Orality and Literacy

Walter J. Ong

Perhaps the only book I’ve discovered that carefully and thoroughly addresses the differences between oral and literate cultures.

Small Is Beautiful

E. F. Schumacher

Schumacher brilliantly interrogates modern economics and proposes an alternative: a Buddhist economics that takes as its imperative the quality of human life, not the quantity of profit.

A History of Reading

Alberto Manguel

Manguel’s lifelong dedication to reading plays itself out in a work that follows reading from clay tablets to present day.

Collected Fictions

Jorge Luis Borges

Short, surreal little tales that experiment with the form of the story and often take the library as their subject.

Gravity’s Rainbow

Thomas Pynchon

Pynchon’s famously difficult masterpiece. I destroyed three copies in a (failed) effort to grasp it completely.

The Comedy of Survival

Joseph Meeker

Meeker argues that the destructive aspects of western civilization are founded on the tragic mode, while the comic mode offers a path for redemption.