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Recommended Books:

Books read more than once by Danny N. Schweers. He wants to read them again, and hopes you will read them at least once. If you want to borrow one, just ask.

A History of Pi by Petr Beckmann

I hope to live long enough to read this history 3.14159... more times. Non-Fiction

Act One by Moss Hart

The improbably rise of a talented playwright from the slums of New York City, with insights into 1940s Broadway and the craft of play writing. An often funny book. Autobiography

At Random by Bennett Cerf

The probable rise of a talented publisher from the easy life of New York City, with insight into the world of literature from the 1920s to 1950s. Many entertaining literary anecdotes. Autobiography

Body and Soul by Frank Conroy

The improbable rise of a talented concert pianist from the slums of New York City, with many insights into the world of classical music and composition. Fiction

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

A deeply dark book full of buoyant humor and bittersweet paradox, set in World War II Italy. Fiction

From X-Rays to Quarks: Modern Physicists and Their Discoveries by Emilio Segrè

Science depends on the spirit of play as much as it does mathematics and experiment. Non-Fiction

Growing Up by Russell Baker

America between the world wars. Biography

Hell on Ice: The Saga of the "Jeannette" by Commander Edward Ellsberg

A sailing ship tries to sail north of Russia and is trapped in ice. My father's favorite book. Historical Fiction

Horatio Hornblower by C.S. Forester

Not one book but eleven, chronicling our hero's perilous advancement from midshipman to admiral while serving in the Royal Navy as it fights the Revolutionary and then Napoleonic France. Fiction

How Buildings Learn: What happens after they're built by Stewart Brand

A fresh, enjoyable critique of what makes a building good, whether it be a shed, a house, or an office building. The chapter on maintenance is wonderful. Non-Fiction

Maigret and the Headless Corpse by Georges Simenon

I recommend all of the Maigret novels, most of them set in Paris. "Maigret had often tried to persuade others, men of wide experience among them, that, of all people, those most likely to come to grief, to seek self-abasement and degradation with morbid fervor, almost with relish, are the idealists." Fiction

Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers

Sayers worked for years in an advertising agency before writing this book. Will the thrifty housewife provide a grand family meal with the aid of Dairyfields Butter Beans in Margarine? Also recommended are all the books in this series of who-done-its, but especially Gaudy Night. There is no murder in this novel set in Oxford University before World War II. When should personal loyalty be put above professional honour? Fiction

North Toward Home by Willie Morris

A wonderful biography starting with a 1940s childhood in Yazoo City, Mississippi and moving to New York City by way of Austin, Texas. Non-fiction

Only Yesterday by Frederick Lewis Allen

Written just after the roaring '20s ended, this book chronicles the major cultural events of that decade. The author wrote a follow-up ten years later, Since Yesterday, about the 1930s. Non-Fiction

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Is love possible in the world? Between husband and wife? Within families? Between enemies? Within a rigid culture? I also recommend Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Persuasion. Fiction

Roughing It by Mark Twain

In the middle of the Civil War, the humorous author makes his way west. Autobiography

The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens

Our hero grows up privileged, but then left to fend for himself as a reporter in New York City, a place of political corruption and crusading newspapers from the end of the 19th century into the 1930s. Autobiography

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

A black petty criminal finds redemption in prison, in Black Power, and then in Islam, all before his assassination in 1965. Autobiography

The Chosen by Chaim Potok

An engaging insight into the many traditions of the Jewish faith. Fiction

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe

Like the astronauts, Wolfe admired Ken Kesey and the merry pranksters who got on the bus, a bus they called, "Further." Non-fiction

The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey

All of Tey's detective novels are enjoyable, intelligent escapes, but there are not enough of them. The Daughter of Time is also particularly good. Fiction

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton

The best, and most curious, of the breathless novels of international intrigue popular in England, this one from 1907, when the threat to world peace was anarchism. Fiction

The Many Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman

A lively biography of mathematician Paul Erdös. Non-fiction


The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck

On the surface, this book has nothing to do with Christianity, and everything to do with Jungian Psychology. Written before he became a Christian, this book shows an intelligent writer on the brink of belief and the good reasons he has for pushing on. Non-fiction

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Water Rat coaxes Mole out of his hole, and Mr. Toad lands in jail. Fiction

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A man unjustly accused, the terrors and thrills of childhood, American culture revealed. Fiction

Winterkill by Craig Lesley

A father, and his son, make peace with the world near Pendleton, Oregon. Fiction

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance:
An Inquiry into Values
by Robert M. Pirsig

A philosophical look at quality from the seat of a cross-country motorcycle trip, with a down-to-earth assessment of how we squander our enthusiasm, our gumption. Fiction

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Reading Now:

I am a man of enthusiasms, which means I start many books and finish few.

First-time Gardener by Kim Wilde.

From Still to Motion: A photographer's guide to creating video with your DSLR, by James Ball, et. al.

Keeping Healthy by Keeping Track: A complete guide to Maintaining Your Own Medical Records, by Lillian Shah and Laura Messinger. I am now maintaining the website, so I should read the book, right!?

Maxfield Parrish and the American Imagists by Laurence S. Cutler and Judy Goffman Cutler.

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. My good friend Larry Gorman recommended this book. Occasionally, what he recommends is actually good. See below.

Your Comments:

Larry Gorman in Austin, Texas, loves: The Long Ships by Frans Gunnar Bengtsson • Godric by Fredrick Buechner • Till We Have Faces by CS Lewis • Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy • How the Irish Saved Civilization, Desire of the Everlasting Hills, and Gifts of the Jews by James Cahill • The Stand by Stephen King • Wicked by Gregory Maguire (rereading right now for the 2nd time this year) • Kafka on the Shore by Murikami • Labyrinths, Ficciones, and The Aleph by Jorge Luis Borges • Complete Stories by Flannery O'Conner • World War Z by Max Brooks • Tobit from the Old Testament Deuterocanonical books (the Catholic Bible) • All of the short spiritual tales by Leo Tolstoy (over and over). [2010]

Gorden Hess in Arden, Delaware, loves: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts • Bitter Fruit by Stephen E. Schlesinger • Too Far From Home by Chris Jones • John Adams by David McCullough • Edie by Jean Stein (edited by George Plimpton) • A History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage • The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan • Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose • Dispatches by Michael Herr • Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner • Notes on a Small Island, A Walk in the Woods, A Short History of Nearly Everything, and The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson. NAUTICAL BOOKS: Demon of the Waters: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Whaleship Globe by Gregory Gibson • Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson • A Simple Courage by Frank Delaney • Close to Shore by Michael Capuzzo • Blind Man’s Bluff by Sherry Sontag & Christopher Drew. [2008]

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