Timeless Must Read Novels

Timeless Must Read Novels

Books in list (31)

Title: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (with bonus content)

The beloved, award-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, a Michael Chabon masterwork, is the American epic of two boy geniuses named Joe Kavalier and Sammy Clay.
A “towering, swash-buckling thrill of a book” (Newsweek), hailed as Chabon’s “magnum opus” (The New York Review of Books), The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a triumph of originality, imagination, and storytelling, an exuberant, irresistible novel that begins in New York City in 1939. A young escape artist and budding magician named Joe Kavalier arrives on the doorstep of his cousin, Sammy Clay. While the long shadow of Hitler falls across Europe, America is happily in thrall to the Golden Age of comic books, and in a distant corner of Brooklyn, Sammy is looking for a way to cash in on the craze. He finds the ideal partner in the aloof, artistically gifted Joe, and together they embark on an adventure that takes them deep into the heart of Manhattan, and the heart of old-fashioned American ambition. From the shared fears, dreams, and desires of two teenage boys, they spin comic book tales of the heroic, fascist-fighting Escapist and the beautiful, mysterious Luna Moth, otherworldly mistress of the night. Climbing from the streets of Brooklyn to the top of the Empire State Building, Joe and Sammy carve out lives, and careers, as vivid as cyan and magenta ink. Spanning continents and eras, this superb book by one of America’s finest writers remains one of the defining novels of our modern American age.
Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize
Winner of the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award and the New York Society Library Book Award
Named one of the 10 Best Books of the Decade by Entertainment Weekly

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Author(s): Michael Chabon
ISBN 13: 9780812983586
Pages: 704
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Title: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

<p>Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.</p> <p>Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.</p> <p>Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia—a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo—to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.</p> <p>Henrietta’s family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family—past and present—is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.</p> <p>Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family—especially Henrietta’s daughter Deborah, who was devastated to learn about her mother’s cells. She was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Did it hurt her when researchers infected her cells with viruses and shot them into space? What happened to her sister, Elsie, who died in a mental institution at the age of fifteen? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn’t her children afford health insurance?&nbsp;<br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br> Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, <i>The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks</i> captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.</p>
Author(s): Rebecca Skloot
ISBN 13: 9781400052189
Pages: 381
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Title: The Lord of the Rings

Author(s): Tolkien, J. R.
ISBN 13: 9780544003415
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Title: The Wind-up Bird Chronicle

Superimposes the collapse of a marriage over the investigation into recovered war memories and a man's search for his own identity
Author(s): Haruki Murakami;Jay Rubin
ISBN 13: 9780679775430
Pages: 607
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Title: Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart tells two intertwining stories, both centering on Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first, a powerful fable of the immemorial conflict between the individual and society, traces Okonkwo’s fall from grace with the tribal world. The second, as modern as the first is ancient, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo's world with the arrival of aggressive European missionaries. These perfectly harmonized twin dramas are informed by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul.

A classic of modern African writing, this is the tale of what happens to tribal customs and old ways when white man comes.

Author(s): Chinua Achebe
ISBN 13: 9780385474542
Pages: 224
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Title: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

A first novel by the author of the collection, Drown. Reprint.
Author(s): Junot DĂ­az
ISBN 13: 9781594483295
Pages: 339
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Title: Dune

Author(s): Frank Herbert
ISBN 13: 9780441013593
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Title: The Book Thief

Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel--a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors ...
Author(s): Markus Zusak
ISBN 13: 9780375842207
Pages: 567
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Title: The World According to Garp

Author(s): John Irving
ISBN 13: 9780345418012
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Title: The Things They Carried

""The Things They Carried" is as good as any piece of literature can get." -- "Chicago Sun-Times" "This is writing so powerful that it steals your breath. ... "The Things They Carried" is about more than war, of course.
Author(s): Tim OBrien
ISBN 13: 9780618706419
Pages: 246
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Title: Fahrenheit 451

A totalitarian regime has ordered all books to be destroyed, but one of the book burners, Guy Montag, suddenly realizes their merit.
Author(s): Ray Bradbury
ISBN 13: 9781451673319
Pages: 159
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Title: The Little Prince

An aviator whose plane is forced down in the Sahara Desert encounters a little prince from a small planet who relates his adventures in seeking the secret of what is important in life.
Author(s): Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
ISBN 13: 9780547978840
Pages: 96
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Title: The Stranger: A New Translation by Matthew Ward

Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd." First published in 1946; now in a new translation by Matthew Ward.

"Matthew Ward has done Camus and us a great service. This is now a different and better novel for its American readers."--Chicago Sun Times

Author(s): Albert Camus
ISBN 13: 9780679720201
Pages: 144
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Title: The autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley

With its first great victory in the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, the civil rights movement gained the powerful momentum it needed to sweep forward into its crucial decade, the 1960s. As voices of protest and change rose above the din of history and false promises, one voice sounded more urgently, more passionately, than the rest. Malcolm X—once called the most dangerous man in America—challenged the world to listen and learn the truth as he experienced it. And his enduring message is as relevant today as when he first delivered it. In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement to veteran writer and journalist Alex Haley . In a unique collaboration, Haley worked with Malcolm X for nearly two years, interviewing, listening to, and understanding the most controversial leader of his time.
Author(s): Malcolm X;Alex Haley
ISBN 13: 9780345350688
Pages: 460
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Title: The Handmaids Tale

A chilling look at the near future presents the story of Offred, a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, once the United States, an oppressive world where women are no longer allowed to read and are valued only as long as they are viable for ...
Author(s): Margaret Atwood
ISBN 13: 9780385490818
Pages: 311
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Title: Pride and Prejudice, New ed.

Author(s): Jane Austen
ISBN 13: 9780199535569
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Title: The Year of Magical Thinking

An autobiographical portrait of marriage and motherhood by the acclaimed author details her struggle to come to terms with life and death, illness, sanity, personal upheaval, and grief.
Author(s): Joan Didion
ISBN 13: 9781400078431
Pages: 227
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Title: The Sun Also Rises

A brilliant profile of the Lost Generation, Hemingway's first bestseller captures life among the expatriates on Paris's Left Bank during the 1920s, the brutality of bullfighting in Spain, and the moral and spiritual dissolution of a generation. Reprint.

Hemingway's first bestselling novel, it is the story of a group of 'Lost Generation' Americans and Brits in the 1920s on a sojourn from Paris to Pamploma, Spain. The novel poignantly details their life as expatriates on Paris' Left Bank, and conveys the brutality of bullfighting in Spain. The novel established Hemingway as one of the great prose stylists of all time.

Author(s): Ernest Hemingway
ISBN 13: 9780743297332
Pages: 256
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Title: The Liars' Club

When it was published in 1995, Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club took the world by storm and raised the art of the memoir to an entirely new level, as well as bringing about a dramatic revival of the form. Karr’s comic childhood in an east Texas oil town brings us characters as darkly hilarious as any of J. D. Salinger’s—a hard-drinking daddy, a sister who can talk down the sheriff at twelve, and an oft-married mother whose accumulated secrets threaten to destroy them all. Now with a new introduction that discusses her memoir’s impact on her family, this unsentimental and profoundly moving account of an apocalyptic childhood is as “funny, lively, and un-put-downable” (USA Today) today as it ever was

Author(s): Mary Karr
ISBN 13: 9780143035749
Pages: 352
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Title: Me Talk Pretty One Day

A recent transplant to Paris, humorist David Sedaris, bestselling author of "Naked", presents a collection of his strongest work yet, including the title story about his hilarious attempt to learn French.
Author(s): David Sedaris
ISBN 13: 9780316776967
Pages: 288
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Title: Silent Spring

Discusses the reckless annihilation of fish and birds by the use of pesticides and warns of the possible genetic effects on humans.
Author(s): Rachel Carson
ISBN 13: 9780618249060
Pages: 378
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Title: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

<p>In his most extraordinary book, "one of the great clinical writers of the 20th century" <i>(The New York Times)</i> recounts the case histories of patients lost in the bizarre, apparently inescapable world of neurological disorders. Oliver Sacks's <i>The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat</i> tells the stories of individuals afflicted with fantastic perceptual and intellectual aberrations: patients who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts; who are no longer able to recognize people and common objects; who are stricken with violent tics and grimaces or who shout involuntary obscenities; whose limbs have become alien; who have been dismissed as retarded yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents.</p> <p> If inconceivably strange, these brilliant tales remain, in Dr. Sacks's splendid and sympathetic telling, deeply human. They are studies of life struggling against incredible adversity, and they enable us to enter the world of the neurologically impaired, to imagine with our hearts what it must be to live and feel as they do. A great healer, Sacks never loses sight of medicine's ultimate responsibility: "the suffering, afflicted, fighting human subject."</p>
Author(s): Oliver Sacks
ISBN 13: 9780684853949
Pages: 256
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Title: Cutting for Stone

Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother's death in childbirth and their father's disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politics - their passion for the same woman - that will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland. He makes his way to America, finding refuge in his work as an intern at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him - nearly destroying him - Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him.
Author(s): Abraham Verghese
ISBN 13: 9780375714368
Pages: 688
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Title: The Secret History

Truly deserving of the accolade a modern classic, Donna Tartt’s novel is a remarkable achievement—both compelling and elegant, dramatic and playful.

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.

An impressive debut novel from a new voice in fiction, The Secret History tells of a small circle of friends at an esteemed college in New England, whose studies in Classical Greek lead them to odd rituals, shocking behavior--and murder.

Author(s): Donna Tartt
ISBN 13: 9781400031702
Pages: 576
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Title: The Long Goodbye

Marlowe befriends a down on his luck war veteran with the scars to prove it. Then he finds out that Terry Lennox has a very wealthy nymphomaniac wife, who he's divorced and re-married and who ends up dead. and now Lennox is on the lam and the cops and a crazy gangster are after Marlowe.

Philip Marlowe constantly on the move with a case involving a war scarred drunk and his nymphomaniac wife.

Author(s): Raymond Chandler
ISBN 13: 9780394757681
Pages: 384
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Title: The Metamorphosis

The story begins with a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, waking to find himself transformed into an insect.
Author(s): Franz Kafka
ISBN 13: 9781557427663
Pages: 44
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Title: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

On May 18, 1860, in the midst of the nominating battle at the Republican National Convention, four contenders?Lincoln, Seward, Chase and Bates?wait in their hometowns for the results of the balloting in Chicago. Seward, Chase and Bates were political visionaries whose national reputations towered over Lincoln's. When they vied with Lincoln for the presidential nomination and lost, each was astonished at his defeat to this relatively obscure and inexperienced prairie lawyer. Through the 1850s, the four had intertwined with the creation of a sectional Republican party. Each positioned himself to lead the nation. That Lincoln emerges to win the race is the result of character traits forged by life experiences that separated him from his rivals and provided him with advantages that were unrecognized at the time and would prove his political adroitness and eventual greatness. Part I makes clear that, in the array of political disputes that were dividing the country, slavery was the pre-emminent factor. War, therefore, was inevitable. Part Two opens on March 4, 1861, the day of Lincoln's inauguration. Summoning his talented and difficult rivals to assume the highest posts in his Cabinet, Lincoln proceeds to marshal their talents to winning the Civil War. The War is seen from the vantage of the White House, where Lincoln comes to exercise firm control over the powerful, often antagonistic, personalities of his Cabinet officers, managing to subordinate them to his purposes, winning their respect and loyalty. There is a rich correspondence among them, much of which has not been utilized in standard Lincoln biographies. There is, too, an extraordinary cast of female characters. Lincoln's rivals boasted wives and daughters, including Frances Seward, Fanny Seward, and Kate Chase, who, like Mary Lincoln, displayed striking intelligence, unconventional personalities, powerful ambition and a rare degree of political sophistication. Their histories not only provide an excellent opportunity to re-examine the Lincolns' marriage in a comparative light, but also inspire a positive reassessment of Mary Lincoln's much-maligned performance of the role of First Lady. With fresh insights into the dynamics of 19th-century Washington social life gleaned from the papers of women in the Seward and Chase families, as well as with new research on the First Lady's service as a volunteer in Washington hospitals and as a fund-raiser for fugitive slaves quartered in camps near the capital, it is possible to add nuance and perhaps some new truths to the current record of Mrs. Lincoln's time in Washington. In the end, however, since Lincoln was "married" more intimately to several of his Cabinet members during the war than he was to Mary, in terms of the time he spent with them during the day, the long, anxious hours at night waiting for the telegraph to report news from the battlefront, the moments of relaxation shared, the stories exchanged, the emotions expressed, this is ultimately a story of Abraham Lincoln's mastery of men. Goodwin's portrait of Lincoln is an important contribution to the Lincoln literature. Brilliantly described and dramatically narrated, it is a compelling read.
Author(s): Doris Kearns Goodwin
ISBN 13: 9780743270755
Pages: 944
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Title: The Catcher in the Rye

In an effort to escape the hypocrisies of life at his boarding school, sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield seeks refuge in New York City.
Author(s): J.D. Salinger
ISBN 13: 9780316769174
Pages: 288
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Title: Slaughterhouse-Five: Or, the Children's Crusade, A Duty-Dance with Death

Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world’s great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous firebombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim’s odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we fear most.
Author(s): Kurt Vonnegut
ISBN 13: 9780385333849
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Title: The Wind in the Willows

Author(s): Kenneth Grahame
ISBN 13: 9780763622428
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Title: To Kill a Mockingbird

Lawyer Atticus Finch defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic, Puliter Prize-winning novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white woman. Through the eyes of Atticus's children, Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unanswering honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930's.

Author Biography:

Harper Lee was born in 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama, where she attended local schools and the University of Alabama. She has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, three honarary degrees, and many other literart awards.

Winner of the 1961 Pulitzer Prize for Literature, Fiction.

Author(s): Harper Lee
ISBN 13: 9780446310789
Pages: 384
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