Thanks Mucho (a Christian Website) - II Cor. 5:21


Books I Have Read


I went to college in the late 1970's. I got a four-year degree in only 36 months (I went to summer school every year). During those three years, I lived alone in a little apartment without television or telephone (by choice, not out of necessity). For entertainment, instead of sitting glued to the idiot box, I read books. For three years.

I read most of the books listed below before I went to college.

I've read five or six books about JFK conspiracies, but I didn't include them in the list.


TITLE
AUTHOR
COMMENTS
101 Uses for a Dead Cat Simon Bond Okay, this one isn't exactly literature.
666 Salem Kirban I read it in college. It is almost unbelievably bad.
1984 George Orwell A great classic. I read it in high school.
American Caesar William Manchester A biography of Douglas MacArthur.
The Amityville Horror Jay Anson Published as a true story, but it turns out that most of it is made up. Reality just isn't enough for some people.
The Andromeda Strain Michael Crichton Vintage science fiction.
Animal Farm George Orwell A great classic. Two legs good, four legs bad!
The Arms of Krupp William Manchester Great book. I read it when I was 16.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X Malcolm X Fascinating book.
The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World Harlan Ellison I read it in high school. It includes the unforgettable novella A Boy and His Dog, which features a talking dog named Blood. "Find, Blood. I'm not kidding."
The Bible God I didn't actually read all of it, but I did like the good parts. Some advice: skip the first nine chapters of I Chronicles. Trust me on this.
The Big Four Agatha Christie A Hercule Poirot novel.
The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath One of the best books I've ever read that was written by a suicidal person.
Black Like Me John Howard Griffin Fascinating book. I read it when I was 15.
Born Standing Up Steve Martin The famous comedian gives a somewhat sketchy account of his life so far. He mentions Bernadette Peters only once, and mentions Victoria Tennant, to whom he was married for seven years, only briefly.
The Call of the Wild Jack London A classic. I wish they hadn't hit the dog so much.
A Canticle for Leibowitz Walter M. Miller, Jr. I read it when I was in college. A great, great book.
Carrie Stephen King The first and last book I ever read by this twisted author.
Catch-22 Joseph Heller One of the first anti-war novels.
The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger A great classic.
Chariots of the Gods Erich von Daniken A hugely popular book which suggests that ancient civilizations were founded/started by extraterrestrial visitors. Problem is that von Daniken is a liar and a charlatan.
Christmas at Fontaine's William Kotzwinkle Not his best work. By the author of ET, the Extraterrestrial, and his Adventures on Earth.
A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess I read it about a year before Stanley Kubrick made the movie. Horrorshow.

This book was published in two different versions, one with 21 chapters (the author's original version) and one with only 20 chapters (the American version). In chapter 21, Alex (the main character) grows up, marries, and has a family. Hollywood (Stanley Kubrick) preferred the 20-chapter version which left out this happy ending, and thus the 1971 movie concludes with Alex being "cured," that is, able to commit acts of violence once again.
Come Help Change the World Bill Bright Dr. Bright systematized Christianity with the Four Spiritual Laws. He's the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ.
A Confederacy of Dunces John Kennedy Toole Junk. Really poorly written. Not worth reading.
Cosmic Trigger Volume I: Final Secret of the Illuminati Robert Anton Wilson Recommended.
Cosmic Trigger Volume II: Down to Earth Robert Anton Wilson Weird, but fascinating. I have given this book away twice, and never got it back.
Cosmic Trigger Volume III: My Life After Death Robert Anton Wilson Weird, but worth reading.
Crash Go the Chariots Clifford Wilson Debunks the lies in Erich von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods books.
The Cross and the Switchblade David Wilkerson The true story of a country preacher who went to New York City and started Teen Challenge. Dramatic stuff.

Wilkerson survived the street gangs of New York only to die in 2011 in an automobile accident in Texas.
Cruel Shoes Steve Martin A weighty tome, with layers of meaning (just kidding).
The Day of the Jackal Frederick Forsyth A great suspense novel.
Death of a Citizen Donald Hamilton Written in 1960. The first spy novel I ever read that I thought was "literature."
The Defense Never Rests F. Lee Bailey Great book. Made me want to become a lawyer (which I did).
Demon Experiences in Many Lands [Various writers] A very interesting book; each chapter is written by a different Christian missionary.
The Demon-Haunted World Carl Sagan A great book from a great mind. He died without ever believing in God (stories of his "death bed conversion" are false).
Dumbth Steve Allen A great book. An essay on the decline of civilization, and standards in general.
The Eden Express Mark Vonnegut Interesting book. The author states that during part of the time he was writing it, he was insane.
Escape From Witchcraft Roberta Blankenship Another one of those "true confession" stories that I don't believe really happened. Very dramatic, and very hard to believe.
Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex But Were Afraid to Ask David Reuben I read it when I was 15. Hey, what 15-year-old boy DIDN'T read this book? Someone has noted that the first three words in this book are a lie: Reuben begins by saying "As a psychiatrist ..." Turns out he WASN'T a psychiatrist.
Evidence That Demands a Verdict Josh McDowell An early Christian apologetics book. Pre-dates The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. Not a great book; it seems to dodge the really tough questions.
The Exorcist William Peter Blatty Good scary stuff. It is supposedly based on a true story of an exorcism.
Fail Safe Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler Emotionally wrenching. It made people think.
The Faith Healers James Randi He exposes the televangelists/"faith healers" for the fakes they are.

I have met Mr. Randi in person. He is a lovable old curmudgeon.
The Fan Man William Kotzwinkle A strange, fun novel. By the author of ET, the Extraterrestrial, and his Adventures on Earth. I especially liked the chapter on "Dorky Day." I have a first edition of this book.
Farnham's Freehold Robert Heinlein Science fiction. Very imaginative and thought-provoking.
Flim Flam James Randi He's the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF).
Flowers for Algernon Daniel Keyes Another must-read. A great, great novel.
Food is Your Best Medicine Henry Bieler I found this one in a used bookstore in 1975. It got me interested in nutrition.
For the Defense F. Lee Bailey A good book. It was part of my inspiration to become a lawyer.
Future Shock Alvin Toffler The first major doom-and-gloom book forecasting environmental disasters (not counting Silent Spring). It was popular about the same time as The Greening of America, which predicted a rosier future.
Ghost Story Peter Straub Good stuff.
Glory Road Robert Heinlein Another quirky science fiction novel from the master.
Go Ask Alice [Anonymous] Supposedly it's the diary of a young hippie girl who (eventually) overdosed on drugs in the late 1960's, and this diary was found after her death. There is some question as to whether or not it's authentic, but it is very much worth reading.
The God Who is There Francis Shaeffer I'm not a big Shaeffer fan.
God's Smuggler "Brother Andrew" with John and Elizabeth Sherrill "Lord, you made blind eyes see. Now make seeing eyes blind!" True story of a man who smuggled Bibles into Communist countries during the Cold War.
God's Warrior Frank G. Slaughter A novel of the life of St. Paul. Good stuff.
Goodbye Columbus Philip Roth Good stuff.
The Graduate Charles Webb Written in 1963. The famous 1967 movie was based on it. A great novel. Very readable.
The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank Erma Bombeck Folksy and down-to-earth (aggressively so).
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald Poignant. For some reason, nobody can make a good movie from this book.
Great Lion of God Taylor Caldwell A fictionalized biography of St. Paul. Not very good. Too "mystical."
A Grief Observed C.S. Lewis The author's wife died, and he struggled with his faith.
Griffin and Sabine Nick Bantock One of the strangest books I ever read; it's in the form of a series of letters (or postcards) written between two people who have never met. The letters are in little envelopes inside the book. The ending is very mysterious.
Hang Loose With Jesus Frances Gardner Hunter She's the Erma Bombeck of Christian writers. In other words, she tries way too hard to be earthy and blue-collar.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets J.K. Rowling The only Harry Potter novel I've read. Not too bad of a book. "It is our choices, Harry, that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
The Haunting of Hill House Shirley Jackson The basis for the 1960 movie "The Haunting." A truly scary, sometimes depressing book.
He is There and He is Not Silent Francis Shaeffer I have stopped believing that Shaeffer is "over our heads" and now believe that he is just confused.
Helter Skelter Vincent Bugliosi Chilling. Great stuff. The true story of the Manson family, told by the prosecutor who put them behind bars.
The Hiding Place Corrie Ten Boom A family in Holland hides Jews from the Nazis (this is a true story). A good read.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams Great, quirky science fiction. Much better than the movie.
The Horse and His Boy C.S. Lewis One of his seven Narnia books. I read it while I was in college.
How Did a Fat, Balding, Middle-Aged Jew Like You Become a Jesus Freak? Zola Levitt Yes, this is actually the title. Not a bad book.
How to Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie Great practical stuff. Showing appreciation isn't the same as mere flattery.
How You Can Find Happiness During the Collapse of Western Civilization Robert J. Ringer I recommend this one. It was written in 1983, and Western Civilization hasn't collapsed yet (well, unless you count the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004).
The Human Zoo Desmond Morris His followup to The Naked Ape. More pop anthropology.
I Am Legend Richard Matheson There have been, so far, three separate movies based on this book: "The Last Man on Earth" starring Vincent Price; "The Omega Man" starring Charlton Heston; and "I Am Legend" starring Will Smith. Mr. Matheson is one of the great unsung authors of the 20th Century.
I Believe in Miracles Kathryn Kuhlmann Kathryn Kuhlman was a faith healer.
I'll Quit Tomorrow Vernon E. Johnson About alcoholism.
I'm Out to Change My World Ann Kiemel A book of somewhat sappy blank-verse poems. She wrote this book in the 1960's, and later in life, when she went through personal struggles (addiction, chronic illness), she wrote books about THAT.
In Cold Blood Truman Capote Excellent book.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull Richard Bach I read it when I was 19. I was able to spot Bach as a Christian Scientist before I got halfway through the book.
Joni Joni Eareckson This is quite an autobiography. A girl who was born in 1949 grew up in a Christian home. In her teenage years, she realized she was drifting away from Jesus, so she prayed one night for Jesus to do whatever was necessary to keep her safe in him (or something to that effect). A few months later, she went swimming in an unfamiliar lake, and a diving accident left her paralyzed from the neck down ... permanently. Later, she realized she had artistic talent, and she did some painting with a brush held in her mouth. The book was made into a movie (1979), and the author stars in it (as herself).
The Last Battle C.S. Lewis One of his seven Narnia books (the last one). I read it while I was in college.
The Late Great Planet Earth Hal Lindsey A standard work on the end times, the second coming of Jesus, and eschatology.

I'd love to be able to go back in time to 1970, when this book was first published, and ask Hal: "Hey, would you believe that 45 years from now, you and I will still be here on earth?" He would have said, "Naaaaaaah."
Let Our Children Go! Ted Patrick The true story of a man who is a "cult deprogrammer." He rescues people from the Moonies (and other brainwashing cults).
Let's Eat Right to Keep Fit Adelle Davis I read it in college.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe C.S. Lewis The first of the Narnia books. The witch is the bad guy (gal).
Some people have complained that in these books, the children are given wine to drink [sigh].
The Listener Taylor Caldwell Not great literature; it is somewhat heavy-handed.
Little House in the Big Woods Laura Ingalls Wilder Written for children, but it's a great read for adults.

We now (2014) know that the "Little House" series of books is a somewhat sugar-coated version of Laura's life; the full (true) story is told in a new book entitled Pioneer Girl by Pamela Smith Hill.
Looking Out for Number One Robert Ringer A best-seller from the 1970's. A very readable book about rational self-interest.
Lord of the Flies William Golding I read it when I was 12 years old. It's an interesting novel, but I don't think it's a masterpiece.
Love and Addiction Stanton Peele and Archie Brodsky I read this book in college.
Love is Now Peter Gillquist You should definitely read it. Trust me. The original title was Farewell to the Fake ID.
Love Story Erich Segal I read it, and I liked it, okay? Now shut up.
The Magician's Nephew C.S. Lewis One of his seven Narnia books. I read it while I was in college.
M*A*S*H Richard Hooker A good novel. The movie was pretty good too, even though it was the first major motion picture that openly mocked a Christian character. The TV show was a sell-out.
Masks of the Illuminati Robert Anton Wilson A great novel; it expands one's mind. Wilson's brain seems to operate on a higher level than ours. Or it did; he died in 2007.

Before his death, he recorded a series of talks entitled "Robert Anton Wilson Explains Everything." I have it on CDs. I recommend it (warning: he is not a Christian). Excerpts are available on Youtube.
The Medium is the Message Marshall McLuhan An interesting bit of pop anthropology from the 1960's.
The Men Who Stare at Goats Jon Ronson The true story of an Army unit that was set up to study New Age phenomena with a view toward using them in the "war on terror."   It's been made into a somewhat bad movie (released in December 2009).
Michelle Remembers Michelle Smith Another "true story" about Satanic rituals, occult abuse, and animal sacrifice. This story has been thoroughly debunked; most of the incidents described could not possibly have happened.
The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice Christopher Hitchens "Mother Teresa," it turns out, was a fraud. She took in millions of dollars, yet her "hospice for the dying" in Calcutta continued to be nothing more than a large room with rows and rows of cots, an open latrine where patients had to defecate in front of others   -   and very little medical help. And her "Missionaries of Charity" is the only charity in all of India that does not publish its finances each year.

Charles Keating, the master thief who bilked his victims out of millions of dollars by selling investments that didn't exist, once gave Mother Teresa over one million dollars. Later, when he was caught, prosecuted, and convicted, Mother Teresa sent a letter to the Judge (Lance Ito) asking him to go easy on Mr. Keating. The prosecutor in the case then wrote to Mother Teresa suggesting that if Jesus had ever received one million dollars in stolen money, he would give it back to the victims. The prosecutor offered to put her in direct contact with the victims who had earned the money that Charles Keating had stolen.

Mother Teresa never made any response to this letter (and didn't give back any part of the million-dollar contribution). She died in 1997.
Mr. God, This is Anna "Fynn" A man talks to a little girl and imbues everything she says with tons of meaning. A tiresome book.
Mommie Dearest Christina Crawford A chilling true story. The author was adopted as a child by Joan Crawford, and was screamed at and abused. You probably saw the movie starring Faye Dunaway ... no wire hangers, ever!
One interesting aspect of growing up with an abusive mother ... after you survive that, it takes a lot to scare you. Think about it ... you're three years old, small, helpless, and a 140-pound woman (twice your height, three times your weight) stands over you and screams at you and hits you in the face repeatedly ... now 15 years later, is it really going to scare you when your drill sergeant in basic training gets mad at you?
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress Robert Heinlein One of my favorite books of all time and, in my opinion, the best Heinlein novel. Great, great stuff. Trust me on this. If you haven't read this book, stop what you're doing, go to Amazon.com, and buy it. Live a little. Spend five bucks.
My Darling, My Hamburger Paul Zindel Mr. Zindel wrote several books which are geared toward teenagers.
My Life on Trial Melvin Belli One of the books that made me want to become a lawyer. Belli is colorful (like me).
My Name is Asher Lev Chaim Potok Good stuff.
The Naked Ape Desmond Morris Pop anthropology. Good stuff.
Night Elie Wiesel A true story. Emotionally wrenching. Wiesel spent time in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II, and most of the rest of his life was spent hunting down Nazi war criminals.
No Time For Sergeants Mac Hyman Pretty funny stuff, but you can detect a true underlying hatred this author had for some Air Force sergeant he'd known.
Not in Kansas Anymore Christine Wicker A book about Wicca that's written by an outsider. She takes an honest look at the modern Neo-Pagan movement and writes in a clear, engaging style.
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck A classic. Great stuff.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Ken Kesey A great novel. Inspired by the author's experiences working in a mental hospital.
The Onion Field Joseph Wambaugh Nonfiction.
Operators and Things: the Inner Life of a Schizophrenic Barbara O'Brien Nonfiction. The author woke up one morning to find some men standing over her bed talking about her ... one of them had the head of a lizard. And they could read her thoughts. It was all a schizophrenic hallucination, but she didn't know it at the time. They told her to buy a bus ticket and go traveling, which she did. A fascinating true story.
The Other Thomas Tryon Wow! A great novel.
Out of the Silent Planet C.S. Lewis The first book in the Perelandra trilogy. It turns out that the "silent planet" (Thulchandra) is Earth.
Peace with God Billy Graham Good stuff.
The Pearl Jon Steinbeck A classic.
Perelandra C.S. Lewis Book two of the Perelandra trilogy.
The Perfect Storm Sebastian Junger Great stuff. Includes an unforgettable description of how it feels to drown.
The Peter Principle Lawrence Peter The Peter Principle is the idea that in a hierarchy, one eventually rises to his "level of incompetence," that is, he will be promoted one rung higher than he should be.
Phantom Over Vietnam John Trotti Written by an F4J pilot who served in the Air Force in the 1960's. Excellent book.
The Pigman Paul Zindel Zindel wrote several books which are geared toward teenagers. They usually feature (1) an oddball title, (2) a mother who is mean [Zindel's mother was a horror of a human being, according to him], and (3) a scene in which a boy and a girl are alone and consider having sex but are too scared to do it. This book is quirky and offbeat in a good way.
Podkayne of Mars Robert Heinlein A great novel.
Portnoy's Complaint Philip Roth Good stuff.
The Power of Positive Thinking Norman Vincent Peale A classic. I read it when I was 16.
Praise the Lord Anyway Frances Gardner Hunter Ms. Hunter is the Erma Bombeck of Christian writers. She's not a great writer.
Prince Caspian: the Return to Narnia C.S. Lewis One of his seven Narnia books. I read it while I was in college.
Psychic Mafia M. Lamar Keene The confessions of a former "psychic" fraud who bilked gullible people out of their money and property. Very interesting stuff.
The Promise Chaim Potok Good stuff.
The Puppet Masters Robert Heinlein Another good one from the master.
Purple Violet Squish David Wilkerson Written in 1972, this book represents the author's effort to "get groovy" and confront hippies with Jesus Christ. It is jaw-droppingly uncool.
i>Rants Dennis Miller "The back seat of the taxi smelled like a man eating Gorgonzola cheese while getting a permanent in the septic tank of a slaughterhouse." Dennis Miller has a way of painting pictures with words (via extended similes). But that's just my opinion; I could be way off.
Reminiscences Douglas MacArthur His autobiography. Stilted, stuffy, barely readable.
The Road to Bithynia Frank G. Slaughter A novel of the life of St. Luke. Good stuff.
Rosemary's Baby Ira Levin I read it when I was 16.
Run, Baby, Run Nicky Cruz This is the Cross and the Switchblade story told from the point of view of Nicky Cruz, former gang leader. It's actually pretty readable.
Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth Hal Lindsey Another end-times bestseller by Hal Lindsey.
The Satan Seller Mike Warnke Written as if it were an autobiography, this book turned out to be a pack of lies. Mike Warnke is a lying hypocrite, and he got caught lying.
The Satan Seller Mike Warnke Written as if it were an autobiography, this book turned out to be a pack of lies. Mike Warnke is a lying hypocrite, and he got caught lying.
Satan's Music Exposed Lowell Hart and Salem Kirban Written in 1980. This is an over-the-top (and unintentionally hilarious) criticism of what was then "contemporary Christian music." Of course the author hates Larry Norman. And he's apoplectic about Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar. But on page 161 he sneers at "Tell It Like It Is," the somewhat bland "youth musical" written by Kurt Kaiser and Ralph Carmichael in the mid-'60's.

This book reminds one of the McCarthy era or the witch hunt of 1692.
The Screwtape Letters C.S. Lewis Great stuff.
A Separate Peace John Knowles I read it in high school, and again when I was in my 40's, and it's not a great book. Sorry. Too much of it just doesn't work.
A Separate Reality Carlos Castaneda (d. 1998) The author has conversations (he says) with a Yaqui shaman. Pretty pedestrian stuff (as far as the spiritual insights go). I read it when I was in college. It's worth reading, but it's fiction   —   back in 1973, a cover story in Time magazine exposed the author as a fraud. He lied about his own nationality and several other background facts. We're 99.9% certain that "Don Juan" is a fictitious character.
Silent Spring Rachel Carson Written in the early 1960's, this was one of the very first major works to warn about air and water pollution. It was far ahead of its time.
The Silver Chair C.S. Lewis One of his seven Narnia books. I read it while I was in college.
Small Gods Terry Pratchett A strange little book by an author who thinks outside the box. Read this book before you die.
Starship Troopers Robert Heinlein Another great novel by the master. You can tell that the author was once in the military.
Steal This Book Abbie Hoffman A great, fun read. And yes, I did steal my copy.
Stranger in a Strange Land Robert Heinlein Definitely worth reading, but not his best work. The ending is a disappointment. He won a Nebula Award for this book.
Summer of '42 Herman Raucher A great novel. I read it when I was a teenager. It's one of those coming-of-age-during-World-War-II novels, similar to A Separate Peace.
Tao Te Ching Lao Tzu A book of ancient Chinese wisdom. Don't tell anybody, but I didn't get that much out of it.
The Terminal Man Michael Crichton I read it the year it was written (1972). Great book.
That Hideous Strength C.S. Lewis Book #3 of his Perelandra trilogy.
They Speak With Other Tongues Sherwood Wirt A very sympathetic (yet objective and fact-filled) look at the charismatic/tongues-talking movement.
This Present Darkness Frank Peretti A pretty dreadful Christian novel. Includes an episode where the failure of a car engine is caused by an invisible demon stabbing it (through the hood) with an invisible flaming sword.
Tortured for Christ Richard Wurmbrand True stories. Gripping.
Troublemaker Leah Remini Her autobiography. She is a former Scientologist. Amazing stuff.
Tuesdays With Morrie Mitch Albom Not much to it. It has "great insights" such as "tell the people you love that you love them."
Turned On to Jesus Arthur Blessitt Written in the 1960's during the "Jesus Movement." Not a bad book; rough around the edges, but he writes from the heart. Blessit says that he prayed with George W. Bush to receive Jesus in 1984. Blessitt seems to be "the real thing."
The Ultimate Evil Maury Terry Written in 1987. It makes a very interesting case (well-reasoned, but I don't buy it) for the proposition that there is a worldwide evil occult conspiracy   —   an actual organization of people who commit murder at random in the name of some Dark Lord. The author found similarities among several "oddball" murders. He doesn't seem to be a nutcase.
The Vision David Wilkerson Written in 1973, this book gives specific predictions about the future (direct from Jesus) ... none of which have ever happened.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader C.S. Lewis One of his seven Narnia books. I read it while I was in college.
Waldo and Magic, Inc. Robert Heinlein Not my favorite Heinlein novel, but worth reading.
Watership Down Richard Adams A novel about migrating rabbits ... great book.

I picture Adams sitting one evening with his friends, and they all get drunk. Adams says, "I can write a best-selling novel about ANYTHING." One of his friends thinks about this and says, "Okay ... write a novel about a herd of migrating rabbits."
The Way Things Ought to Be Rush Limbaugh Yes, I read the whole thing. Don't hate me. It was during my arch-conservative phase.
Who Moved the Stone? Frank Morison An analytical look at the Biblical accounts of the death of Jesus.
Why People Believe Weird Things Michael Shermer He's the founder of the Skeptics Society. I met the author in 1999. Personally. Shook his hand. Had my picture taken with him. No kidding. It's in my office. You could come look.
Wicked Gregory Maguire A pretty dreadful novel. It's the story of Oz from the point of view of the Wicked Witch of the West. It was made into a musical in 2003. If you get a chance, go see the musical (don't bother reading the book).
Winning Through Intimidation Robert Ringer I read it when I was 16, I think.
The World According to Garp John Irving A horrible book. I'm sorry I bothered to finish it.


Home