I'll post books here that I love.
One of the most beautiful, but wrenching stories of courage and cruelty and what integrity means. Stunningly written by a great master, The Crossing.
All the Pretty Horses is the book preceding The Crossing in the trilogy. If you're going to read all of them, start with All the Pretty Horses. If you might not, read The Crossing. All the Pretty Horses is a magnificent story (made into one of the worst, most botched, poorly directed movies ever committed to celluloid, so don't let that stop you) of young courage, integrity and learning how the world really works. It is a top-flight masterpiece. Your life can not be complete without reading these two books.
An inventive, funny, romantic, well-written page turner about a 1920s magician. His love and respect for animals is central to the wonderful story of how Carter Beats the Devil.
Perhaps the greatest work of literature of all time, The Gulag Archipelago is a lengthy, detailed history in which the extent of human cruelty and absurdity is painstakingly recounted. As difficult as it is, this should be read by everyone in the world.
I loved Mondo Canine so much that it was the only book that, as many others came and went, remained on the coffee table in my hangar for over ten years. I never got tired of this compendium of dog stories, excerpts, quotes and images. One day, I met the author, Jon Winokur, and we've been friends ever since. Not a plug - I love this book, and every dog lover will, too.
W. Somerset Maugham's story of a young man who finds his way to a simple life in complicated times had a large effect on my whole life. If you haven't read The Razor's Edge, you're in for a treat.
Alan Furst has a magical talent for recreating Europe in the days before and into World War Two. This is probably my favorite of his books, as the story of a young NKVD agent who long journey though war and the violent and clandestine life of a Soviet spy, is close to my heart. A rich and absorbing novel that places you everywhere from Bulgaria to Moscow to the Spanish Civil War, then Paris and New York in the 30s and 40s: Night Soldiers.
Reading this The Glass Castle made me consider giving up writing.
The word 'masterpiece' may appear often in these blurbs, but it's because I'm putting favorite books up here. Robert Littell wrote intelligent espionage potboilers. In his 70s, he wrote a novel based on the life of a Russian Poet. This book is brilliant. In a heart-wrenching historical novel, Littell evokes the Stalin-era Moscow intellectual scene, the terror of the Communist gulag, the injustice, the absurdity. The writing and story are superb. Read this book.