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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

"Awareness of Dracula" as a masterly gothic thriller has increased ever since its publication in 1897, and the novel is regarded as one of the most seminal horror stories of ever written, having inspired countless copycat tales and literary spin-offs. The tale of young Englishman Jonathan Harker's journey to Transylvania, into the very heart of Count Dracula's evil realm, is compelling, but it is perhaps the journey of the vampire to England, and the dangers he poses to Jonathan's beloved Mina, that is the more horrifying.

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Ghost Story

It began shortly after the party at which one of their members, Edward Wanderley, had died - or was killed. The Chowder Society, who for years had met in customary evening dress with the object of telling each other tales of every kind, now found themselves drawn towards the supernatural. It was some sort of solace for Edward's loss. They began to tell ghost stories, extraordinary ghost stories ...ghost stories that did not always stop when the teller finished speaking ...Then came the dreams, shared simultaneously by the Chowder Society members, forecasting horrors the four ageing men can scarcely bring themselves to discuss. And now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past - and get away with murder.

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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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