I have always been an avid reader, though recently, it seems that I fill my time doing other things to the point that reading gets squeezed out. I read mostly fiction, and really enjoy the works by Isaac Asimov, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Robert Heinlein (older stuff) and the like. Below are some of the books/series that really stand out in my mind...

Isaac Asimov is far and away my favorite author. He has written more books on a wider range of topics then perhaps anyone ever. The Foundation series is perhaps one of Asimov's most defining series. To get the BIG PICTURE of Asimov's universe, one must read the Foundation books and nearly all of his other Sci-Fi books, especially "End Of Eternity". It all ends up so circular and intertwined that there really is no right book to start with, so read them all.
Douglas Hofstadter's "Go:del, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid" is perhaps my favorite book. It uses a rich and diverse set of information to deliver a rather complex idea. He focusses on the overlap of the concepts explored by the mathematician Go:del, the artist Escher, and the musician Bach. He alternates chapters between the technical descriptions of the concepts, and a humorous dialog between Achilles, a tortoise, and an odd assortment of other characters that play with the concepts in a number of unique and interesting ways. I will not attempt to describe what these concepts are, as that is what the book does much better.
I recommend "Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World's Great Physicists" to anyone who can find it. I am not sure of its availability. It is a collection of philosophical essays written by some of the most influential physicists ever. These are their views on the ramifications of their work on their spiritual and philosophical views. All of these great men (Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Einstein, de Broglie, Jeans, Plaank, Pauli and Eddington) shared a profoundly mystical view of reality through their understanding of science. Anyone who believes that science contradicts or refutes a spiritualistic world-view could learn alot from these guys. This is pretty heavy reading.
-------------------- ej q&a table of contents You are in a periphery section of Erik Johnson's Virtual Gallery. If you have come here directly from a net search, you will find that there is alot more here than just books.