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Alita Cooper
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Desert Solitaire
Edward Abbey
Planning to go to Utah, sounds like a interesting read about an area I can go to.
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Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe
Composed in English and published in 1958, two years before Nigeria declared independence, Things Fall Apart was the first African novel to attain a wide international readership. It is a short, sparely told tale that nevertheless embraces themes of enormous import: fate and will, the determining i...show more
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My Dog Tulip
J. R. Ackerley
When first published in England in 1956, Tulip was considered shocking because of what one reviewer called its “scatological and gynaecological detail.” But while the messy details are certainly present in abundance (chapter 2, for example, is entitled “Liquids and Solids”), to be put off by them is...show more
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Watership Down
Richard Adams
One of the most phenomenal international bestsellers of the 1970s, Watership Down is an immersive saga that traverses great themes and feelings—courage, frailty, community, ecology, responsibility, friendship, love—while holding readers on the edge of their metaphorical seats. And oh, yes—it’s a 500...show more
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Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
James Agee and Walker Evans
In the summer of 1936, Fortune magazine commissioned James Agee and Walker Evans to report on the lives of sharecroppers in the Deep South. Agee was a twenty-six-year-old journalist who’d published a volume of poems two years earlier; Evans was a thirty-two-year-old photographer. The assignment took...show more
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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Edward Albee
At the outset of his long, ever-evolving career as a dramatist, Edward Albee was an American heir to the intellectual energies of the European Theater of the Absurd. In Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, first staged in 1962, Albee moved his ferocity out of the absurd into a more realistic setting, a ...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 Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Sherman Alexie
Drawing on Sherman Alexie’s personal experience growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a young adult novel that has more to say about big virtues like tolerance than a whole shelf of earnest adult tomes could ever manage. The book’s unflinchi...show more
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Inferno: The Divine Comedy, Book 1
Dante Alighieri
From the dark wood of its beginning, down through the nine circles of hell, across the seven terraces of purgatory, and into the ten heavens of paradise, Dante’s medieval tour de force gives us, in T. S. Eliot’s estimation, the greatest altitude and the greatest depth of human passion any writer has...show more
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Purgatorio: The Divine Comedy, Book 2
Dante Alighieri
Although the stories in hell are better than those in purgatory, sin being a sexier subject than penance, Dante’s poetry never palls. Throughout, he infuses his narrative with a current of feeling that humanizes the austere theological arc of his pilgrim’s progress.
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Paradiso: The Divine Comedy, Book 3
Dante Alighieri
As the Comedy ascends to a heaven of light, Dante completes the grand imaginative arc he began in the dark wood, having composed out of eschatological speculations an epic as thrilling as those of Homer, as filled with human sensibility as Virgil’s—one in which all the deadly sins, and all the longe...show more
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Skellig
David Almond
Some books are like talismans, compact in their power, possessed of an aura mysterious and meaningful, even if—especially if—the precise nature of its mystery and meaning eludes us. Such a work is David Almond’s Skellig, which won the Carnegie Medal as best children’s book by a British author when i...show more
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The Arabian Nights
Is there an entry in the annals of story more charming than the tale of the brave and brilliant Shahrazad, who, by dint of cunning and invention, puts off her death at the hands of King Shahryār for a thousand and one nights? Bewitching the king with a nightly dose of suspenseful storytelling, she s...show more
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Cat's Eye
Margaret Atwood
There are few reading pleasures more delightful than the feeling of instant rapport a narrative voice can conjure, an intimacy that quickly becomes immersive as you are drawn into a confidence both close and resonant. In Cat’s Eye, the voice belongs to Elaine Risley, a painter who has come back to h...show more
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Confessions
Saint Augustine
Of all the saints of the early Christian church, Saint Augustine of Hippo possesses, for the modern reader at least, the most interesting mind. His ideas on language, time, and the mysteries of personality, humanity, and divinity are still provocative—after sixteen centuries!—and his genius for expr...show more
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Collected Essays
James Baldwin
It can be a little too easy to pin labels on James Baldwin: black, gay, expatriate, aesthete. But every label sells him short, diminishing the singularity of his work. That he wrote specifically of his time and place—America in the middle of the twentieth century—and engaged its most dangerous theme...show more
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The Drowned World
J. G. Ballard
In the remnants of a London drowned by seas swollen by the melting ice caps, a scientific expedition tries to gather environmental data that might help humanity survive, and we follow the adventures of three participants—two men and one woman—who cut themselves off from their colleagues and stake th...show more
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The Wild Ass's Skin
Honoré de Balzac
After losing his last gold coin in a desperate wager, Raphael de Valentin leaves the gambling house in the Palais-Royal intent on committing unseemly suicide by drowning himself in the Seine. Along the way, however, he is distracted by the allure of an antique shop. The owner of this old curiosity s...show more
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The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Matsuo Bashō
Written late in the seventeenth century, the travel writings of Matsuo Bashō, the most revered of haiku masters, are the culmination of an eight-century Japanese literary tradition. Just as Bashō elevated the customarily lighthearted haiku into a supple and profound poetic form despite the strictnes...show more
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The Feast of Love
Charles Baxter
Set in Ann Arbor, Michigan, The Feast of Love relates the intertwining yet wildly divergent stories of several men and women who range across the generations and yet are pulled together, apart, and together again by strands of desire, sex, marriage, pain, and plain old human sympathy. With a sleight...show more
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