10 Books On My Bookshelf That You Should Read

1) The Big Book Of Conspiracies
by Doug Moench Published by Paradox Press
ISBN #1563891867

The Big Book of Conspiracies

Conspiracy theories are fun and comics are fun,  so when you combine the two, you get, uh, twice the fun.  DC used to publish these “Big Book” oversize paperbacks that would explore a particular subject through a series of black and white comics.  I never read any of the other volumes, but I’ve read this one a few times and really enjoy it.  Lots of fascinating conspiracies and interesting tidbits.  Sections:  Classic Conspiracies (lots of JFK stuff), Big Brother’s Greatest Hits (CIA, etc.), Trouble In Weirdland (UFOs, etc.), Paranoia Potpourri (weed and miscellanea), Odd Passings And Other Assassinations (famous figures die under mysterious circumstances), Historical Hysteria (historical conspiracies), and The Conspiracy Conspiracy (the really weird stuff).


2) Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th
by Peter M. Bracke Published by Titan Books
ISBN #1-84576-343-2

Crystal Lake Memories

I know it’s impossible to tell from reading this site, but I’m a fan of the Friday the 13th films.  As a kid growing up in the 80s there was literally nothing scarier than the thought of running into Jason Voorhees while out playing in the nearby woods.  Jason’s lost some of his fright with the endless sequels, terrible acting, and barely-there plots, but he’s still a vital part of American pop culture and this beautiful, big hardcover coffee table book shows why.  Great pictures and terrific anecdotes illustrate that even during the worst Friday the 13th movie, there were still people involved that cared and did their best, even though their best was woefully short of good.  Unbelievably worth it for not only the Friday the 13th fan, but anyone interested in what goes into making movies.


3) The Anarchist Cookbook
by William Powell Published by Barricade Books, Inc.
ISBN # 0-9623032-0-8

The Anarchist Cookbook

I’m, uh, borrowing this from a friend (thanks, Sparks) because I don’t want to be on any (more) government watch lists.  This is the infamous book first published in 1971 by controversial published Barricade Books, Inc.  It’s a fascinating read, if only as a product of its time.  I don’t recommend following any of the recipes in the book.  In all honesty, they’ll probably get you killed or incarcerated.  Sections:  Drugs (presented more as an educational summary than a how-to), Electronics, Sabotage, and Surveillance (somewhat outdated, but I guess some of this might still work), Natural, Nonlethal, and Lethal Weapons (pretty much anything to do with violence towards others, including “How to build a silencer for a submachine gun”!), and Explosives and Booby Traps (or “How to make TNT”).  Once again, don’t try this at home.  As the author himself says on the back cover, “This book is not for children or morons.”  Or anybody, really.


4) Weaveworld
by Clive Barker
ISBN #0743417356


I’m a big Clive Barker fan, and for me it all started here.  I just love the story, the characters, and the imagination behind it all.  It’s not what you’d typically expect when you hear “Clive Barker” (at least not back then).  Barker would go on to write a ton of my favorite books, such as The Great And Secret Show, Everville, and Imajica, but Weaveworld still remains a favorite.  That’s all I’m going to say about it.  Just read it.


5) The Girl With The Long Green Heart
by Lawrence Block Published by Hard Case Crime
ISBN # 0-8439-5585-6

The Girl With The Long Green Heart

I reviewed this one waaay back in April of 2008 and it’s still one of my all-time favorite crime thrillers.  If you’re looking for a quick, dirty story well-told with great characters and a complex plot, you can’t go wrong with Block.


6) Songs Of Innocence
By Richard Aleas Published by Hard Case Crime
ISBN # 0-8439-5773-5

Songs of Innocence

This is another Hard Case Crime entry that I reviewed (on September 3, 2008).  You might want to also pick up Aleas’ first book, Little Girl Lost, because this story, while stand-alone, features the same lead character.  One of the grimmest books I’ve read.  It will blow you away.


7) The Invisibles
by Grant Morrison Published by DC Comics
1994 – 2000

The Invisibles

I’m thinking about a writing a post dealing exclusively with The Invisibles. It’s easily one of my top ten favorite comic series of all time and still blows me away when I re-read it all these years later.  It has a lot of BIG IDEAS crammed into 59 issues.  Subversive, exhilarating, thought-provoking, and jaw-droppingly awesome, I can only strongly urge you to pick up the seven trade paperbacks of this series immediately.  And while you’re at it, might as well pick up the companion book.


8) God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
by Christopher Hitchens
ISBN # 0446579807

God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

Everyone has their opinion about religion and, odds are, everyone is wrong.  Hitchens, a writer for Vanity Fair, delivers a compelling, easy-to-read argument for atheism without resorting to name-calling or straw man attacks.  Anyone interested in religion or the state of the world should make this mandatory reading.  You don’t have to agree with it, but it might make you question some of your own long-standing beliefs, or at least look at them in a new way.


9) The Count Of Monte Cristo
by Alexandre Dumas
ISBN # 0140449264

The Count Of Monte Cristo

Here we go.  My favorite book of all time, hands down.  It took me forever to pick this up and read it.  The size is intimidating.  But once you get started, it really is tough to put down.  Dantes is a great, great character – maybe the best in fiction.  And Dumas is just a revelatory writer.   He takes what’s basically a revenge story and peppers it with interesting characters and unbelievable situations.  His set-up is fantastic, and the pay-off is one of the best things ever committed to paper.  Don’t let the fact that it’s old and long stop you from reading this.  I guarantee you’ll love it and curse yourself for not reading it sooner, just so you could read it again.


10) The Secret History
by Donna Tartt Published by Alfred A. Knopf
ISBN # 0-679-41032-5

The Secret History

I’ve lent this book out to several people.  I’d estimate 80% of them loved it.  The other 20%, not so much.  I think the characters put people off.  They’re NOT likable people.  But they’re not exactly loathsome either.  Anyone who has ever attending a university will recognize these characters.  They’re arrogant, annoying, and pretentious.  But you understand them, too.  And root for them to escape their fate, though the sense of dread and doom build throughout the book until the devastating ending that just makes you want to turn back to page one and start it all over again.


ColuMn does not recieve any kickback from sales generated by this post. We suggest that you borrow a copy from your local library or a friend. We’re also not above subtly implying shoplifting, but take no responsibilty for any charges filed.

But really, shell out the cash, cheapskate.


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