I spoke with a couple people about a several books over this past weekend. If you don't care, don't bother reading or replying to the email.
Fun and Fast:
- "A Stranger in the Kingdom" by Frank Howard Mosher (This work offers a fantastic perspective on rural life in Vermont as well as racism.)
-"Disappearances" by Frank Howard Mosher (Rural Vermont life that features tall tale in the time of prohibition.
-"A Man Without a Country" by Kurt Vonnegut (Many consider this to be the closest thing Vonnegut ever wrote to an autobiography. For that reason alone it is well worth a read)
-Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jewels Verne (Obviously awesome)
-Around the World in Eighty Days by Jewels Verne
-20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jewels Verne
-"The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas (a magnificent journey through the human experience of a wronged man. The work contains a fair amount of revenge and reflection)
-"A Day no Pigs Would Die" by Robert Newton Peck (Depression era coming of age story about a farmer's son in Vermont)
-"A Part of the Sky" by Robert Newton Peck (This is the sequel to the previously listed book)
-"Call of the Wild" by Jack London
-"White Fang" by Jack London
-"Call of the Wild" by Jack London
-"White Fang" by Jack London
-"To Build a Fire" by Jack London-"Late Great Works of Leo Tolstoy" This is a two volume set. It is one of my prized possessions.
- Anything by Isaac Asimov. (I probably wouldn't recommend reading everything he wrote, but taking in the Three Laws of Robotics is worthwhile).
-A Study in Scarlet; The Hound of the Baskervilles; Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; The Return of Sherlock Holmes all by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Modern readers will probably be surprised by the similarities to CSI, some of the incredible stereotyping that Holmes undertakes, and the incredible take on Mormonism)
-The Dexter series (After the first book the written series radically departs from the TV series and is well worth reading. Despite the appearance of light and air writing, I believe that the writing is actually well thought out and very good).
- The Flashman Series (a comedic series based on the fictitious exploits of a victorian era british soldier)
-Joe Gunther Series by Archer Mayor (Vermont author that writes in the procedural crime genre)
-The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo series by Steig Larson
-The D'Artagnan Romances: The Three Musketeers; Twenty Years After; The Vicomte du Bragelonne; The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas (all of these are super fun reads. None of the language is overly complex, but some may find his storytelling overly descriptive.)
- The Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card. (Child warriors provide a constant sourcing of fascination for many. There are also themes of bullying, manipulation and family. The setting is futuristic and lush)
-Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynn Truss (Comedic outlook on punctuation in modern english)
-How to Write a Sentence by Stanley Fish (seriously)
Thought provoking and entertaining:
-White Teeth by Zadie Smith (She has more fantasticly evokative sentences in this book than I could hope to write in a lifetime)
-Dead Souls by Nikolia Gogol (Gogol is often called the father of Russian literature and rightfully so. I don't think that it is particularly hard to get through and is a great introduction to Russian literature)
-Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (Most folks who have selected UVM for their undergraduate education will find many of the ideas she espouses to be absurd. However, I think that Rand provide one of the few truly thoughtful, moral defense of capital; whereas, there is a sea of articulate capitalist discontents.)
-"Slaughter House Five by Kurt Vonnegut (Written based on Vonnegut's life experience as a GI durring the firebombing of Dresden. If you are not familiar with that period of history, it is worth a read. Vonnegut's perspective on the human experience at a time when humanity is no where to be found is humorous and simultaneously chilling)
-"Cat's Cradle" by Kurt Vonnegut (Vonnegut interviewed real GE scientists to build the foundation of this novel. The book tackles humanity's ability to destroy itself.)
-"Siren of Titan" by Kurt Vonnegut (a perspective on the ability of man to equalize the inequities visited upon each of us by the incident of our birth)
-"The Corrections by Jonathan Frazen (Age, society, madness, perfection and rigid family structure are all served up in this work.
-"Freedom by Jonathan Frazen (After reading this book I concluded that Frazen was the best American author of the last century. He successfully wrote the book that every post modernest dreams of writing: the story of moral ambiguity and try to get by.
-To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (I am sure you all had to read this at one point in your life, but it is worth re-reading. I try to make a point of reading it yearly. The concepts of fairness and equality throughout the book take on different forms as your perspective as a reader shifts with age and experience.)
-Walden by Henry David Thoreau (The first section on economy is only worth reading once you have read the rest of the work.)
-The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (A beautiful story about the transformation of a country and the lives within. The book is functioning on several different levels simultaneously and occasionally permits interplay between the levels.)
-The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Chabron (A tragic and adventurous novel that relates the story of a comic book writer who escaped Nazi Germany)
-Maus by Art Speigleman (A graphic novel relating the author's father's experiences during the Holocaust. I am sure that Forrest could tell you more about it. I always found the imagery of different animals for each of the different classes of people to be especially interesting)
-Night by Eli Wisel (Fantastic)
-Native Son by Richard Wright
-Black Boy by Richard Wright
-Pagan Spain by Richard Wright
-The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sopher (Fantastic look at the revolutionary culture in Iran immediately following the revolution through the eyes of a young Jewish girl)
-War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
-Anna Karinina by Leo Tolstoy
-When Affirmative Action was White (This book examines the impact of the GI bill and the relative ability for African Americans and Caucasians to gain access to education and equity)
-Black Trials (This is a series of historical / poli sci studies of the leading trials featuring race throughout American history)
-Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault (This is a fantastic study of devices of societal control)
-Madness and Civilization by Michel Foucaoult (After reading this it is hard to think about medication and hospitalization in the same way)
-A History of Sexuality by Michel Foucault
-Two Treatise by John Locke (only the second one is worth reading. The foundational generation of this country relied heavily on this man's thoughts. There reliance in turn shaped many of our societal institutions, so it is worth working through).
-American Foreign Policy by William Appleman Williams (A crucial piece of writing to understanding the role the United States plays in the world today).
-Milestones by Sayyid Qutb (There are a million different spellings for this man's name. Often this work is cited as the seminal intelectual work of pan-muslim radicalism. It has been banned in several countries over the years.)
-The Irony of American History by Rienhold Niebuhr (The preeminent american theologist of the twentieth century. He grappled with America's post WWII role in the world)
-Faith and History by Rienhold Niebuhr
-The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness by Rienhold Niebuhr
-The New Jim Crow (I picked this up but haven't been able to read it yet. Everybody is talking about what Michelle Alexander wrote, so I think that it is worth reading)
-The Way we Vote by Alec Ewald (I took a bunch of classes with Professor Ewald and think very highly of him. I found his book to be very good and believe it is accessible to someone without specific education in the area.)