Classmates share ‘most memorable’ books


On the occasion of our 45th reunion, we asked classmates to name the most memorable books they had read since graduation day in 1974.

The responses were as diverse and far-ranging as you’d expect from our classmates, tending toward history, biography and classic novels but also including religious texts and fantasy fiction. The most frequently mentioned authors were Robert Caro, Charles Dickens, Patrick O’Brian, Philip Roth, Leo Tolstoy, John Updike and Edward O. Wilson.

Here are the individual titles (or in some cases, series) most frequently mentioned as “most memorable books.”

Add your suggestions and comments on our Facebook 1974 group page (contact Alec if you need an invite to the group).

  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (anthropology – 2018) by Yuval Harari
  • Guns, Germs and Steel (geography-history – 2014) by Jared Diamond
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow (psychology – 2011) by Daniel Kahneman
  • Master and Commander series (historical nautical novels 1969-2000) by Patrick O’Brian
  • The Bible (2nd century BCE, first print version 1455!)
master and commander
“Master and Commander”
  • A Gentleman in Moscow (historical thriller – 2019) by Amor Towles
  • Moby Dick (literary novel – 1851) by Herman Melville
  • Harry Potter series (fantasy – 1998-2007) by J.K. Rowling
  • Ulysses (literary novel – 1922) by James Joyce
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude (magical realist novel – 1967) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • War and Peace (historical novel – 1869) by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Power Broker (biography of Robert Moses – 1975) by Robert Caro
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (metaphysical fiction – 1974) by Robert Pirsig
  • Angle of Repose (historical novel – 1971) by Wallace Stegner
  • Neuromancer (science fiction – 1984) by William Gibson
  • All the Light We Cannot See (historical novel – 2014) by Anthony Doerr
  • Team of Rivals (history of Abraham Lincoln – 2006) by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Anna Karenina (historical novel – 1878) by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being (historical novel – 1984) by Milos Kundera
  • Years of Lyndon Johnson series (4-volume biography – 1982-2012) by Robert Caro
  • Steve Jobs (biography – 2011) by Walter Isaacson