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Dave Eggers's Bookcase

Dave Eggers (born March 12, 1970) is an American writer, editor, and publisher. He wrote the best-selling memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. He is also the founder of McSweeney's, a literary journal; the co-founder of the literacy project 826 Valencia, and a human rights nonprofit Voice of Witness, and the founder of ScholarMatch, a program that matches donors with students needing funds for college tuition. His writing has appeared in several magazines.

Photo by: David Shankbone

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Born at the beginning of the twentieth century, Henry Smart lives through the evolution of modern Ireland, and in this extraordinary novel he brilliantly tells his story. From his own birth and childhood on the streets of Dublin to his role as soldier (and lover) in the Irish Rebellion, Henry recounts his early years of reckless heroism and adventure. At once an epic, a love story, and a portrait of Irish history, A Star Called Henry is a grand picaresque novel brimming with both poignant moments and comic ones, and told in a voice that is both quintessentially Irish and inimitably Roddy Doyle's.

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In 1937 Ernest Hemingway traveled to Spain to cover the civil war there for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Three years later he completed the greatest novel to emerge from "the good fight," For Whom the Bell Tolls.

The story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to an antifascist guerilla unit in the mountains of Spain, it tells of loyalty and courage, love and defeat, and the tragic death of an ideal. In his portrayal of Jordan's love for the beautiful Maria and his superb account of El Sordo's last stand, in his brilliant travesty of La Pasionaria and his unwillingness to believe in blind faith, Hemingway surpasses his achievement in The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms to create a work at once rare and beautiful, strong and brutal, compassionate, moving, and wise. "If the function of a writer is to reveal reality," Maxwell Perkins wrote Hemingway after reading the manuscript, "no one ever so completely performed it." Greater in power, broader in scope, and more intensely emotional than any of the author's previous works, it stands as one of the best war novels of all time.

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Some Thoughts on Violence, Freedom and Urgent Means

Twenty-three years in the making, Rising Up and Rising Down (the original, published by McSweeney's in October 2003, spans seven volumes) is a rich amalgam of historical analysis, contemporary case studies, anecdotes, essays, theory, charts, graphs, photographs and drawings. Convinced that there is "a finite number of excuses" for violence and that some excuses "are more valid than others," Vollmann spent two decades consulting hundreds of sources, scrutinizing the thinking of philosophers, theologians, tyrants, warlords, military strategists, activists and pacifists. He also visited more than a dozen countries and war zones to witness violence firsthand -- sometimes barely escaping with his life.

Vollmann makes deft use of these tools and experiences to create his Moral Calculus, a structured decision-making system designed to help the reader decide when violence is justifiable and when it is not.

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The Sheltering Sky is a landmark of 20th-century literature, a novel of existential despair that examines the limits of humanity when it touches the unfathomable emptiness of the desert. Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind, Requiem for a Dream) gives masterful voice to this American classic.This fascinating story follows three American travelers, a married couple and their friend, as they find themselves adrift in the cities and deserts of North Africa after World War II. Along the walkabout, their ignorance of the dangers that surround them peels back the veneer of their lives. The author’s life as an expatriate in the North African nation of Morocco informed his rendering of the desert, which itself is a cruel, unforgiving character in the novel.“Paul Bowles’ writing is so extraordinary, so special,” Ms. Connelly said. “The landscapes are magical, the characters are questioning so much―it’s haunting in a very beautiful way.”The Sheltering Sky is part of Audible’s A-List Collection, featuring the world’s most celebrated actors narrating distinguished works of literature that each star helped select.

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In one of his finest achievements, Nobel Prize winner Saul Bellow presents a multifaceted portrait of a modern-day hero, a man struggling with the complexity of existence and longing for redemption.

This is the story of Moses Herzog, a great sufferer, joker, mourner, and charmer. Although his life steadily disintegrates around him—he has failed as a writer and teacher, as a father, and has lost the affection of his wife to his best friends—Herzog sees himself as a survivor, both of his private disasters and those of the age. He writes unsent letters to friends and enemies, colleagues and famous people, revealing his wry perception of the world and the innermost secrets of his heart.

This Penguin Classics edition features an introduction by Philip Roth.

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Sartre's greatest novel ― and existentialism's key text ― now introduced by James Wood.

Nausea is the story of Antoine Roquentin, a French writer who is horrified at his own existence. In impressionistic, diary form he ruthlessly catalogs his every feeling and sensation. His thoughts culminate in a pervasive, overpowering feeling of nausea which “spreads at the bottom of the viscous puddle, at the bottom of our time ― the time of purple suspenders and broken chair seats; it is made of wide, soft instants, spreading at the edge, like an oil stain.”

Winner of the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature (though he declined to accept it), Jean-Paul Sartre ― philosopher, critic, novelist, and dramatist ― holds a position of singular eminence in the world of French letters. La Nausée, his first and best novel, is a landmark in Existential fiction and a key work of the twentieth century.

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Audie Award Nominee, Short Stories/Collections, 2013

Universally acclaimed from the time it was first published in 1968, Slouching Towards Bethlehem has been admired for decades as a stylistic masterpiece. Academy Award-winning actress Diane Keaton (Annie Hall, The Family Stone) performs these classic essays, including the title piece, which will transport the listener back to a unique time and place: the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco during the neighborhood's heyday as a countercultural center.

This is Joan Didion's first work of nonfiction, offering an incisive look at the mood of 1960s America and providing an essential portrait of the Californian counterculture. She explores the influences of John Wayne and Howard Hughes, and offers ruminations on the nature of good and evil in a Death Valley motel room. Taking its title from W.B. Yeats' poem "The Second Coming", the essays in Slouching Towards Bethlehem all reflect, in one way or another, that "the center cannot hold."

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One of the most acclaimed novels in recent memory, The Known World is a daring and ambitious work by Pulitzer Prize winner Edward P. Jones.

The Known World tells the story of Henry Townsend, a black farmer and former slave who falls under the tutelage of William Robbins, the most powerful man in Manchester County, Virginia. Making certain he never circumvents the law, Townsend runs his affairs with unusual discipline. But when death takes him unexpectedly, his widow, Caldonia, can't uphold the estate's order, and chaos ensues. Jones has woven a footnote of history into an epic that takes an unflinching look at slavery in all its moral complexities.

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Jesus' Son is a visionary chronicle of dreamers, addicts, and lost souls. These stories tell of spiraling grief and transcendence, of rock bottom and redemption, of getting lost and found and lost again. The raw beauty and careening energy of Denis Johnson's prose has earned this book a place among the classics of twentieth-century American literature.

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Pete Ferry, our narrator, teaches high school English in the wealthy Chicago suburb of Lake Forest and moonlights as a travel writer. On his way home after work one evening he witnesses a car accident that kills a beautiful woman named Lisa Kim. But was it an accident? Could Pete have prevented it? And did it actually happen, or is this just an elaborate tale he concocts to impart the power of story to his teenage students? Why can’t he stop thinking about Lisa Kim? And what might his obsession with her mean to his relationship with his girlfriend, Lydia?

With humor, tenderness, and suspense, Travel Writing takes readers on fascinating journeys, both geographical and psychological, and delves into the notion that the line between fact and fiction is often negotiable.

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In Like Life’s eight exquisite stories, Lorrie Moore’s characters stumble through their daily existence. These men and women, unsettled and adrift and often frightened, can’t quite understand how they arrived at their present situations. Harry has been reworking a play for years in his apartment near Times Square in New York. Jane is biding her time at a cheese shop in a Midwest mall. Dennis, unhappily divorced, buries himself in self-help books about healthful food and healthy relationships. One prefers to speak on the phone rather than face his friends, another lets the answering machine do all the talking. But whether rejected, afraid to commit, bored, disillusioned or just misunderstood, even the most hard-bitten are not without some abiding trust in love.

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Awe and exhiliration--along with heartbreak and mordant wit--abound in Lolita, Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. Most of all, it is a meditation on love--love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.

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The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng

New York Times Notable Book New York Times Bestseller

What Is the What is the epic novel based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng who, along with thousands of other children —the so-called Lost Boys—was forced to leave his village in Sudan at the age of seven and trek hundreds of miles by foot, pursued by militias, government bombers, and wild animals, crossing the deserts of three countries to find freedom. When he finally is resettled in the United States, he finds a life full of promise, but also heartache and myriad new challenges. Moving, suspenseful, and unexpectedly funny, What Is the What is an astonishing novel that illuminates the lives of millions through one extraordinary man.

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