A list by Alice Hutchinson
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Alice Hutchinson
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Waiting for Godot
Samuel Beckett
Even better to watch performed well.
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The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins
As story and as media phenomenon, Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games is at the top of the pile of wildly popular dystopian teen fiction that has dominated twenty-first-century bestseller lists (in no small part by appealing to readers well beyond their teen years). In the nation of Panem, power and ...show more
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The Last of the Mohicans
James Fenimore Cooper
A slice of history folded into a great story.
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The Andromeda Strain
Michael Crichton
Scared me to death and I loved every minute of it.
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The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
Henry Fielding
Henry Fielding had begun his literary career by parodying the most popular novel of his day, the sanctimonious Pamela: Or Virtue Rewarded, in two works, Joseph Andrews and Shamela (the title says it all). Having upended Pamela, so to speak, Fielding set out to write a novel that was truer to real li...show more
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The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Duh.
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Four Quartets
T. S. Eliot
Written in the years before and during World War II, the Quartets consist of four long poems, each cohering around a season, one of the four natural elements (earth, air, water, fire), and a place: “Burnt Norton,” an English manor house and garden; “East Coker,” a village in Somerset, home to Eliot’...show more
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Johnny Tremain
Esther Forbes
Enlivening already thrilling historical events with vivid characters and page-turning drama, Esther Forbes’s novel of the American Revolution—and of Johnny Tremain’s personal and political adventures in the shadow of the looming rebellion—has remained a favorite of young readers for decades. Peopled...show more
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Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison
Vivid, unpredictable, insinuating, uncomfortably intimate, the voice that tells Invisible Man is one of the most supple and powerful instruments ever fashioned in American prose. His skin is black, his soul is blue, his mind is lit with both desperation and deep thought. Naturalistic and surreal, fa...show more
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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Edward Albee
Twisted, smart and cruel it is stunningly well written...and even more fun to act.
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The Wind in the Willows
Kenneth Grahame
From its first pages, in which the amiable Mole and the resourceful Water Rat inaugurate their friendship with a waterborne picnic, The Wind in the Willows transports us to a genial and welcoming world. The story of life on the riverbank is peopled with a cast of players—Rat and Mole, the formidable...show more
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Little Women
Louisa May Alcott
Louisa May Alcott grew up in Concord, Massachusetts, the second of four daughters of a noted proponent of Transcendentalism, Bronson Alcott. Ralph Waldo Emerson was a friend of the family, as were Henry David Thoreau and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Despite her transcendentalist pedigree, Louisa May Alcott ...show more
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The Firm
John Grisham
There are times in our reading lives when turning the page is more important than what’s on it, when the headlong rush toward what happens next overwhelms reflection—and sometimes even reason. John Grisham has made a career creating plots that deliver just such pleasure to readers. In his writing, G...show more
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Matilda
Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl’s roster of youth-delighting tales is as rich as that of any twentieth-century children’s author. From The Gremlins (1943) to The Minpins (1991), Dahl created marvelous confections for young readers for nearly five decades. Standing out among his storytelling treats is Matilda, whose supe...show more
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Robinson Crusoe
Daniel Defoe
Inspired by the real-life experience of Alexander Selkirk (1676–1721), a Scottish sailor who was marooned for more than four years on a South Pacific island, Robinson Crusoe gave enduring form to fundamental themes of the Western imagination. With his parrot and parasol, the castaway Crusoe is an e...show more
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Stranger in a Strange Land
Robert A. Heinlein
A defining book during my high school years.
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A Farewell to Arms
Ernest Hemingway
A Farewell to Arms was Hemingway’s second novel, appearing in 1929, three years after The Sun Also Rises. Mining autobiographical terrain, it draws upon the author’s experience as an ambulance driver during World War I. Although it authentically evokes the fraught tedium of military work and the dra...show more
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Skellig
David Almond
Haunting and brilliant.
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All Creatures Great and Small
James Herriot
All Creatures Great and Small is a semiautobiographical account of a Yorkshire veterinarian of the animals he treated, and, most tellingly of all, the farmers, families, and neighbors of the town of Darrowby and the surrounding countryside. Herriot’s professional attention to the calves, horses, dog...show more
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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Philip K. Dick
Brilliant.
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