I attend many book clubs to talk about The Lotus Eaters, and I have been asked over and over by members to recommend my favorite books. Those of us who aren't English majors have often skipped what I'll call the contemporary classics in favor of what is newly published. This is a mistake in my opinion, because as much as new books need readers, it is also important to develop as a reader, as well as a writer, by reading works that have withstood the test of time. Even if it's a shorter length of time than for Hemingway or Fitzgerald. When I am asked about books covering the Vietnam war, I always point first to the work of Tim O'Brien: The Things They Carried, but also, Going After Cacciato, and In the Lake of the Woods. There is simply no account of the soldiers' experience as well written, and also as bravely anti-war, as Mr. O'Brien's books.
On my website, I have a list of recommended fiction on Vietnam:
In the next few weeks, I will also include a general fiction post of favorites. One of the real pleasures in talking about books is sharing favorites.