Suggested Reading List

This is in no way a complete or comprehensive list. It was written for the benefit of some friends, who kept asking me what to read next. All these books are ones that I have read, enjoyed, re-read, re-read again, and finally got tired of paying the library late fines and bought copies of for myself.

Allegedly Grown-Up Books

  • Adams, Douglas
    The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
    The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
    Life, the Universe, and Everything
    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
    Mostly Harmless
    Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
    The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul
  • Beagle, Peter
    A Fine and Private Place
    The Last Unicorn
  • Burroughs, Edgar Rice
    A Princess of Mars
    The Gods of Mars
    The Warlord of Mars

    and in fact the rest of the Mars books. In a jeweled leathern harness, with your longsword weaving a net of steel around you, how can you go wrong?
  • Clavell, James
  • Feynman, Richard
    Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman
    What Do You Care What Other People Think?
  • Gaiman, Neil
    Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett)

    The Sandman series
  • Heinlein, Robert A.
    Stranger in a Strange Land
  • Heller, Joseph
  • Proulx, E. Annie
    The Shipping News
  • Pynchon, Thomas
    Gravity's Rainbow
  • Robbins, Tom
    start with
    Skinny Legs and All,
    Jitterbug Perfume,
    and Another Roadside Attraction
    and go from there.
  • Sayers, Dorothy L.
    All the Lord Peter Wimsey stories, particularly
    Strong Poison
    Have His Carcase
    Gaudy Night
    Busman's Honeymoon
  • Simmons, Dan
    The Fall of Hyperion
    The Rise of Endymion
  • Vonnegut, Kurt
    read it all, but start with

Short Stories and Other Snacks

  • Bantock, Nick
    Griffin and Sabine
    Sabine's Notebook
    The Golden Mean
  • Chesterton, G. K.
    The Angry Street
    I found this in a collection of bizarre and surreal stories called This Fish is Loaded. There's some other good stuff in there too; check it out.
  • Collier, John
    is a master of beautifully-written, creepy short stories, with surreal twists of plot. These are collected in a book called

    Fancies and Goodnights
  • Thurber, James
    My Life and Hard Times
    is a good collection of short stories. There are lots of others, in various other collections. I haven't read anything by James Thurber that I didn't like.

Children's Books

which are well worth reading no matter how long
it's been since you thought of yourself as a kid
  • Carroll, Lewis
    Alice in Wonderland, or Alice's Adventures Underground
    Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There
  • Juster, Norton
    The Phantom Tollbooth
    The Dot and the Line
  • Milne, A. A.
    The House at Pooh Corner

    I hate what Disney did to this (and to Alice in Wonderland, and Mary Poppins, and all the things that were mangled into "Family Classics"). If you have any respect at all for these stories, go get the originals.
  • Rowling, J. K.
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

    Harry Potter is a remarkable phenomenon. All of a sudden there are other adults out there who admit to liking kids books. But they have good reason; the books are excellent, so don't be put off by all the hype.
  • Thurber, James
    The 13 Clocks
  • White, T.H.
    The Once and Future King
    I like this version of the Arthurian legends.

The Reference Department

  • Fussell, Paul
  • Novello, Don
    The Lazlo Letters
  • Strunk, William and White, E. B.
    The Elements of Style
    Which contains everything you need to know to write English clearly.
  • Watts, Alan
    anything you can get your hands on; look for

    The Way of Zen and
    The Meaning of Happiness
  • Winokur, Jon
    The Portable Curmudgeon
. . . . . . . . . . .

Useful | Useless | Debatable