The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath’s shocking, realistic, and intensely emotional novel about a woman falling into the grip of insanity. Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies.
A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic. (Goodreads)
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After Finitude by Quentin Meillassoux
The exceptional lucidity and the centrality of argument in Meillassoux’s writing should appeal to analytic as well as continental philosophers, while his critique of fideism will be of interest to anyone preoccupied by the relation between philosophy, theology and religion.
Meillassoux introduces a startlingly novel philosophical alternative to the forced choice between dogmatism and critique. After Finitude proposes a new alliance between philosophy and science and calls for an unequivocal halt to the creeping return of religiosity in contemporary philosophical discourse. (Preface, Alain Badiou)
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Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud
Civilization and Its Discontents is one of the last of Freud’s books, written in the decade before his death and first published in German in 1929. In it he states his views on the broad question of man’s place in the world, a place Freud defines in terms of ceaseless conflict between the individual’s quest for freedom and society’s demand for conformity.
It stands as a brilliant summary of the views on culture from a psychoanalytic perspective that he had been developing since the turn of the century. It is both witness and tribute to the late theory of mind—the so-called structural theory, with its stress on aggression, indeed the death drive, as the pitiless adversary of eros. (Goodreads)
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Viajero: A Filipino Novel by F. Sionil Jose
Viajero is a novel of history of the Philippine Islands and their people long before the Spaniards came. It is also the story of the Filipino diaspora as seen by an orphan who is brought by an American captain to the United States in 1945.
Through the eyes of Salvador dela Raza unfolds the epic voyage of the Filipino, from the earliest contact with China through Magellan’s tragedy in Mactan, onto the heroic voyage of the galleons across the Pacific. Viajero concludes with the movement of Filipino workers to the Middle East, and the travail of Filipino women in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo. (Goodreads)
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Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs, all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations, where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress. Huxley’s ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present and is considered to be his most enduring masterpiece. (Goodreads)
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Published in 1951, the Catcher in the Rye created a rustle in the literary scene and brought a shock to publishers and readers alike—a novel impact that even after 65 years since its original publication, the book continues to capture attention as one of the most controversial books in the history of the printed word.
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The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
J.D. Salinger’s classic novel of teenage angst and rebellion was first published in 1951. The novel was included on Time’s 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923. It was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. It has been frequently challenged in the court for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and in the 1950’s and 60’s it was the novel that every teenage boy wants to read. (Goodreads)
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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is the long-awaited new novel—a book that sold more than a million copies the first week it went on sale in Japan—from the award-winning, internationally best-selling author Haruki Murakami. Here he gives us the remarkable story of Tsukuru Tazaki, a young man haunted by a great loss; of dreams and nightmares that have unintended consequences for the world around us; and of a journey into the past that is necessary to mend the present. It is a story of love, friendship, and heartbreak for the ages. (Goodreads)
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Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut’s absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut’s) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden. (Goodreads)
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Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami
Sumire is in love with a woman seventeen years her senior. But whereas Miu is glamorous and successful, Sumire is an aspiring writer who dresses in an oversized second-hand coat and heavy boots like a character in a Kerouac novel. Sumire spends hours on the phone talking to her best friend K about the big questions in life: what is sexual desire, and should she ever tell Miu how she feels for her? Meanwhile K wonders whether he should confess his own unrequited love for Sumire. Then, a desperate Miu calls from a small Greek island: Sumire has mysteriously vanished. (Goodreads)
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