I got the following message from a Facebook friend yesterday:
I need to read more… can you recommend 5 books to me?
Sure thing. Actually, here are six books, plus two authors you probably haven’t heard of. Most of these, I have been recommending for years.
Southern Fiction: Run with the Horsemen, by Ferrol Sams
The story of a child in rural Georgia during the depression. Funnier than it ought to be, and very well written, especially since it was the author’s first book-length project.
Literary Fiction: A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
The “fictionalized” (wink, wink) version of the true events that inspired The Sun Also Rises. In my opinion, the best thing he ever wrote.
Letters: Dear Scott, Dear Max, by Maxwell Perkins and F. Scott Fitzgerald
Maxwell Perkins was an editor of the old school. He discovered and edited, among others, Earnest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. This is a collection of correspondence between him and Fitzgerald, and parts of it read like poetry. (Out of print, but many used editions available on Amazon.)
Theology: Jesus and the Disinherited, by Howard Thurman
The foundational book for the theology of the Civil Rights Movement.
Because, well, Langston Hughes. He is very accessible, and most of his stuff is short. He would have rocked the twitter.
Classics: Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius
The musings of a Philosopher-King. He was the head of the Roman Empire, and this is his private diary to himself. I read it every year. The best into to the Stoic philosophy I know.
I love crime fiction, but virtually noting being written today is worth a damn. The one exception to that is my buddy Ace Atkins, especially his newest stuff about the Mississippi Sheriff Quinn Colson .