1. Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner | F.X. Toole
This hard-hitting collection of powerful and moving tales based on the experiences of the late, great fight manager and cut man Jerry Boyd, who wrote under the pen name F.X. Toole, is the basis for the Oscar-winning motion picture starring Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. Breathing life into vivid, compelling characters who radiate the fierce intensity of the worlds they inhabit, Million Dollar Baby ‘is not just fight fiction at its finest, it is excellent fiction, period’ (Dan Rather) — (Source: Goodreads)
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2. The Revenant: A Story of Revenge | Michael Punke
A thrilling tale of betrayal and revenge set against the nineteenth-century American frontier, the astonishing story of real-life trapper and frontiersman Hugh Glass…
The year is 1823, and the trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company live a brutal frontier life. Hugh Glass is among the company’s finest men, an experienced frontiersman and an expert tracker. But when a scouting mission puts him face-to-face with a grizzly bear, he is viciously mauled and not expected to survive. Two company men are dispatched to stay behind and tend to Glass before he dies. When the men abandon him instead, Glass is driven to survive by one desire: revenge. With shocking grit and determination, Glass sets out, crawling at first, across hundreds of miles of uncharted American frontier. Based on a true story, The Revenant is a remarkable tale of obsession, the human will stretched to its limits, and the lengths that one man will go to for retribution.
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3. Close Range: Wyoming Stories | Annie Proulx
The inspiration behind Life of Pi director Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain is one of the short stories to be found in this haunting collection of Wyoming tales. Brokeback Mountain is set in the beautiful, wild landscape of Wyoming where cowboys live as they have done for generations. Hard, lonely lives in unforgiving country. Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar are two ranch hands, glad to have found each other’s company where none had been expected. But companionship becomes something else on Brokeback Mountain, something not looked for – an intimacy neither can forget.
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4. Life of Pi | Yann Martel
After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wide, wild Pacific. The crew of the surviving vessel consists of a hyena, one zebra (with broken leg), an orangutan, a 450-pound Royal Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker and Pi — a sixteen-year-old Indian boy. As the ‘crew’ begin to assert their natural places in the food chain, Pi’s fear mounts, and he must use all his wit and daring to develop an understanding with Richard the tiger. Life of Pi takes the reader on an extraordinary journey – geographical, spiritual and emotional. A rare thing, here is a novel that will change your view of the world.
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5. Gone with the Wind | Margaret Mitchell
Gone with the Wind is a novel written by Margaret Mitchell, first published in 1936. The story is set in Clayton County, Georgia, and Atlanta during the American Civil War and Reconstruction era. It depicts the struggles of young Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of the poverty she finds herself in after Sherman’s March to the Sea. A historical novel, the story is a Bildungsroman or coming-of-age story, with the title taken from a poem written by Ernest Dowson.
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6. Twelve Years a Slave | Solomon Northup
Twelve Years a Slave is a harrowing memoir about one of the darkest periods in American history. It recounts how Solomon Northup, born a free man in New York, was lured to Washington, D.C., in 1841 with the promise of fast money, then drugged and beaten and sold into slavery. He spent the next twelve years of his life in captivity on a Louisiana cotton plantation.
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7. The Return of the King | J.R.R. Tolkien
‘It may seem churlish to remember how shallow The Lord of the Rings is, when the Peter Jackson movies have turned out to be such terrifically enjoyable escapism. I started the series an atheist and finished an agnostic. With enormous energy and a passionately exacting eye for detail, Jackson has made the regressive-romantic legend live again. He has given the Tolkien myth a turbo-charged rush into the 21st century. It’s tripe. But he’s made it mind-blowing tripe.’ —Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
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8. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest | Ken Kesey
Tyrannical Nurse Ratched rules her ward in an Oregon State mental hospital with a strict and unbending routine, unopposed by her patients, who remain cowed by mind-numbing medication and the threat of electroshock therapy. But her regime is disrupted by the arrival of McMurphy — the swaggering, fun-loving trickster with a devilish grin who resolves to oppose her rules on behalf of his fellow inmates. His struggle is seen through the eyes of Chief Bromden, a seemingly mute half-Indian patient who understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them imprisoned. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is an exuberant, ribald and devastatingly honest portrayal of the boundaries between sanity and madness.
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9. A Beautiful Mind | Sylvia Nasar
The true story of John Nash, the mathematical genius who was a legend by age thirty when he slipped into madness, and who — thanks to the selflessness of a beautiful woman and the loyalty of the mathematics community — emerged after decades of ghost-like existence to win a Nobel Prize and world acclaim. The inspiration for Ron Howard’s stirring motion picture drama starring Russell Crowe, Sylvia Nasar’s award-winning biography is about the mystery of the human mind, triumph over incredible adversity, and the healing power of love.
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10. The Godfather | Mario Puzo
A modern masterpiece, The Godfather is a searing portrayal of the 1940s criminal underworld. It is also the intimate story of the Corleone family, at once drawn together and ripped apart by its unique position at the core of the American Mafia. Still shocking forty years after it was first published, this compelling tale of blackmail, murder and family values is a true classic.
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