Valley of the Dolls
Descend into the pill-addicted world of 1940s and 1950s New York in the greatest trashy novel ever written.
A Walk in the Woods
Bill Bryson takes off along the Appalachian Trail with a recovering-alcoholic acquaintance from his college days. Neither them are outdoorsy, and their humorous journey will either make you roll up your sleeping bag and head out into the great outdoors or swear off camping forever.
John Jeremiah Sullivan's first essay collection takes on everything from The Real World to Christian rock festivals. His prose is funny, easy to read, and often deeply insightful about the foibles of American pop culture.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
If you only read one spy novel in your life, make it John LeCarre's masterpiece about the irrepressible George Smiley sniffing out a mole in British Intelligence during the Cold War in England.
The Sun Also Rises
You might have read Hemingway's first novel about disaffected expatriates on a wine-soaked holiday in Spain in your 11th grade English class, but trust us, it only improves with age.
There's nothing quite like the seedy Florida underworld that Carl Hiaasen conjures in his detective novels. It's hard to go wrong with any of his mysteries, but this one involves two of our favorite things: a dead rock star and a newspaper.
The Sex Lives of Cannibals
J. Maarten Troost's masterful and hilarious travelogue about dropping out of society and attempting to live on a South Pacific island "paradise" for two years.
In Gay Talese's masterpiece, tough men spend their days welding and riveting and climbing steel wires without a harness; and spend their nights raging to their hearts' content.