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Scott Eaton
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Primitive Mythology: The Masks of God, Volume 1
Joseph Campbell
The sense that the world has a purpose more profound than its mere existence, and that we ourselves have a significance separate from our day-to-day experience, is the source of all myth. An inspiring guide to the landscape of insights that myths embody, Campbell leads us by the hand down its roads ...show more
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My Dog Tulip
J. R. Ackerley
When first published in England in 1956, Tulip was considered shocking because of what one reviewer called its “scatological and gynaecological detail.” But while the messy details are certainly present in abundance (chapter 2, for example, is entitled “Liquids and Solids”), to be put off by them is...show more
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Half of a Yellow Sun
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Set in Nigeria during the decade culminating in the 1967–70 Biafran war, a secession conflict that left more than a million dead from violence and famine, this story is at once a historical drama and a tale of family struggles and romances gone right and wrong. Half of a Yellow Sun established Adich...show more
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The Oresteia
Aeschylus
If you seek between covers an education in the trials and tribulations, the hopes and fears, the terrors and triumphs of the human spirit, the majestic tragedies of the ancient Greeks are the place to begin, and perhaps the place to end as well. In their beautiful, haunting, unsparing plays, Aeschyl...show more
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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Sherman Alexie
Drawing on Sherman Alexie’s personal experience growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a young adult novel that has more to say about big virtues like tolerance than a whole shelf of earnest adult tomes could ever manage. The book’s unflinchi...show more
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Inferno: The Divine Comedy, Book 1
Dante Alighieri
From the dark wood of its beginning, down through the nine circles of hell, across the seven terraces of purgatory, and into the ten heavens of paradise, Dante’s medieval tour de force gives us, in T. S. Eliot’s estimation, the greatest altitude and the greatest depth of human passion any writer has...show more
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Purgatorio: The Divine Comedy, Book 2
Dante Alighieri
Although the stories in hell are better than those in purgatory, sin being a sexier subject than penance, Dante’s poetry never palls. Throughout, he infuses his narrative with a current of feeling that humanizes the austere theological arc of his pilgrim’s progress.
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Paradiso: The Divine Comedy, Book 3
Dante Alighieri
As the Comedy ascends to a heaven of light, Dante completes the grand imaginative arc he began in the dark wood, having composed out of eschatological speculations an epic as thrilling as those of Homer, as filled with human sensibility as Virgil’s—one in which all the deadly sins, and all the longe...show more
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The Blind Assassin
Margaret Atwood
I asked a friend if she had ever read something that made her wish she were friends with the author – I felt this way about The Blind Assassin. She responded: “Yes. But when I read that novel, my reaction was that I wish I had written it.” I realized that this is actually what I wanted, too. It ...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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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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Zen Master Poems
Dick Allen
At a recent Battle in Bethel, CT, Cortney Davis chose an American distillation of Buddhist wisdom composed—with wit, ingenuity, and poetic command—by a former poet laureate of the state of Connecticut. Allen's poems make one ponder life a little more carefully, putting a spring in one’s spiritual st...show more
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