We live in the greatest era in the history of the world. Not only do we have the incredible daily experience of participating in a civilization more dynamic than any other in Earth’s history (possibly even more than any in the existence of the universe), but we have access to vast libraries of books that unlock the secrets of the past, the present, the future, and even the never-will-be.
When I read a great book I sometimes feel as if I am standing upon the shoulders of the author. I’ve been lifted up to see not only what the author sees, but something beyond that. There are intricacies of interpretation that only I can bring to the experience, just as any other reader would be capable of seeing certain things that are invisible to me. Never was that more clear to me than in the revision process of my own novels. Certainly, since I am the one who wrote the words, I should know what they meant… but that is not necessarily the case. Time and again critiquers uncovered messages I hadn’t known my own manuscript contained.
It is for reasons such as these that I will continue to write and read for my entire life. If you ever have the time, take a look at some of the books I’ve listed below. Each one has said an awful lot to me. I wonder what messages they have for you?
The Old Man and the Sea
Earnest Hemmingway – I love much of his work. This short volume is truely epic.
The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck – One of my favorite authors. It’s hard to pick my favorite book by him.
The Poisonwood Bible
Barbara Kingsolver – I stand in awe of this story.
The Prince of Tides
Pat Conroy – This book influenced The Pendulum’s Path immensely.
Far From the Madding Crowd
Thomas Hardy – English authors can be wordy, but oh, what words!
All Quiet on the Western Front
Erich Maria Remarque – The most powerful war story I have ever read.
The Thorn Birds
Colleen McCollough – The honest way this book dealt with religion and the weaknesses of man influences my writing every day.
Frank McCourt – McCourt’s unique voice comes through more vividly than possibly any other author I have ever read. (And not a single quotation mark!)
Herman Melville – I know the Pequod intimately, though I’ll never set foot on deck.
Ray Bradbury – I feel the heat.
Memoirs of a Geisha- Arthur S. Golden- Talk about an out of body experience. Who knew that I could experience the life of a geisha?
Kahil Gibran – I return to this book often.
The Jesus Thief
J.R. Lankford – A man steals threads from the Shroud of Turin and extracts the DNA to clone Christ. Wow!
Shadow Hand Blues
Michael Kayser – This book is not even published yet, but once it is I predict it will become a cult classic.
The Book of Virtues
William Bennett – I’m not sure which category to put this under, but if you have kids, you’ve got to get a copy.
Carl Sagan – If this book doesn’t put things in perspective, nothing will. Pale Blue Dot is another great Sagan work.
Tuesday’s with Morrie
Mitch Albom – Puts everything in perspective in a different way.
The Story of Philosophy
Will Durant – This is the history of how mankind learned to think!
West With the Night
Beryl Markham – Wow! Wild dogs couldn’t have kept me away from Africa after reading this. Once I did I wrote a travelogue. I hope to publish it one day.
The Blind Watchmaker
Richard Dawkins – Simply incredible! (See Who Wrote the Bible below.)
Hiking the Wasatch
John Veranth – Well, it’s about the trails surrounding my house after all. It even makes a cameo (if not by name) in The Pendulum’s Path.
Alfred Lansing – If you ever doubt the ability of men to overcome any obstacle, read this.
Man’s Search for Meaning
Viktor Frankl – And if you want to know what keeps them going despite the worst of circumstances, read this.
The Long Walk
Slavomir Rawicz – I’m not certain if this is true or not, but it sure is moving.
It’s Not About the Bike
Lance Armstrong – This guy is made of something special. Read it whether you are a biking enthusiast or not.
A Scientist in the City
James Trefil – Makes you marvel at the world we have inherited.
Awaken the Giant Within
Anthony Robbins – Finally, an owner’s manual for your brain!
Maxwell Maltz – The first self-improvement book I ever read still holds a place in my heart.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Stephen Covey – No wonder this is so popular.
Paul Zane Pilzer – Brilliant! The title is deceiving because this is not about how to get rich. It’s about how economics really works, and guess what, my business professors were dead wrong. I had the great fortune of interviewing Pilzer for a newspaper article and regard him as one of the most intelligent people I have ever met.
Who Wrote the Bible
Richard Elliott Friedman – These well-founded theories on authorship of one of the world’s most important books strengthen my conviction that God works his miracles without ever breaking the laws of nature.
Robert McKee – I enjoy a good tale even more now that this master showed me what it is that makes a tale good.
A Brief History of Time
Stephen Hawking – This one is tough to get through, but let Hawking inspire you for making the most of what he has. He’s a rare treasure!
The Ascent of Man
J. Bronowski – Having pulled this book from my shelves I must now read it again.
A World Lit Only By Fire
William Manchester – If you want to understand the dark ages this is the place to start.
Thread of Life
Roger Lewin – A moving tribute to the blessed diversity of life on earth.
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Bill Bryson – He learned all that in only three years?
Baghdad Without a Map
David Horowitz – No wonder we’re having such a difficult time understanding one another.
What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School
Mark McCormack – Having never attended Harvard I’m not sure what they do teach you, but how could they leave this stuff out? A manual for how business really works.
Thanks, Daily Peloton!
The first media outlet to understand my vision for my cycling novels was The Daily Peloton. As a result of their support so many other pieces have fallen into place. I can’t adequately express my gratitude for all they have done to help spread the word. Thanks for believing in me and giving me my big break! Here is a sampling of the articles DP has run over the years: