Bill Scheft is a writer for The Late Show With David Letterman. His first novel is The Ringer (HarperCollins Publishers, $25). Here he lists his “six favorite books that I hope no one else has listed.”
The Poems of Catullus by Gaius Valerius Catullus (Oxford University Press, $11). The unsung lyric poet and elegist is best in Latin, but still pretty damn seminal in English. The guy who taught me the value of the word. Read poem No. 85 and get back to me.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Lenny Bruce!! by Albert Goldman (out of print). Before Goldman lost his mind and began his genre of vendetta biography, he wrote this careening million-page ride through a life, a career, a generation
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Good Times, Bad Times by James Kirkwood (out of print). The author became famous for writing the book to A Chorus Line, but this novel should be his legacy. If you went to prep school, or know somebody who did, or know somebody who looks like they did, this is required reading.
A Special Providence (Picador USA, $13); Disturbing the Peace (out of print) by Richard Yates. Can’t decide, so kill me. My favorite author and the Dean of Broken People of the 1950s. Despair, disappointment, alcoholism, courage, and all that stuff we love to get neck-deep in.
I Married a Communist by Philip Roth (Vintage Books, $14). My second-favorite Roth work, only because I was desperately afraid some poacher would list The Professor of Desire. This book is “I have to get out of the business” good. Then I realized, I ain’t in the same business as this guy.
On the Tour With Harry Sprague by Herbert Warren Wind (out of print). The only novel written by my uncle, the legendary golf writer for The New Yorker. Big-time hilarious.
Makes You Know Me, Al look like a student film. (If you get the reprint from “Classics of Golf,” don’t miss the foreword, written by my mom.)
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