Thomas, I’m sorry to hear about your wife.
Kunal Shandilya
11

Wow — I wasn’t expecting a response. Thank You! Because of the size of my family (I inherited 3 stepsons when I married, and my 3 daughters came along in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th years of my marriage), and the size of the houses we lived in, I never had a chance to display my books; they were always in basements, or garages, or sheds. After my wife died, I bought a few small shelving units that I was able to place in a few spots around the house and in my bedroom, but the bulk of my books are in the basement. As for recommendations: I read more science fiction and fantasy than anything else, but I also read many classics, as a graduate student and a teacher. Among my favorites:

Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse, and A Room of One’s Own

Thomas Hardy: Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Arthur C. Clarke: Childhood’s End

William Faulkner: Light in August and The Sound and the Fury

Mervyn Peake: Titus Groan

H. G. Wells: The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds

John Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath

James Joyce: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Anthony Burgess: A Clockwork Orange and The Long Day Wanes

Joe Haldeman: The Forever War

Ursula K. Le Guin: The Left Hand of Darkness

George Orwell: 1984 and Down and Out in Paris and London

Herman Melville: Moby Dick and Typee

Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre

Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice

Fyodor Dostoevsky: Crime and Punishment

Alfred Bester: The Demolished Man

Neal Stephenson: Anathem

Ayn Rand: The Fountainhead

Nathaniel Hawthorne: The House of the Seven Gables

Joseph Conrad: Heart of Darkness

Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace

Stephen King: The Stand and ‘Salem’s Lot

Mary Shelley: Frankenstein

Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist

China Miéville: Embassytown

Bram Stoker: Dracula

Ralph Ellison: Invisible Man

Richard Wright: Native Son

Joseph Heller: Catch-22

William Gibson: Neuromancer

Harlan Ellison, editor: Dangerous Visions

Robert Silverberg, editor: The Science Fiction Hall of Fame

Pär Lagerkvist: Barabbas; The Sibyl; The Death of Ahasuerus; Herod and Mariamne; Pilgrim at Sea; The Holy Land

John D. MacDonald: The Travis McGee novels

Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö: The Martin Beck novels

There are many, many more I could add, but this is a good list to start with. I hope you find something here worth your time. Thanks again for your response!