A bookshelf built by the author, volumes nicely "colored-coded" and positioned above Grandma's rocker.

A bookshelf built by the author, volumes nicely "colored-coded" and positioned above Grandma's rocker.


It all started for me when I . . .

found myself reading a book.  That must have been one of my first moments of self-awareness:  it was "me there," and I was "doing this thing."  And, I would now add, I was silently communicating, interpersonally, with another human being - an author.  Many of them long dead, but they took time to leave behind vestiges of their psyches.  Wonderful things, books.  People, too, sometimes.

I don't remember learning how to read, and I certainly do not remember who taught me.  When I asked my mother, "Mom, when did I learn how to read?" she said, "Oh, Larry, you've always known how to read." 

Reading, for me, is like oxygen, and although I do now read electronically, I much prefer a dusty tome, preferably one snatched up off a high shelf in an antiquarian bookstore.

A few years ago a friend bet me I couldn't name a hundred books I'd read, so I typed up the first draft of this list then and there.  (I think I stopped at around one hundred and fifty.  It took maybe fifteen, twenty minutes.) 

I don't update this list regularly, but, like walking into a disorganized room and not knowing what you might find, maybe you'll see an interesting title, or an obscured author will be recalled to memory. 

I couldn't possibly agree with all of these authors about everything, since they disagree among themselves, but I never fail to think affectionately back to the where and the when as I skim through this living graveyard.  And I think, too, of the human spirits that have generously given of themselves for our education and amusement.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that some titles are listed more than once.  Enjoy!

  1. Cat's Cradle (Kurt Vonnegut) 
  2. Miguel Street (V. S. Naipaul) 
  3. The Sound and the Fury (William Faulkner) 
  4. The Queue (Vladimir Sorokin) 
  5. Without Stopping (Paul Bowles)
  6. Light in August (William Faulkner) 
  7. The Hotel New Hampshire (John Irving) 
  8. The Complete Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (Freud) 
  9. Open Minded (Jonathan Lear) 
  10. The Bible 
  11. Tao Te Ching (Lao-Tze) 
  12. I And Thou (Ich Und Du) (Martin Buber) 
  13. Parallel Lives (Phyllis Rose) 
  14. The Autobiography of John Stuart Mill
  15. Franny and Zoe (J. D. Salinger) 
  16. Nine Stories (J. D. Salinger) 
  17. I Ching
  18. Siddhartha (Herman Hesse)
  19. The Devil's Dictionary
  20. Barry Miles's books on Kerouac, Ginsberg, Hippies, etc. 
  21. Ignore Everybody
  22. Falconer
  23. Dictionary of Philosophy (Peter Angeles)
  24. The Brothers Karamozov 
  25. The Portable Nietzsche
  26. Middlemarch
  27. Plato's Dialogs
  28. Nicomachean Ethics (Terence Irwin translation) 
  29. On Bullshit (Harry Frankfurt) 
  30. On Truth (Harry Frankfurt) 
  31. The Importance of What We Care About (Frankfurt) 
  32. Cannery Row
  33. Sweet Thursday
  34. They Whisper
  35. Think And Grow Rich
  36. Piker
  37. Obstinate Air
  38. Unheard Tick of Time
  39. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
  40. All of Us (Raymond Carver) 
  41. Love Is A Dog From Hell (Bukowski) 
  42. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Pirsig) 
  43. The Fall
  44. No Exit
  45. The Judgment
  46. Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
  47. The Hairy Ape
  48. Paul Bowles: The Collected Short Stories
  49. E. B. White's Complete Essays 
  50. The Elements of Style (Strunk & White) 
  51. On Writing (Stephen King) 
  52. On Becoming A Novelist (John Gardner) 
  53. On Writing (John Gardner) 
  54. The New Yorker
  55. Quiddities (William van Orman Quine) 
  56. Stories (Woody Allen) 
  57. The Joys of Yiddish
  58. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
  59. The Farmer's Almanac
  60. The Beatles
  61. The Encyclopedia of the History of Rock and Roll
  62. The Sheltering Sky
  63. A Bend in the River
  64. The Oxford American Dictionary
  65. Ted Quinn: 100 Songs
  66. The Mask (Jean-Pierre Vernant) (Zone Books) 
  67. The Iliad
  68. The Odyssey
  69. Greek Mythology (Edith Hamilton) 
  70. Butler's Sermons
  71. Euclid's Elements of Geometry
  72. Ernest Hemingway: The Complete Short Stories
  73. The Insect (The Bug) (The Vermin: Ungeheuer Ungeziefer) (Kafka) 
  74. The Stranger
  75. The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald) 
  76. Frankenstein (Mary Shelley, wife of the poet, Percy Shelley – d. age 27) 
  77. The Emancipation of Women (Mary Wollstonecraft, mother of Mary Shelley) 
  78. When Things Fall Apart (Pema Chodron) 
  79. The Loony Bin Trip (Kate Millet) 
  80. Looking For Mister Good Bar
  81. Sophie's Choice (William Styron) 
  82. God's Green Acre
  83. Selected Writings of the Marquis de Sade
  84. Green Eggs And Ham
  85. Go! Dogs! Go! 
  86. Basic Vocabulary List
  87. The Swimmer
  88. Roger's Version
  89. A Month of Sundays
  90. Rabbit, Run
  91. Rabbit Is Rich
  92. Anything I come across by John Updike
  93. Mr. Sammler's Planet (Saul Bellow) 
  94. Appointment in Samara
  95. The Complete Short Stories of John O'Hara
  96. The Collected Poems of Robert Lowell
  97. Howl / Supermarket In California (Ginsberg) 
  98. Robert Lowell: A Biography
  99. The Poems of Sylvia Plath
  100. The Woman In The Dunes
  101. Misfortune
  102. By George
  103. Cold Snap
  104. Sonny Liston Was A Friend of Mine
  105. Prolegomena To Any Future Metaphysics
  106. The Reveries of A Solitary Walker (Rousseau) 
  107. Rousseau: Basic Writings (Social Contract; Discourse on Inequality) 
  108. Analects (Confucius) 
  109. Spreading The Word (Simon Blackburn)
  110. Philosophical Investigations (Wittgenstein) 
  111. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (Wittgenstein) 
  112. A Part of My Life (A. J. Ayer) 
  113. Lucretius
  114. Pensees (Pascal) 
  115. Marcus Aurelius (Stoic Writings - Epictetus) 
  116. Language, Truth, and Logic (A. J. Ayer) 
  117. Writing With Power (Peter Elbow) 
  118. Virtues and Vices (Philipa Foote,M. Phil.) 
  119. To Follow A Rule (Saul Kripke) 
  120. On Necessity (Saul Kripke) 
  121. The Will: A Dual Aspect Theory (Brian O'Shaughnessy) 
  122. A Theory of Consciousness (Brian O'Shaughnessy) 
  123. Philosophy on Tap
  124. Like A Splinter In Your Mind:  The Philosophy Behind the Matrix Trilogy
  125. Consciousness (David Chalmers) 
  126. Why The Tree Loves The Ax (Jim Lewis) 
  127. Sisters (Jim Lewis) 
  128. On Parenthood (Bill Cosby) 
  129. Representations (Jerry Fodor) 
  130. Confessions (St. Augustine) 
  131. Augustine: A Life (Peter Brown) 
  132. The Life of Martin Luther
  133. The Bondage of The Will (Martin Luther) 
  134. The Sovereignty of God (Arthur W. Pink) 
  135. Today's Gospel
  136. Commentary on the Book of Acts (Banner of Truth Trust) 
  137. A Commentary on Psalm 119 (Banner of Truth Trust) 
  138. Commenting and Commentaries (Charles Spurgeon) 
  139. On Preaching (Charles Spurgeon) 
  140. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson 
  141. The Diary of Ann Frank
  142. The Nine
  143. The Conscience of A Liberal
  144. The Journals of Kurt Cobain
  145. Hitler: A Study in Tyranny
  146. The Gulag Archipelago
  147. Raymond Carver: A Life
  148. A Piece of Work
  149. A Day In The Life of Ivan Dinysovich
  150. The Theory The Moral Sentiments (Adam Smith) 
  151. The Sudetenland Jews: A Study
  152. Toynbee: World History, 2 volumes 
  153. A People's History of America
  154. Noam Chomsky: A Profile
  155. Mein Kampf
  156. Communist Manifesto (Karl Marx) 
  157. Das Kapital (Karl Marx) 
  158. Linguistics and Rationalism (Noam Chomsky) 
  159. Black Beauty
  160. Backlash
  161. The Road Less Traveled
  162. The Federalist Papers 
  163. The United States Constitution, The Bill of Rights,The Declaration of Independence
  164. Life With Ray
  165. The Rise And Fall of The Roman Empire
  166. The History of Civilization (Will & Ariel Durant, 11 volumes) 
  167. The Meaning of Life (Will Durant)
  168. Cleansing The Doors of Perception (Huston Smith)
  169. What Does It All Mean? (Thomas Nagel) 
  170. The View From Nowhere (Thomas Nagel) 
  171. The Possibility of Altruism (Thomas Nagel) 
  172. The Virtue of Faith (Robert Merrihew Adams) 
  173. A Concert of Tenses (Tess Gallagher) 
  174. Selected Writings (C. G. Jung) 
  175. Non-Violent Communication
  176. Faith And Rationality (Plantinga, ed.) 
  177. The Philosopher's Holiday (Santayana) 
  178. Animal Faith (Santayana) 
  179. Husserl and Intentionality (Smith & McIntyre) 
  180. Ideas (Husserl) 
  181. Being and Time (Heidegger) 
  182. The History of Art
  183. From Socrates to Sartre (Stumpf) 
  184. The Tangled Wing: A Biological Account of Romantic Love
  185. History And Human Nature (Robert Solomon) 
  186. The Passions (Robert Solomon) 
  187. Free Will / Determinism (Bernard Berofsky, ed.) 
  188. T. S. Eliot: Complete Poems
  189. Sexual Politics (Kate Millet) 
  190. Winnie the Pooh
  191. The Big Gray Bridge and The Little Light House 
  192. Logic (Hegel) 
  193. The Phenomenology of Spirit (Hegel) 
  194. Marx: A Biography (Isaiah Berlin) 
  195. Collected Writings: Isaiah Berlin (esp., “Two Concepts of Liberty”) 
  196. Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (Richard Rorty) 
  197. The Red Pony
  198. Junius Maltby
  199. History of the Life of William Faulkner (Blottner)
  200. Benjamin Franklin: Autobiography 
  201. Paul K. Feyerabend: Autobiography
  202. On Induction (Duhem) 
  203. The Courage To Be (Paul Tillich) 
  204. Systematic Theology (Paul Tillich, 3 vols.) 
  205. Kirche Dogmatik (Church Dogmatics) (Karl Barth) 
  206. Does God Exist? (Hans Kung) 
  207. A Commentary on the Book of Romans (Karl Barth)
  208. The Protestant Ethic And The Spirit of Capitalism (Reinhold Niebuhr) 
  209. This Is Loving? 
  210. The Rapture (Howard Lindsey) 
  211. The Art of War (Sun Tzu) 
  212. The Act of Marriage
  213. Our Iceberg is Melting
  214. Principia Ethica (G. E. Moore) 
  215. Mental Content (Colin McGinn) 
  216. (How To Keep) Snakes In Captivity
  217. Either/Or (Soren Kierkegaard) 
  218. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt 
  219. The Wild Duck
  220. The Confessions of Rousseau
  221. Nietzsche Contra Wagner 
  222. Stravinsky: Autobiography
  223. Chronicles,Volume 1 (Bob Dylan) 
  224. Leonard Bernstein: Biography
  225. The Brothers Grimm: Fairy Tales
  226. Golden Boy (Christopher Odets) 
  227. The Origin of the Species (Charles Darwin) 
  228. Metaphors We Live By (Lakoff and Johnston) 
  229. The Chicago Manual of Style 
  230. DSM-IV: Psychiatric Diagnostic-Statistical Manual
  231. Bisexuality: A Study
  232. Civilization And Its Discontents 
  233. The Turn of the Screw
  234. The Golden Gate (Vikram Seth) 
  235. How I Became A Famous Novelist
  236. The Complete Plays and Poems of William Shakespeare
  237. Principles of Natural Philosophy (Sir Isaac Newton) 
  238. The Making of the Atomic Bomb (Richard Rhodes) 
  239. Hafgorah:The Five Books of the Pentateuch
  240. A Hole In The World (Richard Rhodes) 
  241. The Many World of Logic
  242. Hitler's American Model
  243. Moral Tribes:  Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them
  244. Letter to a Christian Nation (Sam Harris)
  245. Present Shock
  246. Shopcraft as Soulcraft
  247. We Were Eight Years in Power
  248. In the Shadow of the American Century
  249. On Tyranny
  250. Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law
  251. The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter
  252. A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez