Too few academics read widely outside their discipline. In truth, they often read little outside their specialty. Sociologists are no exception. Ironically, it is the human condition, in its most expansive understanding, that grounds our work as sociologists. This list of novels, essays, plays, and poems are some of the works that have provided meaning for my intellectual journey. I promise that they are works of substance, and that they will challenge you as they have challenged me. This list, and others like it, make us more fully human, humanistic sociologists, so to speak. The list is not static; what I list today has changed since yesterday and, hopefully, it will be transformed by tomorrow. That should be the story of the life your own mind.

The Castle, Kafka

Gilead, Marilynne Robinson

The Plague, Camus

Rules for Radicals, Alinsky

Inferno, Dante

A Pen Warmed up in Hell, Twain

Fierce Attachments, Gornick

Invisible Man, Ellison

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Wolfe

The Death of Ivan Ilyich & Other Stories, Tolstoy (Pervear & Voloshonsky translation)

Baudelaire: Poems, Baudelaire

Tao Te Ching, Lao-tzu

Selection from the Essays, Montaigne

The White Album, Didion

Three Plays, Wilson

From Dictatorship to Democracy, Sharp

Moby Dick, Melville

The Communist Manifesto, Marx

The Hamlet, Faulkner

Tell Me a Riddle, Olsen

Julius Ceasar, Shakespeare

The Wisdom Books [of the Bible], Alter

Escape From Freedom, Fromm

All the King’s Men, Warren

Talking into the Ear of a Donkey, Bly

On Liberty, Mill

Cat’s Cradle, Vonnegut

Learning to Drive, Pollitt

Three Plays, Wilder

The Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha, Burtt

Plath: Poems, Plath

A Gathering of Old Men, Gaines

Angels in America, Kushner

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery

Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell

Ecce Homo, Nietzsche

Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas, Thompson

Absalom, Absalom!, Faulkner

Hughes: Poems, Hughes

Three Plays, Chekhov

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, McCullers

Hunger of Memory, Rodriguez

The Long Haul, Horton

The Vintage Sacks. Sacks

Blood Meridan, McCarthy

Faust Part I, Goethe

Notes of a Native Son, Son Baldwin

My Antonia, Cather

The Heart of William James, Richardson

John Berryman Selected Poems, Berryman

Selected Stories of Anton Checkhov, Pervear & Voloshonsky translation

Waiting for Godot, Beckett

Open Letters, Havel

Rimbaud: Poems, Rimbaud

Borderlands, Anzaldua

The Courage to Teach, Palmer

Slaughterhouse Five, Vonnegut

Macbeth, Shakespeare

The Search for Meaning, Frankl

Six American Poets, Conarroe

Collected Works, O’Connor

Under the Glacier, Laxness

Howl, Ginsberg

Arthur Miller: Collected Plays 1944-1961, Kushner

The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck

Darkwater, Du Bois

Montaigne’s Essays

Black Feminist Thought, Hill Collins

Facing Unpleasant Facts, Orwell

Philip Larkin Poems, Amis

The Road, McCarthy

Socrates, Buddha, Confucius and Jesus, Jaspers

Crises of the Republic, Arendt

In Dubious Battle, Steinbeck

The Coast of Utopia, Stoppard

Frost: PoemsHollander

Drawing the Line Once Again, Goodman

Plainsong, Haruf

The Rebel, Camus

The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness, Niebuhr