A while back I sent out an email asking some of our friends and family what three books they felt everyone should have read.
Here are the #1s
Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov: one of the most important books about doubt and spiritual angst; difficult to read because of all the Russian names, but has two chapters that I think are the most important ever written.
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Franklin: This book has done more to make me understand what the American character is than anything else
Guns, Germs & Steel by Jared Diamond
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: An aviator whose plane is forced down in the Sahara Desert encounters a little prince from a small planet who relates his adventures in seeking the secret of what is important in life.
Templar Legacy by Steve Berry
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Catcher in the Rye – Pierre Salinger: coming of age of a youth into harsh reality of phonies
Some Honorable mention
Frank Herbert’s Dune: superb sci-fi, and actually quite relevant post 9/11.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. Mr. Frankl spent his adolescence in a Nazi concentration camp. In his own words,”…the best people did not survive.” He has gone on to become a successful and prominent psychiatrist. This is not a lengthy book, but absolutely full of the dried-eye wisdom of a man who has witnessed humans behaving at their worst and at their best.
The New Guide to Rational Living or the The Guide to Rational Living by Albert Ellis: this book is published under both titles. This book is so damn useful in dealing with other human beings that you will not believe it.
Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner
The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne (actually, the complete works about Winnie the Pooh).
A Sarong in My Backpack: Adventures from Munich to Pushkar by Ayun Halliday: Travel stories of a low-budget backpacker. Light reading, very amusing.
Six Moral Tales by Éric Rohmer: Éric Rohmer (1920) challenged traditional Hollywood cinema with his French New Wave cycle of films, Six Moral Tales (“Contes moraux”). The book has all of the tales in narrative form, written by Rohmer two decades before making the movies. You either love Rohmer or are completely bored with his writing.
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis: portrays the possibilities of heaven and other realities
Klondike Fever Pierre Barton