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These are some of my favorite books and authors. I've read a lot of books by the authors on this list, but these are the works that stand out the most to me.

Genre:

1776 by David McCullough
McCullough references hundreds of documents, letters and newspapers to give the reader a feeling of really being present at the front lines of the Revolutionary War in 1776.

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
An artifact is accidentally discovered by monks of the Order of Leibowitz after a nuclear holocaust plunges the world into darkness and ignorance.

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Meet the character Ignatius J. Reilly, who has a bronze statue on Canal St. in New Orleans and has his own float in Rex.

All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
The story of Willie Stark, a corrupt governor of an unnamed Southern state, told by one of his close friends and associates, Jack Burden. Loosely based on the story of Huey P. Long.

Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
A detective story set in a world where consciousness is digitally stored in a "black box" at the base of the skull and which can be implanted into a new body at will.

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
The origins of the phrase "Catch 22." Joe Yossarian is a military pilot whose number of missions needed to fly in order to be discharged is continuously increased as he nears his quota.

Code Complete by Steve McConnell
This book has helped me to realize my potential in programming, and to learn and practice better programming techniques. Some of the chapters that I thought would be very mundane, like handling boolean expressions, turned out to be areas that I found to be extremely helpful.

Count of Monte Cristo, The by Alexandre Dumas
Inspiration for, among other things, "The Stars My Destination" by Alfred Bester.

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
Covers technology through several generations, including breaking the Axis' codes during WWII to encryption issues of today.

Demolished Man, The by Alfred Bester
Winner of the first Hugo Award for Science Fiction.

Diamond Age, The by Neal Stephenson
Nanotechnology is used to build a supercomputer teaching tool, which eventually finds its way to an impoverished girl whose life is about to change.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
The basis for the movie "Blade Runner"

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
The government breeds military geniuses in order to combat aliens that have attacked Earth twice.

Flyboys by James Bradley
An historical look at the Pacific Theatre during WWII, and an account of the execution of 8 US airmen by the Japanese military. James Bradley's father was one of the men who rose the flag on Iwo Jima, and his insight of and access to certain information make this book a very informative and educational read.

Great Influenza, The: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry
The story of American science vs. the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918-1919.

Gormenghast Novels, The by Mervyn Peake
Gothic tale of the Castle Gormenghast and its inhabitants, following the story of Steerpike, a young kitchen urchin who weaves his way up the social ladder by bribery, murder and deception.

Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow
Inspiration for Counting Crows' lead singer Adam Duritz, most notably shown in the the song "Rain King" off of "August and Everything After."

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The by Douglas Adams
The first of the five books that make up Adams' trilogy. :)

J Curve, The: A New Way to Understand Why Nations Rise and Fall by Ian Bremmer
Theory of the rise and fall of nations, and how foreign policy, including sanctions, helps or hurts different types of governments.

Kite Runner, The by Khaled Hosseini
The debut novel of what appears to be an incredible author. About two boys from Afghanistan, who try to escape terrorism in their homeland.

Man in the High Castle, The by Philip K. Dick
Alternate history exploring what the world would be like if the Axis powers had beaten the Allies in WWII.

Mockingbird by Walter Tevis
An android explores the automated, devastated world of the future.

Neuromancer by William Gibson
The first book in a series that inspired "The Matrix."

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
R.P. McMurphy, an inmate in a mental hospital, rallies the troops to battle the evil Nurse Ratched.

Pictor's Metamorphoses by Herman Hesse
My favorite set of short stories.

Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America by John M. Barry
Just as the title says! What really fascinated me was the similarities between the 1927 flood and the response to Hurricane Katrina.

Shadow and Claw by Gene Wolfe
Contains "Shadow of the Torturer" and "Claw of Conciliator," the first two books of the Book of the New Sun, which just so happens to be my favorite work of fiction of all time.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Billy Pilgrim's psychosis from WWII (and the firebombing of Dresden, which Vonnegut actually witnessed after being captured at the Battle of the Bulge) leads him to believe that he's been abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore.

Stars My Destination, The by Alfred Bester
A Science Fiction version of Dumas' "Count of Monte Cristo."

Sword and Citadel by Gene Wolfe
Contains "Sword of the Lictor" and "Citadel of the Autarch," the third and fourth books of the Book of the New Sun.

Watership Down by Richard Adams
Although the main story of Watership Down is great, what really drives the book is the interweaving of myth, religion and stories. An unexpectedly powerful book.

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