Bill Gates recently posted some of his favorite books. And it has inspired me to think about my all time favorites. I have 1200+ books listed on Goodreads and I am sure there are another 500-1000 I’ve read that I have never put on Goodreads (for instance, I read every Allen Drury political drama back in my teens, loved them, but I’ve never bothered to put on Goodreads).
I narrowed my list down to 6 with some alternates as well. (Sorry I couldn’t get to 5, Bill is better at this than I am)
- The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster with illustrations by Jules Feiffer. This book hooked me on reading as a young reader, I loved the story and the wordplay. It is probably not a great adult book read but I think it is fabulous for young readers. The Hobbit is of course a great choice as well.
- Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke. I read a ton of classic science fiction and I loved much of it. Rama really had a sense of mystery and wonder that I enjoyed. Dune, Hyperion are great books in the genre as well.
- The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Leguin. I love all of Leguin’s works, this book showed me that speculative fiction could be so much deeper. The Sparrow is an excellent choice too.
- The Strange Death of Liberal England by George Dangerfield. One of my favorite history books about a period of great change, just so well written. Hitler’s Thirty Days to Power and Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio are excellent choices as well.
- The Wild Party by Joseph Moncure March with illustrations by Art Spiegelman. A quirky little piece of fiction that I find incredibly entertaining. The Screwtape Letters and Dear Committee Members are fun choices too.
- The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould. All of Gould’s work is excellent, this set of analyses is well argued and well written. Other good non-fiction choices are The Mythical Man-Month, The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, Good Strategy, Bad Strategy, The Black Swan, and Tune In.