A Life In Books: Khaled Hosseini

The Afghan-American author is known for a pair of wrenching novels about his childhood home: " The Kite Runner, " a massive best seller and now a feature film, and more recently " A Thousand Splendid Suns . " His picks, in no specific order:

My Five Most Important Books

1. "Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings" by Abolqasem Ferdowsi. This 11th-century epic is the jewel of Persian literature.

2. The Qur'an. Hypnotically poetic, the Qur'an is the central text of divine guidance for a billion people.

3. The Bible. The Christian holy text through which God reveals himself to man. Even "Harry Potter" can't compete with its sales.

4. "The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin. The basis of modern biology, the primary model for the diversity of life on earth.

5. "Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoevsky. No novel captures isolation, guilt, spiritual unraveling and salvation like it.

A Classic You Revisited With Disappointment: "The Catcher in the Rye" by J. D. Salinger. When I was a teen, I thought Holden Caulfield was brilliant. Now I find his self-absorption hard to forgive.

A Book You Hope Parents Would Read To Their Kids: "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein. The ultimate tale of selfless, undying love.