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Join us for our Great American Read Finale Screening

THE GREAT AMERICAN READ, hosted by Meredith Vieira, is an eight-part television and online series designed to spark a national conversation about reading and the books that have inspired, moved, and shaped us. The series will engage audiences with a list of 100 diverse books. Audiences are encouraged to read the books, vote from the list of 100, and share their personal connections to the titles. TGAR kicks off in full swing Tuesday, September 11 at 8pm on WMHT with a launch special, kicking off a summer of reading and voting. Then in the fall, seven new episodes of the series will air as the quest to find America’s most beloved book.

 

Episodes

Fall Kick Off | Tuesday, September 11 at 8pm

Who Am I? | Tuesday, September 18 at 8pm

Heroes | Tuesday, September 25 at 8pm

Villains & Monsters | Tuesday, October 2 at 8pm

What We Do For Love | Tuesday, October 9 at 8pm

Other Worlds | Tuesday, October 16 at 8pm

Grand Finale | Tuesday, October 23 at 8pm | Join us for our Great American Read Finale Screening

 


Vote for Your Favorite Books!

Official Voting Rules | Voting FAQs

 

Explore the List of 100 Books!

Get the PDF

 

Quiz: How Many Books Have You Read From the List of 100?

Interested in reading books from the List of 100? Get the checklist!

 

WMHT is asking you to share "your favorite book" as part of the National Project, THE GREAT AMERICAN READ! Click here  to submit your favorite book to be included on this website.

 

Half of a Yellow Sun

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Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Why is this your favorite book?: This is an absolute page turner!


—Avanti, Albany

Childhoods End

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Author: Arthur C. Clark

Why is this your favorite book?: An unusual vision of the future.


—Anonymous

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

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Author: Clement C. Moore

Why is this your favorite book?: My father reads this book to my siblings and I every holiday season. There's a lot of sentimental value with the book/poem and this tradition.


—Danielle, Troy

Pachinko

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Author: Min Jin Lee

Why is this your favorite book?: Learning about other cultures, bits of history, family relationships, love and loss.


—Susan, Saratoga Springs

Trinity

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Author: Leon Uris

Why is this your favorite book?: This is a Historical Fiction book about the Struggle for Irish independence set in the mid 19th century ( 1840's) up through the second decade of the 1900's. Primarily focused on the sectarian war between Catholics & Protestants.


—Patrick, Wynantskill

David Copperfield

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Author: Charles Dickens

Why is this your favorite book?: A true page turner. Dickens' favorite of his many fabulous "children".


—Rob, Schenectady

A Prayer for Owen Meany

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Author: John Irving

Why is this your favorite book?: It has everything.


—Kathy, Houston, Texas

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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Author: Douglas Adams

Why is this your favorite book?: Best Sci-fi comedy.


—Brian, Schenectady

Ready Player One

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Author: Ernest Cline

Why is this your favorite book?: It’s a great 80’s pop culture tribute.


—Liz, Cohoes

A Walk in the Woods

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Author: Bill Bryson

Why is this your favorite book?: It was funny, informative, and concerned nature and conservation, which I care about very much.


—Ben, Loudonville

A Wrinkle in Time

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Author: Madeline L’Engle

Why is this your favorite book?: My favorite book is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. I’ve read this book, and the rest of the quintet, at least three times since I was in seventh grade. The story is a fantastic blend of ordinary family life and science-fiction/fantasy.

When I read this book the first time as a teenager, I found that I could really relate to the characters Meg and Charles Wallace. That feeling of being able to relate to a character stuck with me and assured me that I wasn’t the only kid out there who felt awkward as a teen.

L’Engle’s writing style is one of those that sucks me in from page one and won’t let go until I finish the book. I love that!


—Sara, Troy

New York Station

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Author: Lawrence Dudley

Why is this your favorite book?: It is a historical thriller based on fact: it turns out the Nazis once meddled in the U.S. presidential election just as the Russians are suspected of doing today.


—L, Glens Falls

Pride and Prejudice

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Author: Jane Austen

Why is this your favorite book?: Jane Austen offers a wonderful "tug" between witty dialogue, careful character development and engaging plot twists.


—Sharon, Niskayuna

Persuasion

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Author: Jane Austen

Why is this your favorite book?: Although I love almost all of Austen's books, this one is perhaps more accessible in that it's less wordy than some of her others, more direct. Austen again skewers "society", showing that money and position are no guarantee of good character or happiness, and true love wins out in the end.


—Maura, Hyde Park

Lullabies

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Author: Lang Leav

Why is this your favorite book?: I always hated poetry. Every year in school when my english teacher would announce it as our next unit, I would throw my head backwards and let out a resounding, “Ugh!” I don’t quite remember how I stumbled across Lullabies, but ever since my first time reading it in eighth grade, it has changed my life. Lullabies is a book of poems, but this poetry somehow felt different to me. I could read it over and over again, nearly memorizing the words on each page, and find a new meaning every time my eyes happened upon a new word. Lang Leav’s words echoed the heartache, the laughs, the love, and the happiness that I had felt at various points in my life.

What makes Lullabies so special to me is that it made me feel like I wasn’t alone in this world; the words on the page reflected the feelings in my heart. The summer before high school, I took Lullabies to sleep-away camp with me. I was reading it one night before bed, when my friend asked me what the book was about. I explained that it wasn’t a normal book; it was about everything and nothing at the same time. When she didn’t understand my deep and philosophical interpretation of the book, I read her an excerpt.

She asked me to read another, and then another, and then another. I realized that the words I held in my hand not only applied to me and the author, but they had power with everyone. Every single night after that, I would read excerpts from Lullabies to my entire cabin.

By the end of the summer, the book was battered and frayed from the traffic it received. So many people loved the book just as I did. I began feeling so much closer to the people around me because although I knew our lives and situations were all different, I also knew that we were similar at the core. Lullabies not only taught me about myself, but also that I’m not alone in this world.


—Jackie, Delmar

The Secret History

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Author: Donna Tartt

Why is this your favorite book?: Brilliantly literate, hearkens to classics, intriguing characters.


—Michelle, Troy

The Neapolitan Novels

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Author: Elena Ferrante

Why is this your favorite book?: (A series of 4.)

A riveting story of a friendship over a lifetime of two young women in Naples Italy. You feel as if you know these women intimately, relate to the ups and downs of their friendship and also know the City of Naples. For me, it was a "couldn't put it down" set of novels.


—Marti, Greenwich

The DaVinci Code

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Author: Dan Brown

Why is this your favorite book?: It exposed me to a different way of looking at religious beliefs I had grown up with and sparked a deeper exploration of religious history.


—Kathy, Schenectady

The Kite Runner

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Author: Khaled Hosseini

Why is this your favorite book?: Good look at life in Mideast.


—Angela, Lake Luzerne

To Kill A Mockingbird

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Author: Harper Lee

Why is this your favorite book?: Wonderful story of family, community and social responsibility.


—Lynn, Kinderhook

My Antonia

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Author: Willa Cather

Why is this your favorite book?: It is a classic, well-written, fiction about the trials faced by immigrant settlers.


—C. Ann, Latham

A Prayer for Owen Meany

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Author: John Irving

Why is this your favorite book?: The misfit child becomes a man and then a hero.


—Sue, New York

The Pride of Chanur

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Author: C. J. Cherryh

Why is this your favorite book?: This is a story about People and Space Aliens- but the people in question are the feline Hani, and the alien is a human. It is told from the perspective of Pyanfar Chanur, captain of an interstellar merchant ship, who risks her ship, her life, and her crew, to protect a lone human stowaway. The book is about cultural interfaces and the mental sacrifices that have to be made to achieve inter-species communication.


—Karen, East Greenbush

The Shoemaker's Wife

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Author: Adriana Trigiani

Why is this your favorite book?: This novel is so intricately woven with family history and settings that range many years and many generations from Italy. The writing is exquisite as each word helps to create a beautiful picture in the reader's mind.


—Kathleen, Ballston Lake

Eat, Pray, Love

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Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

Why is this your favorite book?: This book was very inspiring to me. I have read this well written book 4 times. It taught me to be brave, to be open to giving to others, and to enjoy life.


—Barbara, Housatonic, MA

A Man Called Ove

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Author: Fredrik Bachman

Why is this your favorite book?: This book was chosen for my book club back in 2016. Based on the description of the book, a grumpy old man who appears stuck in his ways, I assumed I would not enjoy this one. I was so wrong.

Not only did I love this book, I bought it as a Christmas gift for everyone I love. I've also read every other book written by Fredrik Bachman, including his short stories and novellas. He is a writer that speaks to human nature and pulls all your heart strings.

This book is a reminder to never judge a book, or a person, by their cover.


—Kayleigh, Albany

Wintergirls

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Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Why is this your favorite book?: It discusses mental illness and really paints a clear picture.


—Tia, Albany

Outlander

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Author: Diana Gabaldon

Why is this your favorite book?: This book just brings you back to another time and place. I love time travel and historical fiction stories and the author adds interesting details to the story that make you feel like you are present. It's an amazing love story.


—Kristen, Albany

Persuasion

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Author: Jane Austen

Why is this your favorite book?: It's about second chances in love.


—Joyce, Sheffield, MA

Howl and other Poems

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Author: Allen Ginsburg

Why is this your favorite book?: These are poems to be experienced. Entrain with their music. Let the imagery carry you into the dark vision of America reeling on drugs, sex and insanity. Published 62 years ago, Howl and other Poems still mirrors our world.


—Robb, Wynantskill

A Drinking Life

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Author: Pete Hamill

Why is this your favorite book?: It's an engaging autobiography that reads like a novel, by one of the great writers and storytellers of our times.


—Allen, Catskill

The Founding Fish

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Author: John McPhee

Why is this your favorite book?: McPhee's deeply researched non-fiction writing is always a marvel, and this is his most compelling read.


—Michael, Albany

Freedom

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Author: Jonathan Franzen

Why is this your favorite book?: I love each and every flawed character!


—Stacey, Wynantskill

The Song Of The Lioness Series

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Author: Tamora Pierce

Why is this your favorite book?: This books was the first time I saw a young woman choosing to step into her true self and defy gender roles and expectation. I read this book as a young person (girl) who was beginning to explore and understand gender being more than just living in the binary, and that society imposed certain ideas of what was "male" and "female". As a "tomboy", I really identified with it. Now as a queer woman, I can look back and see how powerful the series itself was.


—Jenn, Troy

Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage Spiritualism and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull

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Author: Barbara Goldsmith

Why is this your favorite book?: Number one of my Top 10 favorite books. This book has it all! Sex, ghosts, scandal, politics, greed, all wrapped up in the suffrage movement & the life of the first woman to run for POTUS. This book would make a great mini-series!


—Tisha, Glens Falls

This Stinky Cheeseman and Other Fairly Stupid Tales

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Author: Jon Scieszka

Why is this your favorite book?: Whimsical, magical, inventive, crude and gross enough for my humor as a 5th grader. I remember being obsessed with this book and emulating the writing style in my school projects.


—Jamel, Troy

The Neapolitan Novels

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Author: Elena Ferrante

Why is this your favorite book?: Her writing is exquisite. She describes her inner dialog and emotions in a stirring, visceral way unlike anything else I've ever read. I love that there were 3 big books in the series--it occupied me (literally living inside) for several months. I felt she brought me back to my early girlhood days and dreams and shared but sometimes conflicted emotions with my best childhood friend as well as one of my closest adult female friends.


—Annie, Chatham

To Kill A Mockingbird

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Author: Harper Lee

Why is this your favorite book?: Like most everybody else, I read this book in high school. I had the opportunity to revisit it as a law student and To Kill a Mockingbird spoke to me in a very different way then. Its characters and themes became much more complex.

Atticus Finch's advice that we can never really understand a person unless we can jump into their skin and walk around a bit took on a whole meaning. The book tacitly addresses the concept of justice, not a metaphysical form of justice, but one deeply rooted in community and culture.

How we all see and understand our world is shaped by the people and experiences that surround us from the moment we are born. We learn from a very early age how to view and engage in our world. Breaking free from ideologies that separate us takes patience, persistence, understanding, and love.


—Tom, Halfmoon

Infinite Jest

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Author: David Foster Wallace

Why is this your favorite book?: A long, twisted exploration into the human psyche.


—Chad, Troy

Outlander

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Author: Diana Gabaldon

Why is this your favorite book?: The characters and the story pull you into another world full of trials and tribulations, but hope remains constant. And though magic exists, the characters survive by tenacity and their human wits.


—Michelle, Valatie

Before I Fall

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Author: Lauren Oliver

Why is this your favorite book?: The book has a great message. The main character relives the same day over and over, which teaches us not to waste time in life and to always be kind because you have no idea what is going on in other people's lives. It resonates with my own life.


—Katey, Halfmoon

Magyk

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Author: Angie Sage

Why is this your favorite book?: It is my favorite book because it is about magic, and I want my life to be filled with magic.


—John, Halfmoon

To Kill A Mockingbird

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Author: Harper Lee

Why is this your favorite book?: It champions truth.


—Theresa, Ballston Spa

Waking the Tiger

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Author: Peter A Levine

Why is this your favorite book?: It reconnects us with our body and soul to better handle trauma and difficult time.


—Sohaib, Altamont

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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Author: Ken Kesey

Why is this your favorite book?: I couldn't put it down, read all night. The movie received a long standing ovation. Lent my copy to a reluctant reader of fiction. He loved it and asked for more. I could write essays about dehumanizing effects of institutions, about great American heroes, about the delightfully funny romps with card games, fishing trips and whores....but I could never capture Kesey's spirit in this momentous comedy and tragedy. Amazed that it didn't make the so-judged top 100.


—Brian, North Bay

Priceless

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Author: Robert K. Wittman

Why is this your favorite book?: It's a page turner about a terrific man who did everything he could to rescue art, after he started "The Art Theft Recovery Program" at the CIA.


—Brian, North Bay

Catch 22

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Author: Joseph Heller

Why is this your favorite book?: The definitive anti war novel. Well written humor as well as poinant. Contains a host of colorful characters.


—David, Delmar

Of Mice and Men

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Author: John Steinbeck

Why is this your favorite book?: A love and friendship during the depression between two down and out men struggling to survive.


—Judi, Fort Hunter

Twilight

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Author: Stephenie Meyer

Why is this your favorite book?: It's so good.


—Marcie, Milwaukee

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me

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Author: Sherman Alexie

Why is this your favorite book?: His wonderful ability to capture life experiences through the eyes of a child and look past the weakness displayed by adults and find love.


—Ellen, Troy

Bel Canto

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Author: Anne Patchett

Why is this your favorite book?: This book is about finding the most positive aspect in the most negative of circumstances. It is brilliant.


—Linda

The Stand

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Author: Stephen King

Why is this your favorite book?: It is possible; So super scary.


—Sheila, Carrollton, Texas

Death Comes for the Archbishop

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Author: Willa Cather

Why is this your favorite book?: Beautifully written and a sometimes tender story about two European priest/missionaries in the 19th century American Southwest. Drama, adventure, danger, and descriptions of the awesome landscape of New Mexico - its mountains, desert, colors and unforgiving nature. I have read it, and other works by Willa Cather, several times. I am disappointed there is not one book by Willa Cather in the list of 100 great American reads.


—Althea, Arlington, VT

Where The Wild Things Are

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Author: Maurice Sendak

Why is this your favorite book?: As a new parent, I've been thinking a lot about what books we might look forward to buying for our daughter. The one that immediately comes to mind, since it made such an impact on me as a kid, is Maurice Sendak's "Where The Wild Things Are." This classic book sparked my artistic imagination as a child, and helped me deal with the scary sights and sounds that go bump in the night. When I picked this book up again during one of my illustration classes during college, I was surprised to find that segments that I had remembered seemed missing--that is the power of this charming picture book, which literally created a forest of creatures and wilderness out of Max's bedroom. It had a big influence on me as a young artist. Sendak's renderings and storytelling remain vibrant to this day.


—Jeremy, Schenectady

Wide Sargasso Sea

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Author: Jean Rhys

Why is this your favorite book?: This novel explores the complexity of colonization and identity in a Caribbean setting.


—Donna, Albany

Prodigal Summer

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Author: Barbara Kingsolver

Why is this your favorite book?: Wonderful story, well written.


—Virginia, Greenville

Christy

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Author: Catherine Marshall

Why is this your favorite book?: It is the story of a young teacher, heading to the back woods of North Carolina pre WW1. It brings me back to a time, when I was full of ideas, looking for direction.


—Susan, Nassau

Last Bus to Wisdom

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Author: Ivan Doig

Why is this your favorite book?: Unique topic with a positive ending.


—Berton, Malta

Winter Garden

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Author: Kristin Hannah

Why is this your favorite book?: A riveting tale of a old women's journey back in time through memories. So beautiful.


—Tracy, Huntertown, Indiana

Watership Down

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Author: Richard Adams

Why is this your favorite book?: It's so descriptive & believable even though its focus is on the animal world.


—Seth, Petersburgh

To Kill A Mockingbird

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Author: Harper Lee

Why is this your favorite book?: It is written from a child's perspective and yet it is not childish.


—Isabella, Burnt Hills

The Grapes of Wrath

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Author: John Steinbeck

Why is this your favorite book?: Take yourself back in time to the 1920's and learn a small bit about the history of working families in America. Lean of the laughs and the cries and the struggle. In the end this book will make you fall in love with these people they called the Okies.


—Robert, Boca Raton, FL

Six of Crows (Series)

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Author: Leigh Bardugo

Why is this your favorite book?: There is a lot of diversity that includes real-world problems and overcoming obstacles with relatable experiences while keeping the reader immersed in a fictional world with daring plot and emotional development.


—Brianna, Clifton Park

To Kill a Mockingbird

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Author: Harper Lee

Why is this your favorite book?: An amazing depiction of a very strong father who must also defend morals within a highly biased environment.


—Gayle, Appomattox, Virginia

Gone With The Wind

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Author: Margaret Mitchell

Why is this your favorite book?: It's a compelling story of a young woman and her family who suffer the trials and tribulations of the Civil War. In its midst, she encounters and overcomes challenges and learns about love and loss.


—Marilyn, Albany

Sometimes a Great Notion

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Author: Ken Kesey

Why is this your favorite book?: It is fantastic story written in great style.


—Gary, Kinderhook

A Woman of Substance

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Author: Barbara Taylor Bradford

Why is this your favorite book?: The writing really takes you through decades. Emma is very believable. Blackie is a friend I'd like to have. A single mother is a single mother, no matter what century it is. Well done and engaging. Read it twice, saw the movie, twice.


—Laura, Bennington, Vermont

The Great Gatsby

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Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Why is this your favorite book?: I have reread this book many times. The theme of yearning for something unattainable and yet the hope that maybe this time it will happen. I love the tragic romance and Fitzgerald’s writing. Certain lines from the book bring back surges of memories for me of times when I read the novel for the first time and of instances in my life or places I have been. I look for that green light at the end of the dock whenever I need hope in my life.


—Diana, Albany

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

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Author: Haruki Murakami

Why is this your favorite book?: This is more than a great book. It is an experience.


—Elliot, Rensselaer

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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Author: Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

Why is this your favorite book?: Twain provided a snapshot of how white Americans saw themselves in the middle-to-late Victorian era, in a post-Civil War memoir set in the time right before the war. The attitudes and opinions that were being formed then have continued to echo and haunt us right down to the present day.


—Robin, Albany

Naked Lunch

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Author: William S. Burroughs

Why is this your favorite book?: It changed the way I thought about "literature".


—Dan, Albany

Eleanor Roosevelt, Volumes 1 - 3

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Author: Blanche Wiesen Cook

Why is this your favorite book?: Beautiful, well researched biography of one of our nation's most influential women. I particularly recommend that girls and women ages 13-24 read the series, or at the very least, volume one. It is a great guide for any female who wants to make the most of herself and her ability to change society, for the good of all.


—Judith, Guilderland

The Cay

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Author: Theodore Taylor

Why is this your favorite book?: The Cay is my favorite book for two reasons. First, it is a gripping adventure which addresses the theme of race as experienced by a white Dutch boy and an older black West Indian native in the setting of the Carribean during WWII. Second, I read this book to my fourth and fifth grade classes as a read-aloud for years and it was loved by all!


Gone with the Wind

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Author: Margaret Mitchell

Why is this your favorite book?: Peaked my interest in the civil war era.


—Zeb, Grafton

The Story of a Soul (L'Histoire d'une Âme)

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Author: St. Thérèse de Lisieux

Why is this your favorite book?: God becomes evident to my soul when reading it. Read the original in French, if possible. Look for an old translation; avoid the 1972 translation by John Clarke, O.C.D.


—Donna, Williamstown, MA

The Lord of the Rings

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Author: JRR Tolkein

Why is this your favorite book?: The Lord of the Rings creates a totally believable alternative world with a sweeping panoramic story framed by good and evil and driven by a very human cast of characters. While the goals are ultimate (saving the world from the abyss) Frodo and Sam are reassuringly common.


—David, Albany

Giliead

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Author: Marilynne Robinson

Why is this your favorite book?: The wisdom and compassion of the narrator is beautifully rendered.


—Debby, Hudson

The Autobiography oh Henry VIII with Notes by His Fool Will Sommers

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Author: Margret George

Why is this your favorite book?: Well researched and great history. Written well...feels like Henry actually wrote it. You can see him change from the golden prince to a bit of a monster.


—Sherry

On the Road

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Author: Jack Kerouac

Why is this your favorite book?: It's bold, expressive, stream of consciousness writing style echoing the bold expressive yearnings of post war America. A classic in the vein of the Americana road trip experience.


—Bradley, Jeffersonville, IN

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Author:

Why is this your favorite book?:


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