A list by Fred Miller
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Fred Miller
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The Long Walk
Slavomir Rawicz
Since its publication at the height of the Cold War, Slavomir Rawicz’s account of his 1941 mid-blizzard escape from a Soviet labor camp in Siberia with six fellow prisoners has won legions of devoted readers. Although the veracity of the tale has been called into question based on recently released ...show more
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All Quiet on the Western Front
Erich Maria Remarque
Encouraged by their teachers and fueled by optimism, patriotism, and the promise of glory, Paul Bäumer and three friends volunteer for what would come to be known as World War I. But the reality of war in the trenches, as they witness unimagined carnage, leaves them struggling to keep their sanity a...show more
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The Longest Day
Cornelius Ryan
What a wealth of human drama these 350 pages contain. Less than fifteen years after the end of World War II, Cornelius Ryan constructed a fleet and intricate narrative of the maneuverings on both sides of the English Channel during the ambitious operation that would turn the tide of the battle again...show more
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The Catcher in the Rye
J. D. Salinger
It’s been considerably more than a half century since the first angst-ridden teenager cracked the spine of The Catcher in the Rye and felt he’d found a book—or more specifically, a character—that spoke for him. In the intervening years, millions of other self-anointed outsiders have felt the same wa...show more
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The Gulag Archipelago
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s detailed indictment of the state is drawn from his own bitter experience as well as from the reports, memoirs, and letters of 227 fellow zeks. With relentless realism and psychological acuity, he follows the course of arrest, interrogation, imprisonment, and oppression as su...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 Last of the Mohicans
James Fenimore Cooper
In the pages of this classic adventure tale you’ll meet one of the greatest heroes in American literature, Nathaniel Bumppo, a rugged scout and woodsman who goes by any number of nicknames, among them Natty, Leatherstocking, Pathfinder, Deerslayer, and Hawkeye. The Last of the Mohicans is the second...show more
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The Andromeda Strain
Michael Crichton
Although physician Michael Crichton previously published several pseudonymous novels, The Andromeda Strain was his first bestseller, and the storytelling élan it displayed would inform nearly four decades of inventive, often medically or scientifically minded thrillers. The combination of cutting-ed...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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The Lord of the Rings
J. R. R. Tolkien
Appearing in three separate volumes between July 1954 and October 1955, The Lord of the Rings constitutes a single linear narrative that was segmented for publishing convenience rather than by authorial intent. Tolkien’s hero, Frodo, is the adoptive heir of Bilbo Baggins, protagonist of The Hobbit. ...show more
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Anna Karenina
Leo Tolstoy
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” So reads the famous first line of Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece of love and society. Its juxtaposition of universal verity with particular insight sets the tone for the eight hundred pages that follow. Anna Karenina is intima...show more
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Othello
William Shakespeare
Despite being an outsider, Othello is honored as the defender of Venice, and he falls ardently in love with Desdemona, a patrician daughter of the city, who has been swept away by the romantic aura of exotic adventure the noble Moor exudes. Although many of its scenes take place out of doors, the dr...show more
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Macbeth
William Shakespeare
From the opening scene, in which three witches enter in thunder and lightning to invoke occult spirits in menacing rhymes, Macbeth inhabits a dark world of omens and hallucinatory visions. Impelled by the witches’ prophecies, a military hero pursues a murderous course to the Scottish throne, only to...show more
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The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck
Published in March 1939, Steinbeck’s saga of the havoc wreaked by the Great Depression was soon the country’s number one bestseller, selling thousands of copies each week despite the difficult economic times. At the same time, communities from coast to coast found it obscene and banned (and even bur...show more
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Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison
Vivid, unpredictable, insinuating, uncomfortably intimate, the voice that tells Invisible Man is one of the most supple and powerful instruments ever fashioned in American prose. His skin is black, his soul is blue, his mind is lit with both desperation and deep thought. Naturalistic and surreal, fa...show more
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Treasure Island
Robert Louis Stevenson
On any list of the best adventure stories ever written, Treasure Island deserves a place at the top. Hewing to a taut narrative line that ripples with ominous vibrations, it pulls the reader headlong into a fantastic realm of pirates and buried treasure. Read the first few pages and see if you can s...show more
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Kidnapped
Robert Louis Stevenson
Although the heroics of Kidnapped’s two protagonists, the narrator David Balfour and the dashing fugitive Alan Breck Stewart, are captivating regardless of one’s knowledge of Scottish history, it does help to know that their thrilling exploits are set in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden, when...show more
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Faust
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Among the scores of marvelous works Goethe penned, one towers over the rest: the two-part tragedy Faust. This enormous drama is the ultimate realization of the abiding legend of a man of ambition who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for secret power and worldly gratification. Faust consumed G...show more
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Bernard Shaw: Collected Letters: 1874–1950
George Bernard Shaw
The great dramatist, music critic, and all-purpose provocateur is good company by virtue of his wit, his ideas, and his relentlessly contrarian nature. He exhibits remarkable facility in turning the details of business dealings with agents, linguistic entanglements with translators, production probl...show more
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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Edward Albee
At the outset of his long, ever-evolving career as a dramatist, Edward Albee was an American heir to the intellectual energies of the European Theater of the Absurd. In Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, first staged in 1962, Albee moved his ferocity out of the absurd into a more realistic setting, a ...show more
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