For The Love of Books by For The Love of Books

Ronald Schwartz polled 115 major writers about their favorite books, and published each of their ballots in the book “For the Love of Books”.

  1. 1. The Bible by Christian Church

    Image of The Bible

    The Authorized King James Version is an English translation of the Christian Bible begun in 1604 and completed in 1611 by the Church of England. Printed by the King's Printer, Robert Barker, the fi...


  2. 2. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

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    First published in 1851, Melville's masterpiece is, in Elizabeth Hardwick's words, "the greatest novel in American literature." The saga of Captain Ahab and his monomaniacal pursuit of the white wh...


  3. 2. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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    Dostoevsky's last and greatest novel, The Karamazov Brothers, is both a brilliantly told crime story and a passionate philosophical debate. The dissolute landowner Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov is mur...


  4. 2. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust

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    Swann's Way, the first part of A la recherche de temps perdu, Marcel Proust's seven-part cycle, was published in 1913. In it, Proust introduces the themes that run through the entire work. The narr...


  5. 2. Ulysses by James Joyce

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    Ulysses chronicles the passage of Leopold Bloom through Dublin during an ordinary day, June 16, 1904. The title parallels and alludes to Odysseus (Latinised into Ulysses), the hero of Homer's Odyss...


  6. 3. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

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    Epic in scale, War and Peace delineates in graphic detail events leading up to Napoleon's invasion of Russia, and the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society, as seen through the eyes of fi...


  7. 4. First Folio by William Shakespeare

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    Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies is the 1623 published collection of William Shakespeare's plays. Modern scholars commonly refer to it as the First Folio. Printed in folio...


  8. 4. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

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    Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and must endu...


  9. 4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

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    Revered by all of the town's children and dreaded by all of its mothers, Huckleberry Finn is indisputably the most appealing child-hero in American literature. Unlike the tall-tale, idyllic worl...


  10. 4. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

    Image of The Catcher in the Rye

    The Catcher in the Rye is a 1945 novel by J. D. Salinger. Originally published for adults, the novel has become a common part of high school and college curricula throughout the English-speaking wo...


  11. 5. Paradise Lost by John Milton

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    Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton. It was originally published in 1667 in ten books. A second edition followed in 1674, redivided into twelve...


  12. 5. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

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    For daring to peer into the heart of an adulteress and enumerate its contents with profound dispassion, the author of Madame Bovary was tried for "offenses against morality and religion." What shoc...


  13. 5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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    Great Expectations is written in the genre of "bildungsroman" or the style of book that follows the story of a man or woman in their quest for maturity, usually starting from childhood and ending i...


  14. 5. Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe

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    It is Wolfe's first novel, and is considered a highly autobiographical American Bildungsroman. The character of Eugene Gant is generally believed to be a depiction of Wolfe himself. The novel cover...

    - 1929

  15. 5. Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats by W. B. Yeats

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    William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet, dramatist, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature.


  16. 5. Collected Poems by Wallace Stevens

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    Wallace Stevens (October 2, 1879 – August 2, 1955) was an American Modernist poet. He was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, educated at Harvard and then New York Law School, and he spent most of his l...


  17. 6. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

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    Alonso Quixano, a retired country gentleman in his fifties, lives in an unnamed section of La Mancha with his niece and a housekeeper. He has become obsessed with books of chivalry, and believes th...


  18. 6. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

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    The story of the abandoned waif who learns to survive through challenging encounters with distress and misfortune.


  19. 6. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

    Image of Leaves of Grass

    Leaves of Grass (1855) is a poetry collection by the American poet Walt Whitman. Among the poems in the collection are "Song of Myself," "I Sing the Body Electric," "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Roc...


  20. 6. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

    Image of A Tale of Two Cities

    A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. With 200 million copies sold, it is the most printed original English boo...


  21. 6. The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas by Machado de Assis

    Image of The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas

    "In his posthumous memoirs, Braz Cubas, a wealthy nineteenth-century Brazilian, examines (from beyond the grave) his rather undistinguished life in 160 short chapters that both cover the basics of ...

    - Google

  22. 6. The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford

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    Ford Madox Ford wrote The Good Soldier, the book on which his reputation most surely rests, in deliberate emulation of the nineteenth-century French novels he so admired. In this way he was able to...


  23. 6. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

    Image of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a semi-autobiographical novel by James Joyce, first serialized in The Egoist from 1914 to 1915 and published in book form in 1916. It depicts the formativ...


  24. 6. Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

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    A classic collection of Jeeves and Wooster stories from P.G. Wodehouse, the great comic writer of the 20th century In his new role as valet to Bertie Wooster, Jeeves's first duty is to create a mir...

    - Google

  25. 6. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

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    A landmark novel of high modernism, the text, centering on the Ramsay family and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland between 1910 and 1920, skillfully manipulates temporality and psycholog...


  26. 6. Journey to the End of The Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline

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    Journey to the End of Night is the first novel of Louis-Ferdinand Céline. This semi-autobiographical work describes antihero Ferdinand Bardamu. His surname, Bardamu, is derived from the French word...


  27. 6. Collected Poems of T.S. Eliot by T.S. Eliot

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    Thomas Stearns Eliot was an American poet, playwright, and literary critic, arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century.


  28. 6. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner

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    Absalom, Absalom! is a Southern Gothic novel by the American author William Faulkner, first published in 1936. It is a story about three families of the American South, taking place before, during,...


  29. 6. The Collected Stories of William Faulkner by William Faulkner

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    This magisterial collection of short works by Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner reminds readers of his ability to compress his epic vision into narratives as hard and wounding as bullets....


  30. 6. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

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    The book is internationally famous for its innovative style and infamous for its controversial subject: the protagonist and unreliable narrator, middle aged Humbert Humbert, becomes obsessed and se...


  31. 6. Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson

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    Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet. Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted ...


  32. 6. Stories of Ernest Hemingway by Ernest Hemingway

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    Before he gained wide fame as a novelist, Ernest Hemingway established his literary reputation with his short stories. This collection, The Short Stories, originally published in 1938, is definitiv...

    - Google

  33. 7. The Odyssey by Homer

    Image of The Odyssey

    The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work traditionally ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the m...


  34. 7. The Iliad by Homer

    Image of The Iliad

    The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set in the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of Ilium by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and e...


  35. 7. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

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    Belonging in the immortal company of the great works of literature, Dante Alighieri's poetic masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, is a moving human drama, an unforgettable visionary journey through the ...


  36. 7. One Thousand and One Nights by India/Iran/Iraq/Egypt

    Image of One Thousand and One Nights

    One Thousand and One Nights is a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. It is often known in English as the Arabian Ni...


  37. 7. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

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    From the preeminent prose satirist in the English language, a great classic recounting the four remarkable journeys of ship's surgeon Lemuel Gulliver. For children it remains an enchanting fantasy;...


  38. 7. Candide by Voltaire

    Image of Candide

    Candide, ou l'Optimisme is a French satire written in 1759 by Voltaire, a philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment. Candide is characterized by its sarcastic tone and its erratic, fantastical, an...


  39. 7. Encyclopedia Britannica by Encyclopedia Britannica

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    The Encyclopædia Britannica is a general English-language encyclopaedia published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., a privately held company. The articles in the Britannica are aimed at educated ad...


  40. 7. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

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    Set against the tumultuous years of the post-Napoleonic era, The Count of Monet Cristo recounts the swashbuckling adventures of Edmond Dantes, a dashing young sailor falsely accused of treason. The...


  41. 7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

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    Jane Eyre is a first-person narrative of the title character, a small, plain-faced, intelligent and honest English orphan. The novel goes through five distinct stages: Jane's childhood at Gateshead...


  42. 7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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    The narrative is non-linear, involving several flashbacks, and two primary narrators: Mr. Lockwood and Ellen "Nelly" Dean. The novel opens in 1801, with Mr. Lockwood arriving at Thrushcross Grange,...


  43. 7. Walden by Henry David Thoreau

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    Walden (first published as Walden; or, Life in the Woods) is an American book written by noted transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings.


  44. 7. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

    Image of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

    In 1862 Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a shy Oxford mathematician with a stammer, created a story about a little girl tumbling down a rabbit hole. Thus began the immortal adventures of Alice, perhaps th...


  45. 7. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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    It is a murder story, told from a murder;s point of view, that implicates even the most innocent reader in its enormities. It is a cat-and-mouse game between a tormented young killer and a cheerful...


  46. 7. Middlemarch by George Eliot

    Image of Middlemarch

    Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life is a novel by George Eliot, the pen name of Mary Anne Evans, later Marian Evans. It is her seventh novel, begun in 1869 and then put aside during the final i...


  47. 7. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

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    The story centres on Isabel Archer, an attractive American whom circumstances have brought to Europe. Isabel refuses the offer of marriage to an English peer and to a bulldog-like New Englander, to...


  48. 7. Oxford English Dictionary by Oxford University Press

    Image of Oxford English Dictionary

    The Oxford English Dictionary (OED), published by the Oxford University Press, is a descriptive dictionary of the English language. As well as describing English usage in its many variations throug...


  49. 7. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

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    Since his first appearance in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes has been one of the most beloved fictional characters ever created.


  50. 7. The Principles of Psychology by William James


  51. 7. The Works of Max Beerbohm by Max Beerbohm

    Image of The Works of Max Beerbohm

    The Works of Max Beerbohm was the first book published by English caricaturist, essayist and parodist Max Beerbohm. It was published in 1896 when Beerbohm was aged 24. A collection of Beerbohm's...


  52. 7. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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    The story details an incident when Marlow, an Englishman, took a foreign assignment from a Belgian trading company as a ferry-boat captain in Africa. Although Conrad does not specify the name of th...


  53. 7. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

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    Conrad's great novel of guilt and redemption follows the first mate on board the Patna, a raw youth with dreams of heroism who, in an act of cowardice, abandons his ship. His unbearable guilt and i...


  54. 7. The Ambassadors by Henry James

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    This dark comedy, one of the masterpieces of James' final period, follows the trip of protagonist Lewis Lambert Strether to Europe in pursuit of his widowed fiancée's supposedly wayward son. Streth...


  55. 7. Three Lives by Gertrude Stein

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    American writer Gertrude Stein was definitely decades ahead of her time. Injecting experimental and avant-garde elements into her work, she described her method as "literary cubism" -- an understan...

    - Google

  56. 7. Howards End by E. M. Forster

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    "Only Connect," Forster's key aphorism, informs this novel about an English country house, Howards End, and its influence on the lives of the wealthy and materialistic Wilcoxes; the cultured, ideal...


  57. 7. Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

    Image of Tarzan of the Apes

    Tarzan of the Apes is a novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first in a series of books about the title character Tarzan. It was first published in the pulp magazine All-Story Magazine in Oct...


  58. 7. Lad: a Dog by Albert Payson Terhune

    Image of Lad: a Dog

    Lad: A Dog is a 1919 American novel written by Albert Payson Terhune and published by E. P. Dutton. Composed of twelve short stories first published in magazines, the novel is based on the life of ...


  59. 7. The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy

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    The Forsyte Saga, first published under that name in 1922, is a series of three novels and two interludes published between 1906 and 1921 by Nobel Prize-winning English author John Galsworthy. They...


  60. 7. The Worst Journey in the World by Robert Falcon Scott

    Image of The Worst Journey in the World

    The Worst Journey in the World is a memoir of the 1910-1913 British Antarctic Expedition led by Robert Falcon Scott. It was written and published in 1922 by a survivor of the expedition, Apsley Che...


  61. 7. Orlando: A Biography by Virginia Woolf

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    In her most exuberant, most fanciful novel, Woolf has created a character liberated from the restraints of time and sex. Born in the Elizabethan Age to wealth and position, Orlando is a young noble...


  62. 7. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

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    A Passage to India is set against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. The story revolves around four characters: Dr. Aziz, his British friend Cyril Fi...


  63. 7. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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    The novel chronicles an era that Fitzgerald himself dubbed the "Jazz Age". Following the shock and chaos of World War I, American society enjoyed unprecedented levels of prosperity during the "roar...


  64. 7. In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway

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    When In Our Time was published in 1925, it was praised by Ford Madox Ford, John Dos Passos, and F. Scott Fitzgerald for its simple and precise use of language to convey a wide range of complex emot...


  65. 7. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

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    Created from two short stories, "Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street" and the unfinished "The Prime Minister", the novel's story is of Clarissa's preparations for a party of which she is to be hostess. Wit...


  66. 7. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

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    The novel explores the lives and values of the so-called "Lost Generation," chronicling the experiences of Jake Barnes and several acquaintances on their pilgrimage to Pamplona for the annual San F...


  67. 7. The Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon

    Image of The Hardy Boys

    The Hardy Boys, Frank and Joe Hardy, are fictional characters who appear in various mystery series for children and teens. The characters were created by Edward Stratemeyer, the founder of the S...


  68. 7. Poems of W. H. Auden by W. H. Auden

    Image of Poems of W. H. Auden

    Wystan Hugh Auden[1] (/ˈwɪstən ˈhjuː ˈɔːdən/;[2] 21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973), who published as W. H. Auden, was an Anglo-American poet,[3][4] born in England, later an American citizen, a...


  69. 7. Nero Wolfe by Rex Stout

    Image of Nero Wolfe

    Nero Wolfe is a fictional character, an armchair detective created in 1934 by the American mystery writer Rex Stout. Wolfe's confidential assistant Archie Goodwin narrates the cases of the detectiv...


  70. 7. A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh

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    In A Handful of Dust Waugh satirises the upper class, the mercantile class and the establishments (for example: the Church) using many effective literary devices which characterise most of his work...


  71. 7. Death on Credit by Louis-Ferdinand Céline

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    In Death on Credit, Ferdinand, Céline's alter ego, is a doctor in Paris, treating the poor who seldom pay him but take every advantage of his availability. The action is not continuous but goes bac...


  72. 7. Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler

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    Darkness At Noon stands as an unequaled fictional portrayal of the nightmare politics of our time. Its hero is an aging revolutionary, imprisoned and psychologically tortured by the Party to which ...


  73. 7. The Stranger by Albert Camus

    Image of The Stranger

    Since it was first published in English, in 1946, Albert Camus's extraordinary first novel, The Stranger (L'Etranger), has had a profound impact on millions of American readers. Through this story ...


  74. 7. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

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    The novel addresses many of the social and intellectual issues facing African-Americans in the early twentieth century, including black nationalism, the relationship between black identity and Marx...


  75. 7. Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas by Dylan Thomas

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    Dylan Marlais Thomas (27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953) was a Welsh poet and writer whose works include the poems "Do not go gentle into that good night" and "And death shall have no dominion", th...

    - Google

  76. 7. The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow

    Image of The Adventures of Augie March

    The Adventures of Augie March (1953) is a novel by Saul Bellow. It centers on the eponymous character who grows up during the Great Depression. This picaresque novel is an example of bildungsroman,...


  77. 7. A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor

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    The collection that established O'Connor's reputation as one of the american masters of the short story. The volume contains the celebrated title story, a tale of the murderous fugitive "The Misfit...


  78. 7. Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor

    Image of Andersonville

    Andersonville is a novel by MacKinlay Kantor concerning the Confederate prisoner of war camp, Andersonville prison, during the American Civil War (1861–1865). The novel was originally published in ...


  79. 7. Little Disturbances by Grace Paley


  80. 7. The Tin Drum by Günter Grass

    Image of The Tin Drum

    Acclaimed as the greatest German novel written since the end of World War II, The Tin Drum is the autobiography of thirty-year-old Oskar Matzerath, who has lived through the long Nazi nightmare and...


  81. 7. Henderson The Rain King by Saul Bellow

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    Bellow's glorious, spirited story of an eccentric American millionaire who finds a home of sorts in deepest Africa.


  82. 7. The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth

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    The novel is set in the 1680s and 90s in London and on the eastern shore of the colony of Maryland. It tells the story of an English poet named Ebenezer Cooke who is given the title "Poet Laureate ...


  83. 7. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

    Image of Catch-22

    Catch-22 is a satirical, historical novel by the American author Joseph Heller, first published in 1961. The novel, set during the later stages of World War II from 1943 onwards, is frequently cite...


  84. 7. The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

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    The Moviegoer tells the story of Binx Bolling, a young stockbroker in post-war New Orleans. The decline of Southern traditions, the problems of his family and his traumatic experiences in the Korea...


  85. 7. Tell Me a Riddle by Tillie Olsen


  86. 7. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    Image of One Hundred Years of Solitude

    One of the 20th century's enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world, and the ultimate achievement in a Nobel Prize–winning car...


  87. 7. Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey

    Image of Desert Solitaire

    Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness is a literary nonfiction work by Edward Abbey (1927–89), published originally in 1968. His fourth book and his first book length non-fiction work, it f...


  88. 7. The Poems of Robert Frost by Robert Frost

    Image of The Poems of Robert Frost

    Robert Lee Frost (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963) was an American poet. His work was initially published in England before it was published in America. He is highly regarded for his realistic de...


  89. 7. The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies

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    At two minutes to six on December 27th 1908 the lives of three people become inextricably bound together by the trajectory of a snowball. There is ten-year old Dunstable Ramsay, intended victim of ...

    - Google

  90. 7. The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor by Flannery O'Connor

    Image of The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor

    The publication of this extraordinary volume firmly established Flannery O'Connor's monumental contribution to American fiction. There are thirty-one stories here in all, including twelve that do n...


  91. 7. Duke of Deception by Geoffrey Wolff

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    Duke Wolff was a flawless specimen of the American clubman -- a product of Yale and the OSS, a one-time fighter pilot turned aviation engineer. Duke Wolff was a failure who flunked out of a series ...

    - Google

  92. 7. The Progress of Love by Alice Munro

    Image of The Progress of Love

    The Progress of Love is a book of short stories by Alice Munro, published by McClelland and Stewart in 1986. It won the 1986 Governor General's Award for English Fiction, her third win of that award.


  93. 7. Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe

    Image of Bonfire of the Vanities

    Tom Wolfe’s modern American satire tells the story of Sherman McCoy, a Wall Street “Master of the Universe” who has it all — a Park Avenue apartment, a job that brings wealth, power and prestige, a...


  94. 7. Omeros by Derek Walcott

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    A poem in five books, of circular narrative design, titled with the Greek name for Homer, which simultaneously charts two currents of history: the visible history charted in events -- the tribal lo...

    - Google

  95. 7. Selected Stories of Alice Munro by Alice Munro

    Image of Selected Stories of Alice Munro

    Selected Stories is a volume of short stories by Alice Munro, published by McClelland and Stewart in 1996. It collects stories previously published in her eight previous books.