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Description: Monkey: A Folk-Tale of China, usually known as simply Monkey. It is an abridged translation of the sixteenth century, Buddhist inspired Chinese classic novel Journey to the West (Chinese: 西游记 Pinyin:xī yóu jì) by poet and novelist Wu Cheng'en, of the Ming dynasty. It was published by Arthur Waley in 1942.
The 1970s Japanese cult TV series Monkey was also based on Journey to the West.

At the outset of the novel, Buddha seeks a pilgrim who will travel West, to India. The hope is to retrieve sacred scriptures by which the Chinese people may be enlightened so that their behaviour may accord with the tenets of Buddhism. The young monk Tripitaka volunteers to undertake the pilgrimage. Along the way, he encounters and frees the Monkey King, and he and Monkey thereafter recruit Pigsy and Sandy. They liberate a captive princess and punish her abductor, who has also murdered her father. The father is resurrected and reinstalled as king. They meet several bodhisattvas and fight fierce monsters, before finally arriving at Buddha's palace, where Tripitaka dies and become a spirit. Monkey, Pigsy, and Sandy are rewarded with immortality before they return to China with the scriptures.

Release date: 16th Century

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The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien



Description: The Lord of the Rings is an epic fantasy novel written by philologist and University of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit (1937), but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in stages between 1937 and 1949, much of it during World War II.

Although known to most readers as a trilogy, the work was initially intended by Tolkien to be one volume of a two-volume set, with the other being The Silmarillion. However, when Tolkien submitted the first volume entitled 'The Lord of the Rings' to his publisher, it was decided for economic reasons to publish the work as three separate volumes, each consisting of two books, over the course of a year in 1954–55, creating the now familiar 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy. The three volumes were entitled The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. Structurally, the volumes are divided internally into six books, two per volume; with several appendices of background material, much abbreviated from Tolkien's originals, included at the end of the third volume. The Lord of the Rings has since been reprinted numerous times and translated into many languages, becoming one of the most popular and influential works in the field of 20th-century fantasy literature and the subject of several films.

The title of the novel refers to the story's main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron, who had in an earlier age created the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth. From quiet beginnings in the Shire, a Hobbit land not unlike the English countryside, the story ranges across north-west Middle-earth, following the course of the War of the Ring through the eyes of its characters, notably the Hobbits Frodo Baggins, Samwise "Sam" Gamgee, Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck and Peregrin "Pippin" Took, but also the Hobbits' chief allies and travelling companions: Aragorn, a Human ranger, Boromir, a Human soldier, Gimli, a Dwarf warrior, Legolas, an Elven archer, and Gandalf, a Wizard.

Tolkien's work has been the subject of extensive analysis of its themes and origins. Although a major work in itself, the story was only the last movement of a larger epic Tolkien had worked on since 1917, in a process he described as mythopoeia. Influences on this earlier work, and on the story of The Lord of the Rings, include philology, mythology, religion and the author's distaste for the effects of industrialization, as well as earlier fantasy works and Tolkien's experiences in World War I. The Lord of the Rings in its turn is considered to have had a great effect on modern fantasy; the impact of Tolkien's works is such that the use of the words "Tolkienian" and "Tolkienesque" has been recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary.

The enduring popularity of The Lord of the Rings has led to numerous references in popular culture, the founding of many societies by fans of Tolkien's works,[7] and the publication of many books about Tolkien and his works. The Lord of the Rings has inspired, and continues to inspire, artwork, music, films and television, video games, and subsequent literature. Award-winning adaptations of The Lord of the Rings have been made for radio, theatre, and film.

Release date: 20th Century

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Brave New World - Aldous Huxley



Description: Brave New World is a novel by Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Set in 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 embodiment of the ideals that form the basis of futurism. Huxley answered this book with a reassessment in an essay, Brave New World Revisited (1958), and with his final work, a novel titled Island (1962), both summarized below.

In 1999, the Modern Library ranked Brave New World fifth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

Brave New World's ironic title derives from Miranda's speech in Shakespeare's The Tempest, Act V, Scene I:

O wonder!

How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world! That has such people in it!

and in Rudyard Kipling's 1919 poem The Gods of the Copybook Headings:

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins

When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins...


Release date: 1931-32

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Description: William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is acknowledged as the greatest dramatist of all time. He excels in plot, poetry and wit, and his talent encompasses the great tragedies of Hamlet, King Lear, Othello and Macbeth as well as the moving history plays and the comedies such as A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Taming of the Shrew and As You Like It with their magical combination of humour, ribaldry and tenderness. This volume is a reprint of the Shakespeare Head Press edition, and it presents all the plays in chronological order in which they were written. It also includes Shakespeare's Sonnets, as well as his longer poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece.

Release date: 1564-1616 - (This compilation released 1 Sep 2007)

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Description: Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga (Rivolta contro il mondo moderno) is a book by the philosopher and theorist Julius Evola, first published in Italy, in 1934. Widely seen as his magnum opus, it is an elucidation of his Traditionalist world view.
The first part of the book deals with the concepts of the Traditional world; its knowledge of the bridge between the earthly and the transcendent worlds. The second part deals with the modern world, contrasting its characteristics with those of traditional societies: from politics and institutions to views on life and death. Evola denounces the regressive aspects of modern civilisation (using Tradition as a normative principle).
Rivolta contro il mondo moderno was published in Milan by Hoepli in 1934. In 1969 a revised and augmented edition was published. Translated into English by Guido Stucco (from the 1969 edition), it was published by Inner Traditions in 1995 and as a 375-page hardcover (ISBN 0-89281-506-X). It has also been translated into German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Turkish and Hungarian.

Release date: Italy, 1934

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The Art of War - Sun Tzu



Description: The Art of War (simplified Chinese: 孙子兵法; traditional Chinese: 孫子兵法; pinyin: Sūn​zǐ​ Bīng​ Fǎ) is a Chinese military treatise that is attributed to Sun Tzu (also referred to as "Sunzi" and "Sun Wu"), a military strategist of the State of Wu who was active in the late-sixth century BC, during the late Spring and Autumn period. (Some scholars believe that the Art of War was not completed until the subsequent Warring States period.)Composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare, it is said to be the definitive work on military strategies and tactics of its time, and is still read for its military insights.

The Art of War is one of the oldest and most successful books on military strategy in the world. It has been the most famous and influential of China's Seven Military Classics: "for the last two thousand years it remained the most important military treatise in Asia, where even the common people knew it by name." It has had an influence on Eastern military thinking, business tactics, and beyond.

Sun Tzu emphasized the importance of positioning in military strategy, and that the decision to position and army must be based on both objective conditions in the physical environment and the subjective beliefs of other, competitive actors in that environment. He thought that strategy was not planning in the sense of working through an established list, but rather that it requires quick and appropriate responses to changing conditions. Planning works in a controlled environment, but in a changing environment, competing plans collide, creating unexpected situations.

The book was first translated into the French language in 1772 by French Jesuit Jean Joseph Marie Amiot, and into English by British officer Everard Ferguson Calthrop in 1905. Leaders as diverse as Mao Zedong, General Vo Nguyen Giap, Baron Antoine-Henri Jomini, General Douglas MacArthur, Napoleon, and certain members of the Nazi High Command have claimed to have drawn inspiration from the work. The Art of War has also been applied to business and managerial strategies.

Release date: 6th Century BC

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1984 - George Orwell



Description: Nineteen Eighty-Four (sometimes written 1984) is a 1949 dystopian novel by George Orwell about an oligarchical, collectivist society. Life in the Oceanian province of Airstrip One is a world of perpetual war, pervasive government surveillance, and incessant public mind control. The individual is always subordinated to the state, and it is in part this philosophy which allows the Party to manipulate and control humanity. In the Ministry of Truth, protagonist Winston Smith is a civil servant responsible for perpetuating the Party's propaganda by revising historical records to render the Party omniscient and always correct, yet his meagre existence disillusions him to the point of seeking rebellion against Big Brother, eventually leading to his arrest, torture, and reconversion.

As literary political fiction, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic novel of the social science fiction subgenre. Since its publication in 1949, many of its terms and concepts, such as Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, and Memory hole, have become contemporary vernacular. In addition, the novel popularized the adjective Orwellian, which refers to lies, surveillance, or manipulation of the past in the service of a totalitarian agenda.

In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Nineteen Eighty-Four thirteenth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

Release date: 1949

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The Little Book of Philosophy - Frank Wynne,Andre Comte-Sponville



Description: In twelve brilliant, concise essays, Andre Comte-Sponville introduces twelve central philosophical concepts in the terms that we all use the words, and in which philosophers from Plato and Aristotle onwards have explored them:Morality, Politics, Love, Death, Knowledge, Liberty, God, Atheism, Art, Time, Man and WisdomPreludes to Philosophy is as sparklingly written and as thought-provoking and brilliant as the same author's international bestseller, A Short Treatise on the Great Virtues.

Andre Comte-Sponville's brilliant and thought-provoking follow-up to A Short Treatise on the Great Virtues is even shorter and if anything even more ambitious; an introduction to the central concepts of philosophy, from morality to death, from liberty to wisdom.

Release date: 2004

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Description: "Why I Write" (1946) is an essay by George Orwell detailing his personal journey to becoming a writer. First published in the Summer 1946 edition of Gangrel, it not only offers a type of mini-biography in which he writes of having first completed poems and trying his hand at short-stories before finally becoming a full-fledged writer, but also examines the motivation of writing itself through the four reasons Orwell felt people write.

Four motives for writing

Orwell lists "four great motives for writing" which he feels exist in every writer. He explains that all are present, but in different proportions, and also that these proportions vary from time to time. They are as follows:

1. Sheer egoism- Orwell argues that many people write simply to feel clever, to "be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on grown-ups in childhood, etc." He says that this is a great motive, although most of humanity is not "acutely selfish", and that this motive exists mainly in younger writers. He also says that it exists more in serious writers than journalists, though serious writers are "less interested in money".
2. Aesthetic enthusiasm- Orwell explains that present in writing is the desire to make one's writing look and sound good, having "pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story." He says that this motive is "very feeble in a lot of writers" but still present in all works of writing.
3. Historical impulse- He sums this up by simply stating this motive is the "desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity."
4. Political purpose- Orwell writes that "no book is genuinely free from political bias", and further explains that this motive is used very commonly in all forms of writing in the broadest sense, citing a "desire to push the world in a certain direction" in every person. He concludes by saying that "the opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude."

Release date: 1946

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Description: The Tale of Genji (源氏物語, Genji Monogatari) is a classic work of Japanese literature attributed to the Japanese noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu in the early eleventh century, around the peak of the Heian period. It is sometimes called the world's first novel, the first modern novel, the first psychological novel or the first novel still to be considered a classic. While universally hailed as a masterpiece, its precise classification and influence in both Western and Eastern Canon has been a matter of debate.

The first partial translation of Genji Monogatari into English was by Suematsu Kenchō. A free translation of all but one chapter was produced by Arthur Waley. Edward Seidensticker made the first complete translation into English, using a more literal method than Waley. The most recent English translation, by Royall Tyler (2001), also tries to be faithful to the original text.

Release date: 12th Century

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Plato: Republic - C. D. C. Reeve,G. M. A. Grube,Plato



Description: The Republic (Greek: Πολιτεία, Politeia) is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato sometime around 380 BC concerning the definition of justice and the order and character of the just city and the just man. It is Plato’s best-known work and has proven to be one of the most intellectually and historically influential works of philosophy and political theory. In it, Socrates along with various Athenians and foreigners discuss the meaning of justice and examine whether or not the just man is happier than the unjust man by proposing a city ruled by philosopher-kings. The participants also discuss the theory of forms, the immortality of the soul, and the roles of the philosopher and of poetry in society.

Release date: 380 BC

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Description: The Count of Monte Cristo (French: Le Comte de Monte-Cristo) is an adventure novel by Alexandre Dumas, père. It is often considered to be, along with The Three Musketeers, Dumas' most popular work. The writing of the work was completed in 1844. Like many of his novels, it is expanded from the plot outlines suggested by his collaborating ghostwriter Auguste Maquet.

The story takes place in France, Italy, islands in the Mediterranean and the Levant during the historical events of 1815–1838 (from just before the Hundred Days through to the reign of Louis-Philippe of France). The historical setting is a fundamental element of the book. It is an adventure story primarily concerned with themes of hope, justice, vengeance, mercy and forgiveness.

Release date: 1844

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The Complete Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle,Preface by Christopher Morley



Description: It is more than a century since the ascetic, gaunt and enigmatic detective, Sherlock Holmes, made his first appearance in A Study in Scarlet. From 1891, beginning with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the now legendary and pioneering Strand Magazine began serialising Arthur Conan Doyle's matchless tales of detection, featuring the incomparable sleuth patiently assisted by his doggedly loyal and lovably pedantic friend and companion, Dr Watson. The stories are illustrated by the remarkable Sydney Paget from whom our images of Sherlock Holmes and his world derive and who first equipped Holmes with his famous deerstalker hat. The literary cult of Sherlock Holmes shows no sign of fading with time as each new generation comes to love and revere the penetrating mind and ruthless logic which were the undoing of so many Victorian master criminals.

Release date: 1891 (Complete collection: 5 Mar 2008)

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Macbeth (Wordsworth Classics) - William Shakespeare



Description: The Tragedy of Macbeth (commonly called Macbeth) is a play by William Shakespeare about a regicide and its aftermath. It is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy and is believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607. The earliest account of a performance of what was likely Shakespeare's play is April 1611, when Simon Forman recorded seeing such a play at the Globe Theatre. It was first published in the Folio of 1623, possibly from a prompt book for a specific performance.

Shakespeare's sources for the tragedy are the accounts of King Macbeth of Scotland, Macduff, and Duncan in Holinshed's Chronicles (1587), a history of England, Scotland and Ireland familiar to Shakespeare and his contemporaries. However, the story of Macbeth as told by Shakespeare bears no relation to real events in Scottish history as Macbeth was an admired and able monarch.

In the backstage world of theatre, some believe that the play is cursed, and will not mention its title aloud, referring to it instead by such names as "the Scottish play". Over the centuries, the play has attracted some of the greatest actors in the roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. It has been adapted to film, television, opera, novels, comic books, and other media.

Release date: April 1611

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Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts



Description: Shantaram is a 2003 novel by Gregory David Roberts, a convicted Australian bank robber and heroin addict who escaped from Pentridge Prison and fled to India where he lived for 10 years. While partially based on Roberts' own experiences, Roberts himself has clarified that the story and its incidents are largely fictional.

Shantaram is a novel influenced by real events in the life of the author, Australian Gregory David Roberts. In 1978, Roberts was sentenced to 19-year imprisonment in Australia after being convicted of a series of armed robberies of building society branches, credit unions, and shops, which he had committed to feed a heroin addiction after his marriage ended and he lost his daughter. In July 1980, he escaped from Victoria’s Pentridge Prison in broad daylight, thereby becoming one of Australia's most wanted men for the next ten years.

The protagonist Lin arrives in Mumbai carrying a false passport in the name of Lindsay Ford. Mumbai was only a stopover on a journey that was to take him from New Zealand to Germany, but he decides to stay in the city. Lin soon meets a local man named Prabaker whom he hires as a guide but soon becomes his best friend and who renames him Linbaba. Both men visit Prabaker's native village, Sunder, where Prabaker's mother decided to give Lin a new Maharashtrian name, like her own. Because she judged his nature to be blessed with peaceful happiness, she decided to call him Shantaram, meaning Man of God's Peace.

Release date: 2003

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Dante's Inferno - Doug Harvey,Marcus Sanders



Description: Inferno (Italian for "Hell") is the first part of Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. It is followed by Purgatorio and Paradiso. It is an allegory telling of the journey of Dante through what is largely the medieval concept of Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as nine circles of suffering located within the Earth. Allegorically, the Divine Comedy represents the journey of the soul towards God, with the Inferno describing the recognition and rejection of sin.

Release date: 14th Century

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Description: The Colour of Magic is a 1983 comic fantasy novel by Terry Pratchett, and is the first book of the Discworld series. Pratchett has described it as "an attempt to do for the classical fantasy universe what Blazing Saddles did for Westerns."

The main character is an incompetent and cynical wizard named Rincewind. He involuntarily becomes a guide to the rich but naive tourist from the Agatean Empire, Twoflower. Forced to flee the city of Ankh-Morpork to escape a terrible fire, they begin on a journey across the Disc.

Unknown to them, their journey is controlled by the Gods playing a board game. Rincewind and Twoflower are controlled by the Lady, and is pitted agaist the champions of Zephyrus, the god of slight breezes, Fate and Offler the Crocodile God, in the game supervised by Blind Io.The duo face a mountain troll and are separated. The ignorant Twoflower ends up being led to the Temple of Bel-Shamharoth, and Rincewind ends up in a tree-nymph inhabited tree. Rincewind manages to escape while the tree-nymphs try to kill him and is reunited with the tourist. Together with Hrun the Barbarian, they escape from the Temple of Bel-Shamharoth the Soul Eater, which collapses. Later, Hrun agrees to travel with and protect Twoflower and Rincewind in exchange for Heroic pictures of him from Twoflower's magical picture box.

They visit Wyrmberg, an upside-down mountain which is home to dragons that only exist in the imagination. The names of the dragons' riders feature punctuation in the middle, making reference and parody of the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffery. They nearly go over the waterfall on the edge of the Disc, only to be rescued and taken to the country of Krull, a city perched on the very edge of the Discworld inhabited by hydrophobic wizards. The Krullians wish to discover the gender of Great A'Tuin, the giant turtle which carries the Discworld through space, so they have built a space capsule to launch over the Edge. They intend on sacrificing Rincewind and Twoflower to get Fate to smile on the voyage. Instead, Rincewind, Twoflower and Tethis the water troll hijack the capsule in an attempt to escape and are launched off the Disc themselves.

Release date: 1983

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The Time Machine - H.G. Wells



Description: The Time Machine is a science fiction novella by H. G. Wells, published in 1895 for the first time and later adapted into at least two feature films of the same name, as well as two television versions, and a large number of comic book adaptations. It indirectly inspired many more works of fiction in many media. This 32,000 word story is generally credited with the popularisation of the concept of time travel using a vehicle that allows an operator to travel purposefully and selectively. The term "time machine", coined by Wells, is now universally used to refer to such a vehicle. Wells also introduced the idea of time being the "fourth dimension", as well as an early example of the Dying Earth subgenre.

Wells had considered the notion of time travel before, in an earlier (but less well-known) work titled The Chronic Argonauts. He had thought of using some of this material in a series of articles in the Pall Mall Gazette, until the publisher asked him if he could instead write a serial novel on the same theme; Wells readily agreed, and was paid £100 (equal to £8,560 today) on its publication by Heinemann in 1895. The story was first published in serial form in the January to May numbers of William Ernest Henley's new venture New Review. The first book edition (possibly prepared from a different manuscript) was published in New York by Henry Holt and Company on May 7, 1895; an English edition was published by Heinemann on May 29. These two editions are completely different textually, and are commonly referred to as the "Holt text" and "Heinemann text" respectively. Nearly all modern reprints reproduce the Heinemann text.

The story reflects Wells's own socialist political views and the contemporary angst about industrial relations. It is also influenced by Ray Lankester's theories about social degeneration. Other science fiction works of the period, including Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward, and the later Metropolis, dealt with similar themes.

Release date: 1895

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Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen



Description: Pride and Prejudice is a novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman, living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London.

Though the story is set at the turn of the 19th century, it retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of 'most loved books' such as The Big Read. It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature, and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen's memorable characters or themes. To date, the book has sold some 20 million copies worldwide.

Release date: 1813

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Homage to Catalonia - George Orwell



Description: Homage to Catalonia is political journalist and novelist George Orwell's personal account of his experiences and observations in the Spanish Civil War. The first edition was published in 1938. The book was not published in the United States until February 1952. The American edition had a preface written by Lionel Trilling. The only translation published in Orwell's lifetime was into Italian, in December 1948. A French translation made by Yvonne Davet – with whom Orwell corresponded, commenting on her translation and providing explicatory notes – in 1938-39, was not published until five years after Orwell's death.

Release date: 1938

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The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
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Dune - Frank Herbert
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The Reader - Bernhard Schlink
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Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
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Animal Farm - George Orwell
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Island (Perennial Classics) - Aldous Huxley
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The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
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The Silmarillion - J. R. R. Tolkien
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The Year of the Rat - Lucille Bellucci
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The Children of Húrin - J.R.R. Tolkien
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