It’s about time that something other than textbooks got thrown into the mix. My reading diet has consisted of a half dozen college texts, as I hunt for work as a writer (it’s looking more and more like I’ll have to pursue freelance work and get a regular job until a staff position opens up somewhere).
In the meantime, I’ve been slowly working some Kurt Vonnegut into the mix. I had read three of his books during college - not to completion - including Timequake, Cat’s Cradle and Hocus Pocus. Re-reading them has been a joy, but I need more. I will continue to pursue Vonnegut until I have read his full catalogue.
But I need suggestions. I enjoy authors like Vonnegut: authors who weave interesting stories within actual historical events, with witty and thoughtful dialogue and meaningful and topical themes. I want to read books that will make me wiser and perhaps even a better observer of the world around me.
May or may not be up your street, Robert Kaplan has written a serious of books, a mixture of journalism and travel books, that range between the Balkans, the Middle East, southwest Asia and the upper half of Africa for the most part. Balkan Ghosts is probably his most famous work, though others like Surrender or Starve or Eastward to Tartary are interesting for their scope.
Sebastien Junger’s Fire to me is a great collection of journalistic inspiration; how he started his writing career with nothing but an idea to write about a forest fire, and how he slowly expanded from there - from other forest fire stories to an old Caribbean whale hunter to Yugoslavia and Cyprus - and would eventually write The Perfect Storm, after which he went to Afghanistan and wrote about Massoud (then went back during Enduring Freedom).
Two sets of good collections come from David Roberts, who pioneered the kind of adventure/outdoor writing that Jon Krakauer (Into Thin Air) became so well known about - if you like stuff about that kind of activity. Krakauer’s Eiger Dreams is generally decent as well (and Into the Wild is just damn good). I may be getting a bit off field however.
All of these guys are basically journalist/writers that wrote for magazines of various types and later collated their works into books, or based a book on one of their works.