Books on Islam for Non-Muslims
There are countless books out there on Islam. This list mentions only four, one general introduction and three more specialized books. I have read each of these books and find them worth the expense to buy and own. Each of them also helped me on my path to conversion.
These books are available from Amazon.com.
An Introduction to Islam, by Frederick Denny. This is a very good introduction to the beliefs, practices, and history of Islam, and the issues facing Muslims today.
Islam: A Brief History, by Karen Armstrong. A slightly superficial, but sympathetic look at Islamic history.
The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam, by Yusuf Qaradawi. A very good and concise guide to Islamic law as it regulates the ordinary lives of Muslims. If you want to know about the way Muslims live, you won't find anything better than this.
The Vision of Islam, by Sachiko Murata and William Chittick. One of the best books on Islamic beliefs that I have ever read. Very highly recommended. This book was a factor in my decision to convert to Islam. If you read only one book, it should be this one.
An excellent book for those who have Muslim relatives or friends is Daughters of Another Path by Carol L. Anway. The author is a Christian whose daughter converted to Islam and the book is about American women who have accepted Islam. I myself am an American woman who has accepted Islam and I found a lot in this book that spoke to my experiences.
For more reading suggestions, see my page on English Translations of the Quran.