A list by Kathryn McBarron
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Kathryn McBarron
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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Sherman Alexie
Cute, easy-to-read and somewhat quirky Young Adult novel from the perspective of an adolescent Native American boy.
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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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Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë
My absolute favourite book of all time. Classic.
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The Secret Garden
Frances Hodgson Burnett
Beautiful tale with strong messaging. Beautiful story for older children and adults alike.
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The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins
The first book is definitely the best. The sequels pale on comparison.
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The Hours
Michael Cunningham
Virginia Woolf’s 1925 novel Mrs. Dalloway, set on a single June day in London, is punctuated by the tolling of Big Ben, the bell inside the clock tower at the Houses of Parliament. Its regular marking of the time—“First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable”—reminds Clarissa Dalloway of bot...show more
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Great Expectations
Charles Dickens
Beautiful, eerie novel. Stays with you throughout a lifetime.
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The Year of Magical Thinking
Joan Didion
On December 30, 2003, Didion and her husband, the novelist John Gregory Dunne, went to a hospital to visit their daughter, Quintana, who was in an induced coma as part of a severe course of treatment for a mysterious illness and septic shock. Later that evening, they returned to their Manhattan apar...show more
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Medea
Euripides
I always knew the general plot line for Medea as it is often brought up over class discussions in school. However, I hadn't until now read the play from start to finish. What a wonderful read! I am now inspired to see this performed on stage. Almost has a touch of feminism which is refreshing to see...show more
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Madame Bovary
Gustave Flaubert
Another one of my all-time favourite books. Haunting story which beautifully captures romance, tragedy and betrayal.
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The Spare Room
Helen Garner
The Spare Room chronicles the experience of a novelist named Helen whose Melbourne life is upended when Nicola, an old friend in the final stages of terminal cancer, arrives for an extended visit. Although the book is labeled a novel, the connection between the characters and situations the book des...show more
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Jude the Obscure
Thomas Hardy
Jude the Obscure is the story of an orphaned, intellectually ambitious young man who works as a stonemason at Christminster (a Wessex version of Oxford) rather than attending its classes, as he yearns to do. He is tricked into marrying a girl who claims to be carrying his child and who then deserts ...show more
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Death of a Salesman
Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller’s seminal drama begins with its hero, Willy Loman, returning home from a sales trip in a state of utter exhaustion; it’s downhill from there—for Willy, at least. It’s a tribute to the power of the playwright’s conception and execution that the audience is held in a state of suspended t...show more
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Gone With the Wind
Margaret Mitchell
A long book, but well worth the days/hours/months that it takes to read.
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Anne of Green Gables
L. M. Montgomery
One of my favourite books from my childhood.
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Beloved
Toni Morrison
A haunting book that paints a confronting yet honest picture of what life was like for slaves during this time period. Beautifully constructed characters and a storyline you won't forget in a hurry.
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Lolita
Vladimir Nabokov
Never has such a uncomfortable topic been described so eloquently.
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Wide Sargasso Sea
Jean Rhys
A beautiful spin on the classic Jane Eyre storyline. Adds more dimension to "the crazy wife in the attic".
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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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Pygmalion
George Bernard Shaw
In Greek mythology, Pygmalion was a sculptor who fell in love with a woman he had carved in stone. Taking pity on the lovesick artist, the gods brought the statue to life: Creator and creation married and had a child. That’s the legend that provides the title for George Bernard Shaw’s play. Shaw’s c...show more
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