A list by Kendra Bilderback
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Kendra Bilderback
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Desert Solitaire
Edward Abbey
a beautiful book
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Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe
transforms you to another time and place
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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams
Very funny book, an easy read
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Little Women
Louisa May Alcott
a good "head cleaner" for when you've read too many unpleasant things in the news
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The Arabian Nights
Is there an entry in the annals of story more charming than the tale of the brave and brilliant Shahrazad, who, by dint of cunning and invention, puts off her death at the hands of King Shahryār for a thousand and one nights? Bewitching the king with a nightly dose of suspenseful storytelling, she s...show more
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Cat's Eye
Margaret Atwood
There are few reading pleasures more delightful than the feeling of instant rapport a narrative voice can conjure, an intimacy that quickly becomes immersive as you are drawn into a confidence both close and resonant. In Cat’s Eye, the voice belongs to Elaine Risley, a painter who has come back to h...show more
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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum
There’s no greater tribute to the pleasures of L. Frank Baum’s book than to say that the story is so good that it isn’t overwhelmed by the images from the wonderful Judy Garland movie. The story unfolds with a declarative matter-of-factness that puts no barrier between the real and the imagined; bec...show more
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Beowulf
Surviving in one manuscript dating from around AD 1000, and believed to have been composed some two or three hundred years earlier, Beowulf is a poem composed in Old English, also known as Anglo-Saxon, a language worlds apart from even Chaucer’s Middle English. Although written in England, the poem’...show more
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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
Lewis Carroll
More than the sum of its parts, Lewis Carroll’s Alice oeuvre has taken root in our collective imagination like few other literary creations. Despite—or perhaps because of—its nonsensical pedigree, it has proved to be an addictive pleasure for analysts seduced by its dense mix of childish frivolities...show more
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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
C. S. Lewis
Sent away from London during Second World War, the four Pevensie children are taken in by a professor who lives in a very large house in the country. On the first day of exploring their new abode, little Lucy discovers a mirror-fronted wardrobe in an otherwise bare room; creeping into it, she crosse...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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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Philip K. Dick
As the basis for the first and best adaptation of a Dick novel to film (Ridley Scott’s 1982 Blade Runner), this book occupies a central place in the PKD oeuvre. But its virtues and affect are different from the cinematic interpretation, more in line with Dick’s core preoccupations. All told, Do And...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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Autobiography of a Face
Lucy Grealy
Lucy Grealy was nine years old when it was discovered she had cancer. Years of grueling treatment followed, including nearly thirty operations and the partial removal of her jaw. Autobiography of a Face is Grealy’s powerful, riveting account of growing up during those two decades in a society whose ...show more
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Dune
Frank Herbert
Inspired by a visit to the famed sand dunes of Oregon, Herbert delved into research on environmental science and related matters as he began to chart the long, complex backstory of his epic, which ultimately came to span some twenty-one thousand years of future history. Through canny and judicious t...show more
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The Hobbit
J. R. R. Tolkien
In the late 1920s, J. R. R. Tolkien, a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University, scribbled a sentence while correcting some student papers: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” Those ten words are the seed from which grew a complex and elaborate mythology that would captivate the ima...show more
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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
Frederick Douglass
traumatizing, in a very necessary way
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One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel García Márquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude is a novel so strange, so rich, so perfect in its singularity and timeless in its tenor, one can scarcely believe it was written as recently as 1967. At its start we are treated to an inkling of the author’s narrative conjuring: “Many years later, as he faced the firing...show more
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We Die Alone
David Howarth
This is one of my all time favorite books.
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