Former Newsweek media writer Seth Mnookin is the author of Hard News: The Scandals at The New York Times and Their Meaning for American Media.

All the President’s Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (Simon & Schuster, $14). Yeah, yeah, I know—a journalist giving the obligatory nod to Woodward and Bernstein. But this is a true-crime story as much as it’s a newsroom tale. I tried to ape the excitement and tension in Hard News.

The Great Shark Hunt by Hunter S. Thompson (Simon & Schuster, $16). For folks who think Thompson’s just the drug-addled writer brought to life by Johnny Depp on the big screen, check this out—it’s simply the most exhilarating collection of articles ever set to page. The title story alone is more than worth the price of admission.

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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (Vintage, $15). My favorite contemporary writer. This dreamlike novel is as close to a thing of wonder as I’ve ever read. There are scenes in here that still give me chills.

Underworld by Don DeLillo (Scribner, $16). A ménage à trois of baseball, the Cold War, and the tenuousness of human connections. Spree killers, nuns, nuclear warheads, Jackie Gleason, the American desert, J. Edgar Hoover, and “the Shot Heard ’Round the World” are all woven together in this spellbinding novel.

Selected Stories by Andre Dubus (Vintage, $15). Dubus, the best short story writer this country has ever produced, deserves a Library of America volume of his complete works, crystalline portraits describing the frailty of human life. For the time being, the Selected Stories will have to do. Dubus’ two essay collections, Broken Vessels and Meditations From a Movable Chair, are also painfully brilliant.

The Killer Inside Me

The Killer Inside Me

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