Good topic thanks EricS, and thanks to all for the great recommendations.
For a story of an incredible adventure that includes an amazing sailing feat try "Endurance : Shackleton''s Incredible Voyage"
by Alfred Lansing (if you enjoy it also get Schackleton''s forgotten men, not about sailing though)
Informative and simple overview of what makes a good offshore boat "Desirable and Undesirable characteristics of Offshore Yachts" by the Technical Committee of the Cruising Club of America
Good and rigorous book on navigation "Primer of navigation" by George Mixter
Also on navigation, "Coastal and Offshore navigation" by Tom Cunliffe
"Fastnet Force 10" by John Rousmaniere, informative and instructive look at the disastrous 1979 Fastnet
"Fatal Storm" by Rob Mundle about the 1998 Sydney- Hobart disaster.
Good book for skippers (or skippers to be) "The complete yachtmaster" by Tom Cunliffe
"Maiden voyage" by Tania Abei non fiction about a young lady(18) who sailed around the world on a small boat(26ft) rather than going to college.
Some large area Admiralty charts
for help in dreaming, planning, and practicing route plotting. "World Cruising Routes" by Jimmy Cornell is also useful in this regard.
A nice/useful addition to such a library would also be a subscription to Ocean Navigator
Anyone have any of the books from the setsail site by the Dashews? In particular does anyone have a review of their book about weather? What about their software as a tool for learning about weather? Anyone have any experience with the starpath training software?
I also find that the reviews of books on amazon can be helpful. I usually end up saving allot of money by buying books used (usually in like new condition) from Ebay.