A Life in Books: Michael Lewis

1. "A Confederacy of Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole. It's among the funniest books ever written.

2. "Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain. It gave me a new sense of the pleasure to be had from books.

3. "The Education of Henry Adams." The book I kept nearest at hand when I wrote my own first book.

4. "Writing Home" by Alan Bennett. Reminds me of how much interest can be got from paying attention to the most picayune details of life.

5. "The Right Stuff" by Tom Wolfe. It put to rest any fears about the limits of the nonfiction narrative.

A book to which you always return: George Orwell's "Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters" reminds me of the force of a writer working to strip his prose of pretension and nonsense.

A book you hope parents give to their children: "His Dark Materials" by Philip Pullman. Even my 8-year-old could sense she was in the grips of a master storyteller.