Recommended books and media

Here is a list of the books and media I’ve read over the years that I have either (a) enjoyed the most or (b) learned the most from.

Within each category, authors are listed alphabetically. Where more than one book is listed for an author, I’ve listed the books in order of preference.

Fiction/Literature/Literary Nonfiction:

Dante Alighieri, Inferno

Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine; Fahrenheit 451
Willa Cather, O Pioneers!My Antonia
Albert Camus, The Stranger
John Cheever, Collected Stories
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
John Grisham, The Client; The Runaway Jury; The Firm
Knut Hamsun, Growth of the Soil; Pan; Victoria; Dreamers
Jim Harrison, Returning to Earth and True North
Hebrew Bible / Old Testament: Ecclesiastes, Job, Genesis, Song of Songs, Exodus, Hebrews
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls; The Old Man and the Sea
Herman Hesse, Steppenwolf; Siddhartha
Homer, Iliad, Odyssey
Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
Henrik Ibsen, A Doll’s House
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Dubliners
Jack Kerouac, On the RoadThe Dharma Bums
Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild
Halldor Laxness, Independent People
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain
George R.R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire (series)
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude; Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It
Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Billy Budd
Arthur Miller, The Crucible
Yukio Mishima, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea; Confessions of a Mask
Czeslaw Milosz, Native Realm
The New Testament: John, Luke, Revelations, James
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged; We the Living; The Fountainhead; Anthem
William Shakespeare, King Lear; Hamlet; Othello; Julius Caesar; Macbeth; Richard II
Natsume Soseki, Kokoro
John Steinbeck, East of Eden; Travels with Charley; The Grapes of Wrath; The Pearl; The Red Pony; Junius Maltby
J.R.R. Tolkier, The Lord of the Rings; The Hobbit
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace; Anna Karenina; The Death of Ivan Ilyich
Virgil, Aeneid
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-5
Elie Wiesel, Night


Anna Akhmatova
Yehuda Amichai
W.H. Auden
Elizabeth Bishop
William Blake
Billy Collins
T.S. Eliot
Thomas Hardy
Randall Jarrell
D.H. Lawrence
Robert Lowell
Czeslaw Milosz
Sylvia Plath
Ezra Pound
Rainer Maria Rilke

Poetry anthologies:
The Columbia Book of Modern Korean Poetry
The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry
The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry

“Children’s” Literature (great for all ages):

Beverly Cleary, Dear Mr. Henshaw
Roald Dahl, Matilda; James and the Giant Peach; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; The BFG
Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy
Brian Jacques, Redwall (series)
C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia (series)
Lois Lowry, The Giver
Katherine Paterson, The Bridge to Terabithia
Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials (trilogy)
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter series
Louis Sachar, Sideways Stories from Wayside School (trilogy)
Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree; The Missing Piece; Where the Sidewalk Ends; A Light in the Attic
Jerry Spinelli, Maniac Magee
E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

Politics, History, and Social Sciences:

Stephen Arons, Compelling Belief: The Culture of American Schooling
Robert Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation
David Baldwin, Neorealism and Neoliberalism: The Contemporary Debate
Randy Barnett, The Structure of Liberty
W.M. Theodore de Bary, Sources of Chinese Tradition; Sources of Japanese Tradition; Sources of Korean Tradition
Jacques Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence; Begin Here: The Forgotten Conditions of Teaching and Learning
Frederic Bastiat, The Law
Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind
Jacob Burckhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy
Bruce Cumings, Korea’s Place in the Sun
Norman Davies, Europe: A History
William O. Douglas, The Douglas Letters
W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk
Victor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
Sigmund Freud, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego
Francis Fukuyama, America at the Crossroads
J.K. Galbraith, The Good Society
Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics; The Meaning of the Nuclear Revolution; Global Political Economy
Jonathan Glover, Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century
Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom
Chris Hedges, War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning
E.D. Hirsch, The Knowledge Deficit
Robert Maynard Hutchins, Education for Freedom
Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
Doug Lemov, Teach Like a Champion
John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration; 2nd Treatise on Civil Government
John J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty; Autobiography
Ludwig Von Mises, Human Action
Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
Murray N. Rothbard, Man, Economy, and State; For a New Liberty; What Has Government Done to Our Money?
Snell and Gail Putney, The Adjusted American: Normal Neurosis in the Individual and Society
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, On the Social Contract
Scott Sagan and Kenneth Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate Renewed
Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political
Harvey Silverglate, FIRE’s Guide to First-Year Orientation and Thought Control; FIRE’s Guide to Free Speech on Campus
Voltaire, Political Writings
Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics; Man, the State, and War
Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars
Jack Welch, Winning
Charles Wheelan, Naked Economics
Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States; A Power Governments Cannot Suppress

Philosophy, Religion, and the Humanities:

Augustine, Confessions
Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics; Poetics
Julian Baggini, Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
Derrick Bell, Ethical Ambition
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison
Wendy Doniger, The Implied Spider: Politics and Theology in Myth
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays
David Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding; Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals
Soren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling; The Sickness Unto Death
C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
Martin Marty, Luther
Montaigne, Essais
Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra; On the Geneaology of Morals
Blaise Pascal, Pensees
Josef Pieper, A Brief Reader on the Virtues of the Human Heart; The Four Cardinal Virtues
Plato, Symposium; Phaedrus; Apology; Republic
Joseph Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity
Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy; Why I Am Not a Christian
Friedrich Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms
Paul Tillich, The Eternal Now; The Courage to Be; Systematic Theology; On the Boundary

Magazines, Websites, and Columnists:

Becker-Posner Blog
Cato Institute
The Economist
Education Next
Future of Capitalism
The Freeman
Cafe Hayek
Frederick Hess
Hoover Institution
The Marginal Revolution
Mises Daily
The New Yorker
The New York Times
Political Wire
The Volokh Conspiracy
The Wall Street Journal
The Writer’s Alamanac with Garrison Keillor
George F. Will

Ryan McCarl
Attorney | Writer | Educator