A list by Christine Doiron
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Christine Doiron
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Flatland
Edwin A. Abbott
Surprised by how funny and still relevant this was.
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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
Any dog lover will be filled with warm appreciation when reading this book
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Fairy Tales
Hans Christian Andersen
While the emotional sophistication of his stories can make them seem darker than their child-friendly frames at first suggest, there is no shortage of humor or high spirits in Andersen’s fanciful canon. Only a dozen or so of his more than 150 tales were drawn from existing folktales, in the manner o...show more
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Emma
Jane Austen
At twenty, Emma Woodhouse—“handsome, clever, and rich”—knows that she’s the most fantastic woman in Highbury, and nothing amuses her more than meddling in other people’s affairs. But although she has good intentions, her matchmaking goes seriously awry, wrecking a perfectly good engagement for her f...show more
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Mansfield Park
Jane Austen
From a large and not too wealthy family, bashful Fanny Price is sent to live with her rich aunt and uncle at the house that gives this book its name. She finds herself intimidated by everyone there, except her kind cousin Edmund; constantly bursting into tears, she won’t even take part in her coeval...show more
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Tuck Everlasting
Natalie Babbitt
Age has its despairs, yet without its dimension, our lives lose their shape: A timeless life, without growth or change, would be drearier than the day is long. That’s the profound truth that illuminates this extraordinary fable, in which a young girl named Winnie finds herself catapulted into great ...show more
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Beowulf
Surviving in one manuscript dating from around AD 1000, and believed to have been composed some two or three hundred years earlier, Beowulf is a poem composed in Old English, also known as Anglo-Saxon, a language worlds apart from even Chaucer’s Middle English. Although written in England, the poem’...show more
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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
John Berendt
When Esquire columnist John Berendt began dividing his time between Manhattan and Savannah in the early 1980s, it wasn’t with the idea of writing a book, much less breaking publishing records or singlehandedly reinvigorating the tourist industry of the southern city. Savannah was simply an interesti...show more
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Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.
Judy Blume
Narrated by Margaret Simon, an almost twelve-year-old who moves from New York City to the Jersey suburbs, Blume’s novel for young readers engages, with directness and a strong dose of appropriate preteen bewilderment, themes seldom treated so familiarly at the time. Top of the list is the perplexity...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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Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë
Destitute young woman leaves rotten boarding school for job as governess in sprawling mansion, falls in love with broodingly handsome employer with dark secret. In the twenty-first century, the plot of Jane Eyre might sound clichéd, yet Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel, about a plain orphan girl exceed...show more
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Wuthering Heights
Emily Brontë
In its intense drama and disregard for orthodox morality, Wuthering Heights continues to surprise and challenge us today. To attempt to chart the web of relationships of blood, marriage, social strata, economic dependence, love, envy, hatred, and revenge that bind Catherine and Heathcliff to the boo...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 Little Princess
Frances Hodgson Burnett
Like most heroes whose trials and triumphs readers have loved to assume as their own through the power of fanciful identification, Sara Crewe possesses a poise that never deserts her, no matter what misfortunes are thrown her way. And make no mistake: A Little Princess is an adventure story as fille...show more
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The Secret Garden
Frances Hodgson Burnett
The story begins in India, with sickly, plain, moody Mary Lennox. Unloved by her pretty mother, Mary has been raised by servants who’ve done nothing but indulge the child in order to appease her petulance. Orphaned by cholera, she is shipped off to England to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven, a...show more
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Possession
A. S. Byatt
A feast of literary and storytelling invention, Possession is mysterious, layered, romantic, suspenseful—and nearly impossible to put down. It’s hard to imagine that, before this novel won the Booker Prize and became an international bestseller in 1990, the author was working largely in the shadow o...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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Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me
Eric Carle
Any child born into a reading family after 1969 is no doubt familiar with Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, as well as several others by the artist who turned an eye for collage-based compositions into a new kind of picture book. Parents of those children, however, have a particularly warm s...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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