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Five Best Books

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My list of five great books. These are books that have stayed with me for one reason or another over the years.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Referring to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, H. L. Mencken noted that his discovery of this classic American novel was "the most stupendous event of my whole life"; Ernest Hemingway declared that "all modern American literature stems from this one book," while T. S. Eliot called Huck "one of the permanent symbolic figures of fiction, not unworthy to take a place with Ulysses, Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan, Hamlet." The novel's preeminence derives from its wonderfully imaginative re-creation of boyhood adventures along the Mississippi River, its inspired characterization, the author's remarkable ear for dialogue, and the book's understated development of serious underlying themes: "natural" man versus "civilized" society, the evils of slavery, the innate value and dignity of human beings, and other topics. Most of all, Huckleberry Finn is a wonderful story, filled with high adventure and unforgettable characters.

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Dracula

Young lawyer Jonathan Harker is summoned to the Transylvanian castle of Dracula to advise the Count on his relocation to England, but he soon finds himself imprisoned and terrified. Meanwhile, a fog of dark occurrences begins to creep across England, and it is up to a small group of men and women, led by Professor Van Helsing, to battle with the un-dead to save the souls of humanity. In this fast-paced Gothic horror, with its undertones of sex, violence and colonial politics, Stoker has taken the folklore figure of the vampire and transformed him into an immortal icon.

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The Stress of Her Regard

When Michael Crawford discovers his bride brutally murdered in their wedding bed, he is forced to flee not only to prove his innocence, but to avoid the deadly embrace of a vampire who has claimed him as her true bridegroom. Joining forces with Byron, Keats, and Shelley in a desperate journey that crisscrosses Europe, Crawford desperately seeks his freedom from this vengeful lover who haunts his dreams and will not rest until she destroys all that he cherishes. Told in the guise of a secret history, this long-awaited tale of passion and terror is finally back in print after more than 20 years.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

Featuring a new introduction by the author, this specially packaged, popularly priced hardcover edition of an American classic (with more than 30 million copies sold) celebrates the 35th anniversary of its original publication.

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