Here are some books which I remember reading and being impacted by which don’t fall in the Science Fiction and Fantasy list I provided earlier. These are books I read and still remember as great reads.
This Present Darkness – Frank Peretti
The book that launched Christian speculative fiction, a great read
The Presidential Agent Series – WEB Griffin
This guy replaced Tom Clancy in my espionage reading because he writes fantastic characters and tension without the long descriptions of hardware. And they’re great reads.
Hard Fall – Ridley Pearson
Amazing read I discovered by accident. Tension, great characters. About an agent fighting terrorism, written long before 9/11
Red Storm Rising – Tom Clancy
Okay, yes, Clancy seems like he rolls out books from a factory a lot of times these days, and his propensity for long descriptions about hardware turn me off, but in his early days he had some great reads and this was my favorite.
The Notebook/The Wedding – Nicholas Sparks
The biggest influence on how I write love stories in any novel. A great, passionate writer and these are two of his best. In fact, The Wedding is a sequel to The Notebook and I think it’s better.
The Wedding Officer – Anthony Capella
Lush historical love story set in WWII Italy with great descriptions of Italian life, culture and food. Just an amazing read. Another accidental discovery.
Thinner – Richard Bachman
Stephen King’s pseudonym for anyone who doesn’t know. One of his two best reads as far as I am concerned.
The Stand — Stephen king
Amazing read. What can I say? Not to be missed. If you read one King book, let this be the one.
Lestaat stories – Anne Rice
I find Vampire stories tired. They are just over done and too numerous, but these were the ones I read first and they are amazing reads.
Little House Books – Laura Ingalls Wilder
Never forgot reading those from childhood and now having my wife read them. Amazing stories of American history and culture through a child’s eyes.
Blue Highways – William Least Heat Moon
Great travelogue, rich study of American culture at the time. Peters out a bit at the end but still worth a read.
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands/Gabriela, Cloves and Cinnamon – Jorge Amado
Amazing reads from one of Brazil’s great writers. Just full of rich characters, culture, plots, etc. Don’t miss these!
Three Cups of Tea – Greg Mortinsen
Great book on Muslim culture, cross cultural relations and the passion of one man to change the world. I disagree with some of his political views but still, a life changing read.
Fatal Vision – Joe McGinniss
Amazing writer of true crime stories. Books that read like novels and scare, anger and surprise. This is the best.
Helter Skelter – Vincent Bugliosi
Famous book about the Manson murders. Shocking, tention filled, amazing study of one of the most horrendous crime sprees in US history..
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
The example of how to write nonfiction as a novel. Amazing read.
The Onion Field – Joseph Wambaugh
Another true crime story by a master. Powerful.
Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
I could do a whole list of his but this is my favorite. Not to be missed. Amazing again and again.
Last but far from least:
A Time To Kill/The Chamber – John Grisham
His prose may not be fancy, but no one writes suspense like Grisham and keeps you hanging on the edge of your seat. I love several of his books but these are my favorites because both touched on important social issues in powerful ways. (The Chamber movie is not near as good as the book.)
For what it’s worth…