A list by Benjamin Hill
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Benjamin Hill
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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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The Talented Mr. Ripley
Patricia Highsmith
Patricia Highsmith's most brilliant creation, the suave, repellent, fascinating, and psychopathic Tom Ripley, made his first appearance in this perversely appealing tale. He would go on to grace, in his dark way, four subsequent novels in the series known to Highsmith aficionados as the “Ripliad.” I...show more
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11/22/63
Stephen King
Although its ramifications are intricate, the seed of 11/22/63 is quite simple: A man named Jake Epping, living in Maine in 2011, finds a portal into the past (to September 9, 1958, at 11:58 AM, to be exact) and decides to travel back in time to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy...show more
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The Bourne Identity
Robert Ludlum
Ahead of its time. I know a lot of people of gone the amnesia route since, but this is one of the best and first that I can remember from a spy novel.
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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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A Simple Plan
Scott Smith
Chasing their dog through the woods on a snowy night, three men come upon a crashed plane. In it they discover a dead pilot and a gym bag filled with money. And that’s when the trouble begins, as these regular guys are drawn to irregular extremes, their plan unraveling with increasing speed, menace,...show more
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Friday Night Lights
H. G. Bissinger
Even readers with no interest in football are likely to be fascinated by the surprising world that Bissinger describes so well—a world in which a lot of adults have a big stake in whether teenage football players win or lose. Those players, in turn, enjoy the indulgence of teachers and the adulation...show more
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Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
In the course of roughly a hundred pages, Heart of Darkness will journey, with a strangely leisurely intensity, into realms of depravity best encoded in the dying cry of Kurtz, the delusional, despicable character at its enigmatic core: “The horror! The horror!” Although this extraordinarily concent...show more
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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Philip K. Dick
As the basis for the first and best adaptation of a Dick novel to film (Ridley Scott’s 1982 Blade Runner), this book occupies a central place in the PKD oeuvre. But its virtues and affect are different from the cinematic interpretation, more in line with Dick’s core preoccupations. All told, Do And...show more
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Brave New World
Aldous Huxley
What people can’t get in the technologically determined society of Aldous Huxley’s imagined future are family, religion, literature, art, individuality, love, or a genuinely human relationship of any sort. In this brave new world, poverty, conflict, and unhappiness have all been eliminated by way of...show more
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