1Gone with the Wind
The 1936 Pulitzer Prize winner and one of the bestselling novels of all time explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. A book to read again and again because, after all, tomorrow is another day.
2The Corrections: A Novel
The Corrections is a grandly entertaining novel for the new century–a comic, tragic masterpiece about a family breaking down in an age of easy fixes. After almost fifty years as a wife and mother, Enid Lambert is ready to have some fun. Unfortunately, her husband, Alfred, is losing his sanity to Parkinson’s disease, and their children have long since flown the family nest to the catastrophes of their own lives. The oldest, Gary, a once-stable portfolio manager and family man, is trying to convince his wife and himself, despite clear signs to the contrary, that he is not clinically depressed. The middle child, Chip, has lost his seemingly secure academic job and is failing specatcularly at his new line of work. And Denise, the youngest, has escaped a disastrous marriage only to pour her youth and beauty down the drain on an affair with a married man–or so her mother fears. Desperate for some pleasure to look forward to. Enid has set her heart on an elusive goal: bringing her family together for one last Christmas at home.Stretching from the Midwest at midcentury to the Wall Street and Eastern Europe of today, The Corrections brings an old-fashioned world of civic virtue and sexual inhibitions into violent collision with the era of home surveillance, hands-off parenting, do-it-yourself mental health care, and globalized greed. Richly realistic, darkly hilarious, deeply humane, it confirms Jonathan Franzen as one of our most brilliant interpreters of American society and the American soul.
3A Soldier of the Great War
No book description can begin to explain the sweep, the sadness, the beauty and thrill of this story. The young son of a prosperous Roman lawyer, whose idyllic life of privilege is curtailed by the Great War tells the story – from the vantage point of old age – of his life, his loves, his escape from the madness of war. Once you pick it up you can’t put it down and once you pick it up you will need to talk about it with everyone you know.
4The Forsyte Saga
This monumental trilogy by the Nobel Prize-winning author chronicles the lives of three generations of an upper-middle-class London family obsessed with money and respectability. The Forsyte Saga enormously influenced views held by Americans and Europeans of Victorian and Edwardian life and it remains an excellent contribution to social history and literary art.
5East of Eden
East of Eden is a work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love’s absence. Adapted for the 1955 film directed by Elia Kazan introducing James Dean and read by thousands as the book that brought Oprah’s Book Club back, East of Eden has remained vitally present in American culture for over half a century.
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