Hanna Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt, 1951). I was assigned this book as a freshman in college and read the first 50 pages. Saw it in the bookstore and gave it another try. Rather long, deep and slow-reading ( I often read a passage twice). Very insightful and thoughtful analysis of the form of government of Hitler and Stalin.
Oleg V. Khlevniuk, translated by Nora Seligman Favorov, Stalin, New Biography of a Dictator (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015). An interesting medium length biography. As it is a translation it at times was like reading the news, but was generally very readable and informative.
Robert Fagles, The Odyssey by Homer (New York: Penguin Books, 1996). This book is shown on a web site called The Greatest Books as the fourth on the list and the third on the list is supposed to be based on it.
John Man, Marco Polo, The Journey that Changed the World (New York: Harper Collins, 2009).
Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (New York: Henry Holt, 2014). A discussion of past extinction events in earth’s geological past and the idea that humans are currently being the cause of a new extinction event.
Colt McAnlis & Aleks Haecky, Understanding Compression (Sebastopol, Calif.: O’Reilly, 2016). A discussion of some algorithms used by computers to compress data.
David McCullough, 1776 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005). An historical account of the first year of the American Revolution.
Barry Strauss, The Trojan War, A New History (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006). An historical account of the Trojan War of the Iliad.
Jack Weatherford, Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World (New York: Broadway Books, 2004). I visited a Genghis Khan exhibit at the Discovery Place museum in Charlotte, and bought this book in the bookstore on the way out.
Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor’s Tale, A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution (New York: Mariner, 2004). A rather long book. It starts with humans and goes back in time to ancestors we shared with other things that are living today. A chapter for each common ancestor as you go back in time to common ancestor of fish, plants, fungi, bacteria, etc. At each chapter he uses it to illustrate some points about evolution.