Ideal Bookshelves

January 19, 2013


  1. Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, Douglas Hofstadter
    The greatest book I have ever read. Changed my world view.
  2. Calculus: One and Several Variables, Salas and Etgen
  3. The Aleph and Other Stories, Jorge Borges
    Favorite short story: The Immortal.
  4. Mind Design II: Philosophy, Psychology, and Artificial Intelligence, Haugland, ed.
  5. Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy, Kip Thorne
  6. The Study of Architectural Design, John Harbeson
    Much of my architectural education came straight from this book.
  7. Greene & Greene, Edward Bosley
    This book prompted me to go on two trips to Pasadena to see their work.
  8. A Book of Architectural and Decorative Drawings, Bertram Goodhue
    Inspiring drawings and beautiful works of architecture.
  9. Sketches, Projects and Executed Buildings, Otto Wagner
    Similarly inspiring drawings and beautiful works of architecture.
  10. America’s Constitution: A Biography, Akhil Amar
  11. The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011, Hilary Ballon, ed.
    Incredible story illustrating the application of law in city planning.
  12. A Standard City Planning Enabling Act, U.S. Department of Commerce
    My graduate school education revolved around this document.
  13. Landscape in Sight: Looking at America, J.B. Jackson
    While the book is wonderful, I chose this more as an homage to Doug Allen who was a student of J.B. Jackson and one of my favorite professors at Georgia Tech.
  14. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William Shirer
  15. The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Richard Rhodes


  1. Tess of the d’Ubervilles, Thomas Hardy
  2. Far from the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
  3. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  4. The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende
  5. A Confederacy of Dunces, Toole
  6. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, McCullers
  7. Sherlock Holmes, Doyle
  8. A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini
  9. Cognitive Therapy: Basics and Beyond, Beck
  10. The Innocent, Ian McEwan
  11. Music for Chameleons, Truman Capote
  12. Summer of my German Soldier, Greene
    One of my favorite books as a teen.
  13. Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris
  14. A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
  15. Middlesex, Eugenides


  1. Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey
  2. The Fool’s Progress, Edward Abbey
  3. The Plague, Albert Camus
  4. The Rebel, Albert Camus
  5. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
  6. As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
  7. Big Woods, William Faulkner
  8. Light In August, William Faulkner
  9. Vietnam: A History, Stanley Karnow
  10. Shadow Country, Peter Matthiessen
  11. Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
  12. The Orchard Keeper, Cormac McCarthy
  13. Suttree, Cormac McCarthy
  14. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
  15. Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, Edward O. Wilson


  1. Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann
  2. The Fool’s Progress, Edward Abbey
  3. Suttree, Cormac McCarthy
  4. The Road, Cormac McCarthy
  5. Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe
  6. Horse Heaven, Jane Smiley
  7. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier
  8. East of Eden, John Steinbeck
  9. The Space Between Us, Thrity Umrigar
  10. Posionwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
  11. The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende
  12. All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren
  13. Exodus , Leon Uris
  14. A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle
  15. Caine Mutiny, Herman Wouk


  1. Hamlet, Shakespeare
    Well it has all those famous quotes for a reason. But I think Hamlet is an ineffectual wimp.
  2. King Lear, Shakespeare
    He finally wised up, but it took him a while. Things can go bad in a hurry.
  3. Light In August, William Faulkner
    Can’t remember that much about it, but I know I thought it was great when I read it.
  4. The Stranger, Albert Camus
    Made a big impression on me in high school. Read it later as an adult, it wasn’t as moving.
  5. Short Stories, Guy de Maupassant
    I just like his stories.
  6. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
    Good story, but long.
  7. Of Human Bondage, Somerst Maugham
    Another long one, but I remember rooting for the main guy.
  8. Short Stories, Bobby Ann Mason
    Any of her short story collections.
  9. A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
    Very informative, chock full of facts.
  10. The Road, Cormac McCarthy
    Nothing but fun. A real laugh riot.
  11. The Norton Anthology of Poetry
  12. Liberal Fascism, Jason Goldberg
    Made me see threads.
  13. History of Latin America
    Can’t remember who wrote it–I got it from the library.
  14. Darwin: A Primer
    Another library book I can’t remember who wrote.
  15. The Girl Who…, Stieg Larsson
    Any of “The Girl who” trilogy. Just entertainment, but good entertainment.
  16. Go, Dog. Go!, Dr. Seuss
    I enjoyed it and it helped me learn how to read.


  1. The Moviegoer, Walker Percy
  2. Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy
  3. The Woodlanders, Thomas Hardy
  4. Where the Sea Used to Be, Rick Bass
  5. The Watch, Rick Bass
  6. The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
  7. The Rainbow, D. H. Lawrence
  8. The Complete Stories, Flannery O’Conner
  9. Feather Crowns, Bobbie Ann Mason
  10. The Thanksgiving Visitor & A Christmas Memory, Truman Capote
  11. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  12. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier
  13. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
  14. The Old Wives’ Tale, Arnold Bennett
  15. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera

As some of you know, I like to alternate a fiction and a non-fiction book when I read. They usually aren’t my favorite books of all time, but thought I would mention a few that I’ve read over the last year or two that I thought were good – in case anybody is looking for a good non-fiction book:

  1. 1491, Charles Mann
  2. 1493, Charles Mann
  3. The Science of Evil: On Empathy, Simon Baron-Cohen
  4. Genes, Germs and Civilization, David Clark
  5. The Wildlife of our Bodies, Rob Dunn


  1. The Orchard Keeper, Cormac McCarthy
  2. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro
  3. The Darkness that Comes Before, R. Scott Baker
  4. The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Steven Erikson
  5. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson
  6. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
  7. Lord of the Flies, William Golding
  8. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
  9. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
  10. Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse
  11. The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien
  12. The Pearl, John Steinbeck
  13. The Old Man and The Sea, Ernest Hemingway
  14. Calvin and Hobbes Collection, Bill Watterson
  15. The Far Side Collection, Gary Larson