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When he passed away, this list was not immediately on my mind. However, few weeks later, I found it, and resolved to complete it as best I could: and so began my journey in finishing Modern Library's Choices see after the break for my progress. This list that remains on my nightstand table today. While I do not claim that this is the end-all-be-all of lists of great books from the 20th century, finishing or trying to finish this list is a tribute to Jack and an effort to read some of the great works of literature.

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Grandpa Jack, you are missed. Lawrence Farrell Somerset Maugham Biswas," V. First Chrissie, then her twin brother Richard, suffer from out-of-control bullying. This novel tells the story of the effects of bullying on kids, as well as the depression, suicidal ideation, vengeance, and guilt associated with witnessing, as well as perpetrating, physical and psychological violence. There she learns the healing power of friendship through plant cultivation in her, ahem, secret garden. So heartwarming, yet insightful. Taking place in grubby Victorian New York, Little Lord Fauntleroy is a rags-to-riches story about a young boy named Cedric who unexpectedly becomes royalty.

While Cedric is whisked away to England by his grandfather to learn the ins and outs of the aristocracy, he ultimately manages to teach his grandfather to become a more compassionate leader. It should go without saying, kids love animals. Sure, you may need to explain some of the subtle Victorianisms to younger audiences, but the harrowing story exhibits some of the most vibrant and sharp personifications of any novel in existence.

Mattie Hathaway is a year-old girl with a terrible secret.

Midnights Children A Novel Modern Library 100 Best Novels

This is smart teen fiction with plenty of twists and turns. This prescient dystopian novel, written by an American at the end of World War I and published in , depicts the city of Berlin more than a century later when millions of people live underground as the city wages war with the rest of the world. Life is not pleasant. Food is strictly rationed for workers, religion is banned, and the population is tightly controlled via eugenics. Revolution, of course, in the form of a young American chemist who infiltrates this closed society.

The true origins and subsequent merits of the late King Arthur are controversial, to say the least. The older language can be cumbersome, the repetitiveness a bit drab, yet the source material remains a poignant take on Middle Ages.

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This tough, female police officer leads a colorful band of dubious misfits as she puzzles and battles her way through a series of scrapes, chases, and mysterious plots. Amazon Google. Project Gutenberg.

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Piper may have committed suicide in — often attributed to financial woes and marital problems — but not before he wrote a series of stellar short stories and several novels in the sci-fi vein. Cosmic Computer , one of his last, is about a struggling, poverty-stricken post-war society who believes its survival depends on finding a computer known as MERLIN. The problem is, returning colonist Conn Maxwell knows otherwise. Project Gutenberg Amazon. In the novel, Mars and Earth hang on the verge of war. The last ship bound for Earth is stopped by Martian soldiers searching for three saboteurs who supposedly destroyed a Martian city.

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However, the Victorian-era The Lost World offers a greater scientific basis than the blockbuster film created nearly a century later, even if it does see a young journalist and a small team scouring a remote Amazonian plateau in search of dinosaurs and other prehistoric beings. They traversed a nation with the aid of Shoshone guide Sacajawea in the early s, chronicling all the flora, fauna, tribal encounters, and vast landscapes they encountered along their journey. Benjamin Franklin was always renowned for his eccentric and intriguing personality, whether he was dabbling in electricity, drinking beer, or serving as Postmaster General of the United States.

Needless to say, he remains a hallmark of American history more than years after his death. His autobiography offers personal stories, exploits, and general insights to his life in the days before the American Revolution. He was the leader of the Republican Party and the short-lived Bull Moose Party of , as well as an acclaimed naturalist, cowboy, hunter, author, and soldier in the Spanish-American War.

The man is considered an American legend for both his exploits in office and outside of it — and his autobiography tells it all. Buffalo Bill is one of the most iconic and colorful characters epitomizing the American Old West. Although he was a plainsman, buffalo hunter, and scout who had his Medal of Honor revoked and reinstated years later , his claim to fame was his Wild West show.

His deeds were many, his prejudices few, and his autobiography follows his story from the time of his birth in until he was 44 years old. After being stricken by measles and subsequent vision damage while attending Harvard, Dana enlisted as sailor on a two-year voyage around Cape Horn on the brig Pilgrim. He kept a diary of his travels along the way, known as Two Years Before the Mast , and filled it with passages of practical naval jargon, animated imagery and some of the first descriptions of s California.

Night and Day is a nuanced exploration of the political and personal lives of women in the early 20th century. The Mississippi River had a profound and pivotal on Twain from the time he was a little boy until his death in It seems like almost all stories coming out of Antarctica either deal with penguins, polar bears, or survival.

What happens when you trade away your privacy? Agent Kendall is deeply familiar with the universe of giving away information about yourself — privacy lost for the sake of free apps and services. For those in the know, the book is a spin-off of the Xbox live video game, Bureau: Kendall Rising itself a remake of the earlier Bureau: Agent Kendall. An increasingly nightmarish journey on a steamboat in the Congo turns into a disturbing journey into the human psyche. This novella served as the inspiration for the movie Apocalypse Now , which shifted the action to Vietnam and Cambodia during the Vietnam War, instead of 19th-century Africa.

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Later criticized as a xenophobic dehumanization of Africans, it reflects colonial attitudes. The book is more lighthearted than you might think, too, reveling in a next-door romance and subsequent murders. Take it at face value.

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Doyle did not invent the fictional detective archetype, that arguably goes to Edgar Allen Poe, but he certainly helped bring it to the mainstream. It follows a retired mining engineer who becomes wrapped up in an international plot upon discovering a body in his home and fleeing for his native Scotland. It offers a short read, with a tense introduction into the world of espionage novels. The book opens with teacher Walter Hartright encountering a mysterious woman in white upon a London road, but it unravels into a sensational love affair with subtle undercurrents of political commentary.

Her second novel, Secret Adversary , introduces the reader to Tommy and Tuppence, two characters who reoccur in other Christie tales down the line. Their goal? To find a woman who vanishes with government documents without becoming completely entrenches in a tangle of secret intelligence, false evidence, and dubious affairs.

Arguably the first detective story ever written, the short tale is centered on a man named C.


Auguste Dupin and his work to unravel the mystery surrounding a baffling double murder on a fictional street in Paris. Although numerous witnesses heard the suspect, no one can seem to agree on the language spoken, and the only other piece of apparent evidence is a lone strand of hair Dupin believes to be nonhuman. It revolves around a penniless man named Rodion Raskolnikov who executes a plot to kill a corrupt pawnbroker to alleviate his financial woes and rid the world of corruption.

Is murder warranted if it serves a higher purpose? The storyline is plausible and well-orchestrated, though short and predictable at times, with just enough suspense and action that you might overlook the sheer amount of loose ends left dangling at the end. If you like your tragedies bloody and grim, look no further than the Elizabethan playwrights, particularly John Webster. His play The Duchess of Malfi is a gruesome tale of corruption and the perils of being a woman in a world dominated by men.

The central characters are Antonio, a man of low birth but high character, and the smart, kindly Duchess, with whom he falls in love and marries in secret. Are you keen for an Indiana Jones-style adventure story, but with a female protagonist? Sam Harris may be the heroine for you. Her companions do not consider her safety their first priority.

They are a drunk and lecherous geologist with an agenda, a mafia daughter, and a fortune hunter. Having served on whaling ships, Melville paints a detailed picture of life at sea in pursuit of whales, largely for oil that was used in lamps, soap, and many other products.

The book is also packed with references and clever narrative techniques that have proven very influential in the years since its publication in Bernard-Scotch Collie named Buck who is stolen, sold, and forced to survive as a sled dog in the harsh realities of the Arctic.

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