The Iowa Baseball Confederacy by W.P. Kinsella (recommended by Deputy Chief of Mission, John Law)
“The Iowa Baseball Confederacy” – In his first novel since Shoeless Joe, Kinsella returns to the magical turf he is known for: a loving mixture of baseball, life and fantasy, in a world where dreams don’t have to come true, because they have a validity all their own. The book is a bit like Lost. There’s time travel, religious overtones, unknown hands manipulating an often inhospitable environment-all that’s missing is a smoke monster. But just like Lost, you don’t need to understand every last thing to marvel at the inventive storytelling. That’s not to say, however, that you won’t become obsessed enough to keep on digging.
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (recommended by Kristen, Ambassador’s Office)
This was Chandler’s first, and often considered best, book. Readers are first introduced to Philip Marlowe, the consummate hard-boiled detective. This book also establishes the Los Angeles of Chandler’s imagination: dark, dangerous, dingy, filled with beautiful women and suited men with pistols.