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The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carre (1960s)
First book that I remember reading by John Le Carre, and apparently he was know for the kinds of twists in plot that characterize this book. I didn't see the end coming, but it was a very exciting chase to the end. I recommend this book. -- Added by EmilyS on 02/27/2014

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From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Koineg (1960s)
This is a classic enjoyed by both kids and adults. Claudia sets out to New York City with her brother, determined to "return different." A mystery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art keeps her and her younger brother Jamie occupied for a couple of weeks, and leads to a surprise ending that's entertaining to read. I'd definitely recommend it. -- Added by EmilyS on 02/27/2014

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We the Living
We the Living by Ayn Rand (1930s)
I'd never managed to get through an Ayn Rand book (I'd tried the Fountainhead a couple of times and just couldn't stick with it), so I was pleasantly surprised that I found myself enjoying the story of her first novel, which she called, "as close to an autobiography as I will ever write." Kira, the main character, is trying to survive the conditions brought about by the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the Civil War, which ended in 1922-23. Her family has lost all that they owned, and she and her fiance, Leo, are forced to live in one room in what had been his family home. Rand's vivid description of the state of the economy, agriculture, and living conditions brought on by the Communist takeover adds a realism to events I'd only read about before. And, it's a good, though complicated, love story that I enjoyed reading. -- Added by EmilyS on 01/26/2014

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Fatherland
Fatherland by Robert Harris (1990s)
A first novel by a now-well-known author (he wrote The Ghost, which was made into the hit movie "The Ghost Writer" starring Pierce Brosnan, etc). This is also detective fiction with a twist: The story is set in 1964 Germany, a Germany in which the Third Reich won the war (and now stretches east to the Urals, where it faces guerrilla war with Russians, and west to the English Chanel). On the eve of proposed Detente with the United States (under the leadership of President Kennedy, but not the one you think), a series of crimes falls under investigation by a local member of the Kripo (Criminal Police). As he digs deeper into the case, he can't let go of the tantalizing clues and where they lead, even after being warned off by both friends and enemies. For those interested in "speculative fiction," history, or just a good page-turning thriller, I would recommend this. -- Added by EmilyS on 01/20/2014

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Letters from Skye
Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmore (2000s)
I discovered this gem on the New Book Shelves. It's one of several recent novels told in a series of letters between various characters, unfolding over time. This has an added twist, in that the letters are between two different generations of the same family, concerning a family secret from one World War, discovered in the midst of the next. -- Added by EmilyS on 01/20/2014

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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson (1970s)
This has become a Christmas classic, almost since its first publication in 1972. Who can't come to love the Herdmans, all six of them, and espcially Gladys the Angel of the Lord. Fun for the whole family. -- Added by EmilyS on 01/20/2014

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The Name of the Rose
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (1980s)
This now-classic of mystery fiction was brand new in 1980, and only available in English in 1983 (before the movie of the same name was made). Its sprawling description and attention to a period of history that I didn't know much about, along with its references to other detective fiction, made it a quick read in spite of the length! -- Added by EmilyS on 01/20/2014

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