Books, books, books.

“Reading maketh a full man.” ~ Francis Bacon

Fuji X100s in front of books. Red background.

To be a better photographer, one should read books. Many books.

I noticed the other day there was yet another book list making the rounds on the intertubes. You know the kind, the top fifty or one-hundred essential books. Always with the tag line “How many have you read?” I’m a sucker for these. Even though I never agree with all the books on the various lists, I like to discover where the curators and I do find accord. But as I was scrolling through this latest and shaking my head or rolling my eyes at the inclusion of this book or that book, it occurred to me I should just make my own damn list! Why not, right? My parents raised an avid reader who’s reached a nice ripe middle age and has lost track of how many books he’s read. You can continue to mock other people’s lists, but what’s the point? Time to come up with your own, Mr Smartie-pants.

OK then, for what it’s worth and in no particular order…

Michael Kircher’s 50 Essential Books™
Sure To Make You A Better Photographer. 
(also Spouse, Parent, Friend, Lover … You can thank me later. ) 

  1. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
  2. On The Road – Jack Kerouac
  3. Sabbath’s Theater – Philip Roth
  4. Lie Down In Darkness – William Styron
  5. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  6. To The Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
  7. The Shipping News – Annie Proulx
  8. Empire – Gore Vidal
  9. Hamlet – William Shakespeare
  10. Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S Thompson
  11. The Sea Wolf – Jack London
  12. Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut
  13. Couples – John Updike
  14. Candide – Voltaire
  15. Lonesome Dove – Larry McMurtry
  16. A long Way Down – Nick Hornsby
  17. Priority – Iselin C. Hermann
  18. For Whom The Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
  19. Democracy – Henry Adams
  20. One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich – Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  21. Europa – Tim Parks
  22. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  23. The Elegance of The Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery
  24. The Clothes They Stood Up In – Alan Bennett
  25. Frenchman’s Creek – Daphne du Maurier
  26. The Fermata – Nicholson Baker
  27. The Razors Edge – W. Somerset Maugham
  28. The Quiet American – Graham Greene
  29. A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  30. Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  31. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  32. Bunker Hill – Howard Fast
  33. The Girl Of The Sea Of Cortez – Peter Benchley
  34. The Cheese Monkeys – Chip Kidd
  35. West With The Night – Beryl Markham
  36. Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
  37. Guerrillas – V.S. Naipal
  38. Tropic Of Cancer – Henry Miller
  39. The Magician’s Assistant -Anne Patchett
  40. The Farewell Party – Milan Kundera
  41. Lady Chatterly’s Lover – D.H. Lawrence
  42. Centennial- James A. Michener
  43. A Prayer For Owen Meany – John Irving
  44. The Killer Angels – Michael Shaara
  45. On Photography – Susan Sontag
  46. The Adventures of Augie March – Saul Bellow
  47. Angel Of Lucifer – William Kircher
  48. Beach Combing At Miramar – Richard Bode
  49. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
  50. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo


Please feel free to share the books that most influenced you in the comments. The more the better.

8 thoughts on “Books, books, books.

  1. My oh my, our taste in books are so extreme. I have read 3 of your 50 books. How about ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and of course you forgot all of Jimmy Buffett’s novels.

  2. Mike, I gotta chime in here. Adding a few personal favorites!

    The Power of One – Bryce Courtenay
    The Rum Diaries – HST
    To the Ends of the Earth – Paul Theroux
    Mosquito Coast – Paul Theroux
    A Fool’s Progress – Ed Abby
    At Play in the Fields of the Lord – Peter Matthiessen

    Reading The Lost City Of Z right now!

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