This can be a quick one. Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.
Quick AND easy, especially since I’m copying my Desert Island Books and a couple books that just fell short of that list. In alphabetical order:
1984, George Orwell — Name another book whose content, title and language remain so politically and socially relevant some 50 years after being published.
Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. — My first Vonnegut book so it must be on the list to ensure his place in my literary pantheon.
Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler — Although a novel, there may be no better inside look at Stalinism.
Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72, Hunter S. Thompson — Gonzo political reportage. We would be far better off had there been more of this the last 30 years.
The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov — This may be unfair since it really is three books but I think the fact I remember the year I read this (the summer of 1975) firmly establishes it belongs here. I read all three titles (Foundation, Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation) in a row in the pictured one volume set and it may have been the event that truly addicted me to science fiction.
Notes to Myself: My Struggle to Become a Person, Hugh Prather — Despite the fact I generally detest pop psychology work, especially ones this touchy feely, I read this again for the nth time over the weekend and bought a copy for each of my daughters.
The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell — This SF work immediately and always comes to mind when I’m asked about my favorite books.
The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien — As far as I am concerned, the best writing ever on the Vietnam War.
Since it will always be now, learning to respond to now is the only thing there is to learn.
Hugh Prather, Notes to Myself