The list author says: "These are all first-quality reads, all genres, both fiction and non-fiction, no incompetent authors included. I've written detailed reviews of most of these if you'd like to know more.
"[A.K.A. "Mr. Jelly's Business" British title] When you begin reading Upfield (who died in 1964) you'll be wholly addicted to his numerous Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte mysteries, most of which are set in the Australian outback of the early 20th-Century."
"Non-fiction. This episode dwarfs the Columbine school disaster in its sheer magnitude -- few people know about this great tragedy involving a madman in Michigan, many years ago. A great amount of dynamite was shoved under a school over time and detonated while it was in session!"
"Don't let the bulky size of this fantastic Dostoevsky novel scare you. An old scoundrel gets himself murdered by one of his multiple sons. It's actually darkly humorous at times but really easy to read. Constance Garnett is the translator of this fine edition."
"Two kids conjure up a story-telling sprite while putting on a skit of "Midsummer Night's Dream"... inadvertently and precisely at a magical time and place -- the stories turn into journeys! Wonderful British fantasy."
"Non-fiction. Don't kid yourself that this is a boring read -- quite the opposite. One of the major contributors to this famous dictionary was a complete madman, locked away in an asylum, though no one realized it at the time!"
"Non-fiction. There has been a revival of interest in this gossipy British peccadillo, chiefly attributable to Prince Charles' most recent marriage. Lord Beaverbrook was working on the inside for the King. Postumously published."
"Non-fiction. A very detailed and frank exposition of The Windsor family, monarchs and royalty of Great Britain. I especially savored this gossipy work because it was published only weeks prior to Princess Di's tragic death and, therefore, pulls no punches, (not that this author would do so in any case.)"
"The best work that Hemingway ever did but I don't think that he ever intended for it to be published -- it came out long after his death. It's supposedly fiction but it's really about his life in Africa."
"Here's a classic that often slips under the radar -- I don't know why because it's compelling reading. The story is all about a religious zealot who dominates his son's life, even into adulthood. But the son blossoms with the aid of a kind mentor. Very well-written."
"So you thought that Marx and Engels invented Communism? Nope, Thomas More gave us all the details of such a society *long* before those two were ever born. And after you've read this story, you'll wonder why people think Utopia was such a terrific place."
"After Peter Lawford died, his wife completed his biography (chiefly from Lawford's own notes) and boy did she ever reveal some juicy secrets about Peter's mom, the Kennedys, Nancy [Davis] Reagan, and many more! Hot stuff and a great read."
"Yet another biography with a link to the Kennedys. Maria Callas was perhaps the greatest opera soprano of all time (it's clearly up for debate.) But one fact is certain: she was abruptly dropped by Aristotle Onassis for Jackie-O. This is a pretty tragic story about a remarkably talented and stunningly beautiful lady."
"Greene wrote so many great novels that it's a real head-scratcher to pick out just one. While not so well-known, I thought this story was one of his best. 'Travels with My Aunt' is equally terrific if you prefer humor."
"This is a children's book but I've never been caught so off-guard as I was when I first read these stories, all written by a young French girl and translated into English by Gertrude Stein's lifelong companion."
"If you have somehow missed out on the many fine books of P.T. Deutermann in your readings of contemporary fiction, this would be a great place to begin. *Compelling* doesn't even begin to adequately characterize this fine thriller."
"Hersey was a proven master at penning novels but this non-fictional account of the Detroit, Michigan race riots and the murders subsequently carried out by authorities is a nefarious incident of which we heard little at the time. Artfully conveyed."
"Once you've read a Victor Gunn (a pseudonym for Edwy Searles Brooks, died 1965) mystery you'll want to consume them all. They're not always easy to acquire but after you do, all the effort and expense becomes a secondary concern. English cozy murder is typically the most delightful sort."
"If I were forced to choose only 2 books from my huge library, I would pick 'War and Peace' plus this hilarious omnibus of nostalgic early teen-tales. Homer Price, the hayseed and youthful midwestern American Jeeves, can resolve any dilemma that adults can lay before him."