The Brothers Karamazov/ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Where to start? It's more than a story. It's more than about Russia, or fathers and sons, or a murder mystery, or the conflict what's right and what's wrong. Worth reading just for the chapter called "The Grand Inquisitor" alone, it also manages to be entertaining and a surprisingly fast read for its heft. It was Dostoyevsky's last and possibly finest book and may have actually been a prequel to something else he never got around to writing.

The Iliad/ Homer

"Old dead guy?" Yeah, but what an old dead guy! I've never understood that prejudice against the classics. They've been around longer than whole civilizations because they are that good. While The Iliad is about war and much of it concerns descriptions of battle, it doesn't bow down to it, but instead illustrates the sheer waste of that war... or any other. While Hector did nothing to begin the conflict, he has to end it, one way or another.

Caesar/ Christian Meier

Alright, it does drone on and on. You can almost hear it written in German even if you're reading a translation, but it's so beautifully comprehensive, I wish other tomes of this breadth existed on other topics, but I'll settle for this one on of Western Civilizations greatest movers and shakers. It also brings up past events and sets them flush against our own. If nothing else, it illustrates nothing's changed and Aldous Huxley was right when he said the one lesson we can get from history is that no one ever learns anything from it.

Brave New World/ Aldous Huxley

Small, innocent-looking paperback but ages ahead of its time and still currrent today... and by that token, unsettling. How much of this has come true? How much was Huxley right? Reads easily, too.

Romeo & Juliet/ William Shakespeare

We all know the story's trite and it's almost become a cliche, but the poetry is unequaled and it speaks loud and clear. I'm a firm believer Shakespeare should be heard and not read, but if the real thing isn't available, the next best thing is sitting in a library near you.