A list by Robert Lovejoy
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Robert Lovejoy
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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams
A marvelous, funny, illuminating novel.
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The Education of Henry Adams
Henry Adams
Surveying national events from his birth through the era of the Civil War and the subsequent economic expansion of the United States, Adams’s distinctive autobiography is also a brilliant work of historical acumen. It depicts, with imaginative aplomb, the cultural transformations set in motion as th...show more
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Burr
Gore Vidal
Written out of chronological sequence and gathered together after the fact under the rubrics “Narratives of Empire” or “The American Chronicle,” Gore Vidal’s lively, fact-based fictions—Burr (1973), Lincoln (1984), 1876 (1976), Empire (1987), Hollywood (1990), Washington, D.C. (1964), and The Golden...show more
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Slaughterhouse-Five
Kurt Vonnegut
Many thousands died when Allied planes firebombed Dresden, Germany, in February 1945. Kurt Vonnegut, an American soldier being held there as a prisoner of war, survived because he was confined to Schlachthof-fünf—slaughterhouse number five, an airtight, impregnable underground meat locker. When the ...show more
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The Hot Rock
Donald E. Westlake
Pure pleasure. That’s what you’ll find in the pages of Donald Westlake’s Dortmunder novels. Comic crime capers featuring a genial, recurring cast of benignly larcenous characters, led by the “dogged but doomed” thief John Dortmunder, they’re filled with schemes, mischief, mishaps, and over-the-top p...show more
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Emma
Jane Austen
At twenty, Emma Woodhouse—“handsome, clever, and rich”—knows that she’s the most fantastic woman in Highbury, and nothing amuses her more than meddling in other people’s affairs. But although she has good intentions, her matchmaking goes seriously awry, wrecking a perfectly good engagement for her f...show more
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Mansfield Park
Jane Austen
From a large and not too wealthy family, bashful Fanny Price is sent to live with her rich aunt and uncle at the house that gives this book its name. She finds herself intimidated by everyone there, except her kind cousin Edmund; constantly bursting into tears, she won’t even take part in her coeval...show more
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Northanger Abbey
Jane Austen
The first written of Austen’s novels, Northanger Abbey was not published until after her death. It is a parody of Gothic fiction—a wildly popular genre in Austen’s day, and one with which Catherine Morland, the novel’s teenage protagonist, is unhealthily obsessed. She can hardly contain her exciteme...show more
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Persuasion
Jane Austen
Though its plot may be less intricate than those of Austen’s earlier works, Persuasion is a captivating tale, and Anne Elliott is one of her most enduring creations. The last novel Austen wrote in her short life, it points toward an expansion of her extraordinary talents; in the pages of Persuasion,...show more
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Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen
The best introduction to Austen’s work is surely the second of the six novels she wrote before her death at only forty-one, Pride and Prejudice, in which she introduces us to Elizabeth Bennet, the wittiest and most vivacious of five sisters on the hunt—if their mother has her way, at least—for husba...show more
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Sense and Sensibility
Jane Austen
Austen’s first published novel, which appeared under the pseudonym “A Lady,” is the story of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, and of the tension between private passions and public decorum. This is Austen’s most social novel, and in both town and country, she depicts a privileged class rif...show more
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Stranger in a Strange Land
Robert A. Heinlein
A lovely, witty novel of ideas.
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The Importance of Being Earnest
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde’s unparalleled wit outweighs the stature of any of his individual works. His entirely deserved reputation for perfectly pitched comic utterance precedes him, and can, paradoxically, cast a shadow on a reader’s pleasure. Not so with The Importance of Being Earnest, the sparkling play that...show more
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