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Books by well-known Writers

Confessions of Zeno

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About
The Book
In 1907 novelist James Joyce was engaged as Svevo’s English tutor in Trieste, and in the process they developed a friendship. When Joyce read Svevo’s novel ‘Confessions of Zeno’, he was so impressed with it that he encouraged the writer to publish it, and later helped to promote it. Although Svevo wrote many other works, his opus magnum will remain his Confessions of Zeno, an intriguing, suspenseful, engaging tour de force.

Confessions of Zeno

by Italo Svevo
About
The Book
In 1907 novelist James Joyce was engaged as Svevo’s English tutor in Trieste, and in the process they developed a friendship. When Joyce read Svevo’s novel ‘Confessions of Zeno’, he was so impressed with it that he encouraged the writer to publish it, and later helped to promote it. Although Svevo wrote many other works, his opus magnum will remain his Confessions of Zeno, an intriguing, suspenseful, engaging tour de force.
Recommended By
What Mohsin Hamid says

I had the pleasure in 2014 of rereading a monsoon-rain-warped paperback edition of Italo Svevo’s hilarious 1923 self-published masterpiece, “Confessions of Zeno.” Svevo inspired James Joyce to give birth to Leopold Bloom, and “Confessions” explores its protagonist’s Zen-like satisfaction in treating each cigarette as if it is his last (because he really, really is going to quit after this one).

About
The Book
Combining the piercing insight of Joan Didion with humor reminiscent of Nora Ephron’s, Daum dissects our culture’s most dangerous illusions, blind spots, and sentimentalities while retaining her own joy and compassion. Through this collection of ten new essays, she dramatizes the search for an authentic self in a world where achieving an identity is never simple and never complete.
Combining the piercing insight of Joan Didion with humor reminiscent of Nora Ephron’s, Daum dissects our culture’s most dangerous illusions, blind spots, and sentimentalities while retaining her own joy and compassion. Through this collection of ten new essays, she dramatizes the search for an authentic self in a world where achieving an identity is never simple and never complete.
Recommended By
What Cheryl Strayed says

Meghan Daum’s new book, “The Unspeakable,” is thrillingly good. In essays that range in subject matter from her complicated relationship with her dying mother to playing charades with the Hollywood elite at Nora Ephron’s house to her near death from a bacterial infection, Daum’s powers as one of the most emotionally exacting, mercilessly candid, deeply funny and intellectually rigorous writers of our time are on glorious display.

The Duel

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About
The Book
First published in 1891, this morality tale pits a scientist, a government worker, his mistress, a deacon, and a physician against one another in a verbal battle of wits and ethics that explodes into a violent contest: the duel. A classic Chekhov, The Duel is a tale of human weakness, the possibility of forgiveness, and a man’s ultimate ability to change his ways.

The Duel

by Anton Chekhov
About
The Book
First published in 1891, this morality tale pits a scientist, a government worker, his mistress, a deacon, and a physician against one another in a verbal battle of wits and ethics that explodes into a violent contest: the duel. A classic Chekhov, The Duel is a tale of human weakness, the possibility of forgiveness, and a man’s ultimate ability to change his ways.
Recommended By
What David Mitchell says

A novella, I know, but I would save it from a burning house before everything else I’ve ever read.

Anna Karenina

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About
The Book
Anna Karenina is Tolstoy's classic tale of love and adultery set against the backdrop of high society in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. A rich and complex masterpiece, the novel charts the disastrous course of a love affair between Anna, a beautiful married woman, and Count Vronsky, a wealthy army officer. As Matthew Arnold wrote in his celebrated essay on Tolstoy, "We are not to take Anna Karenina as a work of art; we are to take it as a piece of life."

Anna Karenina

by Leo Tolstoy
About
The Book
Anna Karenina is Tolstoy's classic tale of love and adultery set against the backdrop of high society in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. A rich and complex masterpiece, the novel charts the disastrous course of a love affair between Anna, a beautiful married woman, and Count Vronsky, a wealthy army officer. As Matthew Arnold wrote in his celebrated essay on Tolstoy, "We are not to take Anna Karenina as a work of art; we are to take it as a piece of life."
Recommended By
What Scott Turow says

The imagined world of ‘Anna Karenina’ feels more human, more real and deeper than any other novel I know. It’s an immense, amazing achievement. When you open Tolstoy, there’s an observation about life on almost every page that’s heart-stopping.

What Norman Mailer says

‘Anna’ is really a great book, a much greater one than ‘War and Peace’. In ‘Anna Karenina’, there is far more of the great and necessary sympathy that sees all people in their own eyes, and refrains from dismissing them. And nearly always the knowledge of man goes so deep.

The Quiet American

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About
The Book
Graham Greene's classic exploration of love, innocence, and morality in Vietnam, ‘The Quiet American’ is the eponymous Alden Pyle, a brash young idealist sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission to Saigon. Originally published in 1956 and twice adapted to film, The Quiet American remains a terrifiying and prescient portrait of innocence at large.  

The Quiet American

by Graham Greene
About
The Book
Graham Greene's classic exploration of love, innocence, and morality in Vietnam, ‘The Quiet American’ is the eponymous Alden Pyle, a brash young idealist sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission to Saigon. Originally published in 1956 and twice adapted to film, The Quiet American remains a terrifiying and prescient portrait of innocence at large.  
Recommended By
What Pico Iyer says

I first read ‘The Quiet American’ maybe thirty years ago, and ever since then, I have turned to it, my uncertain Bible, a gospel for those who can’t be sure of a thing, every few months. Like any friend, it changes as I change, growing as I slowly come to know myself and the world a little better; and like any friend, it’s always the same, really.

One Hundred Years of Solitude

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About
The Book
'One Hundred Years of Solitude' tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendia family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, and alive with unforgettable men and women -- brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul -- this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.

One Hundred Years of Solitude

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
About
The Book
'One Hundred Years of Solitude' tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendia family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, and alive with unforgettable men and women -- brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul -- this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.
Recommended By
What James Patterson says

This book floored me as a younger reader. I think it drove me into writing thrillers, because I realized I couldnt do anything at his level. So I decided to try something I might be capable of doing well. I had read a few thrillers and thought I might be able to write in that genre.

The Known World

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About
The Book
Edward P. Jones's Pulitzer Prize winning debut novel, ‘The Known World’, explores an oft-neglected chapter of American history, the world of blacks who owned blacks in the antebellum South. This is a complex, beautifully written novel with a large cast of characters, rewarding the patient reader with unexpected connections, some reaching into the present day.

The Known World

by Edward P. Jones
About
The Book
Edward P. Jones's Pulitzer Prize winning debut novel, ‘The Known World’, explores an oft-neglected chapter of American history, the world of blacks who owned blacks in the antebellum South. This is a complex, beautifully written novel with a large cast of characters, rewarding the patient reader with unexpected connections, some reaching into the present day.
Recommended By
What Dave Eggers says

People ask me what they should read, and I tell them that ‘The Known World’ is the best novel of the last twenty-five years, and that Edward P Jones is our contemporary Steinbeck.

Reef

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About
The Book
At the age of eleven, Triton goes to work as a houseboy to Mister Salgado, a marine biologist obsessed with the island's disappearing reef. But beyond Mister Salgado's house and their Sri Lankan village, there is a world falling apart and it is in this world that Triton must become a man. An absolute classic, 'Reef' is a luminous coming of age novel.

Reef

by Romesh Gunesekera
About
The Book
At the age of eleven, Triton goes to work as a houseboy to Mister Salgado, a marine biologist obsessed with the island's disappearing reef. But beyond Mister Salgado's house and their Sri Lankan village, there is a world falling apart and it is in this world that Triton must become a man. An absolute classic, 'Reef' is a luminous coming of age novel.
Recommended By
What Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says

‘Reef’ is a novel that is so beautiful in its evocation of Sri Lanka, a lost paradise of sorts, that it fills me with nostalgia for something I never even had.