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Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card
One of the best books I read as a teenager. Many fond memories, and it introduced me to entire series.
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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
C. S. Lewis
This book transports you to another world, and really let's your imagination run wild.
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A Game of Thrones
George R. R. Martin
A well fleshed out fantasy world. A bit of a tougher read, and tougher to get into if you're reading in short bursts.
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The Hobbit
J. R. R. Tolkien
I've read this book several times. Easily in my top 5 books ever.
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The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown
This book was really gripping, I read it straight through without putting it down. The attention to detail in the symbology used was very neatly tied into the story writing.
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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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Flatland
Edwin A. Abbott
A novel of mathematical whimsy, Flatland is set in the peculiar world that provides the book’s name and is home to its putative author, A. Square, a two-dimensional being in a world inhabited by lines, triangles, circles, and polygons. Ingeniously composed as a kind of dystopian memoir, Flatland is ...show more
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Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner
A. A. Milne, illustrations by Ernest H. Shepard
What generous quantities of imagination, creativity, and emotion young children pour into the vessels of their stuffed animals, inventing personalities through which they explore the mysteries of human nature that are unfolding on a grander and less huggable scale all about them. It was the genius o...show more
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
J. K. Rowling
“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.” So, modestly, J. K. Rowling opens t...show more
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Where the Wild Things Are
Maurice Sendak
“It is a constant miracle to me that children manage to grow up,” Maurice Sendak once said, citing the unseen and inchoate dangers that well up from within—anxiety, pain, fear, anger, boredom, even love—that make kids’ emotional survival such a prodigious feat. It is the slightly spooky magic of Sen...show more
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Charlotte’s Web
E. B. White
Someone once called E. B. White the most companionable of writers, and the adjective fits him like a glove. His conversational genius set the enduring tone of The New Yorker in the magazine’s formative years, and his unassumingly authoritative personal essays gave the genre a genuine American accent...show more
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Julius Caesar
William Shakespeare
Like Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar is a good play with which to begin one’s exploration of Shakespeare. Although the setting and action (political assassination and its aftermath) make it different in kind from Romeo and Juliet, both share a clean narrative line in which the climactic elements of ...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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A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens
You know the story of this quintessential holiday tale, but have you ever read it? So many times has the tale been told—in numerous stage and screen adaptations—that we are apt to take the power of its invention for granted. Yet no retelling comes close to capturing the humor and human sympathy, the...show more
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Oliver Twist
Charles Dickens
Oliver Twist was its author’s second novel, telling a continuous story in a way his first did not. What’s innovative in the book is not its shape, however, but its focus: Never before had a child been put so center stage in a novel; more importantly, while Wordsworth had evoked it in verse, never be...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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Tender Is the Night
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Tender Is the Night—the last of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s four completed novels, and the author’s favorite—sprawls among dozens of characters and settings across Western Europe before and after World War I. Although its messy, heartbreaking story of mental illness, alcoholism, and the disintegration of ...show more
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Lord of the Flies
William Golding
Assigned at least once to nearly every student in the English-speaking world, Golding’s chilling depiction of the descent into savagery of schoolboys stranded on a deserted island stirs to menacing life as we turn the pages; terror coils behind the words like a patient predator stalking its prey. Wr...show more
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Les Misérables
Victor Hugo
The product of two decades of literary labor, Les Misérables was begun while the author enjoyed political favor in Paris and finished during Hugo’s nineteen-year political exile in the Channel Islands. At the core of its vast narrative is Jean Valjean, a peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bre...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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