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  1. The Sun Also Rises

    by Ernest Hemingway
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    On the surface, the novel is a love story between the protagonist Jake Barnes—a man whose war wound has made him unable to have sex—and the promiscuous divorcée usually identified as Lady Brett Ashley. Jake is an expatriate American journalist living in Paris, while Brett is a twice-divorced Englishwoman with bobbed hair and numerous love affairs, and embodies the new sexual freedom of the 1920s. Brett's affair with Jake's college friend Robert Cohn causes Jake to be upset and break off his friendship with Robert; her seduction of the 19-year-old matador Romero causes Jake to lose his good reputation among … (Wikipedia)

  2. For Whom the Bell Tolls

    by Ernest Hemingway
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    The novel graphically describes the brutality of the Spanish Civil War. It is told primarily through the thoughts and experiences of the protagonist, Robert Jordan. It draws on Hemingway's own experiences in the Spanish Civil War as a reporter for the North American Newspaper Alliance . ,, Jordan is an American who lived in prewar Spain and fights as an irregular soldier for the Republic against Francisco Franco 's fascist forces. An experienced dynamiter, he is ordered by a Soviet general to travel behind enemy lines and destroy a bridge with the aid of a band of local anti-fascist guerrillas … (Wikipedia)

  3. War and Peace

    by Leo Tolstoy
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    The novel begins in July 1805 in Saint Petersburg , at a soirée given by Anna Pavlovna Scherer—the maid of honour and confidante to the dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna . Many of the main characters are introduced as they enter the salon. Pierre (Pyotr Kirilovich) Bezukhov is the illegitimate son of a wealthy count , who is dying after a series of strokes. Pierre is about to become embroiled in a struggle for his inheritance. Educated abroad at his father's expense following his mother's death, Pierre is kindhearted but socially awkward, and finds it difficult to integrate into Petersburg society. … (Wikipedia)

  4. All Quiet on the Western Front

    by Erich Maria Remarque
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    The book tells the story of Paul Bäumer, who belongs to a group of German soldiers on the Western Front during World War I . The patriotic speeches of his teacher Kantorek had led the whole class to volunteer for military service shortly after the start of World War I . He didn't have any experience when going into the war but he still went in with an open mind and a kind heart. Paul lived with his father, mother, and sister in a charming German village, and attended school. His class was "scattered over the platoons amongst Frisian fishermen, … (Wikipedia)

  5. The Unbearable Lightness of Being

    by Milan Kundera
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    In The Unbearable Lightness of Being , Milan Kundera tells the story of a young woman in love with a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing and one of his mistresses and her humbly faithful lover. This magnificent novel juxtaposes geographically distant places, brilliant and playful reflections, and a variety of styles, to take its place as perhaps the major achievement of one of the world’s truly great writers. … (Goodreads)

  6. The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway

    by Ernest Hemingway
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    THE ONLY COMPLETE COLLECTION BY THE NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING AUTHOR In this definitive collection of Ernest Hemingway's short stories, readers will delight in the author's most beloved classics such as "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," "Hills Like White Elephants," and "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place," and will discover seven new tales published for the first time in this collection. For Hemingway fans The Complete Short Stories is an invaluable treasury. … (Goodreads)

  7. Franny and Zooey

    by J.D. Salinger
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    The short story concerns Franny's weekend date with her collegiate boyfriend, Lane Coutell. Lane takes her to a fashionable lunch room, where Franny quickly becomes exasperated when he only appears interested in conversing about the minutiae of his academic frustrations. Franny questions the importance of college education and the worth of Lane's friends. She eats nothing, feels faint, and becomes progressively more uncomfortable talking to Lane. Eventually she excuses herself to visit the restroom, where, after a crying spell, she regains her composure. She returns to the table, where Lane questions her on the small book she has been carrying. … (Wikipedia)

  8. East of Eden

    by John Steinbeck
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    In his journal, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck called East of Eden “the first book,” and indeed it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth. Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel. Adam Trask came to California from the East to farm and raise his family on the new rich land. But the birth of his twins, Cal and Aaron, brings his wife … (Goodreads)

  9. Cat's Cradle

    by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    Told with deadpan humour and bitter irony, Kurt Vonnegut's cult tale of global destruction preys on our deepest fears of witnessing Armageddon and, worse still, surviving it ... Dr Felix Hoenikker, one of the founding 'fathers' of the atomic bomb, has left a deadly legacy to the world. For he's the inventor of 'ice-nine', a lethal chemical capable of freezing the entire planet. The search for its whereabouts leads to Hoenikker's three ecentric children, to a crazed dictator in the Caribbean, to madness. Felix Hoenikker's Death Wish comes true when his last, fatal gift to humankind brings about the end, … (Goodreads)

  10. Heart of Darkness

    by Joseph Conrad
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    Aboard the Nellie , anchored in the River Thames near Gravesend , Charles Marlow tells his fellow sailors how he became captain of a river steamboat for an ivory trading company. As a child, Marlow had been fascinated by "the blank spaces" on maps, particularly by the biggest, which by the time he had grown up was no longer blank but turned into "a place of darkness". Yet there remained a big river, "resembling an immense snake uncoiled, with its head in the sea, its body at rest curving afar over a vast country and its tail lost in the … (Wikipedia)

  11. The Things They Carried

    by Tim O'Brien
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    In 1979, Tim O'Brien's Going After Cacciato —a novel about the Vietnam War—won the National Book Award. In this, his second work of fiction about Vietnam, O'Brien's unique artistic vision is again clearly demonstrated. Neither a novel nor a short story collection, it is an arc of fictional episodes, taking place in the childhoods of its characters, in the jungles of Vietnam and back home in America two decades later. … (Goodreads)

  12. Invisible Man

    by Ralph Ellison
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    The narrator, an unnamed black man, begins by describing his living conditions: an underground room wired with hundreds of electric lights, operated by power stolen from the city's electric grid. He reflects on the various ways in which he has experienced social invisibility during his life and begins to tell his story, returning to his teenage years. The narrator lives in a small Southern town and, upon graduating from high school, wins a scholarship to an all-black college . However, to receive it, he must first take part in a brutal, humiliating battle royal for the entertainment of the town's … (Wikipedia)

  13. To Have and Have Not

    by Ernest Hemingway
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    To Have and Have Not is the dramatic story of Harry Morgan, an honest man who is forced into running contraband between Cuba and Key West as a means of keeping his crumbling family financially afloat. His adventures lead him into the world of the wealthy and dissipated yachtsmen who throng the region, and involve him in a strange and unlikely love affair. Harshly realistic, yet with one of the most subtle and moving relationships in the Hemingway oeuvre, To Have and Have Not is literary high adventure at its finest. … (Goodreads)

  14. Nine Stories

    by J.D. Salinger
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    Nine Stories (1953) is a collection of short stories by American fiction writer J. D. Salinger published in April 1953. It includes two of his most famous short stories, "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" and "For Esmé – with Love and Squalor". (Nine Stories is the U.S. title; the book is published in many other countries as For Esmé - with Love and Squalor, and Other Stories.) The stories are: "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut" "Just Before the War with the Eskimos" "The Laughing Man" "Down at the Dinghy" "For Esmé – with Love and Squalor" … (Goodreads)

  15. A Confederacy of Dunces

    by John Kennedy Toole
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    Alternate cover for this ISBN can be found ,here, "A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once. Full, pursed lips protruded beneath the bushy black moustache and, at their corners, sank into little folds filled with disapproval and potato chip crumbs." Meet Ignatius J. Reilly, the hero of John Kennedy Toole's tragicomic tale, A Confederacy of Dunces . This 30-year-old medievalist … (Goodreads)

  16. A Streetcar Named Desire

    by Tennessee Williams
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    After the loss of her family home to creditors, Blanche DuBois travels from the small town of Laurel, Mississippi , to the New Orleans French Quarter to live with her younger married sister, Stella , and Stella's husband, Stanley Kowalski . Blanche is in her thirties and, with no money, has nowhere else to go. Blanche tells Stella that she has taken a leave of absence from her English-teaching position because of her nerves (which is later revealed to be a lie). Blanche laments the shabbiness of her sister's two-room flat. She finds Stanley loud and rough, eventually referring to … (Wikipedia)

  17. The Idiot

    by Fyodor Dostoevsky
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    Prince Myshkin, a young man in his mid-twenties and a descendant of one of the oldest Russian lines of nobility, is on a train to Saint Petersburg on a cold November morning. He is returning to Russia having spent the past four years in a Swiss clinic for treatment of a severe epileptic condition. On the journey, Myshkin meets a young man of the merchant class, Parfyon Semyonovich Rogozhin, and is struck by his passionate intensity, particularly in relation to a woman—the dazzling society beauty Nastasya Filippovna Barashkova—with whom he is obsessed. Rogozhin has just inherited a very large fortune … (Wikipedia)

  18. In Our Time

    by Ernest Hemingway
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    First published in 1925, earning Hemingway praise as a promising American writer. Contains several early Hemingway classics, including the famous Nick Adams stories. This volume introduces readers to the hallmarks of the famous Hemingway style: a lean, tough prose enlivened by an ear for the colloquial and an eye for the realistic. "In Our Time" provides key insights into Hemingway's later works. … (Goodreads)

  19. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

    by Junot Díaz
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    Oscar de León (nicknamed Oscar Wao, a bastardization of Oscar Wilde ) is an overweight Dominican growing up in Paterson, New Jersey. Oscar desperately wants to be successful with women but, from a young age, is unable to find love, largely because he is a nerd obsessed with science fiction and comic books. His great fear is that he will die a virgin. After high school, Oscar attends Rutgers University. His sister's boyfriend Yunior (the narrator of much of the novel) moves in with Oscar and tries to help him get in shape and become more "normal". After "getting dissed … (Wikipedia)

  20. The Iliad

    by Homer
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    Dating to the ninth century B.C., Homer’s timeless poem still vividly conveys the horror and heroism of men and gods wrestling with towering emotions and battling amidst devastation and destruction, as it moves inexorably to the wrenching, tragic conclusion of the Trojan War. Renowned classicist Bernard Knox observes in his superb introduction that although the violence of the Iliad is grim and relentless, it coexists with both images of civilized life and a poignant yearning for peace. Combining the skills of a poet and scholar, Robert Fagles, winner of the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation and a 1996 Academy Award … (Goodreads)