Once upon a time, I started a thread for CFC's own list of classic books--books that are considered essential to understanding the world in fiction and non-fiction. This time around, you must post ten. No more, no less. Please explain why. 1. The Bible - Let's get this one out of the way. Find yourself a good companion guide and get started on Semitic/Abrahamic culture. 2. Shakespeare's works - Arguably the most influential writer ever when it comes to dramatic characterization, storytelling, diction, poetry, etc. 3. Walden, Thoreau - A rambling thesis on self-empowerment that is far more thoughtful and compassionate than Ayn Rand's ideas. 4. Strunk and White's Elements of Style - Because learning to write better will help you to read better and appreciate better prose. 5. Poetry of Rumi and Hafiz - Like Shakespeare, what these two have written are surprisingly modern and relevant. 6. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy - Before HBO character epics like The Wire, there was Tolstoy's look at different parts of Russian society during Napoleon's siege. 7. Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud - One of the most influential books for me. Aside from gaining a better appreciation of the format, it also forces one to really think about how format can influence communication. 8. Lore of Running, Tim Noakes - Contains tons of statistics, scientific studies, and important suggestions for running. 9. Interpersonal Process in Therapy, Edward Teyber - I find Teyber's approach to be just as useful in therapy as cognitive-behavioral techniques. You can apply it to fiction and actually read characters' intentions better. 10. Robert E. Howard's Conan stories - Because it's Conan and because Howard's gritty detail and storytelling are just as entertaining as ever. I reserve the right to say I'm wrong about all of this.