A list by James O'Doherty
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James O'Doherty
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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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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams
So witty and laugh out loud funny
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Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
James Agee and Walker Evans
Hard work but worthy and important subject
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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
John Berendt
Brilliant evocation of place and milieu
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The Songlines
Bruce Chatwin
Ethereal and convincing
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Into Thin Air
Jon Krakauer
Fascinating insights into the commercial squalor and very real physical challenges on top of the world. Krakauer's account gripped my attention from the word go. I also bought a wonderful illustrated edition
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A Year in Provence
Peter Mayle
Fun, charming and sensitive
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Longitude
Dava Sobel
History as adventure. Inspiring story of one man's obsession
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One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji
Katsushika Hokusai
I love the way he develops such a complex visual narrative from a simple premise
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Wuthering Heights
Emily Brontë
Claustrophobic, compulsive, spell-binding
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The Thirty-Nine Steps
John Buchan
Good old-fashioned yarn
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The Master and Margarita
Mikhail Bulgakov
Phantasmogoric story-telling, suspend your rationale instincts and ride along with the 'master'
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True History of the Kelly Gang
Peter Carey
Convincing, you see the world thru Kelly's experiences. Wonderful
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Life & Times of Michael K
J. M. Coetzee
In outline, the narrative of Life & Times of Michael K sounds relentlessly bleak. After losing his job as a civil service gardener, a disfigured man of limited mental capacity leads his impoverished, critically ill mother out of a war-torn city so that she might die in the place where she spent her ...show more
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Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
Brilliant
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The Red Badge of Courage
Stephen Crane
Crane describes war with such detail that it amazes that it was all the product of his imagination
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The Complete Stories
Flannery O'Connor
Even in the hothouse of the literature of the American South, Flannery O’Connor appears as an exotic. Perhaps it’s because she raised peacocks at her home in Milledgeville, Georgia, or because of the somehow defiantly settled life she led there with her mother. Perhaps it is the crippling effects of...show more
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1984
George Orwell
Even now, six decades after it was written and more than a quarter century after its titular year has come and gone, 1984 continues to haunt us with its aura of pernicious possibility. Orwell’s warning of a spiritless, totalitarian time to come has lost none of its relevance. It would be hard to nam...show more
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All the President's Men
Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
All the President’s Men follows Woodward and Bernstein's investigation of the Watergate scandal from start to finish, taking readers behind the scenes, describing in detail their dogged efforts to uncover sources, pursue leads, and—as their most famous informant, “Deep Throat,” had counseled them—fo...show more
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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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