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Cry, the Beloved Country

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The Hobbit

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I love books (escape novels as well as what one would call "literature"), so I've listed my top 10 entertaining books here in no particular order. In many cases, the book chosen is an excellent introduction to the work of that author. There are also are some links below to fun sites...and weird sites.

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Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card, is glorious. I've read it many, many times, and given away dozens of copies to friends. If you like it (and you will) there are three more books afterward. Oddly enough, they've just started to teach this at DMHS.

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I was introduced to Anne McCaffrey and her Pern novels with this book. It's a great start. All of her Pern stuff is great. Also the Crystal Singer series, the Rowan series, and the Freedom's Landing series are mighty swell reading--though they are not particularly challenging. They're "fun reads." McCaffrey is singular for her creation of strong feminine characters.

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Vonnegut is most famous for Slaughterhouse Five, but I like this one better. It features a car salesman who falls victim to a kind of solipsism after reading a story by Vonnegut's perennial alter ego, Kilgore Trout. If you appreciate satire and are hip to Vonnegut's quirky style, this will have you laughing out loud. And so it goes...

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There are six books in the Dune series: start here. A semi-okay movie was made of this first novel, but I wouldn't recommend it. Herbert's imagery is much more exciting, and the world he creates on the page is far richer than anything Hollywood can do in two hours. This isn't just escape fiction, either: there are some serious ecological and religious themes (often intertwined) throughout the whole series.

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I still don't know what the plot was, but that didn't stop me from loving this book, and it shouldn't stop you, either. I wish I could write like this guy. His improbable sentences and outrageous images had me laughing so hard that I cried and got stomach cramps. Not all that great for kids, though: my vocabulary isn't too shabby, but Leyner had me reaching for a dictionary more often than I'd care to admit.

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Go to a bookstore and thumb through this. You will buy it if you have the money. Enough said.

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I'm something of a mythology fan, and I think goats are kind of funny, so I loved the fact that one of Jitterbug Perfume's supporting characters is the Greek god, Pan. The whole theory of how to achieve imortality is quite interesting. The hardest part for me would be the breathing method. I never think about it--so I suppose I'm doomed to be short-lived. I'm indebted to my friend, Melanie, for introducing me to Robbins.

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Reading this book is better than taking Philosophy 101 at your local community college. I know this because I have done both. Sophie's World taught me more than the professor did, and it was tremendously more engaging, because I got the bonus of a plot and likeable characters to complement all of those existential conundrums. The nice bit is that the author, Jostein Gaardner, explained all of those deep thoughts in terms a 15-year old could understand (since the course was given to a teenager in the novel). I wish I had read it in high school, but it hadn't yet been translated into English at that time (Sigh!).

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Very interesting sociological sci-fi! I've had two students read this so far (one freshman, one sophomore) and they gave it two thumbs up plus a big toe. So there you have it. Buy it today at or something.

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Douglas Adams has made an institution out of this series. The reason for this is that it includes rather colorful characters, such as Zaphod Beeblebrox and Slartibartfast: it also includes the recipe for the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster.
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And now for something completely different...
Below are some lovely links to sites that are amusing or incredibly odd or both. I'll keep working on expanding it. Enjoy.

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The Dilbert Zone
Shakespearean Insult Generator
The Astounding B Monster Bonanza
How to Wrap a Great Kilt
The Cosmic Baseball Association
The Homonym Page
Cool Word of the Day
The 60 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time
The Abuse-A-Tron
Driveways of the Rich and Famous
Good Ol' Weird Al Yankovic
Wanton Chair Abuse
The Lost Elvis Diaries
The Official Cowtipping Home Page
Pot Bellied Men of America
Squirrel Fishing
Questionable Medical Devices
Uchronia: Alternate History List

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