A list by Kyle Sparling
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Kyle Sparling
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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams
Clever and subtle, one of the few books that has made me literally laugh out loud while addressing oddly serious topics.
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Watership Down
Richard Adams
One of the most phenomenal international bestsellers of the 1970s, Watership Down is an immersive saga that traverses great themes and feelings—courage, frailty, community, ecology, responsibility, friendship, love—while holding readers on the edge of their metaphorical seats. And oh, yes—it’s a 500...show more
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Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury
Guy Montag is a fireman. But, in the dystopian future of Ray Bradbury’s 1953 classic, a fireman’s duty is not to put out fires, but to start them. His job, in fact, is to burn books, a task that requires the temperature of 451° Fahrenheit. It’s natural to see Fahrenheit 451 as an allegory about cens...show more
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Goodnight Moon
Margaret Wise Brown, pictures by Clement Hurd
As the pages are turned and the simplest of poems unfolds in casually rhymed lines, pictures of the cow jumping over the moon and of the three little bears are given their due, as are kittens and mittens and toyhouse and mouse, and the quiet old lady in the rocking chair whispering “hush.” The conte...show more
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Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card
The Wiggin children are unusual, even for the unusual world in which Ender’s Game unfolds. There’s the oldest, Peter, a power-mad sociopath; Valentine, the sister who turns her eloquence to Peter’s service; and then there’s Ender, their little brother, who is singled out by the authorities as the mi...show more
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The Bible
In the first chapter of the Book of Genesis—in just thirty-one short verses—the world is given form, light is summoned into being, Day and Night are named, Heaven hatched, the stars invoked, and Earth fashioned into land and sea, seeded with plants and populated with creatures. All in less than eigh...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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Foundation: The Foundation Trilogy, Book 1
Isaac Asimov
As a writer, Isaac Asimov’s reputation rests solidly on his ambitious Foundation Trilogy, which was awarded a special Hugo Award in 1966 as best science fiction series of all time. And although he would bow to fan pressure and resume the franchise nearly thirty years after publishing its initial ins...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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The Hunt for Red October
Tom Clancy
Published by the US Naval Institute Press in 1984, The Hunt for Red October became an unexpected but modest hit for the generally under-the-radar publisher, whose mission is to promote an understanding of sea power and other issues of national defense. But soon, abetted in no small part by President...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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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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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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Tuck Everlasting
Natalie Babbitt
Age has its despairs, yet without its dimension, our lives lose their shape: A timeless life, without growth or change, would be drearier than the day is long. That’s the profound truth that illuminates this extraordinary fable, in which a young girl named Winnie finds herself catapulted into great ...show more
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11/22/63
Stephen King
Although its ramifications are intricate, the seed of 11/22/63 is quite simple: A man named Jake Epping, living in Maine in 2011, finds a portal into the past (to September 9, 1958, at 11:58 AM, to be exact) and decides to travel back in time to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy...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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The Canterbury Tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer’s most enduring work, began in the 1380s as a loose collection of stories, myths, and fantastical anecdotes—most in verse, though some in prose—that were all written in different voices. Only in the 1390s did Chaucer start to think of his baggy assemblage as a single na...show more
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The Three Musketeers
Alexandre Dumas
Set in the seventeenth-century reign of Louis XIII and peopled with historical personages such as Cardinal Richelieu and the Duke of Buckingham, The Three Musketeers recounts the swashbuckling adventures of an impetuous young swordsman named d’Artagnan and the trio of soldiers in the king’s service ...show more
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The Book of Job
As translated by Stephen Mitchell
Job’s tale is the Bible’s profound and unsettling meditation on suffering, justice, and the inscrutability of life. It begins in prose (as it will close), introducing the legend of the pious man from the land of Uz and revealing what Job himself never knows: that the miseries visited upon him result...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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