When we were kids, my mom got us books instead of video games. My brother and I battled to see who could read the most books each summer. He was infuriating and competitive. I'm really grateful for that now.

I believe that all great books are products of other great art before them. Below are some of my favorite (mostly contemporary) books in the whole world, my tiny tribute to the authors whose sentences and ideas have inspired my own:

The Top 10 Nonfiction Books that I think Everyone Should read:

  1. The Night of The Gun, by Mr. David Carr

  2. The Tao of Wu, by The RZA

  3. A Book About Love, by Jonah Lehrer

  4. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot

  5. The Psychopath Test, by Jon Ronson

  6. The Confidence Game, by Maria Konnikova

  7. Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

  8. The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell

  9. The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, by Dan Ariely

  10. The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield

Best Short Story Collection Books You’ll Ever Read

Fiction That I Keep Coming Back To:

 

Books that have made me a better writer:

  1. The Storytelling Animal, by Jonathan Gottschall

  2. Draft No. 4, by John McPhee

  3. Steal Like An Artist, by Austin Kleon

 

Books that messed me up, but in a wonderful way:

  1. Kafka On The Shore, by Haruki Murakami

  2. Vurt, by Jeff Noon

  3. A Scanner Darkly, by Philip K. Dick

  4. The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman

  5. This Town, by Mark Leibovich

  6. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, by my man Hunter

 

Series I re-read when I'm feeling down:

  1. Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

  2. Scott Pilgrim, by Bryan Lee O’Malley

  3. Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples

 

Favorite opening line from a book:

  • "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."*

 

From Austin Kleon's  Steal Like An Artist

From Austin Kleon's Steal Like An Artist

 

* Two points if you get the reference. (And a high five if we ever meet!)