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Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (Science Fiction/Fantasy)
I would totally recommend this. I hadn't read any of her books until after I started watching the Outlander series on Starz earlier this year (though I did own a copy of Dragonfly in Amber, the 2nd book, bought at a used book sale). The writing is amazing; it's one of the few books I can remember thinking about visually -- that is to say, the words were so evocative of scenes unfolding before my eyes that that's how I experienced the book. (And I think the tv produciton has been very faithful in its adaptation, creatively adapting material to forward the telling of the story as a (tv) movie. -- Added by EmilyS on 03/16/2015

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A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines
A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines by Janna Levin (Historical Fiction)
Imaginative, fictional account of Kurt Goedel and Allan Turing, whose lives as philosopher and mathemetician whom others could not understand ran an interesting parallel course. Both died (relatively) young. It's a good follow-up to Enigma, and quite interesting. -- Added by EmilyS on 03/09/2015

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Enigma by Robert Harrus (Mystery/Suspense)
Fast-paced mystery with plenty of history (WWII)thrown in, plus a little romance. Set in 1942-43 at Bletchley Park, where thousands of civilians, government employees, and members of the armed sevices are struggling to break the Enigma codes the Germans broadcast their military orders on. And in the middle of a particularly grueling week of work, a young woman goes missing. Great fun, kept me guessing to the end. -- Added by EmilyS on 02/14/2015

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Have read this separately of the reading program and would highly recommend. This book is a good primer to the movie "imitation game" which is out now and i think up for an oscar. -- grace lilly on 02/15/2015  
God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215
God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215 by David Levering Lewis (History/Biography)
This is an incredibly readable, though fact-packed history of the rise of Islam and its influence on Europe in the Middle Ages, especially focused on the rise of Charlemagne and the formation of European proto-states and languages. The Catholic Church is depicted in making changes to its structure and theology in response to Islam's establishment in al-Andalus (Spain). It credits the libraries of al-Andalus and Baghdad with preserving Greek and Roman learning and philosophy, which became available in the West through Arabic translations, before the Crusades and Renaissance. Arab science and medicine, as well as treatment of "minorities"-- Christian and Jewish, also improved upon what existed in the realm of the Holy Roman Empire. (Though there were parts I could argue with, it was generally well-written and documented). For a general, thorough overview of Islam in Midaeval Europe, I recommend it. -- Added by EmilyS on 02/09/2015

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Josephus:  The Essential Writings
Josephus: The Essential Writings by Maier, Paul L. (History/Biography)
As a follow-up to watching Masada, I found it useful to read the writing of someone who lived at the time of the Jewish War and the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. Anyone interested in Biblical history, or the history of the middle east might want to try this. -- Added by EmilyS on 02/08/2015

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The Seeker's Guide to Harry Potter
The Seeker's Guide to Harry Potter by Geo Athena Trevarthen (Other Nonfiction)
An interesting read for fans of the Harry Potter series. Though not endorsed by J.K. Rowling, Trevarthen is clearly a fan of the books and respects Rowling's skills as a writer. The "course" refers to the fact that each chapter introduces and traces the relationship between the characters and stories of the Potter-verse and how the relate to classic themes and ideas in myth and great literature. An enjoyable book. -- Added by EmilyS on 02/06/2015

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