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 by Henrik Ibsen

  220. The Confessions of Rousseau

  221. Nietzsche Contra Wagner

  222. Stravinsky: Autobiography

  223. Chronicles,Volume 1 by 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 George Lakoff and Mark 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 by Vikram Seth

  235. How I Became A Famous Novelist by Steve Hely

  236. The Complete Plays and Poems of William Shakespeare

  237. Principles of Natural Philosophy (Sir Isaac Newton)

  238. The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes

  239. Hafgorah:The Five Books of the Pentateuch

  240. A Hole In The World by Richard Rhodes

  241. The Many World of Logic by Paul Herrick

  242. Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them by Joshua Greene

  243. Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris

  244. Present Shock by Douglas Rushkoff

  245. Shopcraft as Soulcraft by Matthew C. Crawford

  246. We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates

  247. In the Shadow of the American Century by Alfred W. McCoy

  248. On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder

  249. Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law

  250. The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter

  251. A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

  252. Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward

  253. War On Peace by Ronan Farrow

  254. Dawn of the New Everything by Jaron Lanier