My response would be hundreds of pages long if I included all genre's, so I'll only include fiction here (for now :)
Also, as I write this, I'm realizing I've been totally into libertarianism, long before I ever even knew what that was!
Ken Follett's Century Trilogy is a MUST READ!
Fall of Giants
(Some great insight here as to how Stalin highjacked the Bolshevik Revolution)
The story moves seamlessly and logically, starting in 1911 and ending in 1925, and has a large cast of characters -- all so beautifully developed that the reader comes to care about each one -- the good and the bad. A helpful CAST OF CHARACTERS is provided at the beginning of the book that may be copied and used as reference, but it is really not needed as the reader is introduced to each and they are so memorable that it's easy to keep them straight. The families are American, English, Scottish, French, German and Austrian, Russian, and Welsh. There are Lords and Ladies, Dukes and Duchesses, Kings, Queens, Earls, Dukes -- even the servants, miners, and other assorted people populate this work of fiction. The author has also inserted real historical figures into the story, and their interaction with Follett's characters is very well done.
Set in Europe before, during and after World War I. From a mining town in Aberowen, South Wales, to the drawing rooms of the privileged aristocracy in Russia, Britain, Germany, and to the War Room in the White House of Woodrow Wilson -- the narrative captivates as it tells the tale of the people involved in the conflict and their lives during this period of change in the world.
Winter of the World
The interesting thing about Follett's second book is the breadth of the coverage of the 1930's and 40's (and into the `50's). Everything from the burning of the Reichstag to the T4 Euthanesia program under the Nazis, to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the battle of Midway to the development of the atomic bomb is covered.
Edge of Eternity
(Writing in progress, due out in Sept. 2014)
Ken Follett's epic fictional rendering of the 20th century will come to a close on Sept. 16, 2014, with Edge of Eternity, publisher Dutton announced. (The jacket is seen here for the first time.)
Note: Follett has a knack for incorporating the theme of Liberty vs. Tyranny in many of his books.
If you're curious about life in Europe during the 11th and 13th centuries, then Follett's
Pillars of the Earth
World Without End
The tyranny and corruption of the Catholic Church during that era will captivate you beyond belief!
Okay, next up recommended reading in the fiction department?
by Tom Robbins
This book is fascinating and at times, hilarious!
It begins in the forests of ancient Bohemia and doesn't conclude until nine o'clock tonight [Paris time].
You'll meet King Alobar, who rules a kingdom with fairness and compassion. But there's a catch.
The citizens like their kings to be young, so they kill you when your hair turns gray. Alobar says "screw that!" and escapes in the middle of the night after his first gray hair appears. Thus, he begins his search for eternal life.
You'll meet Kudra, who, at the same time, becomes a widow in India.
Her duty, as the widow, is to jump into her husbands funeral pyre, burn to death and supposedly go on to eternity with her dead husband.
Kudra says "screw that!" and runs off in the middle of the night, in search of a more sane world.
Alobar and Kudra run into each other, both searching for the same thing. Essentially, neither is bought into the whole concept of death.
Together, they meet PAN, God of Nature, the Wild, Shepherds, Flocks, Goats, of Mountain Wilds, and is often associated with sexuality.
He's half man/half goat, stinks to high hell, plays the flute horribly and oh, he's invisible. He wasn't always, though. As more people convert to Christianity, he becomes less and less a physical being.
This book jumps all over the place (and era's too)
You'll learn about the art of making perfume and also meet a girl who is in search of the perfect taco.
The higher your I.Q., the more you will appreciate just how well written and thought out, this book really is.
The Forge of God (sci-fi)
by Greg Bear
If you like 'End of the World' type books, this should be at the top of your list!
The novel features scenes and events including the discovery of a near-dead alien in the desert, who clearly says in English, "I'm sorry, but there is bad news,"
So, where is the best seat in the house to watch the end of the world?
Sitting on the edge of El Capitan, a granite cliff in Yosemite National Park.
One day, I'm gonna' change my name to Dale Lee Paul
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