Though we all read setting materials, sourcebooks, etc. and we all know our fantasy reading, I find that a lot of geeks need to work on their outside reading. NiTessine posted his Appendix N after being inspired by a post by Zachary the First over at RPGBlog2 . The following books and series are not my whole 'Appendix N'. I have chosen these 5 books because they are outside of the realm of Fantasy, and are great sources for ideas which will influence your gaming.
5.) Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. While I don't necessarily enjoy all of the presentation, Quinn's portrayal of a non-human (in this case a telepathic gorilla) and how the titular character's viewpoint is different from the norms of humanity proves to be an exercise in thinking outside the box.
4.) The Baroque Cycle from Neal Stephenson. Amazing historical fiction with a swashbuckling, intrigue-filled air of entertainment. So much to read (almost 3000 pages worth of goodness) but all of the series is a real page turner. The book discusses the life of 'real world' adventuring, from merchants to pirates to the pitfalls of running afoul of your employer. Great read, worth every page.
3.) LA Confidential by James Ellroy. Amazingly in-depth work in the noir crime drama style. This shows an amazing 'campaign' between several police officers, their subordinates, and information network to uncover the evils of the modern world.
2.) The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges. Tales and information on various creatures from folklore and fantasy. Worth every penny if you can find a copy, as it gives a unique look into the lives and minds of many creatures which are in the Fantasy canon.
1.) The Arthashastra (Author Disputed). A Book of Statecraft from the Indian subcontinent .. . more than a thousand years before Machiavelli. Later texts actually include ways to use mysticism to your advantage in statecraft. The thought process behind this statecraft manual is a little alien to the average reader, and will give you an outlook in a long-term pattern of thinking which your older races may have.