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Books and Covers

A list of books that I would like to read, and covers that I find beautiful or fascinating. This board may contain some materials deemed offensive. This is not because I am an offensive person, or that I agree with the author and the message. I simply wish to read. The reviews posted with this list are not mine. They are from various sources across the web.

The story follows 100 years in the life of Macondo, a village founded by José Arcadio Buendía and occupied by descendants all sporting variations on their progenitor's name: his sons, José Arcadio and Aureliano, and grandsons, Aureliano José, Aureliano Segundo, and José Arcadio Segundo. Then there are the women--the two Úrsulas, a handful of Remedios, Fernanda, and Pilar--who struggle to remain grounded even as their menfolk build castles in the air. If it is possible for a novel to be highly comic and deeply tragic at the same time, then One Hundred Years of Solitude does the trick. Civil war rages throughout, hearts break, dreams shatter, and lives are lost, yet the effect is literary pentimento, with sorrow's outlines bleeding through the vibrant colors of García Márquez's magical realism. Consider, for example, the ghost of Prudencio Aguilar, whom José Arcadio Buendía has killed in a fight. So lonely is the man's shade that it haunts Buendía's house, searching anxiously for water with which to clean its wound. Buendía's wife, Úrsula, is so moved that "the next time she saw the dead man uncovering the pots on the stove she understood what he was looking for, and from then on she placed water jugs all about the house."

Set in the 1930s at the Cold Mountain Penitentiary's death-row facility, The Green Mile is the riveting and tragic story of John Coffey, a giant, preternaturally gentle inmate condemned to death for the rape and murder of twin nine-year-old girls. It is a story narrated years later by Paul Edgecomb, the ward superintendent compelled to help every prisoner spend his last days peacefully and every man walk the green mile to execution with his humanity intact. Edgecomb has sent seventy-eight inmates to their date with "old sparky," but he's never encountered one like Coffey -- a man who wants to die, yet has the power to heal. And in this place of ultimate retribution, Edgecomb discovers the terrible truth about Coffey's gift, a truth that challenges his most cherished beliefs -- and ours.

In the back alleys of 1850s London, a prize fighter-turned-evangelist goes after the devil, armed with a fabled "Hammer of Heaven" right-hand punch.

Alien life forms cohabitate a distant planet with human colonists, including Avice Benner Cho. She straddles both worlds from a unique perspective: Unable to speak the bizarre language used by the Ariekei, she functions as a "living figure of speech" for the aliens.

"I stayed up late to induce delirium.... At four thirty in the morning after fifty hours writing without sleep, I ransacked my dream diaries and most frightening childhood memories for content. In the end ... I delivered what felt like the kind of high-level comic book I knew was possible and showed that the serious superhero story didn't always have to be realistic."

Paul Sheldon, a writer of historical romances, is in a car accident; rescued by nurse Annie Wilkes, he slowly realizes that salvation can be worse than death. Sheldon has killed off Misery Chastain, the popular protagonist of his Misery series and Annie, who has a murderous past, wants her back. Keeping the paralyzed Sheldon prisoner, she forces him to revive the character in a continuation of the series, and she reads each page as it comes out of the typewriter; there is a joyously Dickensian novel within a novel here, and it appears in faded typescript. Studded among the frightening moments are sparkling reflections on the writer and his audience, on the difficulties, joys and responsibilities of being a storyteller, on the nature of the muse, on the differences between "serious" and "popular" writing. Sheldon is a revealingly autobiographical figure; Annie is not merely a monster but is subtly and often touchingly portrayed, allowing hostage and keeper a believable, if twisted, relationship. The best parts of this novel demand that we take King seriously as a writer with a deeply felt understanding of human psychology.

Hitman: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors by Rex Feral. Published in 1983 by Paladin press, this how-to manual on discovering the exciting career of a killer for hire was ruled in 1997 to be "not protected by the free speech/free press clause of the First Amendment." This left the publisher officially liable for aiding and abetting a triple murder inspired by its contents. Paladin Press's insurance company arranged a multi-million dollar out-of-court settlement with the murder victim's families, and further agreed to destroy the remaining copies of the book in their possession, and to surrender any rights to reprint or reproduce the work. It remains available online, and through the sale of used copies by individual sellers. "Rex Feral" was allegedly the pseudonym of a Florida housewife, who began the book as a crime novel.

120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade. This 1785 landmark of pornography remained unpublished until the 20th century. Four wealthy male libertines set out to experience the ultimate orgy with 46 unwilling victims, while all are locked away in a secluded palace. Four brothel keepers record their adventures in ever escalating levels of debauchery, abuse, torture, and slaughter.

Lord Horror by David Britton. In 1990 this graphic novel became the last book to date to be officially banned in the United Kingdom. An exploration of what might have been if Hitler had won World War II, it mixes anti-Semitism, sado-masochistic pornography, and the holocaust in a cocktail so incendiary author David Britton was sentenced to four months in prison for obscenity.

The End of Alice by A.N. Homes. Jim Harding, of Britain's National Society For The Prevention of Cruelty To Children called Amy Homes's novel narrated by an imprisoned pedophile and child killer "the most vile and perverted novel I've ever read." It details the correspondence between the middle-aged prisoner and an anonymous 19-year-old girl, who seeks his advice on how to seduce and entrap a 12-year-old neighbor.

The Turner Diaries by Andrew Macdonald. Written under a pseudonym by white supremacist William Luther Pierce, this novel depicts a violent second American Revolution which includes abolishing the federal government, unleashing nuclear war, and exterminating all Americans who are Jewish and/or non-white. It has been called "the bible of the racist right," and has been named as the inspiration for dozens of real-life crimes, most notably the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people.

It's safe to say that The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of the funniest science fiction novels ever written. Adams spoofs many core science fiction tropes: space travel, aliens, interstellar war--stripping away all sense of wonder and repainting them as commonplace, even silly.

A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel tells with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha.Speaking to us with the wisdom of age and in a voice at once haunting and startlingly immediate, Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. It begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old girl with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house.

The Story of O by Pauline Reage. A female take on de Sade, written under a pen name by respected French journalist and translator Anne Desclos, in which extreme masochism provides the ultimate in sexual passion and freedom for a willing slave. Parisian photographer "O" finds her bliss by being blindfolded, chained, whipped, branded, and pierced, all while being constantly available for oral, vaginal, and anal intercourse to a group of anonymous male partners.

"In American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis imaginatively explores the incomprehensible depths of madness and captures the insanity of violence in our time or any other. Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome, and well educated, bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures an apocalyptic horror that no society could bear to confront.

"The Jewel of Medina" by Sherry Jones. This novel's original publisher's blurb read: "Married at nine to the much-older Muhammad, Aisha uses her wits, her courage, and her sword to defend her first-wife status even as Muhammad marries again and again, taking 12 wives and concubines in all." Random House dropped plans to publish the book in the United States, in part because a respected professor of Middle Eastern Studies, given an advance copy for review, informed the publisher it was a "very ugly, stupid piece of work," bound to cause a Satanic Verses style backlash, including possible violence. The home of its original UK publisher, Martin Rynja of Gibson Square Books, was firebombed shortly after plans to market the title there became public. It was ultimately published in late 2008 by the American firm, Beaufort Books.