abangaku's Top books post inspired me to write up my own list. Below are the top 20 books of my life at this moment. They're a mix of influential books from my youth, books that opened my mind, books that titillated my senses, and books I can't make it through the week without referring back to. Vaguely from the top down:
- Robert Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
- Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values
- Rosamund and Benjamin Zander, The Art of Possibility
- Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
- James Joyce, Ulysses
- George Orwell, 1984
- Plato, The Symposium
- Virginia Wolfe, The Waves
- Ram Dass, Be Here Now
- Douglas Hofstadter, Godel, Escher, Bach
- Elizabeth Wurtzel, Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women
- David Eddings, The Belgariad (series)
- Piers Anthony, Incarnations of Immortality (series)
- Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
- Arnold Mindell, Sitting in the Fire
- Brad Blanton, Radical Honesty: How To Transform Your Life By Telling The Truth
- Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
- Robert Rimmer, The Harrad Experiment
- Eve Delunas, Survival Games Personalities Play
- Donald Palmer, Looking at Philosophy
I could ramble on every one of these, but let it stand that I love each one in a special way, and that my life was vastly amplified by having read them. What's your top 20 list? I'm always looking for book recommendations, and I'd love to hear what books have made you!!!
I had to leave some excellent books off this list. There were some that a few great ideas but don't overflow the way these do-- Don't Think of an Elephant, The Tipping Point, What Should I Do with My Life, How Children Fail, Training Trances. Also absent are several books I enjoyed down to their very core, but which have questionable literary worth-- The Elementary Particles, Satan: His Psychotherapy and Cure by the Unfortunate Dr. Kassler, J.S.P.S., The Fourth Turning, The Phantom Tollbooth, anything by David Sedaris. I fully expect How to Succeed with Women to make this list, but I'm only a few chapters in and taking it slow.
In the past few weeks I've read Slaughterhouse-Five (loved the craft, hated the ethics until I talked it over with a lit grad friend-- now like a top 40 book), Waiting for Godot (oh the modernity! a wild ride, but I think it could have ended an act earlier), and Alice in Wonderland (even with Martin Gardner's notes, I'm reading it two decades too late), and now I'm trading off between Off the Map (wise, inspiring, bewitching; makes me want to leave everything) and A People's History of the United States (poorly written, sometimes fascinating, and good for the soul).