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Hot, Flat and Crowded

Thomas L. Friedman

Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman

With his latest book, Friedman brings a fresh and provocative outlook to a pressing issue: the interlinked crises of destabilizing climate change and rising competition for energy--both of which could poison our world if we do not act quickly and collectively. His argument speaks to the 2008 presidential election--and to all of us who are concerned about the state of America and its role in the global future.

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The Catcher in the Rye

JD Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

Ever since it was first published in 1951, this novel has been the coming-of-age story against which all others are judged. Faced with disillusionment at a world that seems increasingly phony and disappointing, a young man must work out for himself who he is and where he fits in to the big picture. Read and cherished by generations, the story of Holden Caulfield is truly one of America's literary treasures.

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The Audacity of Hope

Barack Obama

The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama

Before becoming the 44th President-elect of the United States, in July 2004, Barack Obama electrified the Democratic National Convention with an address that spoke to Americans across the political spectrum. One phrase in particular anchored itself in listeners’ minds, a reminder that for all the discord and struggle to be found in our history as a nation, we have always been guided by a dogged optimism in the future, or what President Obama called “the audacity of hope.”

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Ken Kesey

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

Here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy's heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them all imprisoned.

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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

David Wroblewski

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, they have raised a fictional breed of dog whose companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. But with the return of Claude, Edgar's paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelles' once peaceful home. When Edgar's father dies, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm-and into Edgar's mother's affections.

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World Without End

Ken Follett

World Without End by Ken Follett

Eighteen years after Pillars of the Earth weighed in with almost 1,000 pages of juicy historical fiction about the construction of a 12th-century cathedral in Kingsbridge, England, bestseller Follett returns to 14th-century Kingsbridge with an equally weighty tome that deftly braids the fate of several of the offspring of Pillars' families with such momentous events of the era as the Black Death and the wars with France.

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The Road

Cormac McCarthy

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, "each the other's world entire," are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

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Christopher Paolini

Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

Following the colossal battle on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still there is more at hand for the pair as Eragon is bound by promises he may not be able to keep.

First is Eragon’s oath to his cousin Roran: to help rescue Roran’s beloved, Katrina, from King Galbatorix’s clutches. But Eragon owes his loyalty to others, too.

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Bridget Jones' Diary

Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones Diary follows the fortunes of a single girl on an optimistic but doomed quest for self-improvement. Cheered by feminist ranting with her friends, humiliated at Smug Marrieds' dinner parties, crazed by parental attempts to fix her up with a rich divorcee in a diamond-patterned sweater, Bridget lurches from torrid affair to pregnancy-scare convinced that if she could just get down to 8st 7, stop smoking and develop Inner Poise, all would be resolved.

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A Mercy

Toni Morrison

A Mercy by Toni Morrison

A powerful tragedy distilled into a jewel of a masterpiece by the Nobel Prize–winning author of Beloved and, almost like a prelude to that story, set two centuries earlier.

A Mercy reveals what lies beneath the surface of slavery. But at its heart it is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother who casts off her daughter in order to save her, and of a daughter who may never exorcise that abandonment..

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