This is my current list. I'm sure others will be added:
- "North of Soho" by Clive James. This is several volumes into his autobiography and continues the tale of how an smart and eccentric Australian was able to become a prominent member of the British literary scene. I'd love to have dinner with him. ["I went to bed and stayed there, like Stalin when he got news that the German army had invaded his country after all, despite his express instructions that it should not. The shock of reality had reduced me to immobility. I sent long groans towards the ceiling while doing nothing except grow a beard. I groaned louder at the effort of turning my pillow to the dry side. I could just about make it to the bathroom on my own. Otherwise I didn't go anywhere, even to the kitchen, where the refrigerator lived which in normal circumstances I could never pass without stopping to look in."]
- "Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe" by Laurence Bergreen. Even as a child I was fascinated by Magellan. This book was an easy choice. ["On June 7, 1494, Pope Alexander VI divided the world in half, bestowing the western portion on Spain, and the eastern on Portugal."]
- "The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results" by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan. ["To achieve an extraordinary result you must choose what matters most and give it all the time it demands. This requires getting extremely out of balance in relation to all other work issues, with only infrequent counterbalancing to address them."]
- "The Second World Wars" by Victor Davis Hanson. Note the plural. ["A general theme also transcends the chapters: the once ascendant Axis powers were completely ill-prepared - politically, economically, and militarily - to win the global war they had blundered into during 1941. Simply killing the far greater number of soldiers and civilians over the next four years - the vast majority of them Russians, Eastern Europeans, and Chinese - never equated to destroying their enemies' ability to make war."]
- "Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization" by Steven Solomon. As an Arizonan, I'm very sensitive to this issue. ["Water's pervasiveness and indispensable capability to transform and transport other substances played a paramount role in forging Earth's identity as a planet and the history of all life on it."]
- "Managing on the Edge: How the Smartest Companies Use Conflict to Stay Ahead" by Richard Tanner Pascale. This is a re-read for me. ["The problem that you solve today creates the opportunity to solve the next problem that your last solution created."]
- "On Grand Strategy" by John Lewis Gaddis. ["The shortsighted Artabanus sees so much on the immediate horizon that complexity itself is the enemy. The farsighted Xerxes sees only a distant horizon on which ambitions are opportunities: simplicity is the searchlight that shows the way."]
- "The Stranger" by Albert Camus. I've read this one before but the spirit of the times tells me it is time for another look. I have not read "The Plague" and so may be reading that one instead.
Please feel free to send in any recommendations. I'm always on the prowl for good books.