Under construction (mostly).

Few connecting threads between the books here except perhaps the author's ability to both offer great insight into humanity and to share it.

book author comments
East of Eden John Steinbeck Read the entire book in one sitting, which lasted all night until 8am in the morning. I cried at one point, and often re-read the section on Timshel. Steinbeck understands the human character really well and it shows.
Flowers for Algernon Daniel Keyes Either I pick binge-only books or I have poor self-control. One 4-hour sitting for this powerful book about pain, loneliness, and identity. “I don’t know what’s worse: to not know what you are and be happy, or to become what you’ve always wanted to be, and feel alone.”
Getting Filthy Rich in Rising Asia Mohsin Hamid Masterfully written (in a casual, facetious, and cynical voice) and readable in 2-3 hours, this book pokes at the meaning of life through the fictional case of an Indian entrepreneur's rags to riches life story. Excerpt featured in the New Yorker.
Malazan Book of the Fallen (series) Steve Erikson A series of 10 books (each >500p) written in a fantastical universe. The universe is excruciatingly well-detailed, and the author drops you right in with much less exposition than you need. I found this on reddit described as a must-read (fantasy) series, and I agree -- if you have the endurance. I got a lot more on my second read through. I love the author's understanding and portrayal of the human experience and strongly disagree with the opinion that "fantasy has no use". Fantasy (if used appropriately) can be used to explore elements of the human experience (i.e. search for meaning) that might not be adequately explored in strictly non-fictional settings.
Speak Laurie Halse Anderson Masterfully written in the voice of a high school student traumatized by sexual assault, Speak documents her struggles to return her mind and life to some semblance of normalcy. I found this book recommended on reddit when I was looking for some/any understanding of a victim/survivor's perspective, and I'm glad that I picked it up. There is a film adapation, the full version of which is on YouTube here.