EW Staff
January 23, 2009 AT 05:00 AM EST

John Grisham has always said he was a lackluster student — pinning his hopes on a pro ball career — and that he began writing stories only after becoming a lawyer. That’s when he became a voracious reader as well.

Mark Twain by Ron Powers
”An accessible and compelling biography of the great man.”

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
”A provocative look at who succeeds and why.”

The Second World War by John Keegan
”A defining history of the war.”

Marathon Man by William Goldman
”A book I reread to remind myself what great suspense should be.”

A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger
”The true story of a sensational crime and a wrongful conviction.”

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