- A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys—best friends—are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy’s mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn’t believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God’s instrument. What happens to Owen, after that 1953 foul ball, is extraordinary and terrifying.
- Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
With more than five million copies sold, Flowers for Algernon is the beloved, classic story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In poignant diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie's intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance—until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie?
- The Third Hotel by Laura van der Berg
In the opening pages of The Third Hotel, van den Berg’s second novel, a traveling elevator inspector named Clare sees her husband on the street in Havana. The problem with this is that her husband is dead. That’s actually why she’s in Havana; he was a horror movie scholar who was meant to be there for a film festival, and she decided to attend in his stead after his sudden death. Instead of finding salve, or closure, she realizes she’s “experiencing a dislocation of reality.” As she and her late husband’s specter haunt the city, she tries to come to grips with their marriage, her childhood and her increasingly fuzzy sense of self. In evocative, lucid prose, van den Berg conjures the psyche of a woman unmoored, and examines how marriage and solitude, travel and domesticity, and other forces create and stabilize our identities. The Third Hotel is dense with everything that makes a novel memorable: psychological complexity, sensory vividness, narrative tension and ideas about humanity and art.
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
One of the 20th century's enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world, and the ultimate achievement in a Nobel Prize–winning career. The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the Buendía family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America. Love and lust, war and revolution, riches and poverty, youth and senility — the variety of life, the endlessness of death, the search for peace and truth — these universal themes dominate the novel. Whether he is describing an affair of passion or the voracity of capitalism and the corruption of government, Gabriel García Márquez always writes with the simplicity, ease, and purity that are the mark of a master. Alternately reverential and comical, One Hundred Years of Solitude weaves the political, personal, and spiritual to bring a new consciousness to storytelling. Translated into dozens of languages, this stunning work is no less than an accounting of the history of the human race.