I wouldn’t call these my favorite books (I haven’t created that list yet), although there is a lot of overlap between this list and that one. Rather, these are books that I think are really cool. If I see you reading one of them, it gives you a certain amount of street cred with me.

I know that’s a bad description, but I think it’s a valid one. There are just certain books make me think “cool.” Bridget Jones’s Diary may be a perfectly wonderful book, but I will never look at it and think “cool.” (Which is okay, because there are other plenty of people who do that—everyone has their own list of really cool books.)

If you want to comment with your own selections, feel perfectly free.

  • Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughterhouse 5, Cat’s Cradle
  • J.R.R. Tolkien – The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion
  • William Golding – Lord of the Flies
  • John Knowles – A Separate Peace
  • William Butler – The Butterfly Revolution
  • J.D. Salinger – The Catcher in the Rye
  • Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird
  • George Orwell – Animal Farm
  • Ray Bradbury – Dandelion Wine
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald – Tortilla Flat
  • Aldous Huxley – Brave New World
  • Henry David Thoreau – Walden
  • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley – Frankenstein
  • Bram Stoker – Dracula


A note about Frankenstein & Dracula: if your only familiarity with these stories is through the movie versions, then you owe it to yourself to read the original novels. Most movie adaptations bear only the slightest resemblance to the novels they are supposed to be based on. Frankenstein is much more complex than any movie version, and Bram Stoker’s narrative power will send shivers down your spine in a way that every vampire movie fails to even come close.
  • John Steinbeck – The Pearl
  • John Kennedy Toole – A Confederacy of Dunces
  • Sue Townsend – The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Age 13 3/4


Published on: 11 July 2011

Lasted edited on: 10 June 2017

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