What are some book recommendations to improve your brain?

Oh yes, books to get smarter and wiser! Good question. I had a similar longing and set out to create a master book list. My only criteria was that they be books that have stood the test of time. And let me tell you! Reading these books was one of the most impactful things I have ever done. They may not all be interesting to you, but since they are classics, the right editions will have a reliable translation and can often lead you to discover other good books. For example, a footnote in my copy of “War and Peace” prompted me to read Tolstoy’s short film “The Death of Ivan Ilyich.” Anyway, here is my master list.

  1. Plato’s dialogues
  2. Oedipus Rex (Sophocles)
  3. The City of God (Augustine of Hippo)
  4. Leviathan (Hobbes)
  5. The Divine Comedy (Dante)
  6. King Lear (Shakespeare)
  7. Paradise Lost (John Milton)
  8. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
  9. Agamemnon (Aeschylus)
  10. Antigone (Sophocles)
  11. Odes (Horace)
  12. Confessions (Augustine)
  13. Henry IV Pt. 2 (Shakespeare)
  14. Othello (Shakespeare)
  15. Hamlet (Shakespeare)
  16. The Tempest (Shakespeare)
  17. Volpone (Ben Johnson)
  18. Thoughts (Pascal)
  19. Phaedra (Racine)
  20. Culture Patterns (Ruth Benedict)
  21. In the South Seas (Stevenson)
  22. Christianity and classical culture (Cochrane)
  23. The Allegory of Love (CS Lewis)
  24. Marriage of Heaven and Hell (Blake)
  25. Faust (Goethe)
  26. Fear and Trembling (Kierkegaard)
  27. Diaries (Boudelaire)
  28. Peer Gynt (Ibsen)
  29. The Karamazov Brothers (Dostoevsky)
  30. A Season in Sick (Rimbaud)
  31. Education of Henry Adam
  32. Journals of my Other Self (Rilke)
  33. the castle (kafka)

Of course, whatever piques your interest besides these.