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  1. Homage to Catalonia

    by George Orwell
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    Readership: Eclectic

    In 1936 George Orwell travelled to Spain to report on the Civil War and instead joined the fight against the Fascists. This famous account describes the war and Orwell’s own experiences. Introduction by Lionel Trilling. … (Goodreads)

  2. The Road to Wigan Pier

    by George Orwell
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    Readership: Very niche

    A searing account of George Orwell’s experiences of working-class life in the bleak industrial heartlands of Yorkshire and Lancashire, The Road to Wigan Pier is a brilliant and bitter polemic that has lost none of its political impact over time. His graphically unforgettable descriptions of social injustice, slum housing, mining conditions, squalor, hunger and growing unemployment are written with unblinking honesty, fury and great humanity. … (Goodreads)

  3. The Communist Manifesto

    by Karl Marx
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    A rousing call to arms whose influence is still felt today Originally published on the eve of the 1848 European revolutions, The Communist Manifesto is a condensed and incisive account of the worldview Marx and Engels developed during their hectic intellectual and political collaboration. Formulating the principles of dialectical materialism, they believed that labor creates wealth, hence capitalism is exploitive and antithetical to freedom. This new edition includes an extensive introduction by Gareth Stedman Jones, Britain's leading expert on Marx and Marxism, providing a complete course for students of The Communist Manifesto, and demonstrating not only the historical importance of … (Goodreads)

  4. Why I Write

    by George Orwell
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    Readership: Very niche

    Whether puncturing the lies of politicians, wittily dissecting the English character or telling unpalatable truths about war, Orwell's timeless, uncompromising essays are more relevant, entertaining and essential than ever in today's era of spin. Contents: "Why I Write", first published 1946 "The Lion and the Unicorn", first published 1940 "A Hanging", first published 1931 "Politics and the English Language", first published 1946 … (Goodreads)

  5. The Autobiography of Malcolm X

    by Malcolm X
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    Alternate cover for ISBN 9780345350688 Through a life of passion and struggle, Malcolm X became one of the most influential figures of the 20th Century. In this riveting account, he tells of his journey from a prison cell to Mecca, describing his transition from hoodlum to Muslim minister. Here, the man who called himself "the angriest Black man in America" relates how his conversion to true Islam helped him confront his rage and recognize the brotherhood of all mankind. An established classic of modern America, "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" was hailed by the New York Times as "Extraordinary. A … (Goodreads)

  6. A People's History of the United States

    by Howard Zinn
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    In the book, Zinn presented a different side of history from the more traditional "fundamental nationalist glorification of country". Zinn portrays a side of American history that can largely be seen as the exploitation and manipulation of the majority by rigged systems that hugely favor a small aggregate of elite rulers from across the orthodox political parties. A People's History has been assigned as reading in many high schools and colleges across the United States. It has also resulted in a change in the focus of historical work, which now includes stories that previously were ignored Library Journal calls Howard … (Goodreads)

  7. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

    by Jared Diamond
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    "Diamond has written a book of remarkable scope ... one of the most important and readable works on the human past published in recent years." Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and a national bestseller: the global account of the rise of civilization that is also a stunning refutation of ideas of human development based on race. In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then … (Goodreads)

  8. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

    by Anthony Bourdain
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    A deliciously funny, delectably shocking banquet of wild-but-true tales of life in the culinary trade from Chef Anthony Bourdain, laying out his more than a quarter-century of drugs, sex, and haute cuisine—now with all-new, never-before-published material. New York Chef Tony Bourdain gives away secrets of the trade in his wickedly funny, inspiring memoir/expose. Kitchen Confidential reveals what Bourdain calls "twenty-five years of sex, drugs, bad behavior and haute cuisine." … (Goodreads)

  9. Walden

    by Henry David Thoreau
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    Originally published in 1854, Walden; or, Life in the Woods, is a vivid account of the time that Henry D. Thoreau lived alone in a secluded cabin at Walden Pond. It is one of the most influential and compelling books in American literature. This new paperback edition-introduced by noted American writer John Updike-celebrates the 150th anniversary of this classic work. Much of Walden's material is derived from Thoreau's journals and contains such engaging pieces as "Reading" and "The Pond in the Winter" Other famous sections involve Thoreau's visits with a Canadian woodcutter and with an Irish family, a trip to … (Goodreads)

  10. The Complete Maus

    by Art Spiegelman
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    On the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of its first publication, here is the definitive edition of the book acclaimed as “the most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust” (Wall Street Journal) and “the first masterpiece in comic book history” (The New Yorker). The Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father’s story. Maus approaches the unspeakable through the diminutive. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), shocks us out of any lingering sense of … (Goodreads)

  11. Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History

    by Art Spiegelman
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    The first installment of the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel acclaimed as “the most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust” (Wall Street Journal) and “the first masterpiece in comic book history” (The New Yorker). A brutally moving work of art—widely hailed as the greatest graphic novel ever written—Maus recounts the chilling experiences of the author’s father during the Holocaust, with Jews drawn as wide-eyed mice and Nazis as menacing cats. Maus is a haunting tale within a tale, weaving the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father into an astonishing retelling of one of history's … (Goodreads)

  12. Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942–1943

    by Antony Beevor
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    Readership: Very niche

    The Battle of Stalingrad was not only the psychological turning point of World War II: it also changed the face of modern warfare. From Antony Beevor, the internationally bestselling author of ,D-Day, and ,The Battle of Arnhem., In August 1942, Hitler's huge Sixth Army reached the city that bore Stalin's name. In the five-month siege that followed, the Russians fought to hold Stalingrad at any cost; then, in an astonishing reversal, encircled and trapped their Nazi enemy. This battle for the ruins of a city cost more than a million lives. Stalingrad conveys the experience of soldiers on both sides, … (Barnes & Noble)

  13. Meditations

    by Marcus Aurelius
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    Written in Greek by the only Roman emperor who was also a philosopher, without any intention of publication, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius offer a remarkable series of challenging spiritual reflections and exercises developed as the emperor struggled to understand himself and make sense of the universe. While the Meditations were composed to provide personal consolation and encouragement, Marcus Aurelius also created one of the greatest of all works of philosophy: a timeless collection that has been consulted and admired by statesmen, thinkers and readers throughout the centuries. … (Goodreads)

  14. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

    by Haruki Murakami
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    In 1982, having sold his jazz bar to devote himself to writing, Murakami began running to keep fit. A year later, he'd completed a solo course from Athens to Marathon, and now, after dozens of such races, not to mention triathlons and a dozen critically acclaimed books, he reflects upon the influence the sport has had on his life and--even more important--on his writing. Equal parts training log, travelogue, and reminiscence, this revealing memoir covers his four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City Marathon and takes us to places ranging from Tokyo's Jingu Gaien gardens, where he once shared … (Goodreads)

  15. Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow

    by Yuval Noah Harari
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed ,New York Times, bestseller and international phenomenon ,Sapiens,, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods. Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much … (Goodreads)

  16. Travels with Charley: In Search of America

    by John Steinbeck
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    Readership: Eclectic

    A quest across America, from the northernmost tip of Maine to California’s Monterey Peninsula To hear the speech of the real America, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colors and the light—these were John Steinbeck's goals as he set out, at the age of fifty-eight, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years. With Charley, his French poodle, Steinbeck drives the interstates and the country roads, dines with truckers, encounters bears at Yellowstone and old friends in San Francisco. Along the way he reflects on the American character, racial hostility, the … (Goodreads)

  17. A Short History of Nearly Everything

    by Bill Bryson
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    In Bryson's biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself … (Goodreads)

  18. Slouching Towards Bethlehem

    by Joan Didion
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    Readership: Eclectic

    The first nonfiction work by one of the most distinctive prose stylists of our era, Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem remains, decades after its first publication, the essential portrait of America—particularly California—in the sixties. It focuses on such subjects as John Wayne and Howard Hughes, growing up a girl in California, ruminating on the nature of good and evil in a Death Valley motel room, and, especially, the essence of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, the heart of the counterculture. … (Goodreads)

  19. The Prince

    by Niccolò Machiavelli
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    Machiavelli needs to be looked at as he really was. Hence: Can Machiavelli, who makes the following observations, be Machiavellian as we understand the disparaging term? 1. So it is that to know the nature of a people, one need be a Prince; to know the nature of a Prince, one need to be of the people. 2. If a Prince is not given to vices that make him hated, it is unsusal for his subjects to show their affection for him. 3. Opportunity made Moses, Cyrus, Romulus, Theseus, and others; their virtue domi-nated the opportunity, making their homelands noble … (Goodreads)

  20. Hitch 22: A Memoir

    by Christopher Hitchens
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    Readership: Very niche

    Over the course of his 60 years, Christopher Hitchens has been a citizen of both the United States and the United Kingdom. He has been both a socialist opposed to the war in Vietnam and a supporter of the U.S. war against Islamic extremism in Iraq. He has been both a foreign correspondent in some of the world's most dangerous places and a legendary bon vivant with an unquenchable thirst for alcohol and literature. He is a fervent atheist, raised as a Christian, by a mother whose Jewish heritage was not revealed to him until her suicide. In other words, … (Goodreads)