Select 100 by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

"This list was compiled by tabulating nominations by UWM faculty, staff and students for the Select 100. It includes changes which have resulted from nominations received since the original list was released. We asked you to recommend books which you have found to be so useful and important that no one could consider himself/herself an educated or enlightened person without having read them. This is your cumulative response."

  1. The Odyssey by Homer

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    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...


  2. The Iliad by Homer

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    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...


  3. The Republic by Plato

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    The Republic is a Socratic dialogue by Plato, written c. 380 B.C.E.. It is one of the most influential works of philosophy and political theory, and Plato's best known work. In Plato's fictional di...


  4. Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu

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    The Tao Te Ching or Dao De Jing, originally known as Laozi, a record-keeper at the Zhou Dynasty court, by whose name the text is known in China. The text's true authorship and date of composition o...


  5. The Art of War by Sun Zi

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    Offering ancient wisdom on how to use skill, cunning, tactics and discipline to outwit your opponent, this 2000 year old military manual is still worshipped by soldiers on the battlefield and manag...


  6. Confessions by Augustine

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    Confessions is the name of an autobiographical work, consisting of 13 books, by St. Augustine of Hippo, written between AD 397 and AD 398. Modern English translations of it are sometimes published ...


  7. The Quran by Various Authors

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    The Qur’an is the central religious text of Islam, also sometimes transliterated as Quran, Qur’ān, Koran, Alcoran or Al-Qur’ān. Muslims believe the Qur’an to be the book of divine guidance and dire...


  8. 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 ...


  9. Utopia by Thomas More

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    Controversial, contradictory, and mysterious, Utopia by Sir Thomas More has engaged scholars and intrigued readers since its initial publication in the 16th century. More's imagining of Utopia pres...

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  10. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

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    Il Principe (The Prince) is a political treatise by the Florentine public servant and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. Originally called De Principatibus (About Principalities), it was origi...


  11. 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...


  12. 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...


  13. 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...


  14. 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...


  15. 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;...


  16. Candide by Voltaire

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    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...


  17. The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay

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    The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles and essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution. Seventy-seven w...


  18. Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust is a tragic play, although more appropriately it should be defined a tragicomedy, despite the very title of the work. It was published in two parts: Faust. Der Tr...


  19. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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    The book is narrated in free indirect speech following the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with matters of upbringing, marriage, moral rightness and education in her aristocratic socie...


  20. 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...


  21. Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

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    Manifesto of the Communist Party (German: Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei), often referred to as The Communist Manifesto, was published on February 21, 1848, and is one of the world's most infl...


  22. 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...


  23. 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.


  24. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

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    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...


  25. 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...


  26. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

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    Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, published on Thursday 24 November 1859, is a seminal work of scientific literature considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. Its full title...


  27. 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...


  28. 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...


  29. 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...


  30. 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...


  31. 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...


  32. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott

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    One of the greatest science fiction books ever written; Flatland is now available with new illustrations from brilliant illustrator Kevin Stone. Follow the Flatland narrator as he discovers new lan...

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  33. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

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    Tragic story of wasted lives, set against a bleak New England background. A poverty-stricken New England farmer, his ailing wife and a youthful housekeeper are drawn relentlessly into a deep-rooted...


  34. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

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    The first and most autobiographical of Maugham's masterpieces. It is the story of Philip Carey, an orphan eager for life, love and adventure. After a few months studying in Heidelberg, and a brief ...


  35. 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...


  36. The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr and E. B. White

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    The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., and E. B. White, is an American English writing style guide. It is the best-known and most influential prescriptive treatment of English grammar and us...


  37. 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...


  38. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

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    Classic novel that has inspired generations of seekers. Blending Eastern mysticism and psychoanalysis, Hesse presents a strikingly original view of man and culture and the arduous process of self-d...

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  39. 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...


  40. Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

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    Steppenwolf (orig. German Der Steppenwolf) is the tenth novel by German-Swiss author Hermann Hesse. Originally published in Germany in 1927, it was first translated into English in 1929. Combining ...


  41. A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

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    A Room of One's Own is an extended essay by . First published during 24 October 1929, it was based on a series of lectures she delivered at Newnham College and Girton College, two women's colleges ...


  42. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

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    The novel is told through the point of view of Lieutenant Frederic Henry, an American serving as an ambulance driver in the Italian army during World War I.


  43. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

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    The book is told in stream of consciousness writing style by 15 different narrators in 59 chapters. It is the story of the death of Addie Bundren and her family's quest—noble or selfish—to honor he...


  44. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

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    Set in the London of AD 2540 (632 A.F. in the book), the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology and sleep-learning that combine to change society. The future society is an embod...


  45. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

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    Published in 1937, it tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression in California. Based on Steinbeck's own experiences a...


  46. 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...


  47. 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 ...


  48. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

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    Mere Christianity is a theological book by C. S. Lewis, adapted from a series of BBC radio talks made between 1941 and 1944, while Lewis was at Oxford during World War II. Considered a classic of C...


  49. 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...


  50. 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 ...

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  51. 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...


  52. Hiroshima by John Hersey

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    The classic tale of the day the first atom bomb was dropped offers a haunting evocation of the memories of survivors and an appeal to the conscience of humanity

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  53. Animal Farm by George Orwell

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    Animal Farm is a dystopian novella by George Orwell. Published in England on 17 August 1945, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II. Orwell, a democrat...


  54. The Stranger by Albert Camus

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    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 ...


  55. The Plague by Albert Camus

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    A haunting tale of human resilience in the face of unrelieved horror, Camus' novel about a bubonic plague ravaging the people of a North African coastal town is a classic of twentieth-century liter...


  56. The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton

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    The Seven Storey Mountain is the autobiography of Thomas Merton, a Trappist Monk and a noted author of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Merton finished the book in 1946 at the age of 31, five years afte...


  57. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

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    An Oprah Book Club selection, Cry, the Beloved Country, the most famous and important novel in South Africa’s history, was an immediate worldwide bestseller in 1948. Alan Paton’s impassioned novel ...

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  58. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

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    The Second Sex (French: Le Deuxième Sexe, June 1949) is one of the best-known works of the French existentialist Simone de Beauvoir. It is a work on the treatment of women throughout history and of...


  59. A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

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    Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac has enthralled generations of nature lovers and conservationists and is indeed revered by everyone seriously interested in protecting the natural world. Hailed ...

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  60. Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell

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    The story follows the life of one seemingly insignificant man, Winston Smith, a civil servant assigned the task of perpetuating the regime's propaganda by falsifying records and political literatur...


  61. Forbidden Colours by Yukio Mishima

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    Irresistible to women, the beautiful, young Yuichi embarks on a loveless marriage while he enters a homosexual underworld during postwar Japan.

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  62. Foundation by Isaac Asimov

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    Foundation is the first book in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy (later expanded into The Foundation Series). Foundation is a collection of five short stories, which were first published together ...


  63. 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...


  64. 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...


  65. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

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    A totalitarian regime has ordered all books to be destroyed, but one of the book burners suddenly realizes their merit

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  66. The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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    A haunting examination of groupthink and mass hysteria in a rural community "I believe that the reader will discover here the essential nature of one of the strangest and most awful chapters in hum...

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  67. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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    Lord of the Flies discusses how culture created by man fails, using as an example a group of British schoolboys stuck on a deserted island who try to govern themselves, but with disastrous results....


  68. 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'...


  69. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

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    Doctor Zhivago is a 20th century novel by Boris Pasternak, first published in 1957. The novel is named after its protagonist, Yuri Zhivago, a medical doctor and poet. It tells the story of a man to...


  70. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

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    On the Road is a largely autobiographical work that was based on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. It is often considered a defining work of the post...


  71. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

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    Ayn Rand's epochal novel, first published in 1957, has been a bestseller for more than four decades as well as an intellectual landmark. It is the story of a man who said that he would stop the mot...


  72. The Unsettling of America by Wendell Berry

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    Wendell Berry (born August 5, 1934, Henry County, Kentucky) is an American man of letters, academic, cultural and economic critic, and farmer. He is a prolific author of novels, short stories, poem...


  73. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer

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    The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by journalist William L. Shirer, is the first and most successful, large scale history of Nazi Germany in English for a general audience, first published in 19...


  74. The City in History by Lewis Mumford

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    The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects is a 1961 National Book Award winner by American historian Lewis Mumford. In the book Mumford urges for a world not in wh...


  75. 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...


  76. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

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    This is the epic saga of an earthling, Valentine Michael Smith, born and educated on Mars, who arrives on our planet with "psi" powers--telepathy, clairvoyance, telekinesis, and the ability to take...

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  77. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller

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    Winner of the 1961 Hugo Award for Best Novel and widely considered one of the most accomplished, powerful, and enduring classics of modern speculative fiction, Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s A Canticle fo...

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  78. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn

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    The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is an analysis of the history of science. Its publication was a landmark event in the sociology of knowledge, and popularized the terms paradigm and paradigm...


  79. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

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    The title is taken from an old Cockney expression, "as queer as a clockwork orange" and alludes to the prevention of the main character's exercise of his free will through the use of a classical co...


  80. Dune by Frank Herbert

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    Dune is a science fiction novel written by Frank Herbert, published in 1965. It won the Hugo Award in 1966, and also the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel. Dune was also the first bestselling h...


  81. 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...


  82. The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA by James D. Watson

    Image of The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA

    The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA is an autobiographical account of the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA written by James D. Watson and pub...


  83. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

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    An anti-war science fiction novel by Kurt Vonnegut about World War II experiences and journeys through time of a soldier called Billy Pilgrim.


  84. Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

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    The narrative is set primarily in Europe at the end of World War II and centers on the design, production and dispatch of V-2 rockets by the German military, and, in particular, the quest undertake...


  85. Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered by E. F. Schumacher

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    Small Is Beautiful is Oxford-trained economist E. F. Schumacher’s classic call for the end of excessive consumption. Schumacher inspired such movements as “Buy Locally” and “Fair Trade,” while voic...

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  86. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

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    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values is the first of Robert M. Pirsig's texts in which he explores his Metaphysics of Quality. The 1974 book describes, in first person,...


  87. The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey

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    Vietnam veteran George Washington Hayduke III returns home to the desert only to find his beloved canyons and rivers now threatened by industrial development. Joining forces with Bronx exile and fe...

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  88. The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra

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    Studies similarities between the concept of a harmonious universe that emerges from the theories of modern physics and the vision of a continuously interactive world conceived by Eastern mystics.

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  89. The Road Less Travelled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth by M. Scott Peck

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    Confronting and solving problems is a painful process which most of us attempt to avoid. Avoiding resolution results in greater pain and an inability to grow both mentally and spiritually. Drawing ...

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  90. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter

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    'What is a self and how can a self come out of inanimate matter?' This is the riddle that drove Douglas Hofstadter to write this extraordinary book. In order to impart his original and personal vie...

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  91. The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav

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    With its unique combination of depth, clarity, and humor that has enchanted millions, this beloved classic by bestselling author Gary Zukav opens the fascinating world of quantum physics to readers...

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  92. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

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    A Confederacy of Dunces is a picaresque novel written by John Kennedy Toole, published in 1980, 11 years after the author's suicide. The book was published through the efforts of writer Walker Perc...


  93. Future Shock: The Third Wave by Alvin Toffler

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    Explores the nature and implications of a third wave of change that is now creating a new civilization with its own life-styles, jobs, sexual attitudes, concepts of family and love, economic struct...

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  94. Free to Choose: A Personal Statement by Milton Friedman, Rose Friedman

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    The international bestseller on the extent to which personal freedom has been eroded by government regulations and agencies while personal prosperity has been undermined by government spending and ...

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  95. 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 ...


  96. How Democracies Perish by Jean François Revel


  97. Man's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl

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    Viktor Frankl's 1946 book Man's Search for Meaning chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate and describes his psychotherapeutic method of finding a reason to live. According to Fra...


  98. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

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    The Handmaid's Tale is a feminist dystopian novel, a work of science fiction or speculative fiction, written by Canadian author Margaret Atwood and first published by McClelland and Stewart in 1985...


  99. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson

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    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the best chronicle of drug-soaked, addle-brained, rollicking good times ever committed to the printed page. It is also the tale of a long weekend road trip that ha...

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  100. Entropy by Jeremy Rifkin, Ted Howard

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    For the first time Entropy has been completely revised and updated to include a new subtitle which reflects the expanded focus on the greenhouse effect--the largest crisis ever to face mankind.

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