Desert Island Books

19841984, George Orwell — Name another book whose content, title and language remain so politically and socially relevant some 50 years after being published.

everymandiesaloneEvery Man Dies Alone, Hans Fallada — An exceptional work on individual struggle against the Nazi state.

Gilead, Marilynne Robinson — The deliberate (some may say slow) pace reflects just how skillfully and wonderfully this book is written.

Guantanamo: A Novel, Dorothea Dieckmann — A compelling, almost painful, view of the physical and psychological toll of our “enemy combatant” policy.

Letter to a Christian Nation, Sam Harris — While the people who need to will likely never read it, I gave copies as Christmas presents in 2006.

A Million Little Pieces, James Frey — Say what you will, this still remains a work I considered “unputdownable.”

Notes to Myself: My Struggle to Become a Person, Hugh Prather — Despite the fact I generally detest pop psychology work, especially ones this is touchy feely, I’ve bought this several times over the years because the rereading and underlining wore out prior copies.

Saturday, Ian McEwan — The palpable sense of dread and foreboding is mixed with insight that speaks volumes about the human condition.

The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell — The only SF work on the list, it immediately and always comes to mind when people ask 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.