Sixteen of my favorite books (in no particular order):
1) "If I Ever Get Back to Georgia, I'm Going to Nail My Feet to the Ground", Lewis Grizzard
I used to wake up my wife I'd laugh so hard reading this book. If you've never worked in the newspaper business, it might not be quite as funny. If you've ever read a newspaper, it's worth reading. I miss Grizzard.
2) "The Grapes of Wrath", John Steinbeck
I think it was Charlie "Tremendous" Jones who said that you'll be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read. This book was a life changer as far as taking things for granted.
3) Little League Confidential, Bill Geist
I love books that make me laugh. If you've ever coached Little League baseball - or any youth sport, this is a must-read. The language is a little crude but it's one of the funniest books I've ever read.
4) The Firm, John Grisham
This came the closest to the movie being as good as the book as any I've ever watched/seen. The book is better, though.
5) Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger
Yes, the list is a bit sports-heavy. Sorry. I used to read this before every football season. It's just as good the 10th time as it was the first. Do NOT watch the movie and think you've covered it. They're nothing alike and the movie is an embarrassment. And, no, the television show wasn't anything like the book, either. (Loved the show, though)
6) Tales from Q School: Inside Golf's Fifth Major, John Feinstein
Great book about guys fighting for their lives to get to the PGA Tour - and to stay there.
7) Who's Your Caddy?: Looping for the Great, Near Great, and Reprobates of Golf, Rick Reilly
Laughed until I cried. I would actually have to take breaks from reading this book. Almost too funny.
8) The Day Kennedy Was Shot, Jim Bishop
There are probably a thousand books about the day President Kennedy was shot. This is the best I've read. Details all the players on an hour-by-hour basis.
9) A Painted House, John Grisham
This list isn't in order . . . or this book would probably be at the top of the list.
10) The Kid Who Batted 1,000, Bob Allison and Frank Ernest Hill
A little silly but it was one of my favorites as a youngster
11) Matt Gargan's Boy, Alfred Slote
Good luck finding this one. Another childhood favorite.
12) Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt
If you're looking for something a little different.
13) Strike Three, Clair Bee
First book I ever read for pleasure.
14) Holy Cow!, Harry Caray
15) Paper Lion, George Plimpton
Funny and informative.
16) Ball Four, Jim Bouton
Not for children.