A list by Steve Allard
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Steve Allard
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Little Women
Louisa May Alcott
Great book, read it in the 5th grade
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Foundation: The Foundation Trilogy, Book 1
Isaac Asimov
Classic SI-FI
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Foundation and Empire: The Foundation Trilogy, Book 2
Isaac Asimov
While Asimov’s saga nowadays seems less original than when it first appeared, the sweep of its conception maintains a thrilling freshness. Humanity spreads throughout the galaxy (there are, notably, no aliens to contend with) and reaches a developmental peak after 12,000 years, typified by the uber-...show more
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Second Foundation: The Foundation Trilogy, Book 3
Isaac Asimov
Asimov’s penchant for discursive logic and brains over brawn does not prevent the Foundation series from being enthralling. Even today, ranked against all that has followed, it glows with quiet majesty.
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All the President's Men
Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
All the President’s Men follows Woodward and Bernstein's investigation of the Watergate scandal from start to finish, taking readers behind the scenes, describing in detail their dogged efforts to uncover sources, pursue leads, and—as their most famous informant, “Deep Throat,” had counseled them—fo...show more
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The Bible
Even atheists should read to understand the mind of the religious. But sadly too few of the religious read it and if they do they have and incredible ability to edit with bias.
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The Book of Job
As translated by Stephen Mitchell
Job’s tale is the Bible’s profound and unsettling meditation on suffering, justice, and the inscrutability of life. It begins in prose (as it will close), introducing the legend of the pious man from the land of Uz and revealing what Job himself never knows: that the miseries visited upon him result...show more
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Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury
Guy Montag is a fireman. But, in the dystopian future of Ray Bradbury’s 1953 classic, a fireman’s duty is not to put out fires, but to start them. His job, in fact, is to burn books, a task that requires the temperature of 451° Fahrenheit. It’s natural to see Fahrenheit 451 as an allegory about cens...show more
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The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown
Some books become popular phenomena of such extraordinary dimensions that it becomes impossible not to pick them up; usually this is because something about them makes them impossible to put down, no matter how hard we try. The Da Vinci Code, which dominated the bestseller list between 2003 and 2006...show more
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Goodnight Moon
Margaret Wise Brown, pictures by Clement Hurd
As the pages are turned and the simplest of poems unfolds in casually rhymed lines, pictures of the cow jumping over the moon and of the three little bears are given their due, as are kittens and mittens and toyhouse and mouse, and the quiet old lady in the rocking chair whispering “hush.” The conte...show more
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A Walk in the Woods
Bill Bryson
Funny and fun.
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A Clockwork Orange
Anthony Burgess
Alex, the frightening narrator of this brutal and brilliant novel, is an amoral, Beethoven-loving gang leader in a near-future dystopian Britain. Whether adolescent girls or a schoolteacher returning from the library, the gang’s victims are treated with an exuberantly vicious disregard: They might ...show more
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Childhood's End
Arthur C. Clarke
Interesting comment on belief.
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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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Ragtime
E. L. Doctorow
Ragtime is first and foremost a good read, animated with complex characters, real and invented, and several absorbing plotlines that intersect in the narrative’s ingenious design. The layering of fiction and fact, ephemera and history, headline news and private heartache is alluring, giving the book...show more
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The Sound and the Fury
William Faulkner
The Sound and the Fury was Faulkner’s fourth novel. In it, he bravely indulged the experimental impulse that, under the guidance of his editors, he had kept in check in his previously published work, creating one of the landmarks of modern—and modernist—fiction. The book comprises four sections, thr...show more
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The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
A book of shimmering social surfaces and hauntingly evanescent private depths, The Great Gatsby imbues its fleet narrative with a formal elegance that has been readily apparent even to the generations of high school students to whom it has been assigned—generally long before they might understand th...show more
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Lord of the Flies
William Golding
Assigned at least once to nearly every student in the English-speaking world, Golding’s chilling depiction of the descent into savagery of schoolboys stranded on a deserted island stirs to menacing life as we turn the pages; terror coils behind the words like a patient predator stalking its prey. Wr...show more
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Stranger in a Strange Land
Robert A. Heinlein
Robert Heinlein's most famous and influential work, albeit not his most brilliantly speculative, is surely Stranger in a Strange Land, a book whose questioning of social mores and religious certitude have made it as congenial to some readers as it has been controversial to others. Astonishingly ente...show more
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The Old Man and the Sea
Ernest Hemingway
Published in 1952, this novella was greeted with wide popular acclaim; it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and was the catalyst for the Swedish Academy’s bestowal of the Nobel Prize on Hemingway a year later. For all its knowing description of the tools and techniques of fishing, The Old Man and the S...show more
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