Peter Steinberg's Reading List

shelved under Personal Favorites

While building this website, I've had the unique experience of reading about hundreds of books I wouldn't otherwise have come across. A few, those listed below, sounded so great that I wanted to add them to my "must read someday" list. 

So... while I haven't read a single one of the books below (and therefore can't personally vouch for their individual quality) they all sounded so good that I added them to this list.


A Soldier of the Great War

by Mark Helprin

I want/need/will/look forward to reading this book for several reasons. In no particular order: 1) my Uncle, who's an extremely discriminating reader who rarely reads fiction loves this book. 2) Helprin's A Winter's Tale is one of my favorite novels of all time and I'm told this one is just as good. 3) I love history and find historical backdrops to novels a fantastic way to pick up a little knowledge on the side.

This book also appears on Ed Bomze's Favorite Fiction


The Source

by James A. Michener

Jon Christensen from Lehi, Utah says:

A spectacular adventure through the ages of Israel from the simple beginnings to the devastating modern wars as you venture up and up through an archaeological dig site. You get to meet and love characters from every historical era, and you can even learn a little history while you're at it. Truly a monumental piece of fiction.

This book also appears on Hal Steinberg's Favorite Novels


Portnoy's Complaint

by Philip Roth

Rodney Welch from Columbia, SC says:

With his third novel, Roth truly found a voice he could speak through: a young Jewish lawyer, speaking from the psychiatric couch, whose life is one long litany of sexual, religious, and social neuroses.

The book is frank, filthy, and very, very funny: a hilarious stand-up routine and a most inspired literary performance. One of those books that is just absolutely assured from the beginning. A comic masterpiece of the first order.


The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom

by Slavomir Rawicz

Simeon Stolzberg says:

Although controversial, this adventure is so preposterous that I want to believe it's true. A small group escapes from a frozen Soviet Gulag and walks to freedom in India, meeting incredible people along the route. It's a page-turner.

This book also appears on Simeon Stolzberg's Favorite Books


The Great Brain Is Back

by John D. Fitzgerald

Note that this book was published posthumously from notes left behind by the author. Having read it, it's a nice piece of nostalgia and a must-read for any fan of the original seven Great Brain books... but it's definitely not quite as good as the others.

This book also appears on The Complete Great Brain Series


The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger

by Marc Levinson

Ok. I'll admit, this book sounds... BORING. But it's supposed to be downright fascinating so heck, I'll read it.


A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

by Ishmael Beah

LauraG from Toronto, Ontario says:

It's a horrifying yet inspirational story. Ishmael Beah's voice is accessible and powerful - you won't put it down until it's over. The details of his journey are unforgettable and will change the way you respond to current human rights issues.


Fight Club

by Chuck Palahniuk

I usually don't seek out a book after I've seen a movie version. Yes, the book is almost always better but once you know what's going to happen, the plot no longer matters and it becomes solely an exercise in appreciating the language. In this case though, I was so blown away by the movie I have to read the book. Furthermore, there's an incredible plot twist that worked extremely well in a movie and yet I can't figure out how it would work in a book. Time will tell I suppose. :-)


The Best Day The Worst Day: Life with Jane Kenyon

by Donald Hall

I came across this book while working on another list. A trusted friend, Dervala, described it as:

"There's lots of joy in this book. It's a clear-eyed and unsentimental look at sickness and death, but a good chunk of it is the story of their unusual marriage and how they lived and worked."

Beyond that, I don't want to learn any more. I trust Dervala and I want to read this book some day and I think it will have that much more impact if I go into it clean.

This book also appears on Odes to Dead Spouses