Catcher in the Rye – all time favorite cuz I’ll always be 90% troubled teenager and 10% Adult Moron.
A Moveable Feast – cuz old Hem (I hope you don’t mind I call him. In my mind we’re good like that) is just the most, to say the least. It’s littered with writing secrets and romantic portraits of a simpler time.
The Red and The Black – It’s just an amazing intellectual mind-bender, when I’m in the mood for that (not sure if that mood is a good one). Makes me feel all high-minded and superior.
Winesburg, Ohio – painfully profound depictions of regular folks caught up in the goings-on of real life
On The Road – pure fun and adventure across The Great American Continent. Makes me want to play sax, smoke cigarettes, eat apple pie, hitchhike and jump in a boxcar heading west.
The Great Gatsby – I just love a story about a guy who wants to better himself, no matter how tragic and mixed up his motives are.
Their Eyes Were Watching God – deeply soulful, gave me great insight into the inner-workings of a woman’s soul. Don’t get me wrong, women are still a mystery to me.
Walden – who the hell hasn’t wanted to cut loose and go it alone in their lives? I spent 4 months living in a tent on the beach and felt very close to old Henry. Wish I could write like him.
Billy Budd – great moral dilemma. This is the kind of discourse that could replace bible study. Supremely didactic and insightful. Oops, there I go getting all opinionated again.
Dharma Bums – See On The Road and add buddhism and the great outdoors.
East of Eden – Another great moral dilemma but spoon fed in a sweeping and pleasant writing style that only Steinbeck could manage.
The Moon and Sixpence – To me this is just about the epitome of the “tortured artist” genre. If there is a genre for that. And you just can’t argue with a guy who has no choice but to pick up and go when the muse is calling.
Germinal – To me this is truly the core of the plight of the common laborer. Whenever I feel down, I imagine myself to be a coal miner and things just don’t seem quite as bad anymore. Coal miners should receive Lifetime Achievement Oscars just for living with hope.
The Scarlet Letter – One of the greatest testaments to living true to oneself. Hester is pure heroine. (sorry Lorde)
The Pioneers – one of the most complete portraits of early colonial America. And Last of The Mohicans is one my all-time favorite films.
The Sea‑Wolf – can’t remember why, I just remember loving it. Maybe it’s time to read it again.
Anything by James Michener – you can’t read anything more well-researched. And he even has fun in The Drifters.
Robinson Crusoe – cuz I’m a romantic and being stranded on a deserted island would just be a whole lot of fun.
Any Poetry by Robert Frost – He’s a God to me
Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth and Blake – sometimes challenging from a 21st century sensibility but surely iconic and timeless. These guys are good for impressing smart girls.
The Fountainhead – cuz it’s there and should be climbed. And the idea of Objectivism is worth looking at, if only through a shop window.
Pierre et Jean – for pure literary realism. when you’re in that overly-intellectual mood for such things, when you probably should be out surfing or going for a hike instead.