Oliver Sacks is also required reading in every cognitive neuroscience class. All his books are fascinating.
V.S. Ramachandran was required reading in one of my neuroscience seminars. This is a masterpiece.
I saw this gentleman lecture on nutrition. He is very smart.
The Merck Manual is the clinician's Bible. They made a version for patients to keep at home, written in lay English for the general public, but with exactly the same information. This is such a valuable book, really.
Yes, this book came out a million years ago, but it's a quick read that manages to pack in lots of super interesting facts (they happen to be about death and anatomy and corpses, but so what).
Throw out all those pairing books written by overly opinionated chefs and their egos. Instead take a spin with Chartier's book which uses SCIENCE.
A book designed to help guide you outside of your comfort level with wine, without trying to bombard you with all the regions, vintages and facts that often make many wine books a drag.
Because inspiration, even for cooking, came come from unlikely sources. Plus, this is what I can read and re-read and read again whilst stirring chutney all day!
Published in 1985 and widely available in used copies online, Julia Sahni covers the gamut of regional Indian cuisines in a surprisingly succinct tome (well, under 550 pages anyway). A careful selection of highly curated recipes + elegant food writing at its most refined.
Easy to follow instructions and a wide range of quirky and classic food preservation projects - from relishes to marmalades to pickles, ketchups and much more - make this the invaluable, must-have resource for home canners.
Probably the single best book on cinematic and narrative storytelling out there.
A fully readable, entertaining primer on all things American art + architecture. Especially good for communicating the themes that have been with us for hundreds of years. (Full disclosure: this was written by one of my favorite college profs, but it's great no matter what.)
An amazing collection of flash fiction that is a great pleasure read and also a great learning tool for every kind of writer.
Two diverse and game-changing books (along with Ways of Seeing) about art and photography.
One of my students suggested this book and it sounds awesome. It's a novel about a bear who plays the sax and is involved in the jazz world is also on the hunt for love. It's won some fiction awards, too.
I'm recommending just the essay here, the essay that comes from the book of the same name, although Joan Didion is an amazing writer all around. This isn't specifically a music essay, but we read a selection from this essay in every class, one that talks about the Doors, and every time without fail, the class is blown away. She's one of the best living writers, I think, and this essay is one way that shows it.
If you haven't read anything from Lester Bangs before, go out and get this book now. His style of writing is brash and all-over-the-place but is also so beautiful and poignant. Somehow he mixes these elements perfectly.
This is a book on Dylan but Greil Marcus is just such a great music writer that this is one way to see how he works. He'll make you see Dylan in a whole new way, but more importantly, you'll appreciate the quality of his music writing throughout.
This is Bob Dylan's autobiography and it's interesting either for the Bob Dylan fan or the literarily curious. Dylan maintains a very specific voice for the whole book, and you're forced to ask the question how much the "folk" factor plays into his stories--how much is true? How much is false? How much is embellishment? Definitely keeps you wondering throughout.
I recommend this book by way of saying this whole series is great and if you haven't read a book from it yet, you totally should! Each book is devoted to one album and the author can write about it however they choose--fiction, scholarly inquiry, journalistic profiling, personal essays, whatever. This particular book from the series is interesting b/c it's a wildcard subject that delves into the question of how we determine taste and why we perceive certain things as being "good." A really interesting read.
This is THE museum studies primer, containing texts from individuals involved with museums at all levels, spanning centuries of scholarship. It is a great introduction to the history and theory of museums, providing a springboard for additional inquiry.
Interviews with individuals who create and experience public art. Finkelpearl was the director of Percent for Art from 1990-1996.
Fairly comprehensive guide to permanent public art installations in NYC. Also excellent for creating your own self guided walking tour.