to further understand their world. Wilber's vision is not without imperfection, but like Rousseau before him, Wilber has asked the right questions, and this is no small feat. That he provides a context for the answers is an even bigger contribution.

A Brief History of Time

Written by Stephen W. Hawking

Stephen Dicks <>

Briefing for a Descent into Hell

Written by Doris Lessing


This was one of the best pieces of work that I have read in a long time. Doris Lessing seems to know a lot about the dark side of people. She makes Stephen King look foolish!

A Bright Shining Lie

Written by Neil Sheehan

David Holt

The British Museum is Falling Down

Written by David Lodge

Greg Sandell <>

Adam Appleby is PhD student working on his thesis at the British Museum library in the early sixties. He's only 22, very low on funds, and has three children. What's worse, he's a devout Catholic and can't bring himself to practice birth control. Now he and his wife fear that another child may be on the way. Against this backdrop is one of the funniest comedies I've ever read.

The Broken God

Written by David Zindell

Deborah Wilson <>

This is a picaresque novel, describing Danlo's growth as a human and an explorer on the road to understanding, couched in an unforgettable world of sweeping proportions. I read this two years ago, and it still astounds me with the depth of its perceptions regarding the folly of ascribing one's own world view to the actions and impulses of others. Danlo begins by aspiring to ahimsa, the doctrine of never harming anyone, and ends by trying to free people of their beliefs. The language is exceptional, the intellectual debate a challenge, and the concept a welcome addition to your own belief system. All this and a damn fine read, too!

The Brothers Karamazov

Written by Fyoder Dostoevsky

Cyndi Froning <>
Jake Donham <>
R.J. Fensterman <>
Marcel Schooler <>
Minji Park <>
Bill Davis <>

Cyndi: Simply the most impressive novel I've ever read. Any book where I have to stop after reading one chapter because there is so much to digest and consider is a winner with me.

Jake: It is simultaneously comic, tear-jerking, moral, spiritual, insightful, and mysterious. It is both hard to read and hard to put down, and it bears rereading like few other books.

R.J.: Having just "devoured" _Crime and Punishment_, at the age of 19, I dove into _Brothers_, and discovered I was in "way over my head", and so I gave up after 150 pages. When I was 33, I picked it up again, and this time, I couldn't put it down. I was left amazed at what the written word could do. Recently, at age 55, I picked up the new translation by Pevear and Volokhonsky, and again couldn't put it down, only this time it was even more overwhelming. The power, depth and scope of this book are unparalleled in literature.

Marcel: It allowed me to strengthen my faith in God.

Minji: This creation of one man taught me to love and cherish literature. Like every other child I had always loved stories, but the voice of Dostoevsky haunted me in my dreams and in my nightmares. It taught me about God, about love, and about loss...all this at the age of sixteen. I have never been the same.

Bill: When I first read the "Grand Inquisitor" chapter it shook me to the bones. And it still does. The simultaneous existence of good and evil cannot be justified logically. For my part, I think Ivan, and the Grand Inquisitor, were right.

Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family

Written by Thomas Mann

Oliver Dudek <>

This book about the overthrow of a family of northern German Lubeck printed in 1901 preludes the German literature of the 20th century.

The Cage

Written by Ruth Minksy Sender

David Belden <>

This is the autobiographical work of Ruth Sender describing her survival during the Holocaust. The book brings the horror of the Holocaust, both physical and mental, to a level where the reader feels personally involved. I have been a teacher for 22 years, and this is the "One Book" I require all of my students (seventh grade) to read. Reading it has been a powerful and meaningful experience for hundreds of students. It is one of the few books students have thanked me for providing for them...and with my students there is no higher compliment a book can receive.

Came Back to Show You I Could Fly

Written by Robin Klein

Sara <>

Wow! What can I say to describe the book that showed me how the most unusual relationships can often be the best? My first taste was when I was 9 years old and since then I reread it regularly. he characters are beautifully complex and intriguing in their own ways. A great read for everyone who desperately wants to meet that one person who doesn't need wings to fly.

Camp of the Saints

Written by Jean Raspail

Marc Reed <>

A chilling novel about the third world, racism, and the upcoming millennium. Written over 20 years ago, but still powerful and thought-provoking.

Cancer Ward

Written by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Scott Ziolko

As "Time" said it is "A literary event of the first magnitude... by Russia's greatest living prose writer."


Written by Voltaire

Donna Hannan

Candide roams the earth with his faithful companions in search of a better life, and even though he reaches many "paradises", he continues searching, winding up back where he started. He invariably comes to the conclusion that "this is the best possible of all worlds." Take a lesson here folks.

Cannery Row

Written by John Steinbeck

Mary Stoermer <>
Scott Cody <>

Mary: I admit not to have read this book, only listened to an unabridged version, driving around the block again and again because I couldn't stand to quit listening and no tape player inside the hotel room where I was headed. I had to hear how the frogs left the party. It convinced me that there really was great literature. The kindness and regard that Steinbeck uses to write about occasionally disreputable characters is lacking in modern literature and life.

Scott: As a freshman in college, this book made me realize what writing is all about. Steinbeck shows us how easy life use to be, whereas people today want bigger and better things. If you're from a big city like I am, but can appreciate the simple life, read Cannery Row.

The Canterbury Tales

Written by Geoffrey Chaucer

Judith Stuart <>

I laughed; I cried; stories for everywhere, everyone, everywhen.

A Canticle for Leibowitz

Written by Walter Miller, Jr.

Mark E. Davidson
Paul A. Dirmeyer <>

Mark: I've read this book many times and it never fails to affect me. Its view of mankind is rather dark, but it inspires me for some reason.

Paul: Every five years or so I reread this book hoping to find it less true, but every time I find its message about human failing and hope in the face of adversity more compelling than before. A real cynic's masterpiece.

Carlito's Way

Written by Edwin Torres

Kurosh Meshkat

In this day and age a little humanity goes a long way, especially on the street. The writing is straight from the heart, something we can never have enough of.

Cars and Trucks and Things That Go

Written by Richard Scarry

Kevin Sexton <>

Provocative. Informative. Lots of Colourful Pictures. Big letters, Small words. Lots of cute animals wearing clothing and driving a fantastic array of interesting vehicles. What more could you want in a book? A plot maybe, but this book gains points in other areas.

The Castle

Written by Franz Kafka

Bill Chance <>

This book is a harrowing and all-to-familiar account of an everyman's struggle with anonymous bureaucracy, and more basically with the emptiness of purpose and soul that we can fall into.

The Cat in the Hat

Written by Dr. Seuss

Rob Schaaf
Conor Mullally <>

Rob: If there is anything this world needs, it is the pure whimsy of the classic Dr. Seuss.

Dave: Very thought provoking and compelling for me when I was five. It was one of the best in the world at that age.


Written by Joseph Heller

Michael J. Stern <>
Andrew H Schultz <>
Stephen P. Vanderbeck <>
Jim Morse <>
Suzanne Kirby <>

Michael: This is the Great American Novel. It's funny and sad and extremely political. Just brilliant.

Andrew: It has everything: cheap gags as we have in the Major Major chapter. Yossarian realizing how serious war is in the last few chapters. The abuses of power which are funny, as long as they don't happen to us. The following of the capitalist ideal. How we don't learn from our first mistakes (many things repeat themselves.) How bureaucracy and the like can blind us to obvious truths, if we get caught up in "the system." It is also an affirmation that the funny can coexist with the tragic, and that the tragic can be funny, and vice versa. Even its lack of organization forces you to really sit down and think, and its energy is contagious. I stayed up til 5 AM in an effort to finish reading this novel, and I've heard some famous people did, too.

Stephen: I read this book before joining the United States Air Force in 1975. I believe it kept my sanity during basic training, especially the chapter on the marching contests for the flag. This book is THE modern American novel. Heller's non-narrative and stream of consciousness style are intellectually stimulating as well as extremely entertaining. I was amazed how I could be laughing hysterically one moment and wanting to cry within pages. Reading _Catch-22_ is an emotional roller coaster of a ride well worth taking.

Jim: The first time _Catch-22_ caught my eye was while flying on an old C123 from Quang Tri to Da Nang in Vietnam in 1970. The plane (or the pilots) were having mechanical problems, and I happened to notice a chaplain sitting across from me. He was oblivious to the fact that we were possibly going to crash; he just sat there giggling with his eyes glued to the pages of _Catch-22_. The irony of it all was I was on my way to the hospital in Da Nang. _Catch-22_ starts out: "It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain, he fell madly in love with him." Yossarian was in the hospital with his fake liver pains. The book has stuck with me ever since. Yossarian's perspective on the world has either helped me make sense of all the lunacy, or is the reason I drink so much, one of the two. It's funny, it's tragic, it's universal. It will stand the test of time. From Yossarian to Doc Daneeka to Chief White Halfoat to Nately's whore to Major Major Major Major to Hungry Joe to Milo Minderbinder to the great siege of'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll ponder this crazy world we live in. There are times when I'm talking with someone, and it occurrs to me that there really isn't any "connection" if that person hasn't read Catch 22. Read it!

Suzanne: I still miss Yossarian. He's the most real fictional character I've ever met.

The Catcher in the Rye

Written by J.D. Salinger

Wim Oosterhof
Douglas Hofstadter
Markus A. Laine
Jennifer Balocca
John Bradley <>
Jessica Mullins

Markus: I hadn't read much before this novel. I have read considerable more since, perhaps hoping to find more of Holden Caulfield out there. Good way to release angst, better way to return to written roots.

Jennifer: The unscathed truth of adolescence and jumping into adulthood. Great book!

John: The last line of the book put years of my life in perspective.

Jessica: One of the most thought provoking books ever, but without the help of a good English teacher or a set of Cliffs Notes readers won't truly understand everything about Holden, his life, and the world around us.

Cat's Cradle

Written by Kurt Vonnegut

Travis A. Finucane <>
Russ Northrup
J.P. Thomas <>

Travis: Vonnegut is a fine writer, and has churned out some fine books. As is the case with many authors, his books tend to meld after having read a multitude of them. _Cat's Cradle_, however stands out. Not because it deals with a theme other than Vonnegut's patented "coming of chaos" genre; nor because it has particularly striking characters; merely because it helped me through a turbulent formative era.

Russ: This book is excellent science fiction set today (more or less.) The book revolves around a substance, ICE-9, which is a crystalline form of water and is stable at room temperature. Place this potentially absolute weapon in a tiny Caribbean nation, throw in the complications of an island messiah and his evil opposite, and it makes a very entertaining book which goes beyond simple sci-fi.

J.P.: Superficially science fiction, but really early American Surrealism, a wealth of useful neologisms, and a wonderful satire against the arrogances of both Established Religion and Established Science. Personally: one of three books that gave me phrases, concepts, and parables that I use nearly every day. "Busy, busy, busy..." "Yes, Yes?"

Cat's Eye

Written by Margaret Atwood

Mike Hooning
Kate <>

Mike: I bought it expecting science fiction -- the cover of the paperback edition had a spacy picture of a being floating above a bridge. What I got instead was a brilliant evocation of a girl growing up in 1950's Ontario, as recalled by the middle-aged, feminist artist that she grew into. The description of life in the '50's was uncanny, and the characterizations were brilliant. I have become an addict of Ms. Atwood's writing, and am always saddened when I leave one of her worlds behind.

Kate: An intriguing storyline of one's heartache as a child and how it comes back to create confusion in an adult world. Margaret Atwood's quirky and satirical writing makes the book come to life and reveals the vulnerability that is felt by all, throughout each stage of existence. This is the perfect piece of writing for the reader who enjoys a good dose of reality.

The Caves of Steel

Written by Isaac Asimov

Alan Shulman <>

On the surface, the Robot Novels are simple detective stories involving an emotionally charged human detective and his cool, logical robot associate. What sets these books apart is Asimov's underlying assertion that robots are machines that will eventually be used in the same way that hammers are used; as tools to expand human potential. Asimov brilliantly maintains the logic/emotion dichotomy and goes a step further as he conjectures that this dichotomy will exist in robots as well as humans. In the dawn of the AI age, these books are perpetually relevant. Quite simply, one of the most enjoyable reads on Earth.

The Celestine Prophecy

Written by James Redfield

Cheryl L. Boyd <>
Suzi Gardner
Craig Amarnick <>

Cheryl: I really wish all the world could read _The Celestine Prophecy_. The writing is nothing unusual, and the plot is interesting but not spell binding; but clearly these are just a vehicle for the ideas. But the ideas are very positive and I guess the focus on solutions rather than problems is a concept I support strongly. The world he envisions would be a very compelling and exciting place. Makes me wonder... if we all read the book, could we make it happen?

Suzi: It was an engrossing book -- great pace, fascinating storyline, and I found myself understanding the events that were occurring and following the meaning of the book as best I could. Currently, we keep it in the fiction section of the bookstore I work at... but I have a difficult time believing that is could be a work of fiction. It just seemed to real to me. And so simple and workable.

Craig: This was the book that started me on the path to my spirit, and true self.


Written by Leslie Marmon Silko


A contemporary Native American writer considers the effects of WW2 on the Native American population, through one character who returns from the War with his soul damaged. Political, lyrical, realistic, magical, spiritual, gritty, and sickening in turns. The stark search for healing in the alienated modern world. Excellent writing, full of spirits and spleen.

The Chamber

Written by John Grisham

Juan Gautreau <>

The Chaneysville Incident

Written by David Bradley

Rich Abrams <>

It's at once a mystery, an historical account of slavery, a love story, and an exploration into the mythology of culture. Beautifully written; I was literally in tears at the end.

The Character of Physical Law

Written by Richard Feynman

Herman Miller

This book is at the same time a sample of one of the finest thinkers of the century (he won a Nobel Prize for his work in quantum electrodynamics) and an introduction to physics directed at a non-technical audience. Feynman's presentation is refreshingly different and enjoyable to read even if you are already familiar with the subject. It is a relatively short book, yet it still manages to cover a lot of scientific ground.

Chariots of the Gods?

Written by Erich von Daniken

Richard Morgan <>

Of course, it's all absolute rubbish, but that's part of its charm. It was written during the late 60's, when we first set foot on the moon, when thousands of stoned hippies attempted to levitate the Pentagon, and generally when society was being given a kicking. People were reevaluating everything, and so the idea that god was an astronaut was treated with some seriousness. Read _Chariots_ for a classic of conspiracy/UFO nuttiness, and to remember a time when acid was a lot stronger than it is now. Quite literally far out.

Childhood's End

Written by Arthur C. Clarke

Jill Huntley <>
Devin McCullen <>

Devin: It is at the same time one of the most uplifting and depressing books anyone can ever read. There are parts that are truly chilling, as humanity evolves in different ways over the course of the book, ultimately becoming something else entirely. This work needs to be considered in the same vein as 1984 or Brave New World, presenting a possible future society vastly different from what we have today, but I can never decide whether it's a utopian or a dystopian book. The final irony is that by the end of the book, the aliens appear more human than humanity.

Children The Challenge

Written by Dr. Rudolf Dreikur

Kimberly Myers <>

This book contains the most helpful and uplifting information on the most important job in the world: Parenting. You will learn to see things through your child's eyes and learn how he or she feels. You will learn how to bring out the best in both of you. This book will change your life as a parent and as an individual. I don't know how to put into words what this book has done for my family and me. It is just the most wonderful resource in the world.

Chop Wood, Carry Water

Written by Rick Fields

Doug Nelson

Not a work of fiction, not a how-to manual. A cross-belief system look at finding spirituality in everyday life. Before I read this, I wondered why anyone would *want* spirituality in everyday life. Now I can't understand how anyone can avoid it. If the one list was limited to fiction, I'd have a completely different type of suggestion, but this book is a 'one list' of its own. Unlike many of the other contributions to this list, I stumbled onto this as an adult. I've read it cover to cover, and still occasionally open it at random and read a page or two, just to remind myself of the importance of EVERYTHING. Many of the other contributions listed here are included, as well as a great many others. Kind of a cross between a yellow pages and an encyclopedia of sacredness. I've read more entertaining books, but this is the one that changed my life from the day I bought it.

The Chosen

Written by Chaim Potok

Jacob Vaccaro <>
Bill Allen

Jacob: I found it to be touching and humane without being drippily sentimental. It was an unadulterated joy to read.

Christmas Memory

Written by Truman Capote

Jan English <>

It is the kind of book that makes you appreciate the simple things of life. Sometimes the most simple things are the most rewarding and I feel that all too often we forget this. From the very first sentence this story is very touching. It is a very moving piece of work that I often am reminded of on a cool windy day.

The Chronicles of Narnia

Written by C.S. Lewis

Amy Beukelman <>
Jesse <>

Amy: This series contains the best books I've ever read. Though most people think these are children's books, I've enjoyed reading them more in recent years.

Jesse: This is a set of seven books about a mystical land called Narnia. The second, _The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe_, is probably well-known by everybody, but it's useless to read just one when each of the others is so much better than the previous one. It's immpossible to put any of these books down and when you're finished with the set, you'll wish it hadn't ended.

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever

Written by Stephen R. Donaldson

David Sebba <>

This is easily the most powerful reading experience I've had. It changed the way I viewed myself and my ability to control my surroundings (which must count for something.)

Churchill's Deception

Written by Louis C. Kilzer

Carlos Frederico Saturnino <>

This is an absolutely mandatory book to help people fully understand the Nazi collapse during the Second World War. Kilzer reveals new and remarkable facts that lead us to the genuine personality of Winston Churchill: a cool, cynical but brilliant strategist.

The Chrysalids

Written by John Wyndham

Joan Duggan <>

Wyndham takes the reader into the anguished heart of a community where the chances of breeding true are less than fifty percent and where deviations are rooted out and destroyed as abominations. A book of what could happen if the world as we know it were destroyed. All that is left are small communities, where crops and animals that don't conform to the norm are destroyed. The story is of a ten year old boy, who has the ability to convey messages to eight other children, by thinking of shapes. His ability can only reach so far, though. The the boy's sister is born, also with this gift, but so strong that a thought from her reaches over the world, to a place that escaped the cataclysm. They live in fear of being found to have this gift, because it doesn't conform to the true image. Not a frightening book, but one that makes you think... "Only the image of God is man. Blessed is the norm, and in Purity our salvation. The norm is the will of God." These are the rules this small community lives by.

The Cider House Rules

Written by John Irving

Cameron Fowler <cameronf@cory.EECS.Berkeley.EDU>

Superficially it presents the most compelling argument I have ever seen for legalized abortion. I realize that abortion and superficial would not equate in most peoples mind. What I mean is that abortion is the most obvious topic. There are however many levels to this book. I feel that it is probably his lifetime achievement and it is truly amazing; so put down that insipid Tom Clancy novel (and yes, I have read them all) and pick up something with some depth and meaning.

Circle of Friends

Written by Maeve Binchy

Kelly Bree Medley <>

This book made me look at life, love and friendship in a whole new light. It is a heartwarming story about a group of friends and their trials and tribulations throughout their lives. By the end of the book, you will feel like you have known them your whole life. You will laugh and cry and never want it to end. I suggest reading this book and then giving it to your best friend.

Clan of the Cave Bear

Written by Jane Auel

Chuck Gelb <>

This book is a story a girl who has been separated from her family at a very young age and becomes placed with the "Clan". The story describes how simple tasks were performed thousands of years ago and how over time things changed as she too changed. It is a story of social misconceptions, survival, oh and some graphic sex scenes. One of the most intriguing books that I have ever read, and I recommend reading the other three books that continue this saga. This book definitely makes you think.

A Clockwork Orange

Written by Anthony Burgess

Jordan <>

I am not a violent person, nor are my friends, but we love this book. It's about the strength of the human spirit and whether it can be caged and trained suddenly. It's about freedom of choice and what happens when you take it away. That's what _A Clockwork Orange_ is about, not rape and murder and ultra-violence. It's been misinterpreted for too long, but make sure that you get the version with the 21st chapter, which was originally omitted from the American version, and completely omitted from Kubrik's film.


Written by Tim Winton

Tracey Baglin <>

Take everything dark and vile and cheap and crummy that you have always hated about your family. Take another family that just seems to have it all worked out, yet always seems to be on the verge of disintegration. Wrap the two families in a dark old house weighed down by prescience and bleak history, and you're getting somewhere near _Cloudstreet_. The tenants of Cloud Street spend most of their days wondering if they'll ever know the difference between good and bad luck. They are everyday people who break shoelaces and miss buses, and, occasionally, find themselves rowing through the Milky Way at night or picking up hitch-hiking ghosts. Tim Winton is a still young but extremely accomplished Australian writer. His other titles include _Shallows_ and _An Open Swimmer_. _Cloudstreet_ moves well past these titles in terms of deftness and resolution, but it is never slick or "smart". If you like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Anne Tyler, or William Faulkner (a mixed bunch, I admit) you'll find something to get your teeth into with _Cloudstreet_.

The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty

Written by Eudora Welty

Stephen M. H. Braitman

Collected Stories

Written by Tennessee Williams

Steve Hammer

Marvel at the economy of language, at the depths of human understanding and the sheer storytelling skill of Mr. Williams. These stories are unjustly ignored -- I consider them among the finest short stories in the English language.

The Color of Light

Written by William Goldman

Laura Helfrich <>

The subtle and multilayered story of the making of a writer and a man. It's about love, and loss, and learning to live with the ghosts of your past. Goldman is perhaps best known for _Marathon Man_ or _The Princess Bride_, but I believe this is his best work.

The Color Purple

Written by Alice Walker

Janice Coble <>
Jennifer Gindelberger

The Coming Plague

Written by Laurie Garrett

Donald Kaiser <>

It is a chilling account of how we (humans) have brought the world to a point where the microbes could soon wipe out all of us. Stephen King (in "The Stand) was more right than I think he might have realized. This is a bit heavy from the standpoint of the science involved, but if you can stick it out through discussion of transposons and the like, the message is clear, "It won't take The Bomb to return the world to the cockroaches."

The Complete Illustrated Works of Lewis Carroll

Written by Lewis Carroll

Brant Boucher

This book does not include all of the author's minor works, but only those which were illustrated by the author or artists chosen by the author. For me, "The Hunting of the Snark" is an obsession. "Bruno and Sylvie" includes a discussion of relativity worthy of Einstein, and a time machine, several years before H.G. Wells published his "Time Machine." You've got to see the illustrations to these works. They are as much masterpieces as the works. Lewis Carroll was the best literary parodist, and the best author of fantasy and logical speculation. These books can take you from the Nursery to the Grave. Even economists love Lewis Carroll.

The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

Written by Emily Dickinson

Nick Bushey <>

The Complete Works of Robert Burns

Written by Robert Burns

Lynn Messing <>

The Complete Works of Shakespeare

Written by William Shakespeare

Larry Hammer

It has been trite for over two centuries to call Shakespeare the greatest writer in the English language, but that doesn't make it any less true. No one else has written with this power, this perception into humanity, and this much sheer entertainment.

A Confederacy of Dunces

Written by John Kennedy Toole

Ken Kleinman <>
Barry Cook <>

Ken: This is a deep investigation of how one's perceptions of the world may be totally off. It is also incredibly funny, often painful, and will generate some small sense of humility in the most bloated egotist. In addition to these other fine qualities, it has the added bonus of being in the tradition of regional narratives and of having a somewhat inspiring tale of how it was published. A tremendous and under-recognized classic.

Barry: It is a grand farce woven throughout with street-level observations of N'Awlins and its indigenous characters. It was published after the author's death (by suicide), due completely to the efforts of his mother, who shoved it in Walker Percy's face until he saw the light.

Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady

Written by Florence King

Erik Tuininga <>

Perhaps the most acserbic wit in the country, Ms. King gives the hilarious details of her childhood and early adulthood. A must read for anyone who doesn't feel that they should aspire to the conventions of a marriage and family life.

Conflict of Visions

Written by Thomas Sowell

Ben Gilberti <>

Provides deep insight into the origin and nature of current political dynamics.

The Conformist

Written by Alberto Moravia

Paula Darvas <>

It was written in the 1940's by an Italian writer who made a character study of a man who joined a fascist regime. It is interesting to note that in reality this book was banned by Mussolini's regime. The central character is a man who felt like an utter misfit for most of his life, so that every action he subsequently took was purely to 'fit in'. It presents an incisive look at a person who 'sells their soul' for social acceptance, and influenced me greatly in those early undergraduate years.

Conversations with God

Written by Neale Donald Walsch

Colin A. Masthoff <>

An extraordinary way of looking at the world and our role in it. The book provides insight into may of the basic questions of Life. It is an invitation to shift to another viewpoint or paradigm... something more Workable and Exalted than the social scripts we have been ensorcelled by! Not a Christian thing per se but it touches there and everywhere else.

The Copyright Handbook: How to Protect and Use Written Works

Written by Stephen Fishman

Leland Knapp <>

As a layman with a reasonably competent reading ability, I found the book extremely informative, easy to read and easy to understand with explanations in non-legalese. It is well stocked with practical examples. A must for the writer and researcher.

Corelli's Mandolin

Written by Louis De Bernieres

Suzanne <>

This book sets a tale of the exquisite beauty of love in a world wracked by the most horrible atrocities of war; it's definitely not for the weak of heart, as there are some rather graphic scenes in the novel. The book left me sobbing at the end, and anything with that much of an effect is definitely worth recommending. (And don't be afraid; it's not full of cliches or drippily sentimental.)

The Cornish Trilogy

Written by Robertson Davies

Nancy Whiting

Davies constantly writes about people involved in music, theater, art, film, journalism, science, medicine -- with a splendor and wisdom not often found. If you haven't discovered him, hunt him up soon.

Cosmic Trigger

Written by Robert Anton Wilson

Bill Macintosh <>


Written by Edward Harrison

Arif Dalvi <>

A scientific tome that deals with our current perception of the universe. Full of brilliant explanations of the physics and also packed with humorous quotes. Literally changes the way one looks at existence and the universe. Published in the UK.

The Count of Monte Cristo

Written by Alexandre Dumas

Stephen Burnside <>

The ultimate adventure story of riches beyond imagination, a man's determination, and REVENGE!!! In my 48 years I've read it about once every ten years or so and each time I find something new in the story of Edmond Dantes.

Count Us In: Growing Up with Down Syndrome

Written by Jason Kingsley and Mitchell Levitz

Emily Kingsley <>

In the ground-breaking volume, the first ever written entirely by two young men with Down syndrome, Jason Kingsley (19) and Mitchell Levitz (22) share their innermost thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams, their lifelong friendship -- and their experiences growing up with Down syndrome. "This single volume will do more to change stereotypes about Down syndrome than any book I have ever read. These two young men steal our hearts and wash away generations of misconceptions." -- Mary L. Coleman, MD, Emeritus, Georgetown University.

A Couple of Kooks and Other Stories About Love

Written by Cynthia Rylant

Barton Chittenden <>

This is a series of short stories written about love. Each contains a different aspect of love. There is one story in particular, called "His Just Due" which, although only six pages long, contains my philosophy of life, love, and peace. I can't express it; check it out from the library, read the story.


Written by John Updike

Richard Simmons <>

Updike's fiction, and my immersion in it, troubles me more as I get older. So many of his major characters are selfish or self-absorbed. Paradoxically, what elevates his work for me is his commitment to making each person and environment real. _Couples_ takes place in a self-contained community where each married couple discovers more about themselves, their partner and ultimately the world through adultery. It is terrifically acute in its observations and very funny.

A Course In Miracles

Written by Helen Schucman

David Vandeveld <>
Alan <>

Alan: The teachings in this book represent to me a clarification of what Jesus tried to tell the world 2000 years ago. Namely, to love each other, to see him as our brother, and not to put him on a pedestal.

Crossing to Safety

Written by Wallace Stegner

Neil Litt <>

The title comes from a poem by Robert Frost ("I could give all to time-- except/What I myself have held. But why declare/The things forbidden that while the Customs slept/I have crossed to Safety with? For I am There/And what I would not part with I have kept"). I wept at the end of the penultimate chapter and again at the end. It is a beautiful novel about love and friendship, of making order out of chaos. Stegner must have been near 80 when he wrote this book. He dedicates it to M.P.S. (his wife) "for more than half a century of love and friendship, and to the friends we were both blessed by," which is a capsule of the entire book. For all the hardships in their lives, the integrity and decency of the people in this novel shine through. It is an inspiration, written with elegant simplicity and clear thinking.

The Crucible

Written by Arthur Miller

Mike Jalbert <>
Lee Bodnar <>

Mike: I think that this is the book to read, if you like plays and are interested in the Salem Witch Trials. This is a very intresting play/novel. I read this book at school and I couldn't put it down till I finished the whole thing (and I'm not the kind of person who likes to read). So you have to read it.

Cry, the Beloved Country

Written by Alan Paton

Patrick Beeker <>
Niki <>

Patrick: Power comes from experience as does unity.

The Crying of Lot 49

Written by Thomas Pynchon

Louis and Diana <>

The essential expression of the postmodern condition, and a lot shorter than _Gravity's Rainbow_.


Written by Brian Aldiss

Martin H. Booda

A mindbending book from an author who is himself a professional mental chiropractor. Get ready for some radical concepts about time travel, such as: why it's actually mind travel; why a near-schizophrenic artist engages in it to become a Precambrian hit man; and why you're going in the wrong direction anyway. Take nothing for granted. Reread until you get it, then reread again.

The Crystal Cave

Written by Mary Stewart

James Vincett

The Cyberiad

Written by Stanislaw Lem

Patrick J. LoPresti <>


Written by Josephine Hart


I bought this book on the first day it appeared in the book stores and is my only First Edition bought on the first day. I read it cover to cover as soon as I bought it. It is the best book I have ever encountered that addresses the subject of the damage that out-of-control libidos can do. The book was hypnotic.

A Dance to The Music of Time

Written by Anthony Powell

Rich Horton <>

This twelve-volume novel, published between 1951 and 1975, is both as funny (in a dry fashion) and as serious as any fiction of this century. A perfect depiction of the decline and fall of British society beginning with World War I and continuing into the '60s: this decline is seen as inevitable, probably deserved, also regrettable. Marvelous writing, a huge cast of always entertaining characters.

Dancing at the Rascal Fair

Written by Ivan Doig

Dave MacMillan <>

Beautifully written and engrossing story about a couple of young, Scottish immigrants who become two of the early settlers in Montana: their lives, families, struggles and loves. Mr. Doig's rich language and sweeping images make this a treasured piece of American literature. This book is part of a trilogy, but definitely stands alone.

The Danger Tree

Written by David MacFarlane

Vishal I. Sikka <>

It's about a family from Newfoundland and the travails of growing up, and how passing time ruthlessly influences the scenery and the society that surrounds us; a truly wonderful book.

Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys: A Novel

Written by Chris Fuhrman

Michelle <>

In the tradition of _Stand by Me_, this is a tale of one summer in the lives of a group of boys. The characters are so well drawn, so involving, and so incredibly realistic, you won't want this book to end. Often hilarious, never boring, you will want to rush out and buy the next thing Furhman wrote. Unfortunately, shortly after publishing this book, he died of cancer. A great loss of an amazing talent.

The Dark Knight Returns

Written by Frank Miller

Chris Cote <>

Quite possibly the greatest comic book ever conceived, written or produced. Originally a four-part mini-series published by DC Comics, the Dark Knight was a severe departure from the comic-bookish, guys in leotards fighting evil-type pit of hell that the comic book industry seemingly could not escape in the late 80s. It centers on the hero-vigilante Batman and the character's evolution in a future where super heroes have become extinct. As the introduction by Alan Moore states, Frank Miller reinvents the complicated and engaging character (Batman been around for over 50 years), meeting and exceeding the sophistication of the audience by focusing on the man inside the Batman costume. He portrays Batman as simply a man, not a musclebound freak with a good left hook. The art (it is a comic book, you know) is simply beautiful and the story itself is inspiring. I t may take some people a while to come to terms with the fact that _The Dark Knight Returns_ is still a comic book but once that hurdle is overcome, it's an experience. It's the comic book medium at its pinnacle as an art form and it changed the comic book industry forever.

Dark Rivers of the Heart

Written by Dean Koontz

Nikki Richards <>

It was a very thought provoking book, and I really don't know how to describe it. It's a cat and mouse chase, very close at moments, and then not. It is a very pleasureable book with lots of suspense.

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger

Written by Stephen King

Darryl Etheridge <>

Based on Robert Browning's poem "Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came," a great mixture of the Wild West, Arthurian legend and biblical references. Weaves high fantasy seamlessly together with gritty realism.

The Brothers K

Written by David James Duncan

Francisco Maldonado <>

This book is for anyone who is fascinated by the complexities of the human family. It deals with the lives and times of the Chance family as told by the fourth son, Kincaid. With a narrative style that is at once familiar and simple, yet innovative and complex, Duncan delves into the minds of his characters, demonstrating to the reader how the personality of an individual develops first in the family circle and how that personality is then manifested when the person is outside the family unit. The book is only one part personality study, however. It is the sometimes sad and always funny story of the lives of a family that has to try to function despite its dysfunction. The characters aren't just a family; they become the reader's family. By the time one finishes the book, after sharing in the laughter and the tears of this family, one puts away the book, for it is inevitable not to read it a second time.

Days Between Stations

Written by Steve Erickson

Rob Sider

Changed my life, you know what I mean, and I think it's changed everyone else's, too.

Death Be Not Proud

Written by John Gunther

Natasha Brown <>

Death On Credit

Written by Louis-Ferdinand Celine

Drew McCann

By, probably, the most underrated and neglected author of the twentieth century, mostly due to his collaboration with the Nazis and his anti-Jewish pamphlets, which even the SS tried to suppress as being too over the top. Academics and critics who dismiss him offhand for this seem to expect an author to be politically correct to produce art of any worth, correct, that is, by their standards, by their time, and by their culture. Maybe they fail to realize that an author does not have to be politically correct by anybody's standards to produce great literature. Or, maybe Dostoevsky and Stendhal are distant enough in time for academics to forget they were ever right-wing imperialists. It's easier to accept them into the "cannon of literature" that way.

Deathbird Stories

Written by Harlan Ellison

John David Regehr

A collection of powerful stories about possible gods; this book contains much of Ellison's best work.

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Written by Edward Gibbon

Christine Caudullo and John Williams <chris&john;>
John Lentes <>

Christine: Truly more important today than ever before, as the United States heads down much the same path as did the Roman Empire 1,500 years before it. It just goes to show, you can refine material and invent new and useful tools, but history never changes, it just keeps cycling. If you can make it through the long read it is a blueprint of how NOT to run an empire ... if you have aspirations to such a goal.

John: Gibbon's work is a masterful tale of all that is great in human endeavors while at the same time showing the depths to which man can sink. It contains truths, lessons, and inspiration for all times. Although the style is heavy and the Christian moralizing can be intrusive, all in all it is a truly great book.


Written by Herman Hesse

Eric Mumpower <>


Written by Joan Didion

Dan Alldredge

Didion doesn't waste one word in this moving and dead-on exploration of characters caught in the geopolitical quicksand of 20th century America. Her prose is lean and fierce and always entertaining. One of our very best writers.

The Demolished Man

Written by Alfred Bester

Kevin Martin <>

If you're looking for a mystery with a few twists (or a twisted mystery), you can't do better than this book. In the great traditions of both Hitchcockian psychological thrillers and science fiction, this one keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end, and it doesn't have any of the "Deus Ex Machina" that plague other science fiction mysteries. Don't be but off by Bester's unique attempts to convey language -- they grow on you. I've read this book ten or fifteen times, and liked it more every time.

The Denial of Death

Written by Ernest Becker

Leonard Johnson <>

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Non-Fiction. This book will shatter your mind if you let it. Becker sets down in stark terms Man's predicament on Earth: We are hopelessly trapped between our "symbolic selves" -- our lofty self-image as beings of cosmic significance -- and the grim reality of being creatures susceptible to decay and inevitable death. Our attempts to deny death -- through religion, artificial utopias, fanaticism of all stripes, blind secularism, simple neuroses -- is the root of human behavior. We are ultimately condemned to be either deluded creatures or insane ones. An odd synthesis of psychology and theology; Becker eventually concludes that no difference really exists between the two. Have a nice day.

The Deptford Trilogy

Written by Robertson Davies


Wonderful story illustrating the complexity and of the individual and the delicate schemes employed when interacting with others. This is psychology, humanities, passion and tradition all rolled up into a wonderful tale.

The Design of Everyday Things

Written by Donald A. Norman

Bryce Jasmer

This is the book that really opened my eyes about product design issues. I have really started to notice the design of the world around me, and how horrible and unusable it really is. Why is it that you have to send a fax face down where the phone number you are trying to send the fax to isn't visible? Read this book and you too will ask the right questions about a product's design and you will be more aware of the products that you design.


Written by Samuel R. Delany

Bob Crispen <>

Delany's long (my God, long!) deeply disturbing dream of the decaying city. Its literary pretensions (What is the protagonist's name? Is Bellona Harlem? Is this literally a dream?) whose kin become the substance of Delany's later work are here overwhelmed by the reality of place and character, and so _Dhalgren_ succeeds in getting hold of the imagination and the mind. There is no "what a clever boy am I" that spoils so much experimental writing, only integrity. Delaney's masterpiece, and what _Dangerous Visions_ might have spawned if they'd been reading Dostoevsky instead of Joyce.

Dharma Bums

Written by Jack Kerouac

Benjamin John Walter

This is one of the few books I've ever read that has changed the way I think and feel about life and where I'd like to be. It made me long to just get out there and experience life, whether hiking, climbing a mountain, or just simply existing.

The Diary of a Young Girl

Written by Anne Frank

Satsuki Murakami <>

Satsuki: As you know this story is about Jews who were persecuted by Nazis during the Second World War. If you read it, you will find an unusual life under fear. Can you imagine living in secret hidden rooms and being always frightened? I felt sad and impatient when I read one of the scenes. The scene shows that Anne and her sister tried to look for topics to talk about because of their boring life. Anne suggested talking about the future but her sister did not want talk about it because they did not know if they would have a future. I cannot understand why people killed each other. Can you say what Anne had done wrong? I recommend that you read this book in order not to forget the tragedy of the Second World War.

Stacey: This book made me value every day I'm given in this world and made me realize how special we all are to the human family. There was hope in Anne Frank's life when she could have (with more than enough reason) given in to utter despair. Her message is a message to all of us.

Different Seasons

Written by Stephen King

Carsten Kroon

Four stories of "Literary" quality. If you haven't read "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" or "The Body" then you are missing out on masterpieces! Very emotional and touching stories, with the realism and style that only King possesses.

The Dispossessed

Written by Ursula K. Le Guin

Elizabeth M. Reid <>
Andras Salmon <>
W.H. Bonney <>

Elizabeth: I first read _The Dispossessed_ when I was 12, and have reread it at least once a year in the 12 years since then. This book helped to define my political, social and interpersonal attitudes. It offers an ultimately optimistic, but by no means idealized, picture of humanity through a depiction of the protagonist's political, spiritual and interplanetary journey.

Andras: This book has strongly shaped my outlook on life, and is always a joy to reread.

W.H.: If nothing else, read it for an idea of how science progresses. The workings of the mind of a great, if fictional, scientist. His mathematical discovery of the flexibility of time changed the course of history in a number of LeGuin's later books. But more than that, *GOD* it's a good read. In LeGuin's words: at the center of all good novels is not an idea, but a person. And Shevek is a person you will never, ever, ever forget. LeGuin noted that even her most uncomprehending critics, somewhere, in the course of their review, almost always mentioned Shevek by name. And that, of course, meant that the book was a success. Please read it. It is just such a pleasure. True journey is return.

The Dispossessed Majority

Written by Wilmot Robertson

Blago Simeonov

The Diviners

Written by Margaret Laurence

Jeremy Dyck <>

Divorced From Justice

Written by Karen Winner


A shocking, fearless journey into the darker side of our legal system. It details well-documented occurrences of injustices in the world of women and children within the context of that legal system. The tangled mazes and webs of the so-called "justice system" are untangled for those first entering the often biased "halls of justice" in an easy to comprehend eyeopener. When will enough "injustice" be enough? The author not only identifies problems but offers solutions to some, as well. Foreword by Christopher Darden.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Written by Philip K. Dick

Gary Frederick Baker <>

This is the book that the movie "Blade Runner" was based on but is substantially different in tone and meaning. A terrific story about what defines human, non-human, and religious behavior.

Doctor Rat

Written by William Kotzwinkle

Darin Burleigh <>

The animals of the world gather for a meeting of universal consciousness. The title character is a lab rat driven mad by abusive experiments. This is no 'Velveteen Rabbit'.

Doctor Zhivago

Written by Boris Pasternak

Paul Compton <>

Perhaps the most profound novel I've ever read. It allowed me to make some sense of the role of the individual in the face of the sweeping and momentous events of history.

Does It Matter?

Written by Alan Watts

Joe Germuska <>

The Dollmaker

Written by Harriet Arnow

Barbara Kennedy <>

This is an old but classic book that tells a poignant story of the lives of a family from Appalachia which goes to live in Detroit during World War II. Having read it several times, I am touched and inspired by different parts of this book depending on what is happening in my own life as I am reading it.

Don Quixote

Written by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Christian Lipski <>
Brian Ring <>

The Door Into Summer

Written by Robert Heinlein

Scott Johnston <>


Written by Robin Graham

Andrea <>

Dove is based on 15 year old Robin Graham's five year journey in a sailboat by himself all around the world!

Dream of the Red Chamber

Written by Hsueh-Chin Tsao

Jya-Jang Tsai <>

For those who have never heard of it, this classic novel is a saga about an aristocratic family in Ching dynasty (of China). It story evolves around their daily life (which covers more than five hundred members in the extended family, including servants). The discussions of poetry, painting, music, architecture, medicine, cooking, craft, festivals are seamlessly blended in the storyline. The author utilized many particular aspects of a language (Mandarin), and wrote a dialog which vividly reflected each character's personality and status in the hierarchy. It is a book that offers entertainment as well as a window into a culture from that country's past.

The Drifters

Written by James Michener

Floyd David <>

At 21 I was destined to a life chained to a desk and already thinking about my retirement! Then I read James Michener's "The Drifters" which inspired me to leave England, spend 2 years on a cruise liner and hitch hike from England to South Africa. i.e. it changed my life. It is the story of 5 young kids who, from various parts of the world are seeking the meaning of life, meet in Spain and discover the beauties and pains of life. I thoroughly recommend this gem to any person who has come to a crossroads in their life.


Written by James Joyce

Jim Leckband

When I read your post, I thought of how I could decide to pick one book. My decision was to decide by mentally looking at my bookcase and thinking which book would I take out and just by holding it would recreate the feeling I had when I first read it. There are a few that are like that, but Dubliners won. The final story "The Dead" gives me goosebumps now just thinking about it.


Written by Frank Herbert

Jon Lemke <>
Jim Yearnshaw <>

Jim: The saga of Dune is a stirring and thought provoking commentary on all of the most vital aspects of humanity and human culture. Politics, religion, ecology, the growth and/or stagnation of society, the line between man and god, legend and reality; these books have it all. This is what I would call the manifesto and masterpiece of one of the 20th century's greatest authors and thinkers and it should be read by everyone, sci-fi fan or not.


Written by David Brin

Joe Caron <>

This is a thought provoking book about one possible future for mankind. The story takes multiple threads and intertwines them into the central plot line. This keeps you thinking as you try to see how each developing story will eventually fit into the primary plot line. The story also pushes you to think about many of todays environmental issues and to explore how our actions today will affect our grandchildren's lives.

Earthly Powers

Written by Anthony Burgess

Perry Lund <>

_Earthly Powers_ is a beautiful example of Burgess's ability to weave cosmic coincidence and finish with the ultimate irony. Whether you believe in heaven and hell or you see them as creations of ignorance and fear, this book will leave you shaking your head.

East of Eden

Written by John Steinbeck

Bill Tinsley <>
Elizabeth Thompson <>
Leland D. Husband, Jr. <>

Bill: Since the time in high school we had to read two of Steinbeck's other novels, I have been in love with his passion for story telling. I knew well before I was far into it that _East of Eden_ was a work of art.

Effective Cycling

Written by John Forester

Steve Lusky

This book is the definitive book for bicycling on roads. It has singularly been subject to endless discussions on rec.bicycle.soc. The principles it espouses are time tested by many around the world. It is the foundation for the only national program on bicycle education. If you drive on roads, knowing the material in this book will help you be a better driver, both of motor vehicles and bicycles.

The Ego and Its Own

Written by Max Stirner

Steve O'Keefe <>

The Eight

Written by Katherin Neville

Lilli Cox
Pamela Wilfinger
Aaron Craig Volkening

Lilli: An intricate story about an ancient chess set which holds an extraordinary power if all pieces are brought together. The power is mysterious till the end. I can only say: read this. It's the best -- not fluff in any sense... a real mind-bender.

Pamela: It was an engrossing tale about power, chess, life, feminism, and courage. I continuously buy copies of this book and give them out to everyone who's looking for a great book.

Aaron: She blends history and fantasy together in a masterful way.

The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test

Written by Thomas Wolfe

Jeff Thorssell <>
Arnie L. Holder <>

Jeff: Read it back in the 70s. I think it still influences me in that I think too many people today take life (and themselves) too seriously.


Written by Jane Austen

Charlene Vickers <>

Emma Who Saved My Life

Written by Wilton Barnhardt

Siobhan Mitchell <>

I've never laughed so much as I did when reading this book. It's about a Midwestern guy who drops out of college and goes to New York to be an actor. It brings into focus the comic cultures of the 70s and the 80s. Emma is a great character, crazy and likeable. If you want to laugh, then read this!

Emotional Intelligence

Written by Daniel Goleman

Skip J. Cynar <>

A fascinating, wide-ranging, insightful, and informative reporting of scientific research on the role of emotions (self-awareness, empathy, etc) to our personal happiness and success. The author synthesizes a broad range of scientific and psychological research into an impressive contribution on how emotional development (emotional intelligence) influences our relationships, our children, and our health.

Empire as a Way of Life

Written by William Appleman Williams

Jessica Maloney <>

The superstructure of American History.

Endangered Species: The East Anglian Commuter

Written by Robert Pilgrim

Malcolm Dunn

Anyone who has spent any time on British Rail, or indeed, just commuting, will identify immediately with the dry wit of Pilgrim's booklet (it's by no means a large tome). Try to find it if you can - all proceeds go to the WWF (UK). Oddly enough, though they sold it to me in 1988, they have since steadfastly refused to believe they ever distributed it! Keep trying - they may reprint... "Boilers, invented to keep things warm, freeze. That is why there is no coffee on the days when the heating fails. This only happens in winter. In summer, when it may be wet but warm, the heating is encouraged and blazes away like mad. 'It is the switch,' I was told. 'Switch it off,' I suggested. 'I can't; it's electric,' he replied. At once, I understood."

Ender's Game

Written by Orson Scott Card

Analisa Marie Norris
Chris Lawyer
Lisa Phillips <>

Analisa: The author does an incredible job of addressing moral issues that will confront our society as we become more technologically advanced. Great science fiction in the middle of a riveting plot with big issues that make you think.

Chris: It is a neat tale of a little boy forced to go through pressures that would crush the average person in a little while. Ender is destined to save the world from aliens, yet he is only six at the onset of the book. And through it all, he succeeds, but he gets burned out by the process. Truly a fascinating book.


Written by Alfred Lansing

Ben Humphrey <>

True story about the ill-fated 1916 attempt by Englishman Ernest Shackleton to cross Antarctica. His ship was crushed in the ice and he and his crew were forced onto the floe. A year and a half later, after hauling their equipment over miles of broken ice to open water, sailing the the fiercest sea in the world in a rowboat, and making an overland trek through previously unmapped territory, they were rescued. Not a single man perished. An incredible true story of the human will to persevere against all odds.

English Creek

Written by Ivan Doig

Janice Vega

It's the first book in a trilogy. The writing is so beautiful I found myself rereading sentences and paragraphs not because of confusion, but because of their sheer power and imagery.

The English Patient

Written by Michael Ondaatje

Todd Bingham <>

The novel is beautifully written and told. A must for anyone who enjoys rich and consuming imagery. The tale of a young nurse, a Sikh bomb-disposal expert, a thief and a man burnt beyond recognition - known only as the English Patient. This is one of the few books I have re-read more than once. The storytelling is so rich at times that it falls into poetics, yet remains real. A story of peace, war, love, friendship, history, hysterics and absurdity. Ondaatje is a truly great writer who somehow remains unknown to many.

Escape From Exile

Written by Robert Levy



Written by Michel de Montaigne (translated by J.M. Cohen)

Hugh Malcolm <>

This is the book that introduced the word into French and "essay" into the English language. It is also the most deeply introspective and personal study of individual psychology between Marcus Aurelius and Freud (goes beyond Aurelius). One fears that the ever accelerating change of our age may obliterate the memory of some of the most mature thought of our entire cultural history.

Et Tu, Babe

Written by Mark Leyner


Leyner's comic talent is unparalleled. In this, his funniest book (I don't dare say "novel" as he slides from prose into poetry, from poetry into drama, defying and transcending arbitrary genre conventions -- a contemporary Cervantes, a modern day Melville!!!), Leyner attacks every-thing from talk shows to literary criticism, from writing workshops to film stars. With its quick cuts and even quicker quips, this literary gem reads like a Spike Jonez video or an episode of "The Simpsons." I dare you to find a funnier book.

Ethan Frome

Written by Edith Wharton

Michael Wojcik <>

Eva Luna

Written by Isabel Allende

Jean Armour Polly <>

It is about a woman who inhales colors, smells, and sounds from her native South American life, and breathes out stories which are latter-day myths and legends. This book is a field guide to passion, truth, and justice. What else is there.

Everyday Use

Written by Alice Walker

Cannon <>

The Examined Life: Philosophical Meditations

Written by Robert Nozick

Larry Deaton <>

Other books perhaps mean more to me, but none that I have read in recent years has made me think as deeply as this one. Nozick's theme here is simple (and this alone sets this book off from most of his other works which tend to be brilliant but difficult reading) and stated clearly in his introduction: "I want to think about living and what is important in life." This leads him to ask the following kind of questions: "Why isn't happiness the only thing that matters? What would immortality be like and what would be its point? Should inherited wealth be passed on through many generations? ... What is especially valuable in the way romantic love alters a person? What is wisdom and why do philosophers love it so?" He then attempts to answer each of these questions and others in individual chapters. I doubt that many people will agree with all of Nozick's answers, but I think that anyone who reads this book will both enjoy his musings and end up with considerably more knowledge and yes ... with even a little more wisdom. And that makes it a very rare and worthwhile book.


Written by Leon Uris

Angie <>

This book exemplifies the true meaning of struggle to obtain one's goals while sharing the beautiful story of Israel's statehood.

Fahrenheit 451

Written by Ray Bradbury

Tatsuya Murase <>
Sara Gray <>

Tatsuya: A book about a world where books are illegal, it gives people a glimpse into a future few wish to live out but are always in danger of stepping closer towards.

Sara: In simple, straightforward narration, Bradbury is a master storyteller in this amazingly human novel. The story of Guy Montag and his emergence from ignorance is genuinely thought-provoking, easily understood, and frighteningly dreamlike. The greatest unsung literary hero, Clarisse McClellan, makes her brief existence last forever in the pages of _Farenheit 451._

Failing at Fairness: How Our Schools Cheat Girls

Written by Myra and David Sadker

Barbara Gibb <>

I recommend it as providing an eye-opening account of what goes on in the American classroom regarding the differential treatment of boys and girls. No matter what I believe now, immediately after reading it the first time I was thoroughly convinced by their careful argumentation. It is considered a must for any discussion on educational gender equality.

The Fairy of the Snows

Written by Fr. Finn, SJ.

Deanna Aldrich <>

When I was a young teenager, I had few friends and a horrific homelife. Books became my escape. I consumed everything in sight including the Compton's Encyclopedia. One day while picking blueberries near the town dump we found a box of books. This book was among the treasures we found. It became my companion. It is a fictional account of a very poor young girl who was my age. Even though the book was written before the turn of the century she was experiencing some of the same abuses I was! It speaks of her conversion experience and the increased abuse which she endured with great bravery because of it. She became a role model for me and when she dies rather than submit to a rapist I cried for hours. But in the end, with a new dress she never owned in life, she is carried into heaven by the angels. It helped me survive and come out on the other side a better person! If anyone should find a copy please E-Mail me as mine was thrown away by parents who didn't care years ago.

Family Pictures

Written by Sue Miller

Erika Grams <>

A wonderful, emotionally powerful story about how one family copes with an autistic son over several decades, told from the point of view of the daughter who was born after the diagnosis of the autistic son (Randall) was made. She is a photographer and discovers how pictures tell and explain her family's story. Sue Miller is simply the best novelist in the United States today IMHO.

A Fan's Notes

Written by Frederick Exley

Yvette Benavides <>

This is the first book in a trilogy by Exley. It is fiction loosely-based on the life of the author. This, the most critically acclaimed of the three, is an account of the protagonist's inability to own up to his responsibility to his family, his acceptance of his alcoholism and his proclivity for sexual encounters and all things out-of control. If these themes do not appeal to the reader, the writer's prose is a definite draw. This is some of the richest, most poetic language I have encountered. Exley and his alter ego are tough to shake. Read this and be left with a literary hangover which comes when you read too much, enjoy it and can't shake it the next day.

Farewell, My Lovely

Written by Raymond Chandler

John Kerns <>

It's difficult to single out one novel featuring Chandler's private eye hero, Phillip Marlowe; if you like one, you like them all. I'm especially fond of "Farewell, My Lovely" because it features probably the most sympathetic female character in all his books, Anne Riordan, who assists Marlowe despite his reluctance to get help from anyone, let alone a young woman. Chandler's work is as important to the "hard-boiled" school of writing as Conan Doyle's to the British-style mystery, and his style of dialogue and description is much emulated but unequaled.

A Farewell to Arms

Written by Ernest Hemingway

Timoty B. Messick <>

The intrigue and tantalizing interest of a "bodice buster" romance has nothing on the passion and fire of Hemingway's story of the wounded WWI American ambulance driver in the Italian army and his mystical, sultry English nurse. Their meeting, loving, passion and separation set against Hemingway's stark scenery and starker prose create the ultimate anti-war novel as well as the ultimate war love story. Nothing written before or since adds anything to Hemingway's analysis of how what is right interplays with what is proper and what is inescapable.

The Farthest Shore

Written by Ursula K. Le Guin

Saul Epstein

I tend to consider all four of Ursula K. Le Guin's EarthSea novels as a unit, and all equally profound etc. But if I had to choose one of the four it would be _The Farthest Shore_, the third one.

Father Elijah: An Apocalypse

Written by Michael D. O'Brien

Sam Hobbs <>

Has gotten some rave reviews as a great "Catholic" novel. I think that's all wrong -- this book is a great Christian novel AND a great novel. The author apologizes that the book doesn't have the kind of action appeal of a fast-paced television show or movie, but, while it does start slightly slowly, it has lots of action, some of it offstage. It is a story of thought and philosophy and real daily life as well as spiritual life.

Fathers and Sons

Written by Ivan Turgenev

Peter Hultgren <>

Anyone who's gone to college will recognize Bazarov. Short, emotionally and intellectually stimulating.

The Favorite Game

Written by Leonard Cohen

Melissa McDowall <>

A delicately written book that is truley poetic; it is sad, funny, and thought-provoking. A book that will eat at your brain and make you read it again and again.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Written by Hunter S. Thompson

Peter J Bereolos <>

The Female Man

Written by Joanna Russ

Michele Lloyd

The Fever

Written by Wallace Shawn

Patrick Jennings <>

Written as a one-actor monologue, it is a savvy, concise, potent analysis of the gulf in points of view between the have's and have-not's of this world. And it draws also a fascinating picture of the personal struggle of a "have" trying alternately to dispel and grasp and understand the POV of the "have-not."

Fifth Business

Written by Robertson Davies

Nancy <>

The whole Depford Trilogy should be read at once -- you will become competely undone and transformed by it. Then it can be read periodically book by book, at a relaxed pace to hone in on every little gem of phrase and idea. It's so diverse and twisted, touching and radical. Davies is a master.

Finite and Infinite Games

Written by James P. Carse

David W. True

I read this just as I was becoming enlightened about a lot of issues (early, mid-twenties), and I find the core of the book very useful in sorting out competing agendas in business and everyday life. Especially important are the differentiation between power vs. strength as well as that for education vs. training.

Finnegan's Wake

Written by James Joyce

Tim McElreath <>

The Hibernian Kabbalah. It's literally a book about everything and everyone, utilizing at least fourteen different languages (although it's basically in English). If as W.S. Burroughs has said, "Language is a virus," then _Finnegan's Wake_ is its Typhoid Mary.


Written by Edwin Abbot

David Lundquist <>

First encountered it in about 1962 and found it again years later. It provides a wonderful insight into dimensionality and the possibility of a fourth dimension.

Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel

Written by Vanna Bonta.

John Davenport <>

A Floating Opera

Written by John Barth

Peter Hawkinson <>

The unexamined life isn't worth living, and every reasoning being must one day make a conscious decision either to commit suicide or deliberately live for *something*.

Flowers for Algernon

Written by Daniel Keyes

David Ondrejko <>
Hazel Kohler <>

David: Diary of the world's first man to be made a genius by modern medicine. Chronicles his rise from an IQ of 68 to that of a true genius, and what happens when he finds that the change is not permanent. Shows exactly how fragile our intelligence is, and can give a clue to what Alzheimer's patients' experience is like.

Hazel: The first person narrative is superbly handled throughout, and the final line brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. On its publication, it won every award going.

Foucault's Pendulum

Written by Umberto Eco

Markus Freericks <>

This book is ripe with intellectual jokes on historical, linguistical, political and theological issues. If you are a religious or "new age" person, it might yet make a good skeptic out of you, too. A second or third reading is really necessary, because the introduction of hundreds of names and themes can become quite confusing.

The Fourth Turning

Written by William Strauss and Neil Howe

James McDisi

There is no better quote to sum up my feelings about _The Fourth Turning_ than what the Boston Globe said: "I put down _The Fourth Turning_ with a mixture of terror and excitement. My pulse quickens as I think that the next two decades could see the kinds of apocalyptic events in whose shadow I was born, and about which I have read all my life..." It presents a theory of cyclical history that prophesizes that America will be entering a crisis period in the next 15-20 years. This is not crack-pot theory, but a well-founded analysis of history based on the principles they set down in their first book, _Generations_. If you are interested in theories and in American culture and its impact on us then this is a must-read.

Fool on the Hill

Written by Matt Ruff

Kady O'Malley <>
Aggie Donkar <>

Kady: This is a wonderful, weird, profound, nonsensical, delightful, and rereadable book. When I read it the first time I stayed up till dawn to finish it, and when I did finally come to the end, I burst into tears. But good tears. It will appeal to anyone who wonders about the story behind the Story. It has magic, sex, love, drugs, redemption, cool parties, paper dragons, talking animals, sprites, immortal beings, Fools and kites. What more could you want?

Aggie: A wonderful combination of fantasy and romanticism and the best parts of J.R.R. Tolkien's and Tom Robbins' novels!


Written by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

Jeanne Brewer <>

This is not a book to change one's life, but it is a downright great read! Science fiction: Earth is invaded by creatures that closely resemble baby elephants and man must learn to deal with herd creatures. Abounds with great characterizations of people and aliens. You feel like you know them so well that you worry about them when they get into trouble. A fun and rewarding read!


Written by Isaac Asimov

Michael Morowitz <>

Asimov combines commentary on society, philosophy, religion, human nature, politics, economics, government, science, all in one highly engaging sci-fi novel. Asimov has an excellent grasp on the human condition.

The Fountainhead

Written by Ayn Rand

Colleen Mary Kehoe <>
Sara Ewing <>
Nicole Cooper <>

Colleen: I recommend this book not as an advertisement for Rand's philosophy, but mainly as an absolutely gripping novel. Although I don't always agree with her philosophy, this book led me to identify and evaluate my beliefs that underlie the way I live my life.

Sara: Anyone who has read it will understand.

The Four Loves

Written by C.S. Lewis

John Thienes

Lewis presents his arguments for four unique kinds of love in his careful, logical, and inimitable way. But the one thing that has stayed with me even after the first reading years ago was his presentation of the love called friendship. We may say we have many friends, but they are simply acquaintances (and that is fine as far as it goes); however, if one has the fortune to have a true friend in another, then one has a treasure indeed.

Franny and Zooey

Written by J. D. Salinger

Alyson-Kathleen Riley <>
Steve Gilbert <>

In this little book I found the secret of living life courageously, with honesty and integrity. It's beautiful and masterfully-constructed.

I thought I was the only person in the world who was odd enough to love this book so much. Then I met a friend in college who, like me, so identified with the book that he scribbled down his favorite passages from the book and carried the worn page in his wallet. Speaking as a Franny, I wish that every person could have a Zooey in their life. This book helped me be happy about being a geek.


Written by Robert Rhodes James

Dwight Hunter <>

Gates of Fire

Written by Elwyn Chainberlain

Josh Stolaroff <>

An introduction to Eastern spirituality for the cynical. Startling details of Indian life.

The Gathering Storm

Written by Bruce Catton

Carlos Byars <>

Modern scholarship and new sources have altered the understanding of a few, mostly minor, points. But no other Civil War writer had Catton's breadth and depth of understanding and his beautiful writing style.

Geek Love

Written by Katherine Dunn

Tim Anderson

The story is of a traveling family of carnival side-show freaks. The children were "designed" by their parents: Mom intentionally ingested toxic chemicals to produce deformities. A disturbing and ugly book in many respects, it is difficult to keep reading, but impossible to stop. It is skillfully written, the imagery is vivid and, much of the time, highly unpleasant. It's not a book you'll easily forget, although you'll probably try. It will make you think about what it means to be a family.

Generation X

Written by Douglas Coupland

Eric Iverson <>

As a 28 year old who had just suffered his own "mid-20's breakdown" (see the book) it gave me words for things I didn't know had words and made me realize that others were going through the same things I was going through. It was sort of my "On the Road." No book before or since has validated my life in quite the same way.

Getting Even

Written by Woody Allen

Steve Martin

This is the first in a trilogy; all three are unbelievably funny. For years I have been trying to tell people who like Allen's films that his films pale in comparison with these comic masterpieces. And yet nobody seems to listen. If you like Woody Allen, do yourself a favor and read these books.


Written by Michael Slade

Robert Deklerk

Gideon's Trumpet

Written by Anthony Lewis

Susan Molini

I read it in high school and have wanted to be an attorney ever since. I'm presently in law school (also the 39 year old mother of four young boys) and when I need inspiration, I reach for my dog-eared copy. Provides a strong argument for defending the defenseless.

Gift From the Sea

Written by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Karen McComas <>

Several years ago I attended a retreat and was invited to share some of my experiences (life). After returning home, I received this book in the mail from someone who had heard me. There is a passage in the book (page 23) that, to this day, takes my breath away. How could Lindbergh, in 1955, the year of my birth, write my thoughts?

The Ginger Man

Written by J.P. Donleavy

Frank Clover <>

A Girl in a Million

Written by Stephanie Anne Lloyd

Tracy Lauren <>

For almost everyone in the world, being you is a very easy thing to do. But for some, being you is not so easy. Life forces us to conform to doing things a certain way, or acting a certain way simply because of the gender that we are born as. This book is an amazing life story about "A Girl in a Million" who decided to change who everyone thought she was into who she actually was. Stephanie Anne Lloyd is a post-operative transexual who made a name for herself in the UK. When I read this story, I was amazed. You need to read with an open mind, and this may help avert some stereotypes. It certainly helped change mine.

A Girl In Winter

Written by Philip Larkin

Keith Grogan <>

One of only two novels written by the renowned poet in his lifetime. Set in wartime England, the story of a relationship that was never meant to be - a theme I'm sure many can identity with. Poignant, beautifully written.

The Giver

Written by Lowis Lowry

Jennifer Lyn Poirer <>

The Giving Tree

Written by Shel Silverstein

Jaime B. Wilkins <>

Ever since my mother read this book to me when I was little, it has always seemed to cheer me up when I was down. It is a very inspirational book for children and adults alike.

The Glass Lake

Written by Maeve Binchy

Elizabeth Melillo <>

I've long been a Maeve Binchy fan, but this work is her masterpiece, treating all of the complex facets of human behavior in the guise of day-to-day life. The (minor) character of Sister Madeleine is the only true, accurate depiction of how an innocent, trusting nun's point of view can become distorted by the conflict between deep-held religious ideals and the common outlook.

The Glory and the Dream: A Narrative History of America, 1932-1972

Written by William Manchester

Tim Isenmann <>

The title explains what this book is about. Covers the political, social, domestic and international aspects of the USA, as well as the fads, follies and foibles of the American people, and all in a smooth, almost conversational, style -- the kind of book you can open up to anywhere and start reading. 1200 pages long, exceptionally well researched, continually interesting, this is a good read and fine addition to any library.

The God of the Labyrinth

Written by Colin Wilson

Keith Gottlieb

Colin Wilson's final book in the Gerard Sorme trilogy expands on all the themes Wilson is famous for, including psychology, mysticism, the occult, and sex. This book will make you think a little differently about yourself, your relations with the opposite sex, and even the meaning of the orgasm.

Godel, Escher, Bach

Written by Douglas Hofstadter

Paul Phillips <>
Raphael Quinet <>

The Gold Bug Variations

Written by Richard Powers

David Ramger <>

I could, and probably will, read this book over and over again... Powers writes like no one else, using language that only he could possibly weave into an interesting and beautifully written story of love and loss.

Gone With the Wind

Written by Margaret Mitchell

Bruce Holt <>

I find myself thinking of the HATE that went on during that time between The North and The South. Being a Southerner and living here makes me wonder what my life would have been like should I have lived back then. To Southerners, the agony of LOSS. Everything you were brought up knowing is GONE FOREVER. The loved ones among family and the many friends that are GONE FOREVER. The utter loss for LIVING it seems with NO HOPE. Also, after the war, the living for necessity with no luxury at all. Making your own clothes, feeding the family, the garden to be done, etc. All of this day after day... with almost NO FREE TIME. It is something that I think none of us now could ENDURE!!!

Good Omens

Written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Jeff Lee <>

In the US, it's by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, for some reason presumably known only to book publishers.

The Good Soldier

Written by Ford Maddox Ford

Scott Ansell <>

A story of two couples trapped in essentially loveless marriages that hovers somewhere between the Victorian novel and the works of the "lost generation" authors of the twenties and thirties. Edward Ashburnham, the book's narrator, is a charming character: sympathetic, ironic, and, above all, sad. The ending is one of the more profound I have read.


Written by John Norman

Adrian Moerman <>

The beginning of a great series. I don't care if it is not PC. If you don't like it, too bad.

The Grapes of Wrath

Written by John Steinbeck

Priscilla Balch
Peter Tomkins <>

Peter: The most powerful statement I have ever read of the existence of "society" and the need to recognize that we live in a community where our actions affect others.

Gravity's Rainbow

Written by Thomas Pynchon

George Casler <>
Matt McClintock
Matthew Wise
Bruce Sublett <>

George: While this is no doubt a very difficult book to read, the various points of view taken by the suspectedly-multiple Pynchon provide an engagingly expansive look at post-dubya-dubya-too life and culture. Not to mention his contribution to post-modern and hypertextual literature.

Matt M.: A tremendously funny and convoluted novel I've read over and over again. Complex enough to seem new each time I read it, and engaging enough to make it hard to put down.

Matt W.: Took me 3 years to finish reading it the first time out, but I carried that chunky, weathered paperback with me everywhere I went. Now I reread it every 6 months or so and always find something different. So much information, so many interconnections - if hypermedia did not exist this book would have forced it into being.

Bruce: I go along with Edward Mendelson's theory that each culture produces one "encyclopedic narrative" that defines the culture for all time. For the 60's, this is it, even though it's set in WWII.

Great Expectations

Written by Charles Dickens

Andrew Rae <>

How does one have one's life influenced by an apolitical work of fiction? I think it's more the particular copy, and the circumstances under which I was given it... I the book still counts as the one with the greatest influence on me, though.

The Great Gatsby

Written by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Peter Simon <>

Simply the greatest love story ever written. Am I being too romantic? But for a description of strong love against all odds, this book reigns supreme.

Green Mansions

Written by W.H. Hudson

Edwin Posey <>

An extended dream, or vision -- psychedelic in the best sense -- romanticism exemplified, by perhaps one of the most evocative writers of the English language in the early part of the century.


Written by John Gardner

Dan Davie <>

This beautifully crafted gem explores the interlocked relationships of creator/creation, art/consciousness, artist/consumer in the framework of the Beowulf legend. Told in the first person by the monster Grendel, it is both realistic and fantastic. Easy to read, impossible to forget, like all of Gardner's books. By the late American author, not the English mystery writer.


Written by James Hamilton-Paterson

Nancy Mencke <>

This novel by a 50ish Englishman who spents half his life in a cave in the Phillipines and the other half in the Alps should not be missed. The language is lush without being overwhelming, and the story is as bizarre as John Irving's work with the characters not quite as sympathetic. Wallace Stegner would have loved it. It is a feast without pretension.

Guards! Guards!

Written by Terry Pratchet

Mark Adamson <>

Terry has written a great many fantastic books in his Discworld series (12 or 14 I think) but this is a truly excellent example and one that will lead any reader to others in the series.

Guide for the Perplexed

Written by E.F. Schumacher

J. Booth <>

Schumacher theorizes that every problem of modern society is the direct result of the cartesian rationalism of the 19th century and that the solutions to our problems lie in ancient wisdom. He manages to pack an unbelievable amount of support for his beliefs into this easily read 136 page masterpiece.

The Gulag Archipelago

Written by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Rob Crawford <>

I found it a splendid introduction to 20th century totalitarianism and its impact on vividly portrayed individuals. Though I am not very religious, Solzhenitzn's conversion, a climax of the 3rd volume, I think, is deeply moving.


Written by William Shakespeare

Steve Green <>

Food for four centuries of thought. The heart and soul of English literature.

The Handmaid's Tale

Written by Margaret Atwood

Kim Corpening <corpening_kim/>

It's a terrific sci-fi novel concerning the absurdities of government, etc. Enjoyable reading, yet very thought provoking.

Hart's Hope

Written by Orson Scott Card

Peter Tang <>

This is a beautiful story written in a unique style. It reads like Greek mythology and may take some getting used to. There is depth to all the characters and Card pays good attention to important details. In my opinion, it is the best book Card has written.

The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul

Written by David Whyte

Jason Schwager <>

I listen to lots of authors in book stores. David Whyte is the only one I've seen and heard who so effortlessly held a packed house way overtime on the leading edges of our seats. Every once in a while a person or a work is so seminal it heralds a shift. R. Buckminster Fuller did this for design. Miles Davis did it for jazz. David Whyte is doing it for the intersection of the soul and American business. He NEVER once read from his book. Instead, to illustrate the points he wanted to make he reeled out ideas and poems (his own and others) from memory one after another with such veracity they seemed to arise spontaneously from one archetypal soul into a world premier for our ears and thence back into us to do their transformational work. He didn't just recite. He spoke and verbally delivered poetry, with an uncommon timing, emphasis, and rhythm using the English language more like John Coletrane's tenor sax turning and soaring through space, making me hear old lines as if I had been deaf before. If this is what a working Irish poet does, let's have more of them! I came away with a deeply renewed sense of my own journey and the personal necessity for me to bring my soul's passions fully into the World and my professional life.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Written by Carson McCullers

Martyn Wolfman <>

It is an easy read if McCullers reaches you the way she reached me. Her southern characters are a mixture of the tragic and profane, all seen through the coming-of-age eyes of an awkward teenage girl.

Heart of Darkness

Written by Joseph Conrad

Sarah Brouillette <>

On one level, this book stands as a truly brilliant account of the colonial experience. In a deeper sense, it may the single greatest statement about the meaning of life, and the quest for that meaning, ever put into a literary form. Gut-wrenching and rather suicidal, but nonetheless, a necessary read.

The Heaven Tree Trilogy

Written by Edith Pargeter

Ann Whitaker <>

I read this book because I had read many of the books Ms. Pargeter wrote under the name Ellis Peters and I liked them. This book goes way beyond a good read however. For me it really brought home the idea that the good we do and the good that we are goes beyond our own little world, and can effect generations to come. It is also a novel of hope and of seeing how life will go on and continue in beauty. Nothing good is ever lost.

Heavy Weather

Written by Bruce Sterling

Mac Tonnies <0212104@ACAD.NWMISSOURI.EDU>

Henderson the Rain King

Written by Saul Bellow

Dave Miller

I don't know why I keep coming back to this novel. I've read it three times since college. It's about a middle-aged, American, man-of-action, who breaks with his routine life and travels to the interior of Africa; about how the best of intentions do not keep us from damaging those we seek to help; and about how we don't always get what we want, but often, just what we need. Now that I am Henderson's age, I should probably read this again.

A Hero with a Thousand Faces

Written by Joseph Campbell

Don Stadius

High Fidelity

Written by Nick Hornby

Shawn Hampton
D. Nalls <>

Shawn: It amazed me how similar the main character was to myself. A great book for anyone who has ever worked in a record shop, been a record collector, or has known someone who fit that description.

D. Nalls: This book was funny, insightful and extremely entertaining. It is not, however, a book for all people. Men, do NOT let your girlfriend and/or wife read this book. It contains deep insights into the warped minds of today's men. It is funny as hell and men around the world will be able to relate to many episodes in this book.

A History Of American Law

Written by Lawrence M. Friedman

Robert K. Marvin <rmarvin@GMU.EDU>

This book explains how we arrived at our current legal system. It also provides insights to how law has helped make-up and change the face of American society.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Written by Douglas Adams

Peggy S. Ramert <>
David Adelman <>
Dan Engstrom <>
Jim LaPierre
Henry Lai <>
Rob Collier <>

Peggy: I have always taken life so very seriously that this was prescribed to me by a physician a few years ago! He was in essence telling me to lighten up and just enjoy my life! Up till then, I thought life was to be endured, not enjoyed! Enjoyment was a new concept! Anyway, I highly recommend it as light reading and I hope you enjoy it if you have not already done so!

David: A funny satire of modern society.

Dan: I envy those who get to read it for the first time; wondering what on earth they are reading, getting to know Marvin the paranoid android, learning the meaning of life (which incidentally is 42) and generally having a peculiar time of it. Who wrote the worst poetry in the Galaxy?

Jim: Introduces readers to the Fantasy/SciFi genre yet original in ideas.

Henry: Random, thoughtful, and creative. It is also EXTREMELY funny: I literally rolled on the ground from laughter. I guarantee that if you like Sci-Fi and humor, or just plain humor, then you will enjoy this.

Rob: This book tells that all the things that we (of earth) hold so high and mighty could go away in a matter of seconds and then where would we be? DEAD! Explores the universe in a "bent" and very funny way. Makes you think, 'Is this all really worth it?' All the digital watches and little pieces of green paper. I laugh every time I read it or listen to the audio tape. And the world needs more laughter.

The Hobbit

Written by J.R.R. Tolkien

Pete Smith

The Holographic Universe

Written by Michael Talbot

Balazs Waginger <>

The model of reality presented by this book appears to be more true than any other I have ever seen before. I find it powerfully persuasive. I actually believe in its truth!

The Holy Man

Written by Susan Trott

Roseann <>

The review suggests Buddhism and insomnia led novelist Susan Trott to invent an alternative to counting sheep: she counted a line of people waiting to see a holy man. Each chapter of this warm and witty parable tells the tale of a pilgrim seeking answers -- and finding them in marvelous and unexpected places. I'm pleased to pass on the recommendation I received from an online friend for this rewarding read.

Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets

Written by David Simon


I chose this book over millions of others simply because of the format. This book is a journalistic account of a year of the trials and tribulations in the Homicide Dept. of the Baltimore Police. It is a 600 page powerhouse of emotion. Cynicism, escapism, every emotion in the book and then some. It is an excellent overview of the complex relationships between the police, the criminals, and the population of urban areas. It is the only book in its genre even comparable is Alex Kotlowitz's _There Are No Children Here_. Deeply moving.

The House of the Spirits

Written by Isabel Allende

Sylvia Chong

Very sprawling story, at times grotesque, at times depressing, very humorous in general.

The House on the Strand

Written by Daphne Du Maurier

D. Kent <>

Great for those who like to speculate about what seems to be impossible.

How Can I Help?

Written by Ram Dass and Paul Gorman

Maggie Steincrohn Davis <>

_How Can I Help?_ is for all whose souls are prompting them to be the best they can be, not merely for their own sake, but for the sake of each and all. This book is all heart and understanding. It is for the server as well as for the served -- because in the end, truly, they are the same.

How Green Was My Valley

Written by Richard Lewellyn

T.C. Cutts <>

18th century Wales, hope, pride, and the hotly burning flame of the human spirit.

Howard's End

Written by E.M. Forster

Mark Taranto


Written by Dan Simmons

Leo Krabbendam <>

It is simply the best SF book I've ever read (and I have read a *lot*), but this book really has got everything : A complicated plot, strange worlds, amazing technology, depth of characters, well-thought-out society, mystery, ... you name it, it's there. By the way, the author is an amazing writer. He's published several books in different genres, and they ALL are amazingly good. Heavily recommended!

I Ching

Written by Rudolf Ritsema and Stephen Karcher

Emily Millard <>

I highly recommend this text of the I Ching as an alternative to the other texts of the I Ching, especially if you have time to devote to it. It offers detailed explanations and answers to anyone who uses it, in both English and Chinese.

I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew

Written by Dr. Seuss

Nmemoni <>

Dr. Seuss, in his inimitably surreal good humor, provides in this story the groundworks for the kind of healthy, a-utopian worldview that can serve one well in avoiding the dangerous tides of groupthink that seem to overwhelm the human race. It is easy to understand and can equip toddler and todler alike to fix what is broken when it breaks. Its images incorporate the innately fragile balance of life and what to expect if you happen to be going the opposite direction of all the birds in the tunnel. It does not say turn around and quit, just to expect a rough journey. It is pragmatic and empowering....and it's just like Kafka's Castle.

I, Rigoberta Menchu, An Indian Woman In Guatemala

Written by Elizabeth Burgos-Debray, Rigoberta Menchu

Susan Hannisian <>

Rigoberta transports you to Guatemala and makes you understand how it feels to be a poor Indian woman. She is a hero among her countrymen. Hers is a story of inspiration that made me look closely at what is really important in life and living.

I Was a Monk

Written by John Tettemer

Gwen Kraft <>

I Was a Stranger

Written by General Sir John Hackett

Leonard Pratt <>

The interesting thing about this book, to me, is that the author also wrote "The Third World War," a horrific example of nuke-think during the days of the Cold War. Yet the same man was able to produce the first book, which I think is one of the warmest examples of human courage under terrible danger that I have ever read. Simply, it is the auto-biography of a British officer captured during the Battle of Arnheim during WWII, and his life with the courageous people of the Dutch underground until he could make his way back to British lines. He does not write his own story, but rather the story of the simple and courageous people who protected him. Everyone in his book is someone I would like to have met, and whose courage in adversity I would be honored to emulate.

The Idiot

Written by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Patrick Ritter <>

Dostoevsky's novel on innocence and debauchery leads the reader into an introspective journey into spirituality. Like many of his other books, it left me mentally drained but spiritually revived. If you wish to gain insight into the Russian heart and soul there is no better author than Dostoevsky.

If On A Winter's Night A Traveller

Written by Italo Calvino

Robert Lee <>

If Wishes Were Horses

Written by Francine Pascal

Malinda Craig

This is a wonderful work of fiction that is beautifully structured between past and present times (New York and France) that remembers a love story you will never forget. This book is highly recommended with a hot bubble bath and a glass of exquisite French red wine.

The Iliad

Written by Homer

Henrique Fleming <>

It is a pity it's been written about 3000 years ago: this scares many readers off. Yet, besides being the mother of all action books, its poetry has no peer. I still shiver at the sound of the brass arch of Phoibus. The Fitzgerald translation is wonderful.

The Illuminatus! Trilogy

Written by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

Petter Karlstrom <>

Fact disguised as fiction. Gods disguised as people. Global destruction to save the earth. Out-front conspiracy. Secrets man wasn't meant to know. Anarchism as a state of mind. Everything in this book is a bloody lie.


Written by Richard Bach

Doug Ehrmantraut
Karen T. Lance <>

Doug: A small, deeply moving and unsettling book about individual potential, responsibility, and the nature of reality. A reference book for the soul.

Karen: It is a short book that can be referred to throughout your life. It speaks to the soul.


Written by Clive Barker

Shannon Doughtie <>

This book takes you into the realms of pure imagination. You are asked to believe as you learn of The Imajica: five Dominions of which four are bound together and one, Earth, is cut off from her sisters. Few on Earth know of the dominions. Those who do are afraid. This is the story of three people: John Furie Zacharias (the master forger); Judith Odell (the beautiful and desired woman); and Pie 'oh' Pah (as assassin from the second dominion). It is the story of their struggle to reconcile Earth with her sister dominions and, along the way, thei discovery of a life they never knew. A truly amazing piece of literature that will not let you go till the last page. You will find yourself believeing in what was born in the mind of an author. Everyone must read this book.

The Importance of Being Earnest

Written by Oscar Wilde

Paola Donati <>

Impossible Vacation

Written by Spalding Gray

Josh Groach

Powerful writing almost makes you feel as the main character felt. I finished this book feeling wiped out emotionally.

In Cold Blood

Written by Truman Capote

Lana Whited <>

A ground-breaking "nonfiction novel" which reviewer F.W. Dupee justly called "the best documentary account of an American crime ever written" in The New York Review of Books upon its publication in 1965. Also, it gave me a dissertation topic.

In Country

Written by Bobby Ann Mason

John Morgan <>

A well-written story of a young lady coming to grips with herself. She must also come to know her father through others who knew him before he went to Viet Nam and was Killed in Action. She feels the angst of the protagonist and conveys it very well.

In Dubious Battle

Written by John Steinbeck

Matt Badanes <>

This is one of Steinbeck's lesser known books, about two communist union members who are trying to unionize the apple workers of California. Throughout it they are up against constant opposition. It's about dedication, and fighting through adversity, yet through it all, as in all of Steinbeck's books, it is absolutely realistic.

In the Skin of a Lion

Written by Michael Ondaatje

Lynda <>

The prequel to Ondaatje's "The English Patient", this relates the story of Patrick Lewis. A story about a man relating his loves and pains to the daughter of his truest love. With stunning imagery and poetic weaving of words, this book mesmerizes. It displays love, anger,frustration, grief and death all at once. All the while, the characters in the story are intertwining, creating of web of life that revolves around its central character. Heartwrenching, especially if you're a hopeless romantic, but this is not just a romantic novel -- it's a story about the pains of life.

In Search of Lost Time

Written by Marcel Proust

Brian Erb <>

In Watermelon Sugar

Written by Richard Brautigan.

Morten Skogly <>

It's a strange surreal story about a place called Watermelon Sugar, where the sun shines a different color every day. It's almost impossible to describe what this book is really about, as you will see if you read it, because everything floats like a dream, creating a space where life is simple and without concern, but at the same time you get the feeling that something has gone very very wrong. Richard Brautigan is a fantastic author who hasn't gotten nearly the attention he deserves.


Written by Dante

Fred Zimmerman <>

I like the translations by Longfellow and Dorothy Sayers. The subject of the Inferno is sin, i.e. the humble recognition that human love is inherently imperfect. I've returned to this book over and over again since I was 15.

Infinite Jest

Written by David Foster Wallace


The most creative and talented writer in decades. Will open your mind and bring a whole new meaning to the phrase "sense of reality."


Written by Dean Koontz

Ryan McGregor <>

In an age when action-suspense novels are a dime a dozen (or $5.99 each), _Intensity_ stands out. Its vivid descriptions, lifelike characterizations and unique time frame (the book takes place in 24 hours) place it among the best. Every single detail is brought out in clear focus.

Invisible Cities

Written by Italo Calvino

Nicolas Dominguez <>

_Invisible Cities_ has to be one of the most brilliant books ever to be categorized as "magical-realist fiction". The premise for the book is a series of imaginary discussions between Kublai Kahn and Marco Polo, where Marco Polo describes to Kahn the cities of his great empire. I cannot begin to describe the profound beauty of this book. Calvino's writing is mesmerizing. For a period of time, I selfishly kept quiet about this book as it became such an important component of my being. But I've realized it's too magnificent a work to keep it away from others.

Invisible Man

Written by Ralph Ellison

Andre Pippins <>

What can I not say about this book. Everyone -- white, black, Native American, or other -- should read this book. This book was way ahead of its time. It seems to predict where we were, are, and are going. _Invisible Man_'s story line drags at first, but soon after, it is VERY enjoyable to read while addressing issues such as interracial relationships, racism on both sides, violence, and education of minorities, in a very realistic way. Read this book, and you will be touched, horrified, and enlightened. This is, without a doubt, Ellison's best work.

Invisible Man

Written by Ralph Ellison

Richard Clayton <>

I read this novel in college and it changed the way I think about racial issues. Plus, its a damn good story that is written very well.


Written by Daniel Quinn

Alexia Ryan <>

If you've ever wondered why people seem to think that evolution stopped with the human, then this book is for you. Though I do not wholeheartedly accept everything that this provacative story puts forth, it has certainly changed the way I think about the world and the future of humankind.


Written by Aldous Huxley

Dirk van Deun <>

A book about the destruction of Utopia by the modern world. _Brave New World_ was a clever book, but this is a _moving_ book.


Written by Austin Tappan Wright

Laura Bligh <>
Larry Besaw <>

Laura: This "underground classic" was published after the author's death and evidently represents only a fraction of his writings about an imaginary country in the southern hemisphere. As a Utopia, _Islandia_ is a unique personal vision about the intellectual and emotional complexity of a simpler society. As a novel, it is far more interesting than most Utopian stories: a narrative about a young man's coming of age, about love and honor and friendship and nature. Reading the book, one is inclined to double-check an atlas to make sure the country doesn't really exist.

Larry: _Islandia_ is a masterpiece. It is the most neglected great book I have encountered. It is a utopian novel about a high culture, low technology society, but a utopia without glib answers and with real-world problems. It is a rich and detailed creation of a country, its society, and its people. The Islandians have developed a simple way of life that gives broad scope for individual fulfillment and the living of a happy, healthy, natural life through the enjoyment of work, love and friendship, craft, and the beauty of nature. Since this is the story of an American in Islandia, there are many contrasts between the American and Islandian way of life. It is impossible to describe the richness of this book; it has to be experienced to be understood. The plot is dramatic, the characters have great depth, the dialogue is fascinating, and the writing is beautiful. I have already read it three times, even though it's 1000 pages. It is a pleasure to read and highly rewarding.

Israel, My Beloved

Written by Kay Arthur

Elizabeth A. Mcglothlin <>

This book is a historical novel that teaches many lessons in what has happened in the past and perhaps what can happen in the future. It is not fast, light reading but an in-depth, thought provoking literary work worth spending time with. This book is excellent reading for a literary club study or anyone who might be interested in Jewish history. I am not Jewish but a devout Christian who found this book most enlightening. Kay Arthur did not write this book quickly; it required a years of research and background study. It is beyond my comprehension as to how she did such an excellent job and tied facts to fiction to make this one of the most outstanding novels in the modern century.

It Can't Happen Here

Written by Sinclair Lewis

Elliot Feldman <>

I think that Lewis is the greatest American writer. It's too bad that he's gone out of fashion. _It Can't Happen Here_ is political science fiction that rings even truer now than it did when it was written. Equal opportunity fascism. It's both hilarious and scary.

James and the Giant Peach

Written by Roald Dahl

Jessica Leigh Weaver <>

Jane Eyre

Written by Charlotte Bronte

Sally <>

It is unfortunate that this book is so often referred to as a "romance novel" when it is so much more than that; it is the story of a woman oppressed by society her whole life, because she is female, "plain", and poor. And yet, she is able to rise above her oppression through her strength of character, intelligence and morals. It is a story of an indomitable human spirit, a story that has an unbelievable universal appeal despite its setting in the strict social confines of Victorian England.


Written by Moses Mendelssohn

Matthew Siegel <>

In a time when I was lost in regards to my own path to G-d, this book helped me find my way. Growing up in a Christian land while believing in another religion can be challenging. This book was Mendelssohn's plea for his peers to let him walk his own path. A book for Christians, and Jews (and all others) to understand each other and ourselves better. Is there only one gateway to the Lord?

Jesus' Son

Written by Denis Johnson

Michael A. Graham <>

I ran across this book while I was living in Bratislava, Slovakia. It's a series of short stories, all involving the same main character and the seedy life he leads. There's one excellent scene in which he mistakes a blizzard in a deserted drive-in to be the Second Coming. Brilliant descriptions. Also, if you are a poetry fan, do yourself a favor and get his collection of Poetry titled _The Throne of the Third Millenium General Assembly_.

Jitterbug Perfume

Written by Tom Robbins

Marc deLemos <>
Sylvia Barreto <>

Marc: I once read that trying to describe a Tom Robbins book by describing the plot is like pointing at a snowflake and asking someone to grasp the concept of downhill skiing. _Jitterbug Perfume_ manages to be about a lot of improbable things happening to improbable people in a very probable way. At its heart is a very simple message; live life as much as you can for as long as you can. And if you can laugh a lot along the way, so much the better.

Johnny Got His Gun

Written by Dalton Trumbo

Rob Reid <>

Written in 1938, it's about an American G.I. wounded in WWI. So severely wounded that his legs were amputated, his arms were amputated, his eyes blinded, and his ears deafened. He lived though, a nearly disembodied brain almost completely cut off from the rest of the universe. Trumbo intended to write a powerful antiwar novel, and he succeeded. Metallica based their song "One" on it, and used it as argument for euthanasia. I disagree, and found that it captivated me with questions about the true nature of life and humanity, and what really matters.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Written by Richard Bach

Brent Collins <>
Dave Oster <>

Dave: The half-hour answer to what life is all about! Don't miss it.

Journey to the End of Night

Written by Louis-Ferdinand Celine

Daniel E Johnson <>

Politics aside, doesn't Celine deserve the same respect we give Marcel Proust?

The Jungle

Written by Upton Sinclair

Robin West

Besides giving me the final impetus to become a vegetarian and reinforcing all of the hoopla that it initially generated concerning meat inspection, this book helped me to come to grips with the real meaning of capitalism and just how vile America can be and has been.

Jurassic Park

Written by Michael Crichton

Nick Dunn <>

If the thought of cloning and fooling around with DNA either fascinates or perturbs you, then this is the book for you... Scientists find a way to bring back dinosaurs using their DNA. A dinosaur theme park is planned, but something goes badly wrong... If you've seen the movie, then multiply the goodness of the movie by about ten times, and you have the book.

Just Us

Written by Don Walker

Steve Blax <>

One of a kind non-fictional account of an African American man raising his 4 1/2 week old daughter after the sudden death of his wife and his advice to all men on raising daughters as a single parent.


Written by Lawrence Durrell

Scott Outterson <>

Just read it.


Written by Gore Vidal

Jochen Friedolin Rick <>

The reason I like this book is that it teaches and entertains at the same time and most people haven't been exposed to the style of Gore Vidal.


Written by Keri Hulme

Lut Verstappen <>

Fascinating book about conflicting worlds of adults and children, men and women, western and Maori cultures, and about making choices, taking responsibilities and enjoying them.

King Rat

Written by James Clavell

Kirk Pearson <>

If you think your life is bad, try being a WWII American POW in a Japanese prison camp.

The Kingdom Within

Written by John Sanford

Lois M. Christensen <>

This text applies Jungian theory to the parables in the New Testament Scriptures. The reading audience is stimulated to contemplate a deeper inner perspective as well as a multidimensional message generated by the gospel writers.

Knowledge of Angels

Written by Jill Paton Walsh

Bev Steinfink <>

An important "leader" of an unnamed nation is shipwrecked on an island governed by "the Church." Simultaneously, a child is found who has been raised by wolves. Does man have an innate knowledge of God? This book will make you rethink everything you have ever thought about religion and any man's right to believe what he will - or will not. Short-listed Booker Prize '94.

La Divina Commedia

Written by Dante

Alessandro Bertorello <>

All of it, not just the "Inferno" because it's gruesome! What I like most of it is Dante's idea of having a mission: to make people aware of the 14th century's society degradation in order to make the world a better place to live in. And he did it with a poem and not with a philosophical essay! Great.

Labor's Untold Story

Written by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais

Allen Shur <>

"The adventure story of the battles, betrayals and victories of American working men and women." (From the cover.) If you think that America does not need labor unions or a labor movement, you must read this book! It is a history book that reads like a novel. Great reading and great information and background on the American labor movement.

Lady Chatterly's lover

Written by D. H. Lawrence

Maurizio Brocato <>

Exciting! This book will change your will surely make it harder!

Lady Susan

Written by Jane Austen

Tre Hellman <>

Simply because it's hysterically funny. Worth reading again and again (it's very short) whenever you need to brighten your day.

The Last Convertible

Written by Anton Myrer

Mark Castator <>

This is a book I reread every time I have a big change in my life. I first read it a couple of weeks into university. A roommate had handed it to me and, without knowing anything about it, I picked it up and became completely engrossed. It is a story about friends and about friendships that endure through love, war, and other calamities. It will make you cry and it will make you appreciate your friends. Don't try reading any of Myrer's other books; none come close. But _The Last Convertible_ is a beautiful novel that can be read again and again.

The Last Days of Socrates

Written by Plato

John Wagenleitner <>

A look into the life of a wise man.

The Last Herald-Mage

Written by Mercedes Lackey

Vicky Fletcher

It is a very powerful, sad, depressing, yet happy and joyful book.

The Last Unicorn

Written by Peter S. Beagle

McKenzi <>

Learning How to Learn

Written by Idries Shah

Gordon Rumson <>

A book that demands that we do the one thing important before we can ever learn anything at all: examine our own assumptions.

Leaves of Grass

Written by Walt Whitman

James Uhrig <>

Of the many books I have encountered in my nearly 40 years of reading, there are a few that stand out as monumental works that have reached out beyond physical & temporal borders to speak to all humans from every age; to speak about the very condition of being human. In choosing my "one book", I wanted to choose one from this body of literature, but I also wanted to choose a book not on the list. My choice, therefore, is _The Leaves of Grass_ by Walt Whitman. There are many editions of this book, beginning with the slender volume Whitman himself published in 1855. Many have merit, but I would recommend the lay reader to find any edition of the 1891 "Death Bed" edition, the final one Whitman personally worked on. To be more inclusive, one would have to work through Sculley Bradley's edition, entitled, "Leaves of grass : a textual variorum of the printed poems" (New York, NY : New York University Press, 1980) or somesuch. Cheap & expensive, heavily annotated & unadorned editions can be found everywhere. I'm not sure what Whitman's "great message" was, beyond his celebration of life, which he cataloged in all its variety. He spoke as an individual, but his sense of himself (and each of us) was as a child of the cosmos, intimately connected to everything in the universe, human & non-human, past, present, & future. This book contains "multitudes," as he said of himself: lyricism, sensuality, spirituality, joy, grief, wonder, yearning. It teaches without preaching, it ponders without being ponderous, it gives boundlessly, and asks for nothing in return. However, if you give it a chance, it will expand your mind and heart, as it has mine.

Leaving Las Vegas

Written by John O'Brien


If you saw the movie and liked it you'll love the novel. A grim and staggering story of two hopeless people wading through the nightmare of their lives only to find and love each other for a brief burning moment. Suicidal alcoholic Ben and Vegas prostitute Sera find unconditional love in each other only to be ripped apart by their destructive lives and the harsh world they exist in. O'Brien's descriptive imagery of Ben's chaotic drinking binges among the seedy night clubs of Vegas and Sera's encounters with brutal customers are powerful indeed. Truly the most chilling tale of alcoholism I have ever read, and a great love story.

The Left Hand of Darkness

Written by Ursula K. Le Guin

Jason Noble <>

Les Chants De Maldoror

Written by Comte de Lautreamont

Christopher Sebela <>
Blake Edwards <>

Christopher: Easily the finest essay/epic poem on evil ever written by one of the finest (and most oft-overlooked) French Surrealists. The book shifts from straight essay to short stories, all interwoven into this beautiful and macabre celebration of evil from the point of view of a fanatic. Lautreamont's only book, it will not alter your views on evil, it will completely destroy them and build up a brand new set of beliefs. A writer like this comes along once in a blue moon. A book like this comes along once in a few generations.

Blake: the translation to get is "Maldoror and the Complete Works of the Comte de Lautreamont" by Exact Change, translated by Alexis Lykiard.

Les Miserables

Written by Victor Hugo

Richard Chu <>
Abby Goutal <>
Charles E. Carroll <>
John Newmark <>
Sharon <>
Kevin Snyder <>

Abby: This is such an incredible rich and splendid story that after a dozen readings (and it is a formidable book!) I still haven't tapped into all that it has to offer for the soul and the mind. It is a beautiful book, in that the story and the characters are beautifully drawn and shown and *felt*. Hugo has immense empathy for the human race and in each of his characters I find a facet of myself, be it innocence, courage, love, or cruelty, or intolerance. It is a book about mankind and about God; in that order. One caveat for readers: do not read an abridged edition, but skip over the chapters that are irrelevant to the story; you can come back to them later. Trust me, it makes sense -- I first read an abridged version and missed so much of the story, even though I also missed the boring digressions!

Charles: A great story of love, forgiveness, and mercy. I agree with everything Abby said about it, with one exception: get the unabridged version, and read every word. The digressions are incredibly well-written and interesting, and you shouldn't miss out on them.

John: As the first two reviews show, there is something in Les Miserables for everyone. The humanity, and in some cases inhumanity of its characters. The digressions on politics, religion, and history. Hugo says within the novel that God is the primary character, and mankind second, but the order is irrelevant. Hugo covers everything. Few other works have given me as strong a desire to learn a foreign language in order to read the original. I have read Les Miserables in the unabridged version twice now, and will soon read it again.

Sharon: Deeply moving and meaningful. The story is less important than the overall themes of love, charity, trust, believing in the inherent good of your fellow man, and self-sacrifice. Brilliant characterization, with characters to embody every trait and aspect of human nature. Willa Cather said, "In the history of the world, only two or three stories keep recurring forever." This is one.

Kevin: Of the seemingly infinite number of "literary classics" that exist in the minds of learned people everywhere, I have never read one that so eloquently captured the very essence of human life as _Les Miserables_...

Less than Zero

Written by Bret Easton Ellis

Justin Saegusa <>
James Phillips <>

Justin: To me, this book is pure poetry.

James: The first novel by this talented American author was written in 1985 and deals with the homecoming for the Christmas vacation of the narrator, Clay, an eighteen year old studying at an Eastern seaboard college. The book charts his perspective on his month at home and the struggle to understand the situation he finds himself in. On the one hand, it can be viewed as a superficial account of a superficial person's life. Many friends have said this to me. Yet on a deeper level, Clay's struggle with his conscience is fascinating. His problem, so his psychiatrist says, is that he is too passive; he is not forceful enough to intervene and take control of his life. I believe that this book appeals to many on different levels. The narration is sharp and tinged with the very blackest humour. It is hard to understand how the very rich (such as Clay and his friends) can be so morally bereft yet at the same time have the very obvious potential for redemption. That the activities in the book (casual drug abuse and sex and implicit violence) are shocking, is unquestionable. These things, though, are important to highlight the moral of the book; namely that youth and money are not nesscessarily compatible. I would reccomend this to anyone (except perhaps my parents). Read it and wonder at how the other half live.

Life on the Color Line

Written by Gregory Howard Williams

Cathy Hanes

This story of Ohio State University Dean of Law Gregory Williams reads like a novel but inspires readers to examine their views of race and social issues. It is a deeply moving story, a personal revelation that leaves it's audience wishing to cheer and cry at the same time.

A Light in August

Written by William Faulkner

Christian Polking <>

An often overlooked novel by William Faulkner, it is very hefty, but well worth the effort. The characters are fascinating and the story sublime.


Written by Ed McBain

Dan Seitz <>

I recommend the 87th Precinct series completely, but I think of all of McBain's books, _Lightning_ has the most importance. We all hear about Paul Hill and the often psychotic section of the pro-life movement. The villain in this book represents the chilling other side of that coin, a man totally and frighteningly dedicated to the pro-choice movement. The tragedy in this book will strike much closer to home than you think.


Written by Robert Pirsig

Todd Greenspan <>

Pirsig reveals to the world how different from all of us he really is, but in the process, the reader will find him/herself examining much that is taken for granted about our own modern American culture.

Listening to Prozac

Written by Peter Kramer

Mark Wright

The book is worth the hype, although few of the reviewers seem to understand that Kramer wanted to say. A very thoughful consideration of culture, personality, medical ethics and the philosophy of the mind. Kramer discusses in a very readable style the consequences of our increasing ability to engineer personality.

Little, Big

Written by John Crowley

Michael L. Medlin

The Little Prince

Written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Ray Moore <>
Scott Ruthfield <>
Lisa Woodward <>
Becky <>

Ray: The prose, the characters, the Tale all combine to create the most palpable sense of Wonder that I have ever experienced.

Scott: This so-called "children's" book is an amazing tale of life and personal growth, longing and sadness, glee and loneliness. It has forever changed the way I view the world and my place in it, and the way I interact with others. I read it at least monthly and carry it whenever I travel -- and meet people who do the same. _The Little Prince_ makes me happy, thoughtful, and wistful. It can do the same for you.

Lisa: I want to read it over and over and over...

Becky: "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." -- Antoine de Saint Exupery

Little Women

Written by Louisa May Alcott

Sara Garber <>

This is a timeless classic. I recommend it to anyone, but specifically to young girls. This book is one of the few if not only books of its time to portray women as intelligent and strong. The character of Jo will forever be a hero to me.

Living Faith

Written by Jimmy Carter

Delores Sanford <>

_Living Faith_ is a "drink of cool water" in an otherwise dusty, dry world. In _Living Faith_, Mr. Carter shows how faith has sustained him through many difficult times. Reading this book can give the person who has lost all hope a ray of sunshine in an otherwise dark and dreary world.

Living Is Forever

Written by J. Edwin Carter

Robert <>

A ubiqitious book, almost science fiction, not quite "channeled material", it is a decidedly prophetic novel of the struggle between good and evil. A must for those interested in "Earth Changes" and/or Armageddeon. The characters are very well developed. The preface "I Didn't Want To Write This Book" will instill a sense of awe and credibility in all but the most cynical skeptic. After reading it, you will feel both excited with anticipation and nervous with anxiety: What if it happens? And when? My opinion is, "Sooner than you think."

Living, Loving, and Learning

Written by Leo Buscaglia

Salvatore Carchiolo <>

This book changed my life. It showed me how to live, to love, to understand each other. I realised that life can be beautiful, if you want it to be! Believe me; it's not difficult, it's quite easy, easier than you can imagine.

Living the Good Life

Written by Helen and Scott Nearing

Felicia Etzkorn <>

The most memorable of the slew of ecobooks I read as a young adult. Helen and Scott get back to the land, but the message is true American independence. Don't increase your income; decrease your needs (wants)!

Lizard Music

Written by D. Manus Pinkwater

Shana Sloan <>

Somewhere in all of us is a place where total escape is possible. Where you can recapture the flippy feeling in your stomach of discovery and knowledge as you begin -- ever so slowly -- to grow up. You'll find that place here with Reynold and The Chicken Man. Go ahead. Stay up late. You'll see.

L'oeuvre au noir

Written by Marguerite Yourcenar

Gjalt de Jong <>

It is maybe not THE book, but this book meant for me the real beginning of, as you phrased it in your in your posting "have helped to shape our thoughts".


Written by Vladimir Nabokov

Heidel <>
Astronomy Domine <>

Heidel: I don't recommend _Lolita often_, even though I'll heap praise on it at the drop of a hat. It's hard to read unless you love the language. There are more tricks per page than in any novel in existence, but that's not what makes it great. Put it on the wall for 100 years and look at it, and it can still give pleasure, if you love the language. There's a big hump to get over after the first sex(?) scene. And the plot is messy and surreal in places, and there are "bits of blood sticking to it, and beautiful, bright blue-green flies." And the writing is dense (all the more satisfying to re-read). OK, it's about the obsessive love of a man for a girl, but it is, finally, transcendent: "I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art." Amen.

Lonesome Dove

Written by Larry McMurtry

Dennis Kneale <>
Elaine McLaughlin <>
Steve Dunphy <>

Dennis: This book almost changed my life. Has a wonderful cast of characters who are lovingly portrayed; I hated saying goodbye to them when it ended. The story got across what that American pioneer spirit was really all about -- and why it still lives inside all of us.

Elaine: I grew to love the characters in this book. Reading it made me wish I could go back and visit all those places that are long gone now. Very evocative of the Old West.

Steve: No, this is neither the best book I've read nor the most influential book on my life. There are many others on this list that might closer fit those descriptions. But for the time when one seeks escape, and the silliness of Crichton's dinosaurs and such drivel won't do, here's a fine book filled with real people, and a satisfying fantasy about a time when life was simpler, when it was clear who the bad guys were, and where it seems that it must be so easy to take control of one's life.

The Long Journey

Written by Jorge Semprun

P. Toche <>

Look Away

Written by Harold Coyle


This was one of the best books I've read in a long time! Mr. Coyle taught me more about the Civil War in one short book than I ever learned in all the History courses I took. The book may be classified Historical Fiction but is authentic in every way. He takes the reader on a journey leading up to the war and the battle of Gettysburg. Mr. Coyle's accuracy, knowledge, attention to details of the battles, and portraits of the men fighting it made me feel as though I was right there. As with all of his books he transports the reader into the battle and you feel as though you know the characters personally.

Look Homeward, Angel

Written by Thomas Wolfe

Erika L. Peterson <>

This is a quiet book about a person who is. Most of all, it is American.

Looking Backward

Written by Edward Bellamy

John Dove <>

A utopian book written around 1863. It discusses the world as the narrator finds it after waking up in the year 2000. With impressive prescience he talks about things like shopping centers, credit cards, universal health care, service to humanity by a period in an industrial army, the problems of pollution, a form of cable distribution of music and many things that are accepted today. His book was so popular that hundreds of "Bellamist" clubs were formed and his name was on a write-in ballot by thousands to be president of the U.S. His book, as far as I know, has not been emphasised in general teachings throughout the U.S., perhaps because of the cultural fear of anything socialistic.

Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen

Written by H. Beam Piper

Ian MacPhedran <>

Lord Kalvan is one of Piper's Paratime stories about cross-time (parallel worlds) travel. It hasn't changed my life in any deep or meaningful way, but I have enjoyed reading it (over and over and ...). I have also enjoyed his other works. Piper tells an absorbing story - one that you can't leave until the book is over.

Lord of Chaos

Written by Robert Jordan

Susan Sheather <>

This book is the sixth of the most excellent series _The Wheel of Time_ and the series is captivating, exciting, occasionally spine chilling and even amusing - you can't put it down! It can be read OVER and OVER and you can get something new out of it every time. If I would ever recommend one book it's this fantasy novel - but you should read the first five!

Lord of the Flies

Written by William Golding

Jason Ellis

Of all the books I've read, this one taught me more about human nature than any other. It illustrates how we, as a people, will always be divided by some sort of boundary, be it race or simple personality. More so than anything else though it shows our greatest flaw: our self-destructiveness.

Lord Of Light

Written by Roger Zelazny

Greg Barron <>
David Olivet <>

Greg: This is one of the countless books my older brother recommended to me when I was in junior high. It stands out as the single most enjoyable novel I have *ever* read. His books in the Amber series are great, but this is a masterpiece of imagery and characterization. A Hugo Award winner. An amazing blend of science fiction, theology, politics, love and warfare. The story takes place many years after the death of Earth. A small group of survivors colonize a planet and eventually master their science, giving themselves immortality in the process. Over centuries, they populate the planet and deny the inhabitants access to their high technology, choosing instead to rule their descendants as the gods of the Hindu pantheon. One god sets out to fight the heavenly establishment and free humanity from "divine" control. Moving and entertaining, it's my favorite book to re-read.

David: This book is about the rights of the individual and one individual's struggle against incredible opposition - namely his peers. It is also a strike against the use of religion as a tool for oppression. Even without all these themes it is still just a damn good read with an original plot, a tricky and intelligent hero, and humorous dialogue. The hero, Sam, takes up the mantle of the Buddha in opposition to the technologically enforced religion of Hinduism. Excellent science fiction.

Lord of the Rings

Written by J.R.R. Tolkien

Bjorn Fridgier Bjornsson
Michael Sieber
Spencer Marks <>
John Minadeo
Sheri Beach <>
Dan <>
Mickey Tomlinson <>
Malin Nergard <>
Glaire A. <>
Jeff Bowlin <>
Ian Wolfe <>

Michael: It might not be something special for most of us, but for me it's exactly that. I read for the first time when I was 15, And since then I have been reading it again and again. It's great for your fantasies and it needs a lot of imagination. It is a whole world in itself.

John: This book calls forth feelings from all ends of the spectrum. As you read, the characters become friends to you, you'll worry about what will happen, you grieve when they fall. Superbly written and no one, I mean NO ONE writes a battle like J.R.R. Tolkien. Even a casual reader can not help but long for days of old when Kings sat upon thrones and commanded greatness and a Wizard was a powerful friend, or a terrible enemy.

Sheri: I've read the trilogy eight times, the first when I was 13 or 14, and it opened up a whole new world for me. The language is wonderful, the story works on all kinds of levels, there is power and adventure and tragedy and triumph, and the characters became as familiar and beloved as family. I literally fell in love with the story and the characters -- something that's happened with only a handful of books I've read in the twenty years since then! No other author has ever come close to creating the gorgeous, frightening, sometimes too-familiar world of Middle-Earth where dragons co-exist with umbrellas and unspeakable evil is faced down by ordinary beings who rise to greatness because they must. I'd recommend these books to anyone -- but an imagination is required.

Mickey: One of my greatest sorrows is that I can never again read this book for the first time.

Malin: At the age of about eleven or twelve I stumbled upon three books in the local library, with nice-looking covers, and for a time I couldn't get past the prologue. Finally I began at chapter one, and discovered funny, heart tearing, soul touching, wonderful words -- I leapt through the pages and, as I turned the last page, tears fell from my eyes. Never before had a book had this effect on me! Through the years since I've reread these books time and time again, re-living those first feelings and each time seeing something new, something I had missed before. Thus I launched into a world of fantasy, carrying it with me in almost every aspect of my life. I envy those who still have this wonderful discovery to make.

Glaire: Tolkien has written the epic of the modern western world. To write it off as "just a fantasy novel" is to do it and yourself a great disservice. The universal themes of war, courage, and friendship provide the anchoring timelessness of the tale. The quiet grandeur and beauty of Tolkien's writing make The Lord of the Rings a pleasure to read over and over again.

Jeff: My uncle gave me the boxed set when I was 10 years old. It literally changed the rest of my life. I had never read fantasy before, now I write it. It may take another 100 years before historians fully appreciate the effect that Professor Tolkien had on the imaginations of the people of the later half of the twentieth century. Every single fantasy "epic" that comes out tries to compare itself to these books. Led Zepplin recorded numerous songs with Tolkein imagery and lyrics, and George Lucas borrowed heavily from it to create Star Wars. Take a drive around your home state and see how many streets, restaurants, gift shops, hobby stores, and book stores are named for Tolkien creatures or characters. Try to listen to New Age music and NOT find a Tolkien reference. David "Arkenstone", "Shadowfax" etc. What if Tolkien had never written his books? I think that an entire generation of imaginations like George Lucas, Steven Spielburg, Tad Willaims, Anne McCaffrey, Terry Brooks, J. Michael Stazynski, James Donaldson, Gary Gygax, Michael Moorecock, and several hundred others would have worked from quite a different lore. Maps have been drawn, Bestuaries compiled, languages created, and organizations formed. Professor Tolkien did more than write a book, he created a world that lies just beyond our own. I do not compare Tolkien with Hemingway, Dickens, or Dumas. I can only compare him with Dantes, Milton and Homer.

Ian: What can I say? Tolkien is God.

Lords of Discipline

Written by Pat Conroy

Steve Springs <>
Gary Evans <>

Losing the Weight of the World: A Spiritual Diet to Nourish the Soul

Written by Jonathan Kramer, PhD and Diane Dunaway Kramer

Joyce Swan <>

_Losing the Weight of the World_ helped me understand for the first time in my life what spirituality really means. It discusses all the major religions and shows a lot of ways they're similar and then mixes that together with psychology. Its stories are compelling and heart-warming and brought the book to life. It goes way beyond _The Celestine Prophecy_ and gave me a simple but powerful way to feel calmer and happier and closer to my spiritual nature without having to join any organized religion or believe in anything in particular. It helped me figure out what's really weighing me down in life, and helped me create a psychological and spiritual "recipe" to feel better. I can now feel more love, happiness, intimacy and goodness than I've ever felt before. And it helped me find a prayer I want to use, and taught me how to easily use it each day so I can better help myself in many ways that I never knew how to do before. It's simple, easy and fast and it works! I think _Losing the Weight of the World_ is a "must have" if you want to grow personally and spiritually.

The Lost Language of Cranes

Written by David Leavitt

Jeff Siebert <>

Love in the Time of Cholera

Written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Ken Olsen <>
Douglas Stanley

Douglas: If you enjoy falling in love, as most of us do. At once funny, sensual and beautiful. Incredible writing, such as: "It was the first time I had heard a man urinate. It was on our wedding night and while I lay prostate with seasickness in our stateroom cabin, the sound of his stallion's stream was so potent, so replete with authority, it made me fear the devistation to come."

Love Is A Dog From Hell

Written by Charles Bukowski

Jason Blake <>

Never before has such a distinctive, clear, poetic voice come out of skid row. Charles Bukowski was a diamond in the dumpster of society, and now, unfortunately, he is gone.

Love Medicine

Written by Louise Erdrich

Tommy L. Hutchinson <>

The Loved One

Written by Evelyn Waugh

Christopher Tiffany <>
John Carlson <>

Christopher: This thin little novella is one of my all time favorites. Dark comedy at it's darkest. Although written in 1948, Waugh's trenchant portrait of Hollywood is as accurate and as funny as ever. And what could be more fun than a love story between an English poet and an American mortuary cosmetician?

John: This Swiftian satire on the burial customs of Southern California is Waugh at his best. This slim 1948 volume still has much to say about the California lifestyle and obsessions that have influenced my life (native Los Angelino here!!) The book reveals, in all its empty enormity, the Californian conception of death and the elaborate effort made by those who worship comfort, beauty and life to euphemize that stark object which is of all the most ill-favored and unreassuring. In its attitude to death, and to death's stand in, failure, Waugh exposes a materialistic society at its weakest spot. There are many versions of the Loved One available. The best is the first UK edition (Chapman and Hall 1948) with illustrations by Stuart Boyle.

Lucifer's Hammer

Written by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

Christopher Palma

Lucky Jim

Written by Kingsley Amis

Tim Lemay <>

The delightful adventures of a university teacher in Britain. I re-read it every few years. It can make you laugh out loud. The hero is a hapless fellow trying to make his way in the pretentious world of academe. Amis has a wonderful way with words. The book hasn't aged in the 40 years since it was written. Discover Amis; and read this first.


Written by William Shakespeare

L. French <>

In my opinion, the best of Shakespeare's tragedies; MacBeth falls into the mouth of madness, and yet still retains his sanity throughout. Add in elements of fate, vengance, and gender types (in the form of Lady MacBeth), and you have a very interesting story.

The Machinery of Freedom

Written by David Friedman

Scott Banister <>

Friedman makes a compelling case that anarcho-capitalism is a very worthwhile social goal which would maximize human happiness while preserving human freedom.

The Mad Scientists' Club

Written by Bertrand R. Brinley

Bob Moore <>

This book is a cornerstone of my childhood. Walt Disney turned the chapters of this book into a television stories. The "Monster of Strawberry Lake" was one of the most memorable for me. I have passed this book on to my children. It is a good read that brings back many childhood memories and dreams.

Madame Bovary

Written by Gustave Flaubert

Pierre Chandless <>

Magister Ludi

Written by Herman Hesse

Grady Ward <>
Brie Sansotta <>
Dennis Maroney <>

The Magus

Written by John Fowles

Gavin Inglis <>

Fowles experiments with "self-conscious" fiction, most famously in "The French Lieutenant's Woman", but it often falls flat. In this book he succeeds by toning his personal voice down and instead concentrates on the story which twists and howls endlessly.

Mama Day

Written by Gloria Naylor

Kathleen F. Jackson <>

Man Eaters of Kumaon

Written by Jim Corbett

Bill Melton <>

This is the story of Corbett's travels through India killing man-eating tigers in the early 20th century. His knowledge and respect for the jungles of India make this one unforgettable.

The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon

Written by Tom Spanbauer

Harry Hunkele
Pete Fiennes <>
David Zakon <>

Harry: A Native American coming of age tale. Spiritual, sexy and fun.

Pete: This brilliant first(?) novel was recommended by a friend whose judgment I trust. No-one has ever heard of it except its presumably growing band of cult devotees - it's just been reprinted, apparently. A stirring tale of racial inequality, passion, magic and spirituality, its central homerotic/centric theme is balanced by its sheer depth of feeling. Extraordinary use of language combined with utterly vivid descriptions make this my best book ever. If he's written another book, then I want to know about it - and so do my fellow converts!

David: This was truly the turning point for me, as well as many others, in choosing to become a writer -- for this book is what writing is all about. The hero of the story, a half-Indian boy named Shed, calls it "knowledge becoming understanding" -- when what you know suddenly becomes something real to you because of who you are, who you find yourself to be. And the book is all about what stories really are, what they mean to us, and how they ground us. For me, this book meant finding something that was always there -- my true heart. Anyone who ever wants to write, or read, should pick this book up -- and prepare to be astonished.

Man Without Qualities

Written by Robert Musil

Jack Cargill

A book of ideas -- it's fiction, but the plot is not important. It is a dismantling and questioning of human character -- all those qualities which go into our sense of self-identity, including both operative and professed values, notions of beautiful and ugly, moral concepts, understandings, beliefs, etc. It is not about a man literally without qualities, but one who sees insufficient grounds for continuing to mimic some of our ancestors' qualities. Many insights into the illusions and pretensions of life.

Mankiller: A Chief and Her People

Written by Wilma Mankiller

Elayna Jarvis <>

This is an autobiography by the Principle Chief of the Cherokee Nation West. It offers profound insight into life as well as providing the reader with a unique opportunity to learn more about the Cherokee people and their history, which started long before 1492, from a very personal perspective. It is easy to read and well worth the time.

Man's Search for Meaning

Written by Viktor Frankl

Maryanne Ward

Frankl was held in a Nazi concentration camp and emerged with the philosophy that one can find meaning in suffering. This is not a glib Pollyanna book. The message that was so meaningful to me when I first read it and sustains me today is that you may not be able to control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude. When you read it, you will look at things in a new light.

The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam

Written by Barbara Tuchman

Peter Dolwin <>

The book is a penetrating analysis of the collective madness that overtakes governments, causing them to act consistently, wittingly and willingly in a manner inimical to their own interests. This process is illustrated by a collection of essays on the wooden horse, the Renaissance Popes, The British loss of America and the Vietnam War. An excellent read and a book that I, as a consultant, have given away a number of times to clients who were similarly hell-bent on self-destruction - with excellent results.

The Marching Morons

Written by Cyril Kornbluth

Tom Beresheim <>

Unfortunately, this and all other books by Cyril Kornbluth are out of print. Too bad, I think you would enjoy his stuff.


Written by Italo Calvino

Sabrina Dacol <>

_Marcovaldo_ is a collection of short novels set in an industrial Italian city. The book takes its name from the main protagonist who is a stereotyped, middle aged laborer desperately trying to escape from the rational way of city life. Nevertheless, his effort in searching the beauty of nature going through all sorts of difficulties is destined to remain in vain. The materialistic and narrow minded society is incapable of understanding his genuine infantile character.

Martian Chronicles

Written by Ray Bradbury

Juan Carlos Col'n <>

Masque of the Red Death

Written by Edgar Allan Poe

George Lam <>

It inspired me to write an original opera about it. Although it is only a short story, one of the many which Poe wrote, its message of life and death and the relationships between them provoked me. It is always foolish to avoid the inevitable, death, and one should live one's life to it's fullest.

The Master and Margarita

Written by Mikhail Bulgakov

Angela Hill <>

This book was banned in the Soviet Union for many years for its satirical view of Soviet culture under the Stalinist regime. My sister spent a year studying in Moscow in the mid 1980's and found she was often followed around by Russian students wanting to practice their English, lay their hands on Western goods and talk about politics. Nearly all of them wanted to know if she had a copy of this book. I went to visit her once and she took me to a dilapidated apartment block where Mikhail Bulgakov lived. The the building had been turned into a shrine dedicated to this one book and the idea of freedom of thought and speech. Graffiti covered the walls, stairwells, landings, doors, with quotes from the book and drawings of the main characters -- particularly depictions of the devil (the anti-hero of the book who appears in the guise of Woland, a world famous magician, whose magic shows lead to insanity and hysteria amongst Moscow's communist elite.) The story itself is magical and I would certainly be doing the book an injustice if I were to try and produce a precis of it.


Written by Norman Rush

Shellie Holubek <>

If you are aching for subtlety, rich complexity, and intellectual stimulation, take this book for a spin. The narrator is a young female anthropologist in Botswana. Her lover is an internationally acclaimed socio/politico/ anthropologist/genius who has spent ten years creating and grooming a secret, self-sustained matriarchal society in the Kalahari. The plot is a sweeping tale about the love between two hyper-intellectuals, but is also a commentary on geopolitics and social structures.

Maturana & Varela, The Tree of Knowledge

Written by Shambhala

David Warren

Maus 1 and 2

Written by Art Speigelman

Lisa Nyman <>

The Mechanism of Mind

Written by Edward de Bono

Dr. Richard Botting <>

Derives some practical conclusions from a fairly standard model of how the brain works. Argues that the brain has certain ways of handling data and that by practicing some simple "lateral" procedures you can become better at solving problems etc... Easy to read but has some interesting implications.

Mefisto in Onyx

Written by Harlan Ellison

Josh Kuritzky


Written by Maurice Gee

mark <>

Memoirs of Hadrian

Written by Marguerite Yourcenar

Francois Bruley <>

Memories, Dreams and Reflections

Written by Carl Jung

Julius Lester <>

Memory of Fire: Genesis

Written by Edwardo Galeano

Anna Sunshine Ison <>

This is actually the first book of a trilogy but I have absolute confidence that once you begin this you won't be able to stop at the year 1700. It's a history of the Americas the way that you Dream it should be told... in bits and pieces that make you believe you're hearing it from a beautiful storytelling relative or reading it on a pine-bark scroll. The first bit is made up of indigenous mythology that makes you want to run out into the woods and be a tree frog girl or sing to the turtles, the second is a history told in bits and pieces that help you understand the western hemisphere Far more than if you read it in a dry thesis. It makes you laugh and dance and cringe and put your hands over your eyes at times and you understand Completely why Latin America is the mother of magical realism and why people like Galeano are the storytellers they are.

A Mencken Chrestomathy

Written by H.L. Mencken

Jim Parinella

He was right on on so many different subjects, commenting on politicians, religion, sociology, even boxing. He had such a way with words and such contempt for the typical idiotic American. Much of what he wrote still rings true today, 50 or 80 years later. Not for the thin-skinned.

Mere Christianity

Written by C.S. Lewis

Josh Newsom <>
Joel Martin <>

Joel: One of the most brilliant writers of our time. Of any time for that matter. From atheist to defender of Christianity. This book presents the logical evidence for belief in God and belief in Jesus. If you think you've got all the answers, read this.


Written by Gore Vidal

Harry B Kloman <>

Vidal claims he wrote MESSIAH when he saw Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson on TV and thought Stevenson had a captivating presence - so much so that his televised image would probably win him votes. But Vidal has a bad memory for his own work: Stevenson ran in 1952, and Vidal began writing MESSIAH in 1949. So it seems Vidal's novel is even more prophetic than the author's notorious large ego would have us believe. MESSIAH is about a man, a former undertaker, who becomes a sort of new world godhead preaching the philosophy that death is good. He wins his legions by using the broadcast medium and modern advertising techniques. Prophetic indeed. It's a good read and, at the end of the millennium, more relevant than ever.


Written by Douglas Coupland

Joel Healy
Lane Cipriani <>

Joel: This book deals with love over the internet, starting a business in the 1990's, and working for Microsoft. Douglas Coupland has a remarkable grasp on modern day society, and he has proven it once again with this, his 4th book.

Lane: Engaging, funny, geeky, and ultimately touching. Leaves you wondering what lies buried inside *you*.


Written by George Eliot

Kym Muller <>

A psychological study of interconnecting lives in a small English village in the grip of vast changes in society (political reform, industrial revolution, the railway). Conflict, love, philosophy and the heroine Dorothea who wants *more* out of Life!

The Milagro Beanfield War

Written by John Nichols

John Godfrey <>

This is a deeply involving novel with fascinating, well-developed characters, both major and minor, male and female, Anglo and Hispanic. The story is exciting and also hilarious. Skip the movie -- this is a meaty, enjoyable, and unforgettable book.

The Millennial Project

Written by Marshall T. Savage

Rik Maybee <>

The blueprint for our future, should we choose to think "millennially".

Miss America

Written by Howard Stern

Beth Staub <>

This is not a joke or a ploy to get him advertisement -- this book cured my back and it has brought hours of entertainment to myself and those around me who have chosen to read it. A wonderful book full of self-expression and interesting commentary.

Miss Lonelyhearts

Written by Nathaniel West

Roy Edroso

West had in common with his buddy Scott Fitzgerald a cool eye for the sadness and desperation that underlie the shiny surfaces of American life. But West had a blacker sense of humor and, I believe, more raw writing talent. (I'll never forget his description of an old newspaper caught in a little eddy of wind, "like a kite with a broken spine.") In "Lonelyhearts," an idealistic young hack writer searches for God, and finds death. West's tone is cold, but not unsympathetic; though he laughs at the young man (who stiffens his resolve by chanting "Christ, Christ, Jesus Christ" like a football cheer), he never denies the seriousness of his search, and his many betrayals are genuinely painful, which lifts this strange little book into the rarefied realm of real satire. I first read it a quarter of a century ago, and it has never lost its grip on me.

The Mists of Avalon

Written by Marion Zimmer Bradely

Ellie Cutler <>
Mary Henry
Yony Kim <>
Hieu Truong <>

Mary: As close as I have come to a personal theology.

Yony: I am neither a die hard feminist nor an Arthurian legend fanatic. Bradley's tale is ingenious. Written through the eyes of the women behind Arthur and Camelot, it is a beautifully written work with vivid imagery and superb description. A lengthy but fast read, I recommend it for anyone who's in the mood for a little fantasy or just wants to get away from the 90's for a bit and travel into the mists.

Hieu: This book gives a very different view of the Arthurian legend and it offered me a new genre, as well as some new interests, that I did not have before. It definitely has the power to expand your views of religion, the world, everything.

Moby Dick

Written by Herman Mellville.

Russ Jones <>

I was an English major many years ago, and I read and analyzed this book many times, and roundly hated it. But then I picked it up again a few years back and found that it was a hell of a whaling story. Did you know there's a whale in it?

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Written by Robert Heinlein

John Tynes

I read this book every year for several years in junior high/high school. It opened my eyes to both the possibilities of fiction writing, and to the vitality and lifeforce of politics, democracy, and radicalization.

The Moor's Last Sigh

Written by Salman Rushdie

Mark Madsen <>

The More Than Complete Hitchhiker's Guide

Written by Douglas Adams

Glenn R. Kurtzrock

This omnibus edition includes the first four books of the Hitchhiker's trilogy (yes, trilogy!) plus a previously unpublished short story at the end, and a special foreword by Douglas Adams. Adams is better than any drug you can think of to cheer you up (and he's more addictive, too!) Definite recommendation to lift anyone's spirits. I've read a LOT of books, but his are not only funnier than any I've ever seen, but they're funny in such a different way that no one has been able to duplicate. Please read this book!


Written by Terry Pratchett

NJ Morford <>

Extremely, silly, extremely funny, and he's got a load more where that came from.

The Moviegoer

Written by Walker Percy

Joseph M. Schuster <>

Mr. Murder

Written by Dean Koontz


A truly heart pounding thriller which is not out of the realm of possiblity. The idea that a look-alike could come in and try to take over your life is riveting. There is a 40 or so page section of the book that is truly page turning and I was amazed at how I threw myself totally into this book.

Mr. Mani

Written by A. B. Yehoshua

Phyllis Rovner <>

Yehoshua is a very famous author in Israel, but less well-known in the states. Yehoshua uses conversations to tell his story. Two people are introduced, a conversation follows, but in each case one side of the conversation is missing. At first this can be frustrating . Soon, the other half no longer matters; the reader begins filling in the answers and questions. The story follows the Mani family from the 19th century to modern day. The stories are beautifully written, sometimes heartbreaking but always full of details of the people, the time and place. Reading this book is like stepping into a whole new world of writing. I have also read _The Lover_ and _A Late Divorce_. I would recommend both highly. They deal with strange subject matter in a compelling story. My wish would be to talk to Yehoshua about his books.

Mumbo Jumbo

Written by Ishmael Reed

Matthew Welling <>

In the somewhat gloomy age of dark-streaked deconstructionalists, Reed is time and time again the brightest flower in the garden. _Mumbo Jumbo_, once described as "a cartoon with a brick in its hand", deals with elements of racism in an extremely accessible post-modernism. Mother was right when she said humor is often the best weapon. You will find in this novel that history, race, and concepts of writing mean something completely different to this author. That is, of course, if you can wipe the tears of laughter from your eyes first.

Murder at the Pentagon

Written by Margaret Truman

Andre Rathier <>

A wonderful, suspenseful book.

Mutant Message Down Under

Written by Marlo Morgan

Roger Clark Williams <>
Stephen Moroukian <>

Stephen: An encounter on an Aboriginal walkabout in the Outback. A truly eye-opening experience for anyone, no matter what their background. Thought provoking and insightful experiences from a well educated and experienced fifty-something woman. The feeling of the experiences encountered come across like they are happening in your own kitchen, but without the gravy. Made me want to touch her to absorb the warmth.

My Left Foot

Written by Christy Brown

Marcia <>

Read to us in 3rd grade by Irish Sister Bridget. I've never forgotten it. A lesson in humor, family love, and triumph over incredible difficulties.

My Side of the Mountain

Written by Jean George

Peter Monje <Logan@KCOnline>

OK, so it's a book written for adolescent boys. I could have recommended _Of Crime and Punishment_ (Rollercoaster read. Two thumbs up), or _Of Human Bondage_ (Takes you into the depths of a human soul. Five stars), but I chose to be honest. At the age of eleven, this book changed my life. Its prose may not have the legs of _On the Road_, but it serves the same function, and Sal Paradise never had a pet hawk.

The Mystery Play

Written by Grant Morrison

Erik Ketzan <>

This is a so-called "graphic novel", which is a serious work in comic-book form, not called a comic book because for that work it would be a misnomer. _The Mystery Play_ is an example of the post-post-modernist approach to storytelling (along the lines of Umberto Eco's works), which is to make an intellectual book but also making it a pleasure to read. _The Mystery Play_ is about a small English town's staging of a biblical miracle play. When the lights go on, the actor playing God is...dead. God is dead. Whodunit?

The Myth of Certainty

Written by Robert Taylor

Dr. Rodney E. Willard <>

The Myth of Sisyphus

Written by Albert Camus

Michael McCoy

The Myth Man

Written by Elizabeth Swados

Paige Hunter Parham <>

Mythago Wood

Written by Robert Holdstock

Ken Hill <>

A celebration of story telling.

Naked Lunch

Written by William S. Burroughs

Eric Rose <>

One of the most important post-WWII novels, William S. Burroughs deals with life in the post-nuclear age, a world of rampant bureaucracy and limitation of individual freedoms, fanatical fringe groups, bizarre cults and raging diseases. Drug addiction and sex are used as metaphors of control and manipulation. The book consists of a shifting montage of scenes and images, devoid of plot, using repetition of characters and phrases to achieve consistency. First published in France in 1959, the book was banned in the U.S. until the 1960's.

The Name of the Rose

Written by Umberto Eco

Denis Chagnon <>

"A brilliant match of method and material, _The Name of the Rose_ is that rarest of literary blossoms: a page turner about ideas." (The Pittsburgh Press) "Like the labyrinthine library at its heart, this brilliant novel has many cunning passages and secret chambers...fascinating...ingenious... dazzling...high level of artistry." (Newsweek)

Narcissus and Goldmund

Written by Herman Hesse

F. Simon Sullivan <>

Without telling the time and setting the author gives us a study of human nature with a music of words.

Native Queen

Written by Michael A. Sawyers

Seth Sawyers <>

Native Queen is a celebration of the hunting and fishing life as seen through the eyes of a writer who possesses a great love for the outdoors. Relating tales of the sportsman's adventures and his life's lessons learned in rural West Virginia and beyond, the author is able to reach even the non-outdoorsman with his flowing style. Funny, enjoyable reading for all those familiar with the lifestyle enjoyed as part of nature, as well as for those simply appreciative of the teachings to be heard beneath the forest canopies.


Written by William Gibson

Josh Brassard <>

THE cyberpunk (whatever that means) novel, it is also one of the best SF books out there. I've read it four times, and I'm still finding stuff. Gibson is just cool, and this is his masterwork.

The Neverending Story

Written by Michael Ende

Elaine Wilson <>

This book has the most power in its original hardcover form, printed in two colors, red and green. Like it does for its young hero, it will take you to the point of believing the world you're in is fading in favor of the one you're reading about. This is an incredible adventure.

The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing

Written by Charlie Papazian

Bob Campbell <>

It will open your eyes to just how easy it is to brew really good beer.

The New York Trilogy

Written by Paul Auster

Alexander Fritz <>

Simply the most thrilling book I ever read in my life. It is like opening a new world. An intellectual adventure.

Next of Kin

Written by Oliver Lange

Ciped <>

Humorously written story of elationships both between young & old people and between races. An old white man adopts his deceased son's black teenage son. He then moves his LA city bred grandson to the wilds of New Mexico to live.

The Next Whole Earth Catalog

Written by Stewart Brand

Richard Joly

A Night of Serious Drinking

Written by Rene Daumal

Tom Tromey <>

This book is simultaneously a guide to examining one's place in the world, a critique (of sorts) of language and thought, and a satire ridiculing the art establishment. All that, beautifully written, beautifully translated, less than 120 pages, and it comes with an index!

Nine Stories

Written by J.D. Salinger

Ann Wardlow <>

Deeply moving vignettes of relationships. Salinger transforms the commonplace in these short stories, allowing us glimpses of love's variety. I continue to be haunted by passages in this book nearly 30 years after having first read it.

Nineteen Eighty-Four

Written by George Orwell

Steven Jablonoski
Robert DeGennaro <>
Keith <>
Marty <>
Kevin B. Smith <>

Steven: This book changed my view of the world and made me the paranoid cynic I am today. A story of a man's struggle to preserve his unique identity in a political environment hell-bent on homogenizing the population through facist means. No one living in the modern world should go without reading this prophetic 1949 classic. Big Brother _is_ watching you.

Robert: I've read this three times and I'm still terrified by it. Orwell's vision is not far from the mark. We've seen governments that embody a lot of the principles embraced by Oceania. And to a lesser extent, there are religious organizations, like the Moonies and Jehovah's Witnesses would exist by cutting people off from information and setting up cults of personality to dupe the people.

Keith: I read it in one sitting.

Marty: Terrifying! But probably the most influential read in my grimy little life. It has helped shape me into an indomitable establishment antagonist, with many strange results. Hail Winston Smith!!

Noble House

Written by James Clavell

Alistair Cunningham <>

All James Clavell's books are masterpieces of historical sagas. In my opinion this just beats "Shogun" as the most intricate, and most enjoyable. It is not one story, but many, all interwoven, giving a grand, yet meticulous view of 20th century Hong Kong. I have now read it 6 times -- and each time I notice new details, and new nuances in the story.

The Notebook

Written by Nicolas Sparks

D. McLean

This is a book of love. Whether you have known love before or not, True Love in the purest form can be found and felt while reading this book. This book should be passed from loved one to loved one, only to be retired to a place where it can be glanced upon with loving memory of its contents.

Notes from Underground

Written by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Sarah Schreiber

Without this novella, fiction as we know it very well may not have even existed. Dostoevsky was probably the first writer to successfully tell the truth about how humans think and what they do. Anyone considering a career in writing of any sort should read this.

Notre Dame de Paris

Written by Victor Hugo

Gabriel Weiss <>

Gabriel: (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) Intricate plot twists and horrifying descriptions of Paris make this classic hard to put down.

The Oath

Written by Frank Peretti

Brad Bolton <>

This book opened my eyes to man's inherent weakness. A must read for anyone interested in the new age movement or the spiritual side of our being.

The Odyssey

Written by Homer

Joel Mathis

It is a more mature novel in style than the Illiad, and shows that even the modern story telling technique is old. Its a great story, not impossible to read, and is part of the foundation of western culture. Who could ask for more in one book?

Of Human Bondage

Written by Somerset Maugham

Tisa M. Houck <>
Dolly A. Winger <>

Tisa: I would recommend Somerset Maughmam"s _Of Human Bondage_ for its ability to elicit an emotional response from readers as young as I was when I first read it.

Of Mice and Men

Written by John Steinbeck

Stephen Glenn <>

This succinct, poignant story of friendship, loneliness and loss is perhaps the most haunting I have ever read. Its beauty carries you swiftly through Steinbeck's unmatched simplicity. There is so much love in George's final act for Lennie that it never fails to leave me stunned.

Oh, the Places You'll Go

Written by Dr. Seuss

L. LeBlanc <>

Required reading for any high school grad, college grad or lost soul who is questioning what direction they should head in life.

The Old Man and the Boy

Written by Robert Ruark


The Old Man and the Sea

Written by Ernest Hemingway

Robert Miller <>

Never has an author offered so much metaphor and imagery with so few words. This text will change the way you look at literature forever.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

Written by Ian Fleming

Maximilian Winters <>

To consider a James Bond novel serious literature is a bit risky, but this book is certainly the most literary and profound of all the Bond books by Fleming. It is, of course, a tale of adventure, excitement, danger, sex, but also most importantly love. It is the only book in which Bond consciously falls in love, and, in fact, is married... only to lose the love of his life soon after the wedding. I believe it can be compared to Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms", though I feel it has its own individual integrity and meaning. Just imagine: James Bond as a feeling, caring human being!

On the Road

Written by Jack Kerouac

Julie Purcell <>
Brian Denyer <>
Bruce Rosewarne <>
Rick Slater <>
Kevin P. Contreras <>

Julie: This book gave me the first step in realizing what was important to me, material goods or "spiritual" [shiver] happiness. The simple pleasures of walking along familiar streets and a hipflask half-full of opportunities was enough for Jack... and led me to question what I called success or contentment. Truly the first step in my discovery of what it would take to be truly happy as an adult.

Brian: Jack shows what it means to follow your heart (and friends) all over the United States and Mexico in search of himself, and you. New people, new thoughts, new places and new dreams are all part of Jack's life, and hisstories. It left me feeling free and excited to be alive -- wanting more from life. Crazy as it sounds, but it really changed my outlook on life and the people around me. Thank you, Jack!

Bruce: _Road_ is Bible.

Rick: When I was essentially a suburban 15 year old kid reading this book it changed my life in ways I still cannot describe. Now three and a half years later I still take ideas out of it that change my way of thinking.

Kevin: I went from Phoenix, AZ to Lowell, MA just to see Kerouac Park. This book makes you want to criss-cross the United States a dozen or more times, just to experience the depravity like Jack did. The Road never ends and the Beat goes on...

The Once and Future King

Written by T.H. White

Gina McAskill Scherffius

This book is no more about King Arthur than _Animal Farm_ is about pigs. White chose the Arthurian legend as a means to convey his philosophical and sociopolitical views, especially his passionate opposition to nationalism and totalitarianism. _TOAFK_ is actually three books in one volume, and it was originally supposed to contain four. The last is _The Book of Merlin_, finally published later, and more overtly allegorical and political than _TOAFK_. As a novel, the first three books bring a warm, personal, and modern viewpoint to the story of Arthur and his destiny.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Written by Ken Kesey

Richard Grassy <>
John Heaphy <>

Richard: Incredible story of fighting the system.

John: I read it so long ago that I can't remember why I like it so much. I need to read it again.

One Hundred Years of Solitude

Written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Estrella Forster
David George <>

Estrella: Best if read in the original language, Spanish. Beautiful writing, you will experience all emotions.

David: Fantastical, urbane, funny and sad. It is the sort of book you can lose yourself in whether you are an irritating thirteen year old (as I was when I read it first) or a wise, witty and wonderful forty-one year old (as I am now.)

The Oneness of God

Written by David K. Bernard

Wesley Stephenson <>

This book is the first I have ever read that explains God in His many forms. Although written in a scholarly fashion, and using the Bible as its authority, it is an easy read because of the subject matter.

Op Center

Written by Tom Clancy

Nachito Diaz <>

Everybody agrees that Mr. Clancy is not a literary writer, indeed nobody can consider him as a conventional man, but there is something in his books that always draws my attention, holding me in suspense until the last word in the last paragraph of the last page. Maybe it could be due to his brilliant and compelling descriptions of actual international conflicts, or it might be because all his characters are the kind of hero that usually goes for shopping on Sunday morning. But the main point about all of Clancy's books is that when readers finish his novels they can never distinguish what was true and what was fiction.

Operators and Things

Written by Barbara O'Brien

Jorn Barger <>

The tale of a woman's stress-induced schizoid break, this book conveys brilliantly the utter *weirdness* that lies outside consensus reality.

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

Written by Julian Jaynes

John Watson <>

This book made me completely re-evaluate my world-view. Any book that can do that, I would heartily recommend, and this one is a doozy. I can't evaluate the science (I'm a physicist, not an anthropologist, and I don't know Greek or Sumerian), but if his science is good, his theory is amazing. It's non-fiction, and very easy to read, despite the heady title.

Origin of Species

Written by Charles Darwin

Mike Whiten <>

It was, of course, one of the critical texts in the development of human thought, but my fascination comes from the sublime passion that underlies his dissertation. I think of it as *the* model of scientific expression and communication.

The Other Side Of Deception

Written by Victor Ostrovski

Maarten Fornerod <>

Highly credible report of crimes of the Israeli secret service, written by an ex-mossad agent, who must be in eminent danger at this moment. Banned in Israel. The description of the ruthless and terrorist nature of the mossad fully destroys its heroic image. The book further shows the manipulation of the public opinion in Western countries, and is therefore a warning never to believe the official version of affairs.

Out of the Crisis

Written by W. Edwards Deming

Bob Wilmes <>

Dr. Deming passed away in December 1993. He spent his life trying to teach the foundations for a productive future for America. The is the finest book ever written on competition.

The Outsiders

Written by S.E. Hinton

Niels Rasmussen <>
Aoibheann Carlin <>

Our Town

Written by Thornton Wilder

Kelly Handley <>

This short play can really make one realize the importance of the little aspects of life and understand how precious life really is.


Written by Diana Gabaldon

Maureen Glennie <>

Wonderful introduction to the Scottish culture. Would have made history much more interesting if I'd have read this first. Makes you realize how each and everyone of us has an effect on the making of history.

Pacific Edge

Written by Kim Stanley Robinson

Mike Clark

Pale Fire

Written by Vladimir Nabokov

Rodney Welch <>

It is difficult to think of a more prodigiously gifted writer than Nabokov, and this book is his most complex and rewarding. On the surface, this novel comprises an introduction, a 999-line poem, and a critical explanation; within this "Norton Critical Edition" structure hangs a tale. The poem, titled "Pale Fire", is the last work of the late John Shade; it is both an examination of the author's grief at the loss of his daughter, and a thoughtful consideration of an uncertain afterlife. It's a good poem that deserves a sharp commentary -- which is exactly what it *doesn't* get. Instead, it is deconstructed to the point of absurdity by Charles Kinbote, Shade's nosy neighbor and self-appointed literary executor, and a certifiable nut. Kinbote, one of Nabokov's two or three greatest characters, fancies himself both the deposed king of the imaginary land of Zembla and the "real" subject of Shade's poem, which is "really" about Kinbote's escape from the evil Jacob Gradus. Kinbote is everything Shade is not; where Shade, until his daughter's death, knew the joys of domestic tranquility, Kinbote is an addle-pated old pederast whose conquests are all corrupt and whose victories are all imaginary. Or are they? Is it possible that Kinbote is, in fact, John Shade -- or the other way around? Is Kinbote the "afterlife" Shade is talking about? It was a theme throughout Nabokov's career that people very often construct reality to suit themselves, and he was sympathetic; writers do the exact same thing for a living. He never explored the theme better or to greater comic effect than in this masterpiece.

Parable of the Sower

Written by Octavia E. Butler

Heather Thomas

Parting the Waters: America in the King Years

Written by Taylor Branch

Justin McGuire <>

The Passion of the Western Mind

Written by Richard Tarnas

Brett Shand <>

An extraordinary overview of the development of the Western mind from Thales to postmodernism and beyond. Its scholarship seems impeccable, it is very even handed but still provocative, and it is beautifully written. The book allowed me to discover and understand -- often for the first time (despite 25 years of education!) why I believe what I believe, and to ask myself whether I still wanted to believe in those things. What effect did it have on me? The most obvious was that I stopped being a Christian and became a Zen Buddhist, but I would not be the least surprised if a Zen Buddhist read it and as a result became a Christian -- it's that kind of book.

The Pathfinder

Written by James Fenimore Cooper

Timothy LaPara

I am an environmentalist that happens to agree with a lot of Cooper's philosophy about nature. Plus, it is a good story.

A Pattern Language

Written by Christopher Alexander

Jim Kelley <>

After you read this book you will never look at the world around you in the same way. Common sense patterns that give insights into how to design towns or furnish your home. Read this if you plan to build or buy a house.

Pawn of Prophecy

Written by David Eddings

Pat Baham <>

I read this book this book and both of Edding's series twenty years ago. I still try to read them at least once a year. They stimulate my imagination as well as help me to see goodness in the world. When my thirteen year old son asked me to recommend a book from his Junior High reading list, Eddings was my first choice. He ended up reading all the books in the series also. It gave us something intellectually in common. Great reading no matter what your age.


Written by Gene Wolfe

Derek Kidd

Many people are probably going to shy away from this book, as you'll usually find Gene Wolfe in the SF section of your favorite bookstore. However, even if you don't like SF, don't pass up this novel! Like Proust, Wolfe is fascinated with the power of memory; the book concerns the reminisces of a old, lonely man who has spent all his life in a small midwestern town. He has constructed a house within which he has built rooms which recreated the rooms which have figured in his life (his office, rooms from his aunt's house where he grew up.) That's the skeleton of the novel. But, upon this skeleton, Wolfe has woven a tapestry of depth and complexity. Is he really just an old, lonely man? Has he had a stroke? Is he, in fact, a ghost haunting this house? Is he really a younger man, musing in his office prior to a doctor's appointment? If you like Borges, if you like Garcia Marquez, chances are you'll fall under the spell of PEACE.

People In Quandries

Written by Wendell Johnson

Paul Craig

I read this book nearly 20 years ago on the strength of an Autobibliography entry in a book by Neil Postman. Postman said _People In Quandries_ " a gentle, beautifully written, entirely intelligible popularization of Korzybski's ideas. I am tempted to say that there are two kinds of people in the world -- those who will learn something from this book and those who will not. The best blessing I can give you is to wish that as you go through life you should be surrounded by the former and neglected by the latter." With this kind of a recommendation who could resist at least checking this book out. I read it and it changed my way of thinking and my life in profound ways.

A People's History of the United States

Written by Howard Zinn

Ed Horch

Most history books revolve around the same small cast of characters as all the others, the standard boilerplate foisted upon all of us as children. Zinn maintains that history is really made up of the courageous actions, largely undocumented, of countless individuals and small groups -- the conquered rather than the conquerors, the serfs rather than the kings. This book is a collection of such stories, each one taking a familiar event in American history and turning it inside-out, beginning with the now-familiar less-than-flattering story of Columbus's "discovery" of America.


Written by Patrick Suskind

John J. Soares <>
C Mansouri <>

John: It was originally written in German, but the English translation doesn't seem to really affect the book. As a side note, it was the inspiration for the song "Scentless Apprentice" by Nirvana. Either way, it's a fantastic book with a wonderful story, and an impressive first effort from the author.

The Periodic Table

Written by Primo Levi

Steve Swanson <>

Originally written in Italian in 1975, English translation published in the USA in 1984, this collection of short stories provides an astonishing amount of insight into the way humans deal with the elements that make up their world.

The Phantom of the Opera

Written by Gaston Leroux

Kacia <>

This story will suck you in and never let you go, even after the last page has long since been read. It will appeal to and intrigue both the horror fan and the hopeless romantic.

The Phantom Tollbooth

Written by Norton Juster

Mark Brandsgard
R.E. Baker-Self
Ronald J. Kimball Ron Echeverri <>

Mark: This novel is one I read in sixth grade, but it holds universal truths. The characters, setting, and language are reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland; however, it surpasses even Alice in insight into humanity. I request that anyone who reads this paragraph reads the story. It is worth the hour sitting and it is unforgettable.

R.E.: For an explanation of why reading in particular, and learning in general, nothing matches it for charm, wit, and sheer enjoyability.

Ronald: A classic children's book which is fun for anyone to read. Clever and profound, with lots of fun characters and strange adventures.

Ron: It's one of those books that you read when you're a child, but cannot possibly get all the double meanings until you read it again when you're older.

Phases of Gravity

Written by Dan Simmons

Frank Sewald <>

While Dan Simmons is mainly known for his Hyperion series and some of his horror writing, this book really struck a chord within me. It makes some very strong statements on religion, society, and death. Perhaps even a little insight into the meaning of life.

The Piano Man's Daughter

Written by Timothy Findley

Philip Argent <>

The Pigeon

Written by Patrick Suskind

Richard R. Green <>

This short book (115 pages), by the author of _Perfume_, encompasses, within the miniature perfection of its form and a mere twenty-four hours, the destruction and tenderly comic resurrection of a little Paris bank guard. It tells of a series of crises (personal, spiritual, and psychological) that are as moving and dismaying as they are funny. I laughed... I cried...

The Pigman

Written by Paul Zindel

Kristin Muchesko <>

Paul Zindel's books had a huge influence on me as a little kid, especially _The Pigman_. He touched me. This is a story of two teenagers that are NOT perfect, and tells what happens when they befriend a lonely old man. This story is told with humor and tremendous insight. This is a good book for all ages -- it's a fast read and makes a big impression. Zindel is a hip, clever writer, and his stuff is as relevant now as it was when it was written.

Pigs in Heaven

Written by Barbara Kingsolver

Chuck Thompson <>

Wonderful, moving novel.

Pillars of the Earth

Written by Ken Follett

Jeffrey Wadsworth <>

An epic novel (almost 1000 pages) of the Middle Ages. It follows the interwoven lives of several families of diverse backgrounds. I simply could not put it down... Humor, Horror, Joy, etc, it had it all and more. A real masterpiece.

Pilgrim's Progress

Written by John Bunyan

Michael B. Bellopede <>

Plague Dogs

Written by Richard Adams

Carole Ferguson <>

I thought that if Richard Adams could make me become totally involved with a bunch of rabbits as he did in Watership Down that I would give this book a try. After all these years I still think of the two dogs that escaped from a research laboratory and their story as they try to find their way back home in a world made by humans. The world is a little different (more wondrous & more terrifying) for me after seeing it through the eyes and experiences of these two wonderful creatures. I even think of them when I turn on a wall switch and there is light! And the ending is brilliant - never read one like it before.

Platero And I

Written by Juan Ramon Jiminez

Goran Sjoberg <>

Whenever I am stressed, I join this Spanish Nobel Prize winner in order to relax with the poet and his donkey. Please join us if you like!

Player Piano

Written by Kurt Vonnegut

Tony <>


Written by Henry Miller

Charles Dube <>

_Plexus_ is the central book of Miller's "Rosy Crucifixion". Although it's been a couple of years since I last read it, it has remained the most focused in conveying the lust for life that the author is known for. At this point in his life, his recollections are magical ventures into a crystalized world of emotion, philosophy, and poetic tangents. He had purged himself of his bitterness and crudity and had achieved his dream of the acceptance of everthing life had bestowed upon him. It is through this love that his writing bestows upon the reader a bit of that sense of wisdom through hardship, devoid of the cynicism that characterized the _Tropics_ up through _Air-Conditioned Nightmare_. During those times I feel like holing up in a dark corner, no other book kicks me out into the world so hard as this one!


Written by Vladimir Nabokov

Margaret Greentree <>

This short novel is probably the most accessible of Nabokov's books, incorporating some of his experiences in an American college. It is sad and funny at the same time, and introduces the reader to some of Vladimir's writer-reader games.

The Popol Vuh

Written by Dennis Tedlock (Translator)

N.A.F. McNelly <>

The Mayan version of how and why we came to be - the world seen from a very different and compelling point of view.

The Population Bomb

Written by Paul Ehrlich

W.M. Lewis <>

The first cause of environmental deterioration. Unheeded. Now twenty years old. Nothing will date this text except using its proposed solutions to change the world for the better. Then, and only then, will his suggestions seem outdated.

Portrait of a Lady

Written by Henry James

Lisa Lindstrom <>

This book was almost revolutionary when James had it published in the late 19th Century. It revolves around an aristocratic young lady from the States, Isabel Archer, and her determination to remain self-ruling and independent of her surroundings, particularly men. She educates herself in life's mysteries, travels the world, and has the most remarkable aquiantances (with men and women). Her destiny, however, is premeditaded. A truly wonderful novel, and even more so, since James succeeds in depicting a young, determined, yet sensitive woman.

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York

Written by Robert Caro


A Pulitzer Prize winning biography of the man responsible for shaping the transportation system of the New York region and greatly influencing the housing, recreation, and political patterns as well. Especially influential because it deals with the fundamental "log-jam" in American democracy -- nothing ever important ever gets done because power is so diffuse. When power is concentrated, as in Moses' life, great things get done, but the risks are profound that the unbridled power will eventually lead to disastrous results. With a soon-to-be bankrupt Medicare and Social Security system, a welfare and educational system that are counter-productive, and immigration levels beyond what anyone expected or desired, our political system seems utterly unable to address issues that will determine the future of our country.

The Power House

Written by John Buchan

Nigel Wood <>

Unsurpassed adventure. Proposes the idea that there is only a very thin line between civilization and barbarism/total anarchy. A rather serious friend once suggested that the greatest writers of this century were Borges, Joyce, Nabokov, Beckett and Kafka. When I suggested adding Buchan he was outraged,but that is where I would put him and so I feel would some of his list -- especially Borges.

The Power of Myth

Written by Joseph Campbell

J A Greene <>

The Power of One

Written by Bryce Courtenay

Tony Hinde <>
Ashley <>
Lara Maddren <>

Tony: Bryce is an Australian who was born and raised in South Africa. This novel is a captivating look at South Africa and it's people through the eyes of a courageous young boy.

Ashley: You will fall in love with the character P.K. in this novel. His dignity, goodness, and love of humankind in the face of repeated prejudice will at times amaze you and at other times bring you to tears. In racially torn South Africa, P.K is able to see with a color blindness I wish we all possessed.

Lara: The Power of One is the most uplifting and courageous books I have read in a long time. The main character, Peekay, overcomes so many problems from such a young age and unites the people of apartheid-torn South Africa.

Practical Ethics

Written by Peter Singer

Dan Lizarralde

A particularly clear exposition of what ethical thinking is and of how a well founded ethical framework may enhance the experience of life. I have found that even the most thoughtful people tend to become confused about ethical issues because they are not aware that they lack a foundation, or basis, for their ethical thinking. This book suggests a utilitarian-type ethical basis, but, more importantly, provides insight on how to form an ethical framework of one's own and how such a framework may be applied to the ethical issues confronting us in everyday life.

A Prayer for Owen Meany

Written by John Irving

Arnold Jonk <>
Brian Cimmet <>
Nancy Wolfe Kotary
Alex Gordon <>
Jane Dannen <>
Rachel Baron <>
Teresa <>
Jennifer Bentley Johnson <>
Holly <>
Tom King <>

Arnold: Like the author said: "How is it possible not to like reading books: you get offered a complete view of the world for only a few dollars." This book provides the most comprehensive and beautiful view of a beautiful world I have ever read.

Brian: This is simply the most thrilling story, while at the same time, has the most perfect structure a book could have. Nothing is left unexplained. I have never felt so satisfied after completing a book.

Nancy: I love this book so much that I carry it around everywhere and read random selections when I have time to kill. It is more than just a good read; it is a moving, humorous and philosophical novel. Being a non-writer, I can't put into words how wonderful this book is: read it and find out if you agree.

Alex: A true example of the medium of story telling, Irving is able to develop distinct, unique and rich characters like no author since Dickens. More so than any movie, the book has what can only be called a "Hollywood" ending that is both a surprise and sincere. Truly a great read.

Jane: I am currently reading it for the second time and I'm sure it won't be the last! Irving's ability to portray his characters so thoroughly enables the reader to bond with them, giving the reader feelings of warmth, open-mouthed laughter, and heart-wrenching tears. I'm probably not the only one who wishes that I could be transported, if only for a moment, into the pages of the novel, for then I would be able to do what many characters in the books had done -- touch Owen Meany. He touched me.

Rachel: It is a book about our faith in another human being, and how incredible one special person is, so much so that they even eclipse our religious idols. It is a book about understanding one's fate and accepting it under all circumstances. Only in this book is the path of one's life so logically laid out, leading up to one incredible, inspiring moment that gives one the reason for their existence. Most enjoyably, it is a book about knowing Owen Meany.

Teresa: Owen is one of the most realistic characters I've ever encountered in a book. Few people I know have read it, but it's the favorite of all those I've met who have.

Jennifer: There is no possible way that I could remove the images of Owen Meany or John Wheelright from my life. I have cried and laughed more for them than I have for any tangible people. Life is serious, but art is fun - _Owen Meany_ is one of those rare works that brilliantly captures art and life, then interweaves them to the point where there is no disputing the intricacy of the finshed prduct.

Holly: I keep two copies of this book -- one for lending out and one for when it doesn't get returned. This is the only book I reread. When I tell people it is about this "little person", I get looks of disinterest; but give it a chance!

Pride and Prejudice

Written by Jane Austen

Anne Sauer <ASauer@Infonet.Tufts.Edu>

Though written so long ago it is still fresh and very funny. (Even though I've read it several times it still makes me laugh out loud!) This is English as it should be written, with sparkle and life and wit! In my opinion, no one surpasses JA's outstanding talent for characterization, which makes P&P come to life even now. P&P is one of the all-time great books, without a doubt!

The Prince

Written by Niccolo Machiavelli

Rich Dubielzig
Cory Oelberg <>

Rich: Machiavelli's famous work on the effective use of power. As relevant as ever, and a must-read for anyone who wants to change the world.

Cory: An inspiring book about achieving political office.

The Prince of Tides

Written by Pat Conroy

Ann Kingman <>

Forget the movie ever existed, it had almost nothing to do with the book. This is truly one of the most beautifully-written, moving, and thought-provoking books I have ever read.

The Princess Bride

Written by William Goldman

Nich Maragos <>

A non-formulaic, non-epic fantasy book, this may have been the first one of the genre that showed fantasy novels could be about more than brave knights killing evil wizards/dragons. And when I say "about", I mean the message. Fantasy books are generally rather pointless, but the message of this one has carried me through many a difficult situation. Also the first and perhaps only book to employ fictional biography. That doesn't make sense, but if you read it, you will see what I mean.

Principia Discordia

Written by Greg Hill

Adam Morris <>
David Wagner <>

Note: This text is available on the WWW at

Adam: Is it a spoof on religious texts, is it all just a joke, is it a serious book pretending to be a joke. Only you can decide. Personally I laughed, I was glad I could, because what it says about all of us is not always pleasant.

David: There is more to this book than can really be explained or recognized. Or maybe there isn't. There aren't many books that allow you (encourage you?) to look deeply into them and choose whether or not to be enlightened or laugh. Yes, it's somewhat trendy, but it's also worthwhile reading and quite entertaining.

Prometheus Rising

Written by Robert Anton Wilson

Grace Harris

A funny, subversive book that might change how you think of "reality".

The Prophet

Written by Kahlil Gibran

Susan Jack <>
Gareth W. Evans <>
Lori Ganz <>

Susan: Although published in 1923, I think it speaks to us more today than ever. To me it is the story of life, a code of conduct, a dream for mankind. I resonate to the images; I am drawn to the songs of the heart; I am healed with the majesty and invocation. Gibran's speeches by Almustafa breathe into the recesses of my soul.

Gareth: A small but thought provoking book. Kahlil was a Lebanese poet. He spoke about everything that affects our lives, of work, love, children, marriage and more.

Lori: By far, this is the one book that has reinforced and invoked every insight I have in this thing people call 'life'.

Prozac Nation

Written by Elizabeth Wurtzel

Nancy Carberry <>
Akasha <>

Nancy: This autobiography is an incredibly insightful read about living life through the fog of deep depression. Definitely hits this fan close to home!

Akasha: This book may give you some insights into your life, or show you a way to treat some problems.


Written by Dr. Maxwell Maltz

Scott Wood <>

Dr. Maltz through his years of research enlightens us on the workings of our subconscience and imagination. He shows us how to use our mind and imagination to "program" ourselves for success. You can apply a little or a lot of his information to all or selected areas of your life. _Psycho Cybernetics_ gives you insight into reaching your potential. It was written in the 40's or 50's but has fundamentals that are applicable today.

Psychotic Reactions and Carburator Dung

Written by Lester Bangs

Jonathan M. Gladstone

A collection of works by the greatest rock critic to ever live (and die).


Written by Sapphire

Janice Coble <>

A story about a young girl with very little hope. With the help of an alternative school teacher she acquires a lot of courage and determination. This book will make you cry, make you mad, and make you realize how the 'system' works for those of us who are less fortunate.

The Queen of the Damned

Written by Anne Rice

Jeffrey Walenciak

A Question of Power

Written by Bessie Head

Deanna Stacey <>

Head is a South African woman of interracial descent who was forced to move to Botswana because of the political problems in South Africa. The novel discusses her life and details her nervous breakdown. The novel essentially discusses global issues and philosophies. It particularly discusses power and the forms of power that humans hold over one another.

Raintree County

Written by Ross Lockridge Jr.

Mike McNew <>

A dazzling novel by an author who committed suicide at the height of its popularity in 1948. Some say that it comes close to being the great American novel. It is a story set in one day interlaced with flash-backs. It is easily read but, as one reviewer put it, "one wonders if there is symbolism even in the number of pages (1066) in this book."

Raise High the Roofbeam Carpenters

Written by J.D. Salinger

Mark Siddoway <>

For Salinger fans, it's definitely his best. For anyone else it's a total blast.

Rayuela (Hopscotch)

Written by Julio Cortazar

Eduardo Santana <>

Rayuela (or Hopscotch) means, for South Americans, the first time we touched European sensibility; in this case, in literature. Julio Cortazar mixes an important part of South America's historical moment (political disasters and poorness) with the same question asked since man first thought; "Who am I?". Its pretensions, like most of our intentions, are to revolt radically against ourselves and historical thought.

The Razor's Edge

Written by Somerset Maugham

Nandakumar <>

This is one of Maugham's later books and widely considered as one of his best. The Razor's Edge is the story of a man's search for the meaning of life. The philosphy blends well with the story, so that it's quite an enjoyable read. Though the book is quite old, the ideas and the philosophy make it a classic.

Reaper Man

Written by Terry Pratchett

Alan Samson <>

The image of Death fighting to live is a powerful one and I must say that it really lifted my spirits when I read it -- I was recently divorced at the time. If you have ever read Terry Pratchett, Death, Granny weatherwax and Nanny Og are my favourite characters, particularly Death because he is so full of life!!

The Rebel

Written by Albert Camus

Adam Eeuwens <>

If you feel that Internet is a passageway to a new world, saying farewell to the old, this book will give you the philosophical background to stand up to the old powers and know how to be a human being in the new.

The Remains of the Day

Written by Kazuo Ishiguro

Effie & Kumiko , <>

This classical story of a butler who has spent all his life serving his lords derives feelings of nostalgia. The story spans from the 1930s to the 1950s describing the situations before and after the second world war and including his subtle platonic affection for a housekeeper. It is an extensive but sympathetic, sensitive, and perceptive story. The feelings of the butler are touching. The writer won one a Booker Prize for new writers, so it is worth reading!

The Remote Country Of Women

Written by Hua Bai

Mimi Boothby <>

A fascinating story about a man sent to a distant and backwards town on assignment. He finds there a matriarchal society and enters into an impossible romance with a young woman. She is very different from other women he has known. The book resolves well. There is much food for thought.

Rendezvous with Rama

Written by Arthur C. Clarke

Ilkka Salminen <>
Jordan Hobbs <>

Ilkka: In this book aliens are truly alien.

Jordan: The sense of discovery and anticipation that this book gives the reader is amazing. Should be considered an excellent suspense novel. I can't recommend the sequels.


Written by Ken Grimwood

David Citron <>

I can't believe no one has recommended this book. Who in their life hasn't fantasized about "replaying" a part of their life with all of their present knowledge? This book lives inside of you. (The end does get a little monotonous, though.)


Written by Plato

Mathew Lu <>

I feel that for any person in Western civilization to be truly educated he/she must read and study this book. This work provides the foundation for so much of Western Philosophy and thought, that one cannot truly even attempt to study either without spending time with this work.

Requiem for a Dream

Written by Hubert Selby, Jr.

Felix M Salmon <>

Rates in ugliness alongside The Naked Lunch, but actually means something, too. One of the most important and least well-known books of the latter half of the 20th century. Much better than the better-known Last Exit To Brooklyn.

Reviving Ophelia

Written by Susan Pipher

Courtney <>

Susan Pipher has put into words what it feels like to be an adolescent girl. This book is a must-read for middle school and high school girls as well as their parents. Fathers especially can know why their daughters sometimes confuse them. The stories are true experiences and help girls realize that they aren't the only ones who feel out of place. It deals with sexism, appearance, self-esteem, and other topics vital to girls.

Riddley Walker

Written by Russell Hoban

Rod Myers <>

This book deserves a much greater audience than it seems to have found. It's set in post-apocalyptic England centuries after nuclear holocaust has sent "civilization" back to hunting and foraging for food and trying to figure out the mysteries of the past. It's a coming-of-age story about a boy and also about civilization. An original and profound novel, very challenging since it's written in a future (quite poetic) dialect.

The Riders

Written by Tim Winton

Naomi Sunderland <>

The relationship between the man and his daughter struck me because, basically, I've never known a man to feel that way. Winton lets his readers into a frame that otherwise would be lost in the "typical male" attitudes that so many women have been brought up with. It opened my eyes and that's what good writing should do.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Leg

Written by Jon Longhi

Jennifer Joseph <>

Longhi brilliantly portrays lifestyles of the young and inept in an inimitable and wonderful way. Unpretentious and laugh-out-loud funny. A gem.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

Written by William Shirer

Ray Keeler <>

Truth is stranger than fiction, and this 1300 page behemoth contains more drama and intrigue, and more moving humanity, than any novel could hope to approach; and it all happened. The study of history, as the Roman historian Livy said, provides us with the most supreme examples of both virtue and vice and their consequences.

A River Runs Through It

Written by Norman MacLean

J. Patrick Fitzsimmons <>
Janelle Milodragovich <>

J. Patrick: "And in the end, all things merge into one and a river runs through it. Yet I am haunted by waters." His little gem is as poetic and artful as the best work of T.S. Eliot. And yet (unlike Eliot) it is accessible, understandable, and possessed of all the immediacy and life-changing force of any *real* spiritual experience. Death, life, growth, love and the role infinity might play in our present incarnation are all handled gracefully by MacLean's angelic turns of phrase. While reading MacLean, the world's forgotten orderliness -- its natural cadence -- is remembered by the reader, as pure and simple as the childhood in which we each last sensed/knew/felt it. But this time, through MacLean's narrative, the reader hears whispers of wisdom as well as jaw-slacking wonder in the timeless water-words swirling beneath his Montana riverbeds.

Janelle: I think that this book has such a soothing poetic quality to it that I could read it continuously and be completely satisfied. This is a story of the land in which I have grown up in, but think that anyone would find fulfillment from reading it.

River Teeth

Written by David James Duncan

Ken Winkley <>

Sherman Alexie, author of Reservation Blues, said I would be "swept up by his rivers, carried downstream, and deposited in a new place." I found myself in a new place listening to the stories of Duncan and begging for more!!! His writing grabs hold of your heart while tickling your brain in the same way a leaky faucet disturbs a late night sleep.

The Road Less Travelled

Written by Scott Peck

Douglas McCarty <>
Linda Pennisi <>

Douglas: I rarely reread any book, but this one I want to reread every few years. Careful, sensitive, and useful to just about anyone who ponders the question, "How does a person ever really grow up and deal with life?"

Rosy is My Relative

Written by Gerard Durrell

Annie Prasad <>

Normally Gerard Durrell writes about his animal collecting trips and his experiences with setting up a zoo. However, in this book he sets out to tell a humorous tale of only one animal. I won't say more - I want you to read it. This book kept me in splits right from the first page to the last.

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Written by Edward Fitzgerald (Translator)

Maris Vanks

Even though E.F. took liberties with the translation, I think it's a great piece of work that shows humans still have basically the same concerns no matter what period of history we're looking at, and that life is a fleeting thing that you have no control over, but that you still need to make the most of and enjoy regardless.

Sacred Pleasure: Sex, Myth and the Politics of the Body

Written by Eisler, Rianne

Virginia S. Fink <>

A paradigm shifting book that links in innovative ways many new facts from archeology, history, religion and the social sciences. Truely macro-sociological in scope. Eisler is the Weber of the 1990s.

The Sadness of Sex

Written by Barry Yourgrau

Carrie Johnston <>

This book was so thought provoking, it should be read by anyone who has been or will be in love. It's hilarious, silly, heartbreaking, and so totally strange that you can't put it down. It's like someone has been recording your strangest dreams. Barry Yourgrau should be known as the King of Metaphor.

Sai Baba: The Holy Man and the Psychiatrist

Written by Samuel Sandweiss

Hudoyo Hupudio <>

This book has completely changed my religious view in my 50th year of age. Before I read it, for several years I had heard of Satya Sai Baba and had always regarded him as just another one of the numerous flamboyant Indian gurus. The book relates the moving story of a Western intellectual's conversion from a sceptic into a believer. It also spurred my almost overnight outgrowth from a staunch Theravadin religious agnostic into an aspiring universalist devotee. Truly God is a chameleon in an affectionate way. I strongly recommend this book to all seekers.

Saint Maybe

Written by Anne Tyler

Dede Clifford <>

A beautiful book about just living your life the best way you think you should, and the fact that some bad things turn out to be good things. Touching, real.

The Sandman

Written by Neil Gaiman

Sara Gray <>

Brilliant fantasy, fascinating characters, and excellent storytelling make _The Sandman_ series one of the best literary accomplishments of the century. Delving into philosophy, religion, and the ancient art of myths, Neil Gaiman will hook you forever in his mix of modern myth and endless creativity. All this and it's a comic book, too! Pick up ANY issue and you will fall helplessly in love with the dark majesty of _The Sandman_.

A Scanner Darkly

Written by Philip K. Dick

hal King <>

Every one, at some time or another, must deal with reality being stripped away from them, to find themselves lost in a strange world. For some of us, it happens all too often. For others of us, it warps our minds forever (for good, or ill.) Phil Dick spent most of his life in these... spaces. If you'd like to understand what this is like, what your friends suffer, read this book. It also has a Christan edge. No, it is not a sermon. See Christanity from one of it's truest seekers [PKD]. The title is from I Corinthians 13:12 where we're told all we see is a shadow of the true.

Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy

Written by Robert Anton Wilson

Ron Blum <>

Very funny book. An understanding of quantum physics is not necessary, but it makes the book even more fun to read. Watch out for the Thomas Pynchon reference.

Science and Sanity

Written by Alfred Korzybski

C. A. Irvine <>

This book is a hard "slog." Korzybski wasn't trying to write a best seller. However, you can learn more from this book about thinking clearly; avoiding manipulation by advertisers, propagandists, politicians, and religous leaders; and understanding others than any other book I have seen. If you study it and practice what it teaches, it will change your life and the way you see the world. It is the textbook for the science of General Semantics.

The Screwtape Letters

Written by C.S. Lewis

Sam Meyer <>

The Screwtape Letters is the most brilliant book on human sin written this century. I found myself questioning my every action and thought after reading this book. I am an agnostic, and this book made me err toward theism more than the Bible or any work of the great Christian philosiphers. In addition, "Screwtape proposes a Toast," a short story following "The Screwtape Letters" has some incredible and original insights into democracy. An all-around spiritually challenging book.

Searching For Caleb

Written by Anne Tyler

Janice Powers <>

Anne Tyler understands the family dynamic better than anybody. This story about a family that can't seem to get away from each other is something I'm sure anyone who comes from a large family can relate to. In fact I highly recommend anything Ms. Tyler has written.

The Secrets of Consulting

Written by Gerald M. Weinberg

Anders Thulin <>

It's not. Really. It's much more about what mental shutters a consultant can assume his client to have raised in his mind, and how that consultant can expect to cope with them without making it too obvious that he/she actually is doing so. It's about mind-joggers. It's about not being a world-famous writer and consultant. It's even a bit about farming. It doesn't follow it's own precepts everywhere - and it's very instructive to figure out why not. It's a book that makes you think. Especially non-consultants.

The Secret History

Written by Donna Tartt

Kris Kendrick

It has all the elements of a wonderful story: the rich New England landscape in a college atmosphere, a handful of intelligent, eclectic students studying Greek, and the murder of one of these students by his peers. What leads up to this murder, and then transpires afterwards, will have you taking this book with you everywhere until it is finished... and then you'll start it again...

See I Told You So

Written by Rush Limbaugh

Brady Anderson <>

This book provides the real thoughts behind this political genious. While so many people think Rush is extreme and wacko, the reader of this book will find himself agreeing with almost everything Rush says.

Sexing the Cherry

Written by Jeanette Winterson

Anna <>

Deeply intriguing, historically, psycologically, and metaphysically. An exciting and poetic book.

Shakespeare, Who Was He?

Written by Richard Whalen

Ron Hess <>

The subject of nature vs. nurture in the development of genius in art and literature has its most mysterious example, and valuable lessons for our present age, in that of the Bard of Stratford. Was Shakespeare really the low-born, unsurely-educated man from Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England, where a distinctively different dialect (with different idioms, nouns, verbs, and other usages) was spoken and written from that in London? In this concise 1994 work, Mr. Whalen, retired IBM Executive and Past President of the "Shakespeare Authorship Society," discusses those questions and many others related to the Shakespeare authorship controversy.

Shared Minds

Written by Michael Schrage

Mike Lean <>

The Sheep Look Up

Written by John Brunner

Lynn Salmon <>

The Sheltering Sky

Written by Paul Bowles

Kim Ong <>

It has been a formative book for me. I first read it when I was 16, and I remembered being helplessly drawn to the power in that book. The sense of foreboding and that wasting darkness that can exist just somewhere between ourselves is too strong to be shaken away simply. I think that effect has more or less subsided now, but it had deep influences on my present appreciation of my reading materials. I don`t think I would have enjoyed most to today's Postmodernist Literature from the likes of Kundera and Pynchon without coming across this book. It has somehow remained to be a "Nietzsche" to me.


Written by Trevanian

Anthony P. Tselepis <>

Shibumi? "It is a statement so correct that it does not have to be bold, so poignant it does not have to be pretty, so true it does not have to be real. Shibumi is understanding rather than knowledge. In a man it is authority without domination." "How does one achieve this Shibumi sir?" "One does not achieve it, one...discovers it. And only a few men of infinite refinement ever do that."


Written by Doris Lessing

Eric Lichtenstein <>

The Shipping News

Written by E. Annie Proulx

Ann Gambino <>
Jean Parker <>

Ann: This book brought me into relationships with characters I loved. They did not always do what I wanted them to do, they did not always do what I expected, they did not always behave as I wished them to. But, always, they were human in the deepest sense of the word. They were lovable and hateful and foolish and wise. They were truly people and I felt better for having been in the world with them. They did the best they could from where they were standing. The resilience of life is amazing and this book gives hope and courage without explaining why -- it is warm and funny and well worth reading. When I see it on the shelf at a bookstore, I want to buy another copy just because I liked it so much.

Jean: I really have no "one book"; there is just too much good reading out there! I do encourage you to experience the wonderful interweaving of setting and characters in this book.


Written by James Clavell

Amy Beth Rosewater <>
Christian Maesing <>

Amy Beth: This is truly a book you can't put down. If you saw the mini-series and are doubtful, set aside your doubts and read it. You won't be disappointed.

Christian: On the one hand it is a brilliantly written novel that does not let you go until you really finished the book. On the other hand, it also gives you an insight into Japanese ways of thinking and culture. Last but not least, this book is what made me start learning Japanese, thus be able to take part in an exchange program and finally come here to Japan to get to know more about the country and its people. In other words, it is "Shogun" that made me take part in the international game, and I am so very happy I have already read it four times, and the most recent will not have been the last.

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush

Written by Eric Newby

Gino del Rosario <>

A great lighthearted travel book. It deals with the Eric Newby's trip to the Nuristan mountains in Afghanistan. For those Sundays when you just want to stay in bed (all of them.)


Written by Herman Hesse

Andy Howard
Bruce Howard Baguley <>
William W. Patterson <>

Bruce: A beautiful dreamlike book and an inspirational example of the perfectibility of man. I sometimes think it would be worth learning German for the sole purpose of reading this book in it's original.

William: Siddhartha showed me that "The Way" is something the individual must find for himself although others can help him to find the path; that you cannot teach children when they desire to learn for themselves; and that any problem can be solved by fasting, thinking and waiting. And yet more often I am Govinda. Life *is* a stream.


Written by John Cage

David Miller <>

The Silver Metal Lover

Written by Tanith Lee

Samantha Lynn <>

Time is proving Lee prescient; written before the rise of the Internet and the blurring of the line between "in there" and "out here", this book remains the best treatment of the question, "who says who's human anyway?" that I've ever read. I have had this book for fifteen years and it still breaks my heart every time I read it -- which I have done so many times that my copy is in danger of losing a couple of pages! I believe it's long out of print, but nothing worthwhile is *easy*, after all...


Written by John Myers Myers

Daniel Lauer <>
SmallChange <>

Daniel: Silverlock is the adventure taken by everyone who loves literature. The quest to know, create in and belong to the commonwealth of letters.

SmallChange: A literary giant! This book is for you if you love a mystery, but not in the classic definition. A fantasy unlike any other. Have fun with it!

The Sirens of Titan

Written by Kurt Vonnegut

Elisabeth <>

This book, Vonnegut's second novel, is, in my opinion, his best work. It has it all, from a bittersweet love story to some brilliant satiric touches, and serves as a good primer on Vonnegutian philosophy. In the classic sense, it is sci-fi, but it goes beyond the apparent genre.

Skinny Legs and All

Written by Tom Robbins


The story is based on the controversy of a Jew an an Arab opening a restaurant in New York City. The central conflict is portrayed through many different walks of life, including inanimate objects. As usual, Robbins's writing is rich with allusions and descriptions. If you've never read Tom Robbins, it's an excellent introduction.


Written by A. E. Van Vogt

Dale Hess (

A story of persecution of superior beings among humans, and what it took for them to survive. As a gifted teenager in a small town, this helped me to survive, and taught me the value of discretion and silence. It also taught me to face envy from the less-capable, and deal with it. Most computer types could probably relate to this even today.


Written by Kurt Vonnegut

Tim Zompa <>

Slapstick is the type of book that you simply cannot put down. It tells the story of a man whose life has more twists and turns than Forrest Gump. Vonnegut's great imagination rubs off on his readers, and changes the way they think.


Written by Kurt Vonnegut

Bill Munze

This should be required reading for everyone alive.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Written by Joan Didion

J. Ewing <>
Kelly Vaughan <>

J.: Joan Didion can reduce me to tears with just one of her impeccably constructed, beautifully balanced, relentlessly powerful and perfectly timed sentences. Essay after essay in this collection will blow you away -- so much so that you will keep a worn, ear-marked paperback copy in your glove compartment for the worst traffic jams, like I do.

Kelly: Amazing essays written in the sixties. Haight-Ashbury, Joan Baez, "On Keeping a Journal", more. Just read it.

The Slow Natives

Written by Thea Astley

Jim Uxnex <>

Social commentary on Australian minority-relations as told through many generations. Take a DIFFERENT look at what you will come to understand as a world-wide problem.

Smoking Hopes

Written by Victoria N. Alexander

dactyl <>

The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death

Written by Daniel Pinkwater

Joanne Striley <>

There should be at least one Pinkwater book on the list, and this one is wonderful. I used the opening as the epigraph for my dissertation (about high school science labs.)

Snow Crash

Written by Neal Stephenson

Andres Magnusson <>

While extremely funny and entertaining it is also thought-provoking and gives the reader some clue of how 'The Net' might evolve into being an alternative universe. (Of course some of us are already halfway there.)

The Snow Leopard

Written by Peter Mathiessen

Peter Colapinto <>

If you have traveled or will travel in the Himalayas this is a magical book about the power of physical nature.

A Soldier of the Great War

Written by Mark Helprin

Tom Maki
Gene Armstrong <>

An old man recalls an adventurous life of love, pain, endurance, and devotion to beauty (which he has sometimes found in the most unexpected places.) Like all of Helprin's work, I found this book to be exquisitely written, with the capacity to awaken the senses and stir the spirit.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Written by Ray Bradbury

Mark Clamen <>

Sometimes a Great Notion

Written by Ken Kesey

Andy Latto <>
Will Madden <>

The great thing for me about a novel is seeing the world from the perspective of someone else. Events of the novel are seen from the perspective of two main characters; this book has taught me more than anything else how different our external and internal landscapes can be from each other, and has shaped how I see the world and other people.

The author is better known for _One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest_, but this is a much better book. It is a story about a logging family in Oregon. It won't change your life, but it's a damn good read for those who really don't want their lives changed.

Sons and Lovers

Written by D. H. Lawrence

Mara Maugeri <>

Sophie's Choice

Written by William Styron

Gerard Gobillard <>

An important book. Both the story of a becoming writer and that of a woman trying to live although she bears a terrible secret. You get to *know* the characters in this novel, and I truly believe you never leave them completely after reading it. A book I *beg* my friends to read.

Sophie's World

Written by Jostein Gaarder

Ann <>

This book truly made me think of more of the things in life than what I see on the television and has truly helped me to appreciate the world and look at it from a different point of view. I hope that everyone who reads this book will be as pleased as I am.

The Sound and the Fury

Written by William Faulkner

Doug Hill

Faulkner's study of the downfall of the rich southern aristocratic Compson family beautifully exemplifies the pains through which the South struggled to enter the twentieth century.

Space Viking

Written by H. Beam Piper

Mark Hughes <>

It's hard for me to pick any one of Piper's works, but this one covers vengeance, religion, politics, freedom, and whatever it is that makes humans different from two-legged animals. Almost everything I know about morality is from Piper.

Speaker for the Dead

Written by Orson Scott Card

Len Trigg <>


Written by Michael Crichton

Tim Arden <>

Sphere is the best book I have ever read. It is a great story about how human nature deals with its own mind and tries to control the mind. Not only a great story, it has good action in it to. I highly recommend this book.

The Stand

Written by Stephen King

Bill Calhoun <>
R.K. O'connor <u9306489@muss.CIS.McMaster.CA>
Jessica Brutsche
Dan K. <>

Bill: Ultimate book on good against evil. Have read it three times and discover something new each time.

R.K.: Talk about archetypes. One can merely speak the name Harorl Lauder, Glen Bateman, or Tom Cullen and instantly conjure a metaphor based on their expertly crafted personalities. The start of the book follows some seemingly unconnected people as they watch 99.9% of the world die because of a government project gone wrong. But the plague ends and the book has just begun. The reader watches as the unconnected survivors slowly straggle into two encampments: one lead by an 108 year old black woman in Nebraska, and the other by a man without a face in Las Vegas. The stage is set for an epic confrontation between good and evil. The story is an epic. The Stand is an exquisitely crafted tale, I re-read it often just to re-live the characters. It is writing at its most uplifting and greatest level.

Jessica: This book moved me deeply. After I read it I wondered if this could ever happen to us and I shuddered every time I heard someone cough. _The Stand_ showed me how cruel the human race can be and yet how kind, if we try. The government tries to hide many things from us and we still find out... What we don't know *can* hurt us. This book will explain that philosophy.

Dan: Truly intriguing. All the characters in this book are deep and well thought out. The ultimate saga of man vs. original sin (the devil). Thought provoking in the fact that there probably are vials of deadly viruses locked away in some lab where the politicians and generals believed it was perfectly safe to keep them. I like the little old lady from Nebraska who is God's choice to lead the fight against evil. It is comforting to the reader to know that God will step in to aid in times of most desperate need. This book is a 10. I have read it four times and I can't wait till my next opportunity to do so.

Stars in My Pockets Like Grains of Sand

Written by Samuel Delany


_Stars_ is an extraordinary investigation of the human psyche set in a future world that is almost entirely outside our experience. The writing is almost luminous. Delaney is one of the finest authors working in non-speculative science fiction. It is not simply that he spins a good yarn. He writes well, and that is a truly rare quality for an author writing in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. Like Doris Lessing he postulates a world that is nearly beyond imagining and then uses it for a jumping off place to explore emotion and psyche, which, after all is what all of the great writers do.

Starship Troopers

Written by Robert A. Heinlein

Robert R. Chamberlain <>

Beyond the pleasure of first reading a decent sci-fi book, the second time through, while providing a sad commentary on the American political structure, also provides serious and thought-provoking views on the socio-political problems of modern times (as of 1959.) The reader would be well-advised to examine the concepts Mr. Heinlein proposed through his "history and moral philosophy" classes.


Written by Herman Hesse

Tom Manshreck <>
Lone Wolf <semler_brooke/>
Pannell Jude Thaddeus <>
Robert Workman <>

Tom: I don't think anyone should read this book until they're ready, and by ready I mean having gone through and come back from a major crisis. Otherwise, it might not make much sense. It offers a great deal of wisdom into how our desires define us and breaks from the good vs. evil mindset of most "meaning of life" philosophies. It offers us a way to find ourselves.

LW: A very good documentary on the life of a steppenwolf. The 'treatise on the steppenwolf' included on the book is also excellent. When Hesse speaks of the 'lone wolves', what he says is quite true... I am writing a book about lone wolves right now, and I find Hesse's work quite inspiring.

Pannell: The treatise on the Steppenwolf spoke to me. Though Hesse was clearly writing an autobiography of sorts in Steppenwolf, when I read about the isolation the steppenwolf craved as opposed to the need for inclusion every man experiences, I knew that this book was worthwhile for anyone who has ever reveled in solitude.

Robert: Steppenwolf deals, at first, with the two sides of man. His modern day intellectual side compared to the animal(wolf) that affects so much of his life. He then concludes that the self cannot be described by only two parts, but by a multitude of selves. The book is dark and not for everyone. I like it because I feel that the instinctual animal inside of me is covered up too much by my American 20th century upbringing and life. The book makes you realize that your roots and instincts, when followed, are truth.


Written by Jerzy Kosinski

Guy Maor <>

The Stone Dogs

Written by S.M. Stirling

Jeff Waggoner

_The_ best alternate universe story I've ever read, this is really the third volume of a trilogy but stands fine on its own. You will either love it or hate it.

The Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Written by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Kelly M Tomlinson

F. Scott Fitzgerald was a true genius.

The Story of My Life

Written by Helen Keller

Timothy B. Messick <>

This autobiography by a girl in her early 20's who was to meet every president from Taft to Kennedy offers the reader a window into a soul at once tormented and the source of great peace. Keller's awakening to language and communication, the first such awakening by a deaf-blind person fostered by Anne Sullivan Macey, but accomplished by Keller's own strength, will remain an inspiration to any one, regardless of the "handicap" which s/he bears or "minority" of which s/he is a member. The source of numerous other biographies, several dramas, TV movies, and countless retellings, this 110-page text is the original tale of courage unbridled.

The Story of Thomas D'Arcy McGee

Written by Michael Leo Donovan

Dominic Lynch <>

A Shamrock in the Snow is the story of a Canadian hero: D'Arcy McGee. Thomas D'Arcy McGee was born in Ireland in 1825. In 1847 he married Mary McCaffrey. Soon after, McGee became a wanted man and escaped to America, where he founded a newspaper, The New Nation, and became its editor. Later he moved to Canada, was involved in politics and in 1867 he became a father of the Confederation. It was said that Sir John A. MacDonald of Ontario and Sir George Etienne Cartier of Quebec were the architects of Canada. D'Arcy McGee was its prophet.

The Stranger

Written by Albert Camus

Wayne Edkin <>

Mersault reduces his life to bare essentials. He requires only one room of his apartment, a metaphor for the extent he interacts with the rest of the world. Mostly an observer, he is pulled into the system despite his desire to resist it. Finally, the reader is uncomfortably forced to ask the existential questions for which Camus offers painfully few answers. Mersault is, in many respects, a modern hero.

Stranger in a Strange Land

Written by Robert Heinlein

Robert Hathaway
Jesse Masterson <>
Paul Jones
John W. Jones Jr.

Robert: This book influenced most of my beliefs about man and god.

TaMarra: This book revisits Christian martyrdom with a sci-fi twist. It provides interesting insight on the subjects of comedy/tragedy, love, cannibalism, the sculptures of Rodin -- not to mention humanity in general. And who would have thought a martian/human named Michael St. Valentine would have impacted my life so dramatically? I plan to name my first son after Jubal Hershaw (a major character who revels in the tragic beauty of Rodin's Little Mermaid and Fallen Caryatid).

Jesse: I read the complete, unabridged, version of this book in high school and it changed my life. This book put into terms things about myself _I_ didn't even know. It is so much more than a sf-novel. It is a commentary on modern society, a guide on how to treat your fellow man, and an outcry against the evils of mankind. If you want a book that will challenge you, change you, and give you some things to think about, _read it_.

Paul: This book was pivotal in changing the way I think about theology. There have been other influences, but after reading this I totally stopped believing in monotheism and started realizing that we are all "God".

The Stress of Her Regard

Written by Tim Powers

Stan Hamnett

I've loved all of Powers' novels and it was difficult to make a choice, but this is the one book that I've most enjoyed out of all the books I've read in the past five years. I'm something of a sucker for the British Romantic poets, especially where the backstory for the writing of _Frankenstein_ is concerned (i.e. Percy Shelley and Lord Byron and their respective families and hangers on get together for a summer; one night they attempt to outdo each other with ghost stories, with Mary Shelley the winner). I love the movies _Gothic_ and _Haunted Summer_, which both deal with this scenario, but I loved this book even more. The whole Romantic ideal is treated in epic scope throughout the book -- John Keats even makes an appearance -- as is the idea of the poetic muse. A more tragic, beautiful, funny, life-affirming book I cannot think of.

The Suburban Book of the Dead: Armageddon 3, The Remake

Written by Robert Rankin

Stuart Haigh <>

If you're into books featuring time-traveling Sprouts called Barry, Elvis the Everliving, and Rex Mundi, (a little hint there for you Latin Scholars), then this is probably the book for you! If not, you'll probably think it's dead weird!


Written by Phillip Finch

Chaz Kiser <>

The Sufis

Written by Idries Shah

Robert Moore <>

A fascinating introduction to a stream of thought alleged to predate all philosophic and religious "systems." Entertaining and amusing in parts, dense and chewy in others, it is likely to reward a careful reader.

Summer of Night

Written by Dan Simmons

Mike Miller <>

If you only read one horror novel in your life, this should be the one. The author crafts scenes that are so chilling they bring tears to your eyes.

The Sun Also Rises

Written by Ernest Hemingway

Jack T. Thornton <>

I offer Hemingway's first book, not because it was the greatest book I ever read, but because of a comment made by the professor who taught the graduate course in which I first read the work. In the opening class period, I mentioned in passing how much the characters in it reminded me of some of my close friends (most of whom were Vietnam Vets, but not Vietnam Era Vets, which are a different breed). The prof snorted and told the class, through me, that it was unusual for anybody in the early 80s to identify with the characters in the work, since they were all expatriates and the post-WW I era was long gone. Later in the semester, the prof's comment became clearer to me. We were the same age, you see; except, I was a Vietnam Vet and he was a Vietnam Era Vet. _The Sun Also Rises_ is an easier read than _Heart of Darkness_ or _The Waste Land_ (or even one of their spin-offs, _Apocalypse Now_, if you really want to take it that far: sort of a candy-coated-man-with-displaced- thigh-wound-walks-about-in-circles.) But, don't bother with it if you haven't made the trip, unless you're interested in Papa's early days in Paris.

Sunrise with Seamonster

Written by Neil Jordan

Tom Walsh <>

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!

Written by Richard Feynman

Bill Dunwoody <>
Jeff Craig <>

Bill: Feynman is the greatest physics teacher of all time and a Nobel prize winning scientist. This is a fun book. You get to see that Professor Feynman is just a regular guy, just like the rest of us. He loves a good practicle joke and have to just have fun. This is easy reading and a lot of laughs.

Jeff: This book and its companion volume, _"What Do You Care What Other People Think?"_, are the autobiography of one of the great scientists of our time, who also happened to have great adventures all over the world. Fascinating and funny reading.


Written by Margaret Atwood

Anjali Chudasama <>

This book is a must read for those people who are really trying to find themselves but cannot get beyond their insecurities and fears. It opens up the innermost part of your mind and heart and makes you realize what you really feel and what you really are. It uncovers all those invisible walls you have build to hide your true character as a person. As always, Margaret Atwood's writing is spellbinding and the most fascinating point I noted in this book is that: The central character's name is not given throughout the book. That is just neat.


Written by Cormac McCarthy

Will Drake <>

Cormac McCarthy has been thrust into the mainstream literary community by virtue of his last two books; _All The Pretty Horses_ and _The Crossing_. Both of these books deserve praise, but the most appealing of his books is the little known _Suttree_. If it is true that in sadness we find inspiration then this book is sure to inspire. The protagonist is one of the most original characters in American 20th century literature. He is simple to the point of heroism and approches life as something completely under his command. The story is played out in a vividly depicted Southern, river-based, outcast community. McCarthy is often compared to Faulkner, but I find McCarthy's style much more accessable. _Suttree_, in particular, vividly depicts a uniquely American character. In Suttree, the man, we are shown the freedom that is so widely praised (and misunderstood) reach its full potential in ways never imagined.

Swan's Song

Written by Robert R. McCammon

Robert Yunk <>

Classic end of the world as we know it, good vs. evil novel. Yet, it is a story about hope. Some very moving chapters. I can't think of another book that I have read that brought tears to my eyes.

The Sword of Shannara

Written by Terry Brooks

Kevin Devers <>

I attribute my passion for reading to this book. _The Sword of Shannara_ is fantasy/fiction at its finest. The characters came to life for me. Anytime I want to escape, I pick up this book and get tossed into a world of elves, trolls and magic. I highly suggest it for anyone looking to escape from the real world for a little while.


Written by R. Buckminster Fuller

Michael Stutz <>

Philosophy, art, science. Fuller describes the geometry and existence of thinking.

A Tale of Two Cities

Written by Charles Dickens

Carol Bennett

Tales of the Unexpected

Written by Roald Dahl

Madeleine Rudge <>

Dahl is one of the most talented writers and lateral thinkers of the 20th century, and this book is the proof. Readers are exposed to the wierdest and most confronting individuals, particularly Uncle Oswald. He is a devilish and charming entrepreneur, with ideas and plans to make you laugh, cry, and feel embarrassed all at the same time. This book has kept me entertained for years now, and it will continue to do so. Dahl at his awesome best.

Talking with Nature

Written by Michael Roads

Jim Hopper <>

Tallchief for Keeps

Written by Cait London

Lisa Campbell <>

The Tao of Pooh

Written by Benjamin Hoff

Keith Ludeman <>

The Tao Te Ching

Written by Lao Tzu

Tom Kunesh <>

A religious text for atheists, agnostics and other non-theists. After reading Sherlock Holmes and beginning my lifelong inquest into human reason and meaning, I realized that my childhood belief in the deity of Jesus was socially prescribed at best, and irrational at worst. When I joined the USNavy, and being allowed to only take in one book - which had to be a religious text, I kept the _Dao deh jing_ with me.

Tarzan of the Apes

Written by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Kirk M. Schneider <>

No where else will you find a better example of the tragic hero. Tarzan strikes a chord in all of us, imploring us to open our minds to who we are and what we truly love. An icon of toughness, virtue and self-sacrifice that can be adored on many levels.

Teacher and Child: A Book for Parents and Teachers

Written by Haim Ginott

Sheri Edwards <>

All of us are teachers. This book respects the dignity of all of us. It especially reminds us that kids are kids, and adults guide them towards successful, productive, positive lives. Through examples, it shows how simple it is to welcome or devastate a child (even teenagers, whom we usually cast in negative light). Favorite quote: "Good discipline is a series of little victories in which a teacher, through small decencies, reaches a child's heart." I reread this book once every two years to remind me how fragile we all are -- and how easy it is to be helpful to growing spirits.

The Teachings of Don Juan

Written by Carlos Castaneda

David R. Leach <>

As most of what I would consider "important" books to me have already been submitted, with some surprise I found that this one had not been. At a time in my life when college was just behind me, and a lifetime of decision making lay ahead, it was this book that made it clear to me that my education had only just begun.

Tearing the Silence: Being German in America

Written by Ursula Hegi

Monika Malka <>

After reading Hegi's _Stones from the River_ I was hooked on her style of writing as well as the content of her stories. For the first time in my life in Canada (since 1956) I have found a sense of belonging whilst reading a book. I eagerly awaited Hegi's next book, _Tearing the Silence: Being German in America_. True to form, she again excelled in her role as story teller; except this time, Hegi was telling the stories of real people and the experiences they have had as Germans living in North America. I grew up in Toronto, a German born after WWII. I learned early what prejudice and racism were all about, and have, as a result, grown to abhor all types of prejudice. Hegi tells the stories of several people who, like me, emigrated from Germany after the Second World War. Some came as children, some as young adults, but most of us experienced many of the same feelings described in this book. Many of us grew up wanting answers that were not forthcoming. Many of us grew up with feelings of guilt and/or shame about what had happened during that war. Reading this book showed me that there were many like me, who wanted answers, who felt guilt and shame about our heritage. This book was worth every penny I paid for it, and I highly recommend it as an interesting read.

The Temple of My Familiar

Written by Alice Walker

Denise Schwahn <>
Carla <>

Denise: Gripping, vibrant with scenes and lives and stories that are a part of us all. Inspires me to celebrate my best and struggle honestly with my worst. Sexless, genderful, ten thousand years more than _The Color Purple_.

Carla: No one I have ever given this book to has not been profoundly touched in some way by it. A beautifully woven tapestry of characters, lifetimes, and experiences that, while incredible to some, can be understood by anyone with spirit.

Tesla: Man Out of Time

Written by Margaret Cheney

Michael Pry <>

_Tesla: Man Out of Time_ is a biography of Nikola Tesla and his life's achievements. Tesla was an electrical genius who was more interested in helping the world than taking credit for his work. Men such as Edison and Marcony have taken credit for many of Tesla's inventions. I strongly recommend this book for anyone interested in the real story behind the development of the electricity and broadcasting that we take for granted every day. Just one realistic plan Tesla had was world-wide trasmission of electrical power to any place on Earth with almost no energy loss. This and many other amazing plans are discussed in this book.

"Tesla's inventions are monumental. During his life (1856-1943), he registered over 700 patents world wide. They include Radio, the Alternating Current motor, bladeless turbines and pumps high frequency/high voltage circuitry, logic circuits used in today's computers, robotics, aeronautics, electro-therapeutics and other areas of technology as we know it today." - Taken from "The International Tesla Society"


Written by James A. Michner

Brian Tunquist <>

I love to read fictional and non-fictional stories of the American west. Michner's novel, Texas, is the best book I have read on this genre since Louis Llamour. This book is non-fictional and covers everything from the founder of the state, Stephen Austin, to the battles with the Mexicans at the Alamo. If you love history in its most researched form, you will love Texas also.

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Written by Zora Neale Hurston

Barbara Dozetos <>
Tomha McMillan <TM0829@ECUVM.CIS.ECU.EDU>

Barbara: This is not only pure poetry to read, but an amazing look into the world of one of the most prolific female writers of the 20th century. She had the unusual experience of growning up in an all-black town where she was never taught that there was anything wrong with being black or being female. Her characters are beautiful and sad and funny and, most of all, real. I can't say enough about the experience there is to be had between the pages of this treasure.

The Third Policeman

Written by Flann O'Brian

Dave Rogers <>

To describe, recommend or even categorize this book would be futile, and might even interfere with the reader's enjoyment of it. Let me simply say that it is both funny and subtly terrifying, and has clouded my view of reality ever since I first read it.

This Present Darkness

Written by Frank E. Peretti

Barry E. Ottey <>
Nate Bohlmann <>
Dick Hamilton <>

Barry: The Apostle Paul wrote, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places..." This novel brings that concept "to life" for the reader as no other book I've read. Set against the backdrop of a story in which the demons of Hell and the Host of Heaven clash over the fate of a small hamlet that could be Anytown, it is guaranteed to open your eyes, and make you question the real motivations behind all the events that you see and hear of the world over.

Nate: This book *will* change the way you look at the world. Written in what I call reality fiction, the struggle between good and evil has never been brought more clearly into focus.

Dick: Until reading this book I never fully understood the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in my daily life. WHat a difference it has made in my life.

A Thousand Acres

Written by Jane Smiley

Linda Samuel <>

A modern-day version of King Lear, Smiley parallels life on an Iowa farm to Shakespeare's world of Lear. Smiley is one of those writers who can put into words thoughts and feelings that I could never describe myself. Her work brings the reader into Ginny's world and into the depths of her mind.

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Written by Friedrich Nietzsche

Jeff Campbell <>
Eric Sowers

Eric: I wouldn't recommend this book for everyone, but for those to whom it's for, it's well worth it. If you've ever despised the pettiness of humanity, then consider this book. Normally I'm modest, but with the practical anonymity of the Internet, I can afford not to be right here. I know everything (not really) and I don't need to read. I hate reading, but this is the only book I've loved and one of very few that I've read voluntarily. I read this book and felt vindicated! Maybe the best time for you to read it is when you're depressed. _Thus Spake Zarathustra_ is a philosophy book, but the style of writing is unmetered, unrhymed, pure passionate poetry. Not everything will you agree with. I was told Fredrick Nitzsche didn't think too highly of women. But then, maybe I have more to learn?

The Tidewater Tales: A Novel

Written by John Barth

Dan Ray

Barth is a postmodern writer, working in a system that is almost sixty years old and has not yet been very well defined. He is one of my favorite writers, his novels are always simultaneously entertaining and intriguing. _The Tidewater Tales_ is a sort of celebration of the possibilities of life in spite of all of the reasons _not_ to celebrate life. This is one of the only books that made me sad the the characters aren't real; they're that well painted.


Written by Guy Gavriel Kay

Aaron Humphrey <>

This is a big thick fantasy book, almost unique these days in standing alone.

Time's Arrow

Written by Martin Amis

Ludo Vangilbergen <>

It's the story of a Nazi war criminal, told backwards. At the start it's just funny, but gradually, as we move to the period where the main character is a doctor at a concentration camp, the backward descriptions are not funny anymore. Consider only that the extinction of the Jews is described a life creation! For me the book was philosophically-linguistically very important as it raised an important question about the relationship between language and time/reality. Is language referring to reality or is it just a means to CREATE reality? Apart from that, the book is a very appropriate answer to any revisionist.

The Tin Drum

Written by Gunter Grass

Alan Cheney <>

Written by Germany's most popular and eminent contemporary writer, this book is a bizarre delight, with each page alternating randomly between fun and horror. Grass's first novel (1959; Eng. trans., 1962), for which he won the 1958 prize of the Gruppe 47, it "is characterized by a bawdy exuberance, its author delighting in the ribald parody of a variety of literary styles and traditions. Grass's complex and self-contradictory narrator, the dwarf drummer Oskar, is an amoral, picaresque hero who narrates the events of the war and postwar eras through a distorted and exaggerated perspective." (Marilyn Sibley Fries)

Titus Groan

Written by Mervyn Peake

John Anderson <>
Mark Cook <>

John: About a castle and its eccentric inhabitants. Very long on atmosphere. It is compelling, weird, magical, and probably changed my life.

Mark: Although often published as three separate books, this is one story. The story-line concerns fairly ordinary people, in a land that is strangely out of time, and not quite of this Earth. The reader will recognize parallels drawn between this world and ours; especially in matters of distinctions between social classes, and the pomp and pointlessness of practices whose use are no longer apparent and are lost in the mists of time. Peake's characters are real, not archetypal. The story is thoroughly absorbing, although quite a trek through the three volumes. The book should be enjoyable for both fans and non-fans of fantasy-fiction. A truly lovely English story.

To Hear The Angels Sing

Written by Dorothy Maclean

Eve Rosenbloom <>

Dorothy Maclean is the co-founder of the famous Findhorn garden. Her communications with the nature devas were the basis of the garden's huge success, against all odds, growing vegetables in the sand in Northern Scotland. Maclean's own story of going within to find spiritual guidance as well as the actual communcations she had with nature's guiding forces is absolutely incredible. This understanding of life and consciousness could truly change the way we function on this planet. Her amazing story and the incredible wisdom she brought forth from the plants, rocks, fire, etc. are extremely illuminating.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Written by Harper Lee

Beth Matheson <>
Benjamin Timberlake <>
Jean Biggers <jbiggers@tiger.SGC.PeachNet.EDU>
Barbara Potter <>
Stevie Kuenn <>
Rebecca Garrison
Olivia Miller <>
Jim Thomas <>
Ashley Grieg <>
Nancy Clarke <>

Shayle: A simple story of moral values. Not a bad guide to raising children either.

Beth: Every time I read this book I learn something new to guide me through my life. I named my son Atticus because I believed it to be a name he could be proud of. A name to teach him to respect all who share this universe.

Benjamin: The message of slipping into skin is so universally needed, that if this book had as profound an effect on everyone else as it had on me, there would be no option but world peace.

Jean: This is a poignant, beautifully crafted story of prejudice, ignorance, and innocence lost. It is my favorite book, and the story has affected me so greatly that I have tried for years to write the author, Harper Lee, to tell her so. My letters are returned unopened. Miss Lee, if you are out there, THANK YOU for a book that changed my life.

Stevie: This book, more than any other, has given me a better understanding of life and childhood. Too often, we get caught up in the details of life and forget to enjoy the simplicity of it all. I first read it when I was 14; five years later, it still holds great meaning for me.

Rebecca: A beautifully written Pulitzer Prize winner. This book was required reading when I was a 10th grader in the 60's and I've read it almost every year since. Told through the eyes of Scout (a young motherless girl growing up in Alabama during the thirties), a tom-boy, who is learning about racial and religious prejudice and the influences it has on the people in her small town. Atticus, her wise father, counsels and discusses these issues with her and her brother, Jem. Harper Lee's use of words and the English language is remarkable; the book is worth reading just for that alone.

Jim: As a small town southerner, I can attest to the accuracy of the people and the feel of the times. While some groups (South Carolina High Schools, for one) wish to ban this book, I found it entirely uplifting and entertaining. Read this book. If you've already read it, read it again.

Ashley: _To Kill a Mockingbird_ was a great book. I loved it! If I ever have a boy I would name him Atticus.

Nancy: I was an 11 year old insomniac looking for something to read at my Aunt Rose's. I thought a "bird" book would put me to sleep. I never slept that night, and from that night forward my all-white suburban middle class life was over. I questioned authority. I stood up for what I thought was important, and was willing to pay for taking a stand. My definition of courage was changed, and its boundaries expanded. I try to never shoot down the mockingbird in all of us. I reread _Mockingbird_ every summer, and every winter read it together with my ninth grade students. Some, sometimes just one, lives are altered forever.

To The Lighthouse

Written by Virginia Woolf

Mary Tyler Knowles

Woolf's treatment of the woman as artist in every sense: as creating and uniting the family as wife and mother and as visual artist who can connect time past, present, and future. Woolf's style -- her ability to capture and recreate time passing as well as her ability to be simultaneously objective and subjective -- was the most amazing tour de force I ever experienced.

To Your Scattered Bodies Go

Written by Philip Jose Farmer

Rupert Russell <>

This book, the first in the Riverworld Series, is a fictional account of the lives of some interesting characters such as Samuel Longhorn Clemens (aka Mark Twain) and Von Richthofen (aka The Red Baron). Riverworld is a planet upon which all of humanity finds themselves reincarnated. This book has had a profound influence on my life. Riverworld is where I choose to reside in flights of fantasy. It is where I hope to find myself and perhaps you one day.

Tonio Kroeger

Written by Thomas Mann

Paul F. Burton <>

This made quite an impact when I read it in my late teens, even though it was a set book for the German literature course I was studying! It raised and answered a lot of questions I didn't realize were concerning me. It is also a superb example of the novelist's craft: like antique furniture, you can see the joints, but that adds to the impact, it doesn't detract.

Tooth Imprints on a Corn Dog

Written by Mark Leyner

Nancy Winston <nwinston@wv.MENTORG.COM>

Tourist Season

Written by Carl Hiaasen

Sheryl Stover <>

In an overcrowded genre like crime fiction, the bright spots are few and far between. Carl Hiaasen combines the storytelling and character-building genius of Elmore Leonard with the humor of Dave Barry, and after reading _Tourist Season_, you'll never look at a criminal the same way again.

A Town Like Alice

Written by Nevil Shute

Allison Bailey <>

Love and war. When I was nine, I saw the film on Masterpiece Theatre and the story has haunted me ever since. If I haven't read the book in several months I start craving it.

Tractatus Logico-Philophicus

Written by Ludwig Wittgenstein

Matthew J. Lister

A book that quite honestly changed how the world was looked at. It is possibly one of the most important and influential books of the first half of the 20th century, though few have read it and fewer still understood it. Wittgenstein has been considered by many to be the greatest mind of the 20th century; how can anyone pass up a book that ends, "My propositions serve as elucidations in the following way: anyone who understands me eventually recognizes them as nonsensical, ... (He must, so to speak, throw away the ladder after he has climbed up it) ... What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence."

Trail of Secrets

Written by Elieen Goudge

Barbara Flournoy <>

This book was given to me at a time when I was going through much the same type of crisis that the characters in the book were experiencing. My 31 year old adopted son's birth mother initiated contact with him. The situation in the book is, of course, not the same, but the book has helped me.


Written by Irvine Welsh

Slapp Graham <>

Not about writing down engine numbers at all! This is the story of a group of friends (and enemies) from Edinburgh struggling with booze, drugs, sex, AIDS, and life in the 90's. This is grimmer, more 'depraved' AND funnier than Martin Amis will ever be. Like James Kelman it is written in the Scottish vernacular and all the better for it too!


Written by Michael Crighton

Drew Kurth <>

Before he set his goals for the top of the bestseller list, Crighton wrote this insightful, introspective look at life and his place in it.

Travels with Charley

Written by John Steinbeck

Dan Gregor <>

One of the classic works of the American road-trip genre along with Jack Kerouac's _On the Road_ and William Least Heat Moon's _Blue Highways_, I think this is Steinbeck's finest work, and one of the most vivid, colorful, fantastic, inspiring books ever written. Steinbeck is a magician with words, and with just a few can transport you to what, when and where he is writing. This book has served as an inspirational manual for two cross-country road trips, and helped me to see things like I never had before. His descriptions of places are those of a native, one who knows and feels and believes the sense of the place. I have always wanted to extend my road trips to encompass Europe, but with the aid of this book and the way it made me look at America, I have realized there is still far too much of the United States to see for me to branch out yet. I'll end with a quotation from the book that I treasure: "A journey is a person in itself, no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us."

Treasure Island

Written by Robert Louis Stevenson

Colin Bullock <>

A classic tale of pirates, treasure, and the Spanish Main! This timeless masterpiece is one of the few books that can be thouroughly enjoyed by children and adults alike. It is the quintessential battle of good against evil. At its center is Long John Silver, who fits somewhere in between. This deceptively simple book includes all of the choice ingredients of an adventure yarn of the highest class: danger, suspense, suprise, physical conflict, and a riproaring storyline that, galleon-like, plows through a churning prose. In its wake is a blast of salty sea air that will take you away to another time when the world's "gentlemen of fortune" swashbuckled their way into treasure troves filled with Pieces of Eight!

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Written by Betty Smith

Mary Fairchild

This is the story of a young girl growing up in the poor Irish section of Brooklyn, New York, right around WWI. It is beautifully written, funny as well as touching. I first read it as a young teen, and have re-read it almost every year since. There is much wisdom in looking at the world through the eyes of this one poor child with indomitable spirit. The characters will live in you forever. All four of Betty Smith's novels are terrific to read, especially if you are an Irish Catholic (or you know one!)


Written by Leon Uris

Brian Loftus <>

A fascinating historical novel of the plight of the Catholics in Northern Ireland. A strong story of human pain, suffering, endurance and triumph which also reveals that the Jews were not the only people persecuted in history. Leon Uris is by all estimations, one of the greatest storytellers ever.

Tropic of Cancer

Written by Henry Miller

Jordan Grant <>

Many have called Henry Miller the greatest American author. Of course that is a matter of debate, but I can tell you this; no one else has ever written like Henry Miller. _Tropic of Cancer_ is Miller's semi-autobiographical novel of self exploration through almost total rejection of his homeland's norms and standards, as well as universal constraints of the human spirit. Miller wrote the book in 1934, in Paris, and after legal battles it was finally allowed to be printed in the U.S. in 1961 by Grove Press. Miller dives into the basest of human desires, wants, and conditions in order to free himself from baggage and the like presented to him in America; therefore "profane" language and description of sexual explicit acts are prevalent but should never stop one from reading this most important work. Ever since I have read _Tropic of Cancer_ I have been hooked on Miller. I cannot find another writer who speaks to me as he does and I believe speaks to the human condition!

Trout Fishing in America

Written by Richard Brautigan

Luke McCormick

It's not about fishing, or America. It's not a novel, or a collection of short stories, or poems. It's about everything and nothing, and it comes in short, disconnected chapters that makes it the greatest book ever for reading on the can.

True Grit

Written by Charles Portis

Dorothy Smith <>

True Names

Written by Vernor Vinge

Ed Costello <>

Truth and Method

Written by Hans-Georg Gadamer

Andrew J. Nicholson <>

This book belongs on the short list of the most important philosophical works of the 20th century, along with Heidegger's _Being and Time_ and Wittgenstein's _Philosophical Interpretations_. _Truth and Method_ is Gadamer's magnum opus on hermeneutics, the art of interpretation. It tackles questions such as "What are the preconditions for understanding?" and "Is there a method by which we can have objective knowledge?" He also develops Heidegger's concept of "the hermeneutic circle", follows up on the Nietzschean idea of "horizon", and formulates a theory of prejudice in which he tries to free the word from its negative connotations. _Truth and Method_ is a truly rich and challenging book which anticipates some of the ideas of later philosophers (Derrida, Rorty) while avoiding their extremes.

The Turquoise Bee: The Lovesongs of the Sixth Dalai Lama

Written by Rick Fields, Brian Cutillo

Barry Wright <>

A beautiful book by one of the most fascinating human beings ever to grace the planet. Tsangyang Ridzin Gyatso was Tibet's Sixth Dalai Lama, and as such presided over the spiritual and temporal affairs of the country. But at night, he would sneak out of the Potala and go drinking and carousing with the prostitutes and young single girls in the red light district of Shol-town. My kind of guy. The book is beautifully illustrated by Mayumi Oda, and the introduction is well done and gives you a strong feeling for this amazing man, but the magic is in the poems. They soar from the heights of spiritual and sexual ecstasy to the depths of loss and longing, a true testament to the challenge of Tantric Buddhism.

Turtle Island

Written by Gary Snyder

Mike Vandesteeg <>

Next time you leave your urban incubator en route to surroundings more serene, pick up this book and make it your companion. In its pages you'll find gentle wisdom like the caress of a breeze that's always been there. You'll think of nature's majestic beauty, the seas of forever, pine trees of the soul ascending up into the cosmos, people of the land and their earthbound wisdom, the cycles of life and death, replenishment and renewal, the Tao life force through which we all live. Snyder won the Nobel Prize for it in 1975, but some readers may recall him as the fictional character Japhy Ryder in Kerouac's _The Dharma Buns_. Definitely recommended for all, but for the Taoist vagabond, the eastern mystic, readers of Thoreau and Whitman, and all the other earth poets, this is the roadmap of your soul.


Written by Earle Birney

Orrin C. Kerr <>

Earle Birney, a Canadian poet, wrote a "military picaresque" after World War II. My mother introduced it to me, saying that "Every veteran in every Canadian Legion in the Dominion has read this, I think." She also told me that you could recognize every single character in the book. She was right. It is also a very funny book. Birney, when later asked about his most successful prose work, said that he felt he had to write about the war, and the only possible way he could do that was to do it as a comedy.

Tuva or Bust

Written by Ralph Leighton

Tatiana Divens <>

Hilarious, heartbreaking book about the late physicist Richard Feynman and his attempt to get to the totally unknown country of Tanna Tuva. Got me out of a black hole, this book. Changed my life. Not to worry -- no numbers, and the physics is hilariously easy to understand.

Twilight in Jakarta

Written by Mochtiar Lubis

Candy Gill <>

This book describes life in Jakarta from several different and unique viewpoints.


Written by Robert Fulghum

Kevin Brooks <>

I like Fulghum's books because he is an excellent observer of life. But he doesn't just observe, he also incorporates what he sees into the fabric of his own life. Then he seems to stand back and comment on the new emergent patterns. This is influential for me because it helps me see my own emergent patterns of life.


Written by James Joyce

Chamy Cooper

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Written by Milan Kundera

Andrew Pegum <>

The Unconscious Civilization

Written by John Ralston Saul

Arthur Davis <>

Under the Volcano

Written by Malcolm Lowry

Joseph E. Beck <>

On the surface, this is the disturbing, tragic story of an unforgettable protagonist whose guilt and fears lead him to self-destruction. Take it only slightly deeper to find a galaxy of complex, coherent themes that may leave you wondering if you've ever really thought about life before. An endless education on the possibilities of narrative and characterization, and one of the most important novels of the century. Lowry can be compared with Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene, Conrad Aiken, and James Joyce, to name a few, but has deservedly come to occupy his own niche in history.

The Universe Story

Written by Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme

Rev. George Tyger <>

A thought provoking narrative of the emergence of life in the Universe. Provides an excellent framework from which to construct a personal theology and philosophy of human meaning. Theists and atheists alike will find this book enjoyable and moving.

The Unlimited Dream Company

Written by J.G. Ballard

Kimberly Ann McCoid

The Urantia Book

Written by the Urantia Foundation

Bob Kinney <>
Patrick Grattan <>
Katie Roche <>

Katie: This book profoundly changed my life. I have been reading it for 18 years, and it still hasn't lost its appeal. At first it seems incredible, but the concepts of God and revelation have made this a book to look at and wonder about, at the very least.


Written by Sir Thomas More

Amanda Campbell <>

Thought provoking concept of the "perfect" society. Juxtaposes well with Huxley's _Brave New World_ and Orwell's _1984_.

V for Vendetta

Written by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

Pete Cashwell

Yes, it's a comic book. Get over it. Even if Moore's vision of post-apocalyptic fascist Britain weren't frighteningly realistic, even if Lloyd's moody artwork hadn't captured the squalor and grit of the milieu, and even if the updated Guy Fawkes v. Government plotline weren't as valid today as in Fawkes' own time, you'd still have to read it. Why? Because Chapter 6, "Valerie," is absolutely breathtaking. Wrenching, real, transforming. Read it and weep.


Written by Philip K. Dick

Paul Bendel-Simso <>

This is one of Dick's later novels, and is better written than anything else he produced. It also contains speculations about the nature of humanity and of human ways of knowing that rival anything being produced by 20th century philosophy. One of the better sci-fi novels of the last 30 years.

Very Old Bones

Written by William Kennedy

Scott Graham <>

This introspective and thought-provoking novel from the author of _Ironweed_ is without exaggeration one of the best novels of the twentieth century. It forced me to re-examine my relationship with my family and gave me a perspective on my life that was completely new to me. Kennedy is a craftsman, a story-teller who doesn't protect you from the dark side of human nature, but offers some hope all the same. I actually did cry reading this book.

Voyage au bout de la nuit

Written by Louis-Ferdinand Celine

Francois Demers
Benoit Mason <>

Note: The English title is _Journey to the End of the Night_.

Francois: The narrative is quite dark, existentialism cubed. The style is what makes reading it such an experience. Celine is Joyce and Faulkner combined. Worth learning French for :-)

Voyage from Yesteryear

Written by James P. Hogan

Godfrey van der Linden

The society around which the action occurs defines my picture of a Technological Utopia. The books explores one possibility in a society with limitless resources when it interacts with a limited society. I only hope that we will travel down a similar path one day. James Hogan gets his science pretty well believable but his characterization sucks, still very readable.

Waiting for Godot

Written by Samuel Beckett

Kevin Osborn <>

Strange and highly symbolic. This is absurdity at its best.


Written by Henry David Thoreau

Jamie Blustein

Walden Two

Written by B.F. Skinner

Jon Persky <>

An inspiring, fascinating study of modern utopia and its ethics, both in terms of the problems which it answers and the problems which it creates.

Walking on Glass

Written by Iain Banks

Pete Rodgers <>

The best British writer of the 80s. His books are well written, funny, and deeply sick. In 'Walking on Glass' he describes three interconnecting stories where amusing and horrifying things happen. One is that of a highly paranoid science fiction fan in London; another is a tale of a Scottish student in love with a distant, beautiful girl; and the last is of two people stranded in a tower on a desolate planet, who have to play bizarre board games to escape.

War and Peace

Written by Leo Tolstoy

Elsie Pettit <>

The Wasp Factory

Written by Iain Banks

Daniel Garrigan

This book was the first I read by Iain Banks and is, in my opinion, his best. It is quite surreal and very strange, but this adds to its overall brilliance. Sickly funny, perfect black humour and an exciting plot.

The Waste Land

Written by T. S. Eliot

Tom Ross <>

Though published in 1922 it is never dated; it forces the reader to experience most of Western Culture's decline -- but with a glimmer of hope. Follow the paths along which Eliot's maddening Notes will take you, too.

Watership Down

Written by Richard Adams

Brandi Weed
Donald Lancon <>
Peter Gresham <>
Jo O'Neill <>

Brandi: Just a really good, really charming adventure story, making a whole new world out of one that's right here in your backyard, so to speak. Adams did a wonderful job of building up rabbit culture and mythology and making it all fit.

Donald: The book jacket said something about not being able to put it down and reading the last 100 pages in one sitting. Yeah, right. After finishing the last 140 pages in one sitting, I just couldn't believe I got so wrapped up in a story about _rabbits_! A great book.

Peter: It is 26 Aug. 1996, and my copy of Watership Down is marked "Peter Gresham 1979". I have just finished re-reading it. It is as beautiful a story and as gripping a novel as when I first read it back when I was ten years old.

Jo: I read this book when I was much younger. As a child I always wondered about animals and their perspective on the world, particularly how they might view humans. When I read this book, I felt as though it had been written just for me. An interesting commentary on the human world from another perspective.

Way of the Peaceful Warrior

Written by Dan Millman

Josh Polterock <>
Troy King <>

Troy: I've given a dozen copies of this book to friends over the years. It's easy to read and the story provides some very important insight into being human.

The Wealth of Nations

Written by Adam Smith

Robert Villanueva <>

An integral part of the intellectual revolution that formed the United States and modern Europe was published in 1776. The book also is an excellent introduction to both democratic and modern capitalist ideas while compassionate in its view of the oppressed classes and the striving middle class.

Weetzie Bat

Written by Francesce Lia Block

Anna <>

Although at first it appears to be nothing more than a modern fairy tale (but a good one nonetheless), in the end, _Weetzie Bat_ expresses an entire outlook on life all in one short story. There are other brilliant short stories in the same series which are also worth picking up.

Welcome to Hell

Written by Jan Arriens

Mandy Hampson <>

It will change the way you look at the world, it is incredibly moving and inspiring - not depressing, as you might expect from the title! I can't recommend it highly enough.

West With the Night

Written by Beryl Markham

Paula Eeds <>

This is an autobiography of Beryl's life growing up in East Africa in the early 1900's. It describes her as a child playing with the Murani natives and her adult life as a trainer and breeder of race horses and later working and traveling as an aviator. I absolute LOVE this book! It is a book of beauty, humor and wisdom. It just takes my breath away!

The Westing Game

Written by Ellen Raskin

Carly Eiseman <>

An amazing children's mystery novel that is one enormous word puzzle.

A Whale for the Killing

Written by Farley Mowat

Mike Fleice

Riveting account by a great author.

What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality

Written by Daniel A. Helminiak, P.h.D.

Steven Brumley <>

Helminiak's work, along with the research of top scholars, such as Yale history professor John Boswell and New Testament professors L. William Countryman of Berkeley and Robin Scroggs of Union Theological Seminary, shows that those who perceive Bible passages as condemning homosexuality are being misled by faulty translation and poor interpretation. In this book, Helminiak, respected theologian and Roman Catholic priest, explains in a clear fashion the fascinating new insights of these scholars. The Bible has been used to justify slavery, inquisitions, apartheid, and the subjugation of women. Now read what the Bible really says about homosexuality!

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

Written by Harold S. Kushner

Greg Delzer <>

This is the one book recommended to me when I was going through a grieving process that actually helped. It will help with any loss, not just the loss of loved ones. On top of all that, it actualy made me rethink God. It's a must read, whether or not you are grieving. We all go through the process at some point.

When Gravity Fails

Written by George Alec Effinger

Todd McGillivray <>

The first good cyberpunk novel where the main character has to deal with real life subjects, like drug abuse and his drinking habits, and once you get to the third book, taking care of a woman who's husband was killed. It's cyberpunk in a Muslim setting, and that itself makes it wonderful.

When Heaven and Earth Changed Places

Written by Ley Li Hayslip

Brenda Collons <>

This book touched me in many ways. I was very young during the Vietnam War and this story tells about how a young girl, daughter, woman, mother and wife lived it.

When The Wind Stops

Written by Charlotte Zolotow

Matt Gutting <>

White Light

Written by Rudy Rucker

Paul Bickmore <>

The story is quite the most bizarre tale you're ever likely to come across (it makes Alice in Wonderland look like a day out in Yarmouth). It seems to be a biography of himself, as a mathematics lecturer who sets out to discover the true nature of infinity. And meets some very odd characters on the way. It's a very original method of teaching some pretty slippery concepts of our Universe in a very eye-opening and fascinating way.

White Noise

Written by Don DeLillo

Ted Askew <>

Who Has Seen the Wind

Written by W.O. Mitchel

John De Genova

It is a book about growing up and coming to terms with adult life. It deals with the simple pleasures of life and deals with issues that are really important in a soft, easy manner. It gives the reader a feeling for Canadian character and silent toughness.

Wholeness and the Implicate Order

Written by David Bohm

Donald Factor <>

A book by one of the world's leading theoretical physicists, but don't let that put you off. It will change the way you understand yourself and the world.


Written by Gregory Maguire


_Wicked_ has to be the most intriguing take on L. Frank Baum's _Wizard Of Oz_ in FOREVER. Macguire picks up where Baum left off with the political and social aspects that Oz presents to us; it offers us a look at what our world could be like, and often is.

Wide Sargasso Sea

Written by Jean Rhys

Helen Thomas <>

Jean Rhys accomplished a triumph of empathy, poetry, narration, and politics in her most acclaimed novel. It is a character amplification of Jane Eyre's Bertha Mason. However, it transcends these confines to deliver a splendid discussion of patriarchal oppression on several levels. A collage of dream-like symbolism reveals each character's survival within their own sanity. The author's total devotion to her heroine adds a devastatingly human aspect to an otherwise cold social-political history.

Wielder of Words

Written by Donna J. Stone

Jonathan Martin <>

This is a collection of poems by the late Donna J. Stone, a celebrated poet whose untimely death was a loss to the literary community. These works reflect some of the most poignant times in Ms. Stone's life, and do so in a way that will surely affect the reader on several levels, familiar and new. I highly recommend it to anyone who appreciates great poetry.


Written by James Douglas Morrison

Jesse Seth <>

This is a published notebook. It contains poems, fragments, and observations. It allows you to discover what Jim Morrison was like when he wasn't onstage. It doesn't matter whether you like the Doors' music. This work is a visible attempt on Morrison's behalf to create images and convey truth. It is the work of a poet.

Willard and His Bowling Trophies

Written by Richard Brautigan

W. J. Madden <>

Where are those goddamn bowling trophies? The Logan brothers search endlessly. Full of cosmic meaning.

The Wind in the Willows

Written by Kenneth Graham

Christopher Olsen <>

Because it is more than a book - it is a philosophy, a way of life - and a greater pleasure with every read.

Winesburg, Ohio

Written by Sherwood Anderson


Each short story provides a glimpse into to the soul of an eccentric in the small American town. Anderson's prose is uniquely beautiful, possessing a mystical and hypnotic quality; his style influenced numerous American writers, including Hemingway and Jean Toomer.


Written by Mary-Ellen Lang Collura

Terri Wilkins <>

The book was very well written, and introduced me to the pain and hurt that goes along with racism. The boy Jordy is very bitter and doesn't like anybody. The book explores the ways that he changed and learned to care for other people, including his new horse Siksika (which means "Blackfoot.") I recommend this book to anyone who would like a little suspense and drama.

Winter's Tale

Written by Mark Helprin

Patrick Clancy
Steven Jones <>
Reg Lorant <>

Patrick: At its highest level it covers time travel and a flying horse among other things, consequently it puts off a lot of folk who don't care about fantasy or science fiction. But at its deeper levels it is a marvelous and surprisingly optimistic view of the human condition.

Steven: Winter's Tale is an odd but exceptional book -- it is difficult to describe its panoramic settings and caricature. This novel provides a personal insight toward the future.

Reg: Magical fantasy with language that sings like music in the mind; a book populated with real characters, and mature insights into the human psyche.

Wisdom Hunter

Written by Randall Arthur

Jerry D. Holm <>

This book was as meaningful the fourth time around as it was the first. It is the story of a successful, arrogant, idealistic minister who endures a series of tragedies forcing him to break away from his routine life in search of something much larger than life itself. It is about a God who loves, and how sometimes the best intentions can be destructive to ourselves and others. As the main character comes to question his faith and all he was ever taught, he becomes a self-taught wisdom hunter who learns that the true message of God is one of ministry and compassion. A compelling book that I am sure I will enrich me just as much the fifth time around.

Without Remorse

Written by Tom Clancy

Matt Carter

It is a brilliantly depicted fiction novel about a man who is torn between his love for his country and a love for a girl (who is killed.) He then is asked by the US government to return to active service, yet at the same time he wants to avenge her killers. He goes on to be discovered as the murderer of her murderers and becomes the man known as Mr. Clark who is featured throughout all of Tom Clancy's other novels.

A Wizard of Earthsea

Written by Ursula Le Guin

Jarmo Lundgren <>

It's rather stupid to choose one of the four-part trilogy, but since I've read the first part first, and since it has the most powerful feel of the presence of the Sea compared to the other three parts, and since I live in Turku, Finland, where is located the biggest archipelago in the world, and since I love the sea and the archipelago, and since no fantasy book has as impressive a meeting of the Evil as _The Wizard of Earthsea_, and since the whole saga gently turns every fantasy cliche you could imagine upside down, and since the book is WISE ... I choose the _Wizard of Earthsea_

Woman on the Edge of Time

Written by Marge Piercy

Julie Cutten <>

This book presents an anarcho-feminist world of the future, but please don't anyone be turned off by this! Both men and women will find Piercy's vision interesting. It is a future where people are still struggling to overcome sexism, racism, environmental degradation, war, and so on, but there are many vivid and creative examples of alternatives that could be choices for our own society in the future. Thought-provoking and great for a book group discussion!

The Woman Warrior

Written by Maxine Hong Kingston

Jackie Cunningham


Written by Charles Bukowski

Kristen Kurtonick

Women Who Love Too Much

Written by Robin Norwood

Kay Richard <>

This is the book that broke me of my co-dependent habit. It read like my life story and because I was in an abusive relationship when I read it, I took the author's words as gospel; she would not meet with anyone who was not in Al-Anon, so there had to be some good there. I went to the next meeting I found in the newspaper, and within a few weeks was free from the relationship and on the road to recovery. This book saved my life and my sanity. I would recommend it to anyone who is confused about the true meaning of love.

The Women's Room

Written by Marilyn French

Sandy Samouce <>
Carolyn King <>

Sandy: In a class about stress management required for my major, the professor assigned me this book to read. I protested, being a sweet little Pentecostal girl. The book's about a woman's coming of age at the tender age of 35, and how she becomes a part of the women's movement of the 60s, and the people whose lives intersect and are transformed, in one way or another, by that movement. My fiance (now ex-husband) referred to this book as "That book that makes Sandy really pissed off at men." He tossed the book in the trash, and I tried to be a good little fiancee, then wife, but what I'd seen in that book utterly transformed my life, even if it took me five years to digest what I'd read. It's not what I'd call an 'anger' book per se. It's a book about triumph over the establishment. Everyone should read this book. Everyone. But be prepared to challenge what you used to think about the relationships between men and women, the issue of personal power, the transcendence of choice over meek acceptance.

Carolyn: It tells the truth.

The World According To Garp

Written by John Irving

David Emard <>
Josh S. <>

David: It's about life, and learning to use it. When I read the first line of Jenny Fields' autobiography, I had one of those epiphanies that only come from reading your own truths in somebody else's voice.

Josh: In my opinion the funniest and most dramatic book ever written. It is good for everyone to remember the last line of this amazing piece of work, "In the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases."

A Wrinkle in Time

Written by Madeline L'Engle

Jeannine Klein <>
Karen Funk Blocher <>
Elisabeth Escamillo <>

Jeannine: Its strongest claim to fame is that it is both thought-provoking and faith-inspiring (a real, non-sectarian faith) for those who have lost their faith/find their faith endangered/never had and don't necessarily want any faith. It was, for me and many others, a child's delightful introduction to -real- science fiction (not just shoot-em-up on another planet). I first read this book when I was 10 (at the suggestion of a nun in a Catholic school, of all people!!) and have been re-reading it (and its sequels) ever since.

Karen: This classic Newberry Award winner is full of wonderful characters, a thought-provoking and heart-wrenching story, and memorable prose. I've read it dozens of times, and it still moves me. It's also an entry to L'Engle's personal universe of reoccurring characters in dozens of novels -- adult and YA, SF and bildungsroman, teen romance and taut thrillers.

Elisabeth: This book is profoundly stirring and readable by all ages. It gave me a new perspective on life, and on why we should never take it for granted. It will make you laugh, cry, and think. I read it first when I was fourteen and have read it at least once a month since.

Writings of Baha'u'llah

Written by Baha'u'llah

Mark Richardson Knox

It may seem obvious for a follower of a religion to recommend their favorite holy book, and so perhaps in that light I am being shallow or unthoughtful in my entry. However, to no other book can I attribute such a life transforming organization of English words as I can the above title. Baha'u'llah enjoins upon His followers to "immerse [them]selves in the ocean of My words;" and that advice I offer forward to whosoever, Baha'i or not, encounters this short testimony to the immensity of the small volume of writings in English of the One Who proclaims Himself to be, in part, none other than a return of Jesus Chirst and the Promised One of all faiths.

Written on the Body

Written by Jeanette Winterson

Myrlin Hermes <>
Nikola <>

Myrlin: The best book about romantic love I've ever read. A married woman is wooed by a gender-ambiguous narrator. True love, rich, compelling language, and redheads!

Nikola: A feast for the senses. Ms. Winterson's writing is compelling and ornate.

Wuthering Heights

Written by Emily Bronte

James Powell

Such a powerful book - written by a woman in isolation.

A Yellow Raft in Blue Water

Written by Michael Dorris

Gerry Coleman <>

This is the story of three women -- mother, daughter, granddaughter -- told in three parts, each narrated by one of the central characters and overlapping in time so that the reader gets each woman's perspective on some of the same events. This book is so true to life that I couldn't believe it was written by a man. I was sure the author was a woman named Michael, like the Mom on the Waltons. Now that I have read Dorris's wife's books (his wife is Louise Erdrich), I am sure she wrote it for him.

Yertle the Turtle

Written by Dr. Seuss

Dan Brown <>

I think its appeal comes from the powerful message delivered in such simple terms. It brings the complex issue of liberty into focus.

You Can't Go Home Again

Written by Thomas Wolfe

B. Goode <>

The Young Visiters

Written by Daisy Ashford

Jim Ward <>

It is a charming, romantic, masterpiece written by a nine year old girl.

Your Money or Your Life

Written by Joe Dominguiez and Vicki Robin.

Russell Nelson <>

Great way to figure out what's *really* important to you, and tells you how to get to the point where you can do it.

Your Sacred Self

Written by Dr. Wayne Dyer

Sandra Stone <>


Written by Voltaire

Murph <>

Voltaire's brilliance shines in this short but thought-provoking book involving destiny, one's fate, and life's wild ride. A must read, especially if you are looking to compliment _Candide_.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Written by Robert Pirsig

Mark Nowak <>
Ted Ashton
S. C. King <>
Bonnie Bucqueroux <>
Wade H. Nelson <>

Mark: Thought-provoking, insightful, educational, uplifting, touching and deep. It's the story of a man's search for meaning and personal growth and what happened along the way.

Ted: It is a book which deals directly with one of the primary problems of our day -- the lack of caring. _Zen_ has been for me a great encouragement and a book I have shared with my closest friends.

S.C.: Not deep into Buddist practice and not very factual about motorcycle maintenance. An excellent book.

Bonnie: Even those like me who deny much of a spiritual side will find Pirsig's book on his inner and outer quest compelling. It is indeed a search for human values in a world of technology, which resonates even more in this era of the computer. My only worry is that the title may not attract the wide array of readers who would find this book entrancing. And it certainly suffers from lousy positioning on an alphabetical list!

Wade: Every spiritual seeker remembers the book which set them upon the path. Zen and the AMM was mine. Pirsig asks his students to step out of their 4-walled university classroom into his Church of Reason, in which quality is the state of things, of motorcycle repairs, and of life itself to be sought.

Zen in the Art of Archery

Written by Eugen Herrigel

Wade Black <>
Stuart Bernstein <>

Wade: Eighty-one pages that I reread once every year. The one book I require my beginning film students to read. This is the book that all the other "Zen in ..." and "Zen and ..." books devolved from. This one is actually about Zen.

Stuart: _Zen in the Art of Archery_ is about 90 pages, but it will take about 90 days to read. It offers insight into the definition and meaning of Zen and gives the reader instruction and words to live by. "You must become purposeless... on purpose!"

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

Written by Shunryu Suzuki

Jo Rourke

This is a blueprint for Zen meditation practice. It says the right thing whether you've never meditated or meditated for 50 years.