The Celebrity Reading List by Gardiner Public Library

The Gardiner Public Library, from 1988 to 2007, polled various famous figures from all around the world (writers, artists, filmmakers, politicians, actors, etc.) to ask for their book recommendations. This list is based on the books that received at least two mentions.

  1. 1. The Bible by Christian Church

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    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. 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...


  3. 3. 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...


  4. 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...


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

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    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...


  6. 5. Hawaii by James Albert Michener

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    The epic saga of the fiftieth state traces its fascinating history from the fiery volcanoes that formed the islands to the strength and character of the original Polynesians to the early nineteenth...

    - Google

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

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    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...


  8. 6. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

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    The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by philologist and Oxford University professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children'...


  9. 6. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

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    All the Pretty Horses is a novel by U.S. author Cormac McCarthy published in 1992. Its romanticism (in contrast to the bleakness of McCarthy's earlier work) brought the writer much public attention...


  10. 7. 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...


  11. 7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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    Written and set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts, it was published in two parts in 1868 and 1869. The novel follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Am...


  12. 7. 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...


  13. 7. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

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    A prophet has is about to board a ship home after 12 years in exile, when he is stopped by a group of people. His teachings to them, discussing love, marriage, crime, freedom and law among many oth...

    - Google

  14. 7. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

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    Gone With the Wind is set in Jonesboro and Atlanta, Georgia during the American Civil War and Reconstruction and follows the life of Scarlett O'Hara, the daughter of an Irish immigrant plantation o...


  15. 7. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

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    The Fountainhead's protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision. The book follows hi...


  16. 7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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    As a Southern Gothic novel and a Bildungsroman, the primary themes of To Kill a Mockingbird involve racial injustice and the destruction of innocence. Scholars have noted that Lee also addresses is...


  17. 7. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

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    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...


  18. 8. 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,...


  19. 8. 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.


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

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    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. 8. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

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    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is an 1876 novel about a young boy growing up along the Mississippi River. The story is set in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, inspired by Hannibal,...


  22. 8. Black Beauty: The Autobiography of a Horse by Anna Sewell

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    A Horse of nineteenth century England tells his life story from his early home through many masters and experiences, both good and bad.

    - Google

  23. 8. 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...


  24. 8. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

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    Traditionally considered a coming-of-age story, it is an adventure tale known for its superb atmosphere, character and action, and also a wry commentary on the ambiguity of morality—as seen in Long...


  25. 8. The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of indivi...


  26. 8. Kim by Rudyard Kipling

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    Kim is an orphan, living from hand to mouth in the teeming streets of Lahore. One day he meets a man quite unlike anything in his wide experience, a Tibetan lama on a quest. Kim's life suddenly acq...


  27. 8. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

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    The Tale of Peter Rabbit is a British children's book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter that follows mischievous and disobedient young Peter Rabbit as he is chased about the garden of Mr. M...

    - Google

  28. 8. White Fang by Jack London

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    Retells the adventures in the northern wilderness of a dog who is part wolf and how he comes to make his peace with man.

    - Google

  29. 8. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

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    A classic in children's literature The Wind in the Willow is alternately slow moving and fast paced. The book focuses on four anthropomorphised animal characters in a pastoral version of England. T...


  30. 8. 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...


  31. 8. Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

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    Winnie-the-Pooh, commonly shortened to Pooh Bear and once referred to as Edward Bear, is a fictional bear created by A. A. Milne. The first collection of stories about the character was the book Wi...


  32. 8. 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

  33. 8. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

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    Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on a poor family of sharecroppers, the Joads, driven from their home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in the agriculture industry. In a ...


  34. 8. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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    Since 1943, the wise little boy from Asteroid B-612 has led children and their adults to deeper understandings of love, friendship, and responsibility. The Little Prince is a cherished story, read ...

    - Google

  35. 8. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

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    The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway's most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordea...


  36. 8. 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...


  37. 8. The Stories of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov

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    Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was a Russian short-story writer, playwright and physician, considered to be one of the greatest short-story writers in the history of world literature. His career as a dram...


  38. 8. The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

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    The Killer Angels (1974) is a historical novel by Michael Shaara that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1975. The book tells the story of four days of the Battle of Gettysburg in the Am...


  39. 8. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

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    In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys—best friends—are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy’s mo...


  40. 8. Truman by David McCullough


  41. 9. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon

    Image of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was written by English historian Edward Gibbon and published in six volumes. Volume I was published in 1776, and went through six printings. ...


  42. 9. The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

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    Written for publication as a serial, The Pickwick Papers is a sequence of loosely-related adventures. The novel's main character, Mr. Samuel Pickwick, Esquire, is a kind and wealthy old gentleman, ...


  43. 9. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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    Hester Prynne is a beautiful young woman. She is also an outcast. In the eyes of her neighbors she has committed an unforgivable sin. Everyone knows that her little daughter, Pearl, is the product ...


  44. 9. Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope

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    Barchester Towers, published in 1857, is the second novel in Anthony Trollope's series known as the "Chronicles of Barsetshire". Among other things it satirises the then raging antipathy in the Chu...


  45. 9. 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...


  46. 9. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

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    The plot concerns a previously domesticated and even somewhat pampered dog named Buck, whose primordial instincts return after a series of events finds him serving as a sled dog in the treacherous...


  47. 9. My Antonia by Willa Cather

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    In Willa Cather's own estimation, My Antonia, first published in 1918, was "the best thing I've ever done." An enduring paperback bestseller on Houghton Mifflin's literary list, this hauntingly elo...


  48. 9. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

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    The Age of Innocence centers on an upperclass couple's impending marriage, and the introduction of a scandalous woman whose presence threatens their happiness. Though the novel questions the assump...


  49. 9. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

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    Rilke's powerfully touching letters to an aspiring young poet At the start of the twentieth century, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote a series of letters to a young officer cadet, advising him on writing, ...

    - Google

  50. 9. Captain Hornblower R.N.: Hornblower and the 'Atropos', The Happy Return, A Ship of the Line by C S Forester

    Image of Captain Hornblower R.N.: Hornblower and the 'Atropos', The Happy Return, A Ship of the Line

    "Hornblower and the Atropos" skippering the flagship for Nelson's funeral on the Thames is not Hornblower's idea of thrilling action. But soon his orders come, and he sets sail for the Mediterranea...

    - Google

  51. 9. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

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    And Then There Were None is a mystery novel by Agatha Christie, widely considered her masterpiece and described by her as the most difficult of her books to have written.


  52. 9. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

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    It tells the story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to a communist guerilla unit during the Spanish Civil War. As an expert in the use of explosives, he is ...


  53. 9. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

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    The American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century. This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended ...

    - Google

  54. 9. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren

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    All the King's Men portrays the dramatic political ascent and governorship of Willie Stark, a driven, cynical populist in the American South during the 1930s.


  55. 9. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

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    The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven high fantasy novels by author C.S. Lewis. It is considered a classic of children's literature and is the author's best-known work, having sold over 100...


  56. 9. Collected Works of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Edna St. Vincent Millay

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    This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the di...

    - Google

  57. 9. Charlotte's Web by E. B. White

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    The novel tells the story of a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte. When Wilbur is in danger of being slaughtered by the farmer, Charlotte writes messages praisin...


  58. 9. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle

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    A Wrinkle in Time is a science fantasy novel by Madeleine L'Engle, first published in 1962. The book won a Newbery Medal, Sequoyah Book Award, and Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, and was runner-up for t...


  59. 9. The Waste Land and Other Poems by T. S. Eliot

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    “For many successive generations now, ‘The Waste Land,’ ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,’ and ‘Four Quartets’ have continued to excited readers and to inspire young poets. Teenagers still disc...

    - Google

  60. 9. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley

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    This book describes Malcolm X's upbringing in Michigan, his maturation to adulthood in Boston and New York, his time in prison, his conversion to Islam, his ministry, his travels to Africa and to M...


  61. 9. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

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    Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “po...

    - Google

  62. 9. The Poems of Robert Frost by Robert Frost

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    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...


  63. 9. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

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    Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force—a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of susp...

    - Google

  64. 9. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

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    Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on female black life during the 1930s in the Southern United States, addressing the numerous issues including their exceedingly low position ...


  65. 9. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

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    Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West is a 1985 Western novel by American author Cormac McCarthy. It was McCarthy's fifth book, and was published by Random House. The narrative foll...


  66. 9. Beloved by Toni Morrison

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    Beloved (1987) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison. The novel, her fifth, is loosely based on the life and legal case of the slave Margaret Garner, about whom Morrison...


  67. 9. Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe

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    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...


  68. 9. Jazz by Toni Morrison

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    In the winter of 1926, when everybody everywhere sees nothing but good things ahead, Joe Trace, middle-aged door-to-door salesman of Cleopatra beauty products, shoots his teenage lover to death. At...


  69. 9. Care of the Soul: Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness by Thomas Moore

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    This New York Times bestseller (more than 200,000 hardcover copies sold) provides a path-breaking lifestyle handbook that shows how to add spirituality, depth, and meaning to modern-day life by nur...

    - Google

  70. 9. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

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    Cold Mountain is a 1997 historical fiction novel by Charles Frazier. It tells the story of W. P. Inman, a wounded deserter from the Confederate army near the end of the American Civil War who walks...


  71. 9. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

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    The Blind Assassin is an award winning, bestselling novel by the Canadian author Margaret Atwood. It was first published by McClelland and Stewart in 2000. Set in Canada, it is narrated from the pr...


  72. 9. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

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    A landmark volume in science writing by one of the great minds of our time, Stephen Hawking’s book explores such profound questions as: How did the universe begin—and what made its start possible? ...

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