Birds of Prey – DC Comics
The resident female characters of Gotham City are among my favorite in all of fiction. No “Batman” book has ever captured the sense of empowerment embodied by the woman of the Dark Knight’s city than the early 2000s run of “Birds of Prey”, written by Gail Simone and penciled by Ed Benes.
There is little bit of all the Gotham girls in "Caitlin Star", especially Black Canary, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy from an anti-hero's perspective.
Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors
“Before the Dawn” by Nicholas Wade is a furious and fascinating page turner that I could not get enough of. It is a non-fiction science book that attempts to solve the mysteries of human prehistory, especially the lost years between the exodus of modern humans out of Africa 50,000 years ago until the beginnings of recorded human history and urbanized civilization roughly 5000 years ago.
The scientific discoveries reported on in this book were a major launching pad for the pre-history timeline and Bull Mongoni mythology of the “CaitlinStar” series.
“Shadows of the Empire” by Steve Perry
This book excels at world-building just as much as it does characters. The setting is richly detailed, a vast underworld of the "Star Wars" universe hinted at in the final act of "Empire" and the opening set-piece in "Jedi" and fully explored here in an irresistible fashion by author Steve Perry.
At its core, "Shadows of the Empire" is an epic gangster story that makes fantastic use of the most interesting period in all of the "Star Wars", the time between "Empire" and "Jedi".
Brak the Barbarian by John Jakes
First published in 1968 at the amid a torrid Frank Frazetta/Robert E. Howard inspired sword and sorcery boom that lasted right up into the early 1980s, this John Jakes “Conan” rip off is a glorious pulp masterwork in its own right.
What sets the “Brak” series apart from other Conan posers is John Jakes himself. He is a fantastic storyteller and a brilliant craftsman who writes visually and has a keen sense of pacing. There is a reason all of those historical novels of his (“The Bastard”, “North and South”, etc.) sold by the tens of millions. The guy can flat out write great fiction.
The vivid, colorful prose, the visceral physicality, and the attitude.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The original dystopian, big brother, social commentary satire novel that often gets overshadowed by "1984" and the rest of the recently re-surging genre. I first read this book in an eighth grade literature class. I was blown by away it then and still love it today.
The idea of a society where the powers to be (be it state, corporate or otherwise), want to impose their own perverted sense of moral superiority on others in order to control them.