A list by Dan Nelson
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Dan Nelson
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Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
Alison Bechdel
One might expect a graphic narrative to be lean, wry, linear. Yet the pioneering triumph of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home is that it’s resonantly rich in thought and theme, nuanced in its framing and feeling, contrapuntal in its treatment of chronology, character, and incident. Bechdel imbues her story ...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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To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee
Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is near the top of the list of most-beloved American novels. Set in Depression-era Alabama, it is the story of six-year-old Jean Louise Finch, better known as Scout; her older brother, Jeremy, nicknamed Jem; and their father, Atticus Finch, a middle-aged lawyer who...show more
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The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas
Best book I’ve read, Edmund Dantes is an intoxicating character and the book is written so well that I couldn’t put it down, even though it was Heavy
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Into Thin Air
Jon Krakauer
Commissioned by Outside magazine to deliver an article on the rise of Everest as an expensive theme park—once a trip for only the most experienced adventurers, an ascent to the peak was increasingly being marketed as an invigorating holiday for any amateur with $65,000 to spare—Krakauer, a seasoned ...show more
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The Complete Sherlock Holmes
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
While the success of the Sherlock Holmes tales can properly be seen as a catalyst for the boom in crime and detective literature that began in the early twentieth century and seems to grow larger every year, the pleasure of Arthur Conan Doyle’s narratives rests only in part on the cleverly contrived...show more
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The Road
Cormac McCarthy
The Road starts simply enough: A father and son, waking after a night camping in the wilderness, prepare to journey onward. But we’re soon aware that the simplicity belongs to no pastoral idyll—the sky is endlessly gray, the rivers are the color of oil, and ash drips from above. Nearly all plants an...show more
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