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Bianca
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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams
Fun and funny
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Inferno: The Divine Comedy, Book 1
Dante Alighieri
Dark and surprising.
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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Maya Angelou
Simply powerful.
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The Sweet Hereafter
Russell Banks
Russell Banks writes books about ordinary people trying to live decent lives in less than ideal circumstances. In the case of The Sweet Hereafter, the terrible calamity is a school bus accident in an upstate New York town; the mundane reality is that the town’s life must go on after its children hav...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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The Good Earth
Pearl S. Buck
Beautifully written. It pulls you in. You want Wang Lung to succeed but you’re disappointed by how that success changes him.
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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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The Plague
Albert Camus
Welcome to the epidemic city: a place where rumors run wild, government can’t coordinate relief, religious authorities rave ineffectually, and no one knows what today, much less tomorrow, holds in store. At first the citizens of Oran panic and revolt, but before long, as if numbed by the summer sun,...show more
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In Cold Blood
Truman Capote
When Herbert William Clutter and his family were bound, gagged, and murdered on the night of November 15, 1959, there was little evidence of who’d done it, or why. The story of their gruesome end made the New York Times, where it was read by literary light Truman Capote, who determined almost immedi...show more
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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
Lewis Carroll
More than the sum of its parts, Lewis Carroll’s Alice oeuvre has taken root in our collective imagination like few other literary creations. Despite—or perhaps because of—its nonsensical pedigree, it has proved to be an addictive pleasure for analysts seduced by its dense mix of childish frivolities...show more
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The Man Who Was Thursday
G. K. Chesterton
Although no single volume sums up the pleasures of reading G. K. Chesterton, the inquisitive reader might well begin with The Man Who Was Thursday, one of several works in a vein of speculative fiction that Chesterton plied with idiosyncratic ingenuity. A plot that begins with a discussion of freedo...show more
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The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Agatha Christie
Like many of Agatha Christie’s best puzzles, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd takes us to an English village whose cozy society has been disrupted by death. In King’s Abbot, where Hercule Poirot has retired to garden, the suicide of the widowed Mrs. Ferrars is surrounded by rumors that she had killed her...show more
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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 Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Junot Díaz
The first thing that strikes you is the prose: It’s fast and agile, unafraid to mix ingredients. English and Spanish and Spanglish combine to energize the sentences, which move easily between different modes of discourse—expository, conversational, professorial, confidential, ribald, tender, rambunc...show more
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The Name of the Rose
Umberto Eco
The year is 1327, a time of political intrigue and theological wrangling between the furtive powers of the papacy and the earthly forces of the Holy Roman Empire. At an unnamed Franciscan abbey—housing a labyrinth in which is hidden the greatest library in Christendom, including forbidden works of u...show more
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As I Lay Dying
William Faulkner
Addie Bundren’s health is deteriorating rapidly, and her eldest son, Cash, is hewing the most beautiful coffin he can manage right outside her bedroom window. Wretchedly poor, the Bundrens watch Addie die, then make their way with her corpse, its coffin in a mule-drawn wagon, across the fictional Yo...show more
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Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn
Gone Girl is the story of a marriage’s unraveling and the suspicion that falls on the husband in the wake of his wife’s disappearance. But it is author Gillian Flynn’s knowing exploitation of the intimate pact between writer and reader, her head-turning violation of it, that tightens the story's gri...show more
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The Day of the Jackal
Frederick Forsyth
This taut narrative of a 1963 assassination attempt on French president Charles de Gaulle proves that drama, like the devil, is in the details; throughout his intricate chronicle of the techniques and activities of a professional assassin, hired by a homegrown terrorist group incensed by de Gaulle’s...show more
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Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston
Her refusal to write political novels about black people defined by the white world, together with her practice of rendering speech in black southern dialect—particularly in Their Eyes Were Watching God—inspired intense criticism from Richard Wright and other prominent contemporaries. Yet dialect is...show more
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