Let's get some activity going here. Let's hear everyone's favorite fiction work, non-fiction work, and a wild card, which you can use to talk about anything. I'll go first.
Fiction: Infinite Jest
I've read better novels than Infinite Jest, but the fact I finished the fucking thing makes me put it here: I still consider it an achievement. That said, it's a great novel, and I remember the details of it vividly even though I read it 8 years ago. It follows three stories concurrenly, if not temporally. The first is the story of young Hal Incandenza, a pot-addled teenager enrolled at the Enfield Tennis Academy in Boston, which is run by his mother, Avril, after the father's suicide. The second story is tha of ex-con Don Gately, who lives in a halfway house just down the hill from the Academy, and the third is a conversation between a wheelchair-bound assassin and somebody else on the American-Canadian border. Yep, it's a riot. On top of the 1100 pages of text, there are 100 pages of footnotes. This book is kind of like an acid trip in that I don't think I have the time and energy for it now, but I did back then, and I'm better for it. A really suberb experience.
Non-Fiction: The Power Broker
Quite simply the greatest book I have ever read. In recording the story of Robert Moses, New York's Parks Commissioner-turned-Czar, Robert Caro won a Pulitzer Prize and essentially wrote the post-Tammany Hall history of New York City. I would definitely say it helped to read the book while living in the city, just because every single part of the city, and how it was created, is discussed in the book, which like IJ is over 1000 pages. The amount of research is simply staggering, and it's baffling to think Caro wrote three (!) of these books on Lyndon Johnson, but that may be overkill. Maybe I'll get to them and like them more. But for now, this is the one.
Wild Card: Crappy Books
Yes, I could have gone with some Gabriel Garcia Marquez or some shit like that, but why? On occasion, I read crappy Robert Ludlum novels like The Prometheus Deception, which itself was a running joke between myself and BAG. While the plots of these books are standard (thirty-to-fourtysomething white hero, unnecessarily hot female along for the ride, predictable plot twist), it would be wrong to think you can't learn something by reading them. They're page-turners, which means they're almost uniformly well-written; they may be uninspired, but great ideas alone won't get you into Barnes and Noble. You need to keep people's attention, and I find I learn something about reading - which helps my writing - by tearing one of those books apart, and it only takes a couple hours. And there's guns and sex and stuff, which is fun.