An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Top 100 books

Shortly after David Bowie died a colleague tweeted a link to his list of what he considered his top 100 books. I never gave too much thought to compiling a list of 100 (top 10 was enough for me). In no particular order, here are my top 100.

If anyone would like to ask, why this book and not that one, please leave a comment.

I tend to follow authors, in the sense that if I like one book by a given writer, I will want to read whatever else s/he wrote. In this list, I avoided loading it with all or most of the books by a single individual. That said, certain writers have produced such great books that I cannot pick just one for the list. I also consider as one "book" multiple books which have a unified story-line from one title to the next. For these I either refer to the "collective title" or select one of the series which I liked the most. I selected books which I find myself quoting over the years, ones which had a profound influence on me, ones from which I learned something important or just ones which I so greatly enjoyed that I re-read them from time to time.

There are two books by two different authors with the exact same title. This is not a typo. One is non-fiction and the other science fiction.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul by Douglas Adams
Frogs into Princes by Bandler and Grinder
I Robot by Isaac Asimov
The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov
Don't Know much about History by Kenneth Davis
Myth Conceptions by Robert Aspirin (3d book of the "Myth" series)
The Glass Teat by Harlan Ellison
The Other Glass Teat By Harlan Ellison
Approaching Oblivion By Harlan Ellison
The Fall by Albert Camus
The Plague by Albert Camus
Cambodia : a book for people who find television too slow by Brian Fawcett
The short stories of Anton Chekov (not a book title, but I have read almost all of his short stories)
Ever Since Darwin by Stephen J. Gould
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Our Inner Conflicts by Karen Horney
Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
The Language of the Night by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Word for the World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin
Captain Jack Zodiac by Michael Kandell
The Story of English by McCrum, Cran, MacNeil
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Art Speigelman's Maus books ("My Father Bleeds History" and "And Here my Troubles Began")
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
1984 by George Orwell
Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem
Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
Caravans by James Michner
The Hawkline Monster a Gothic Western by Richard Brautigan
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradburry
The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer
Rite of Passage by Alexei Panshin
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
The Locked Room by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö
A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsin
Homicide a Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Adolph Hitler and the German Trauma by Robert Edwin Herzstein
A People’s History of The United States by Howard Zinn
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
"The Lord of the Rings" trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer
The Complete tales and poems of Edgar Allen Poe
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiel Hammet
M*A*S*H* by Richard Hooker
The Ghost of the Executed Engineer by Loren Graham
The Prosperous Few and the Restless Many by Noam Chomsky
Behind the Urals by John Scott
The Warlock Heretical by Christopher Stasheff
The Doctor's Plague by Sherwin B. Nuland
Biko by Donald Woods
The Good Neighbor by George Black
War by Gwynne Dyer
Blood in the Face by James Ridgeway
Life During Wartime by Lucius Shepard
Life During Wartime by Paul Fussel
Class by Paul Fussell
How We Got to Now by Stephen Johnson
Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman
Conformity and Conflict edited by James W. Spradley and David W. McCurdy
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Good Soldier Schweik by Jaroslav Hasek
The Cosmic Landscape by Leonard Suskind
Seeing Voices by Oliver Sachs
I Claudius by Robert Graves
The Ubu Plays by Alfred Jarry
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
The Naked Consumer by Erik Larson
Death from the Skies by Phil Plait
Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
A Dance with Death by Ann Noggle and Christine A. White
Action Figure! by G.B. Trudeau
Fish Whistle by Daniel Pinkwater
Naked by David Sedaris
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
"The Golden Compass" trilogy by Philip Pullman
The Alienist by Caleb Carr
Slay Ride by Dick Francis
God Save the Mark by Donald Westlake
The Postman by David Brin
Adolph Hitler: My Part in his Downfall by Spike Mulligan
Shadows of Sanctuary edited by Robert Aspirin
The Phantom Tollbooth Norton Juster
Fool on the Hill Matt Ruff
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Little Women Louisa May Alcott
How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman
Lord and Peasant in Russia by Jerome Blum
The Assassination of Julius Ceasar by Michael Parenti
Drift by Rachel Maddow
Candide by Voltaire