Made into movie

North and South

By John Jakes

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When their two sons meet as West Point cadets, the southern, plantation-owning Main family and the industrialist Hazards of Pennsylvania find their lives interlocked, as the nation moves toward Civil War.
Continues with Love and War and Heaven and Hell.

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Lonesome Dove

By Larry McMurtry

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"Set in the late nineteenth century, Lonesome Dove is the story of a cattle drive from Texas to Montana -- and much more. It is a drive that represents for everybody involved not only a daring, even a foolhardy, adventure, but a part of the American Dream -- the attempt to carve out of the last remaining wilderness a new life.

"Augustus McCrae and W. F. Call are former Texas Rangers, partners and friends who have shared hardship and danger together without ever quite understanding (or wanting to understand) each other's deepest emotions. Gus is the romantic, a reluctant rancher who has a way with women and the sense to leave well enough alone. Call is a driven, demanding man, a natural authority figure with no patience for weaknesses, and not many of his own. He is obsessed with the dream of creating his own empire, and with the need to conceal a secret sorrow of his own. The two men could hardly be more different, but both are tough, redoubtable fighters who have learned to count on each other, if nothing else.

Call's dream not only drags Gus along in its wake, but draws in a vast cast of characters:

  • Lorena, the whore with the proverbial heart of gold, whom Gus (and almost everyone else) loves, and who survives one of the most terrifying experiences any woman could have...
  • Elmira, the restless, reluctant wife of a small-time Arkansas sheriff, who runs away from the security of marriage to become part of the great Western adventure...
  • Blue Duck, the sinister Indian renegade, one of the most frightening villains in American fiction, whose steely capacity for cruelty affects the lives of everyone in the book...
  • Newt, the young cowboy for whom the long and dangerous journey from Texas to Montana is in fact a search for his own identity...
  • Jake, the dashing, womanizing exRanger, a comrade-in-arms of Gus and Call, whose weakness leads him to an unexpected fate...
  • July Johnson, husband of Elmira, whose love for her draws him out of his secure life into the wilderness, and turns him into a kind of hero..."
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Waiting to Exhale

By Terry McMillan

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"... a wise, earthy story of a friendship between four African American women who lean on each other while 'waiting to exhale,' waiting for that man who will take their breath away."

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The Kite Runner

By Khaled Hosseini

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Traces the unlikely friendship of a wealthy Afghan youth and a servant's son in a tale that spans the final days of Afghanistan's monarchy through the atrocities of the present day.

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Of Mice and Men

By John Steinbeck

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Tells a story about the strange relationship of two migrant workers, who are able to realize their dreams of an easy life until one of them succumbs to his weakness for soft, helpless creatures and strangles the farmer's wife. Tragic tale of a retarded man and the friend who loves and tries to protect him.
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Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

By Fannie Flagg

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"Folksy and fresh, endearing and affecting, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is the now-classic novel of two women in the 1980s; of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women - of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth - who back in the '30s ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder. And as the past unfolds, the present - for Evelyn and for us - will never be quite the same again...."
(Audiobook summary)

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Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

By Rebecca Wells

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When Siddalee Walker, oldest daughter of Vivi Abbott Walker, Ya-Ya extraordinaire, is interviewed in the New York Times about a hit play she's directed, her mother gets described as a "tap-dancing child abuser." Enraged, Vivi disowns Sidda. Devastated, Sidda begs forgiveness, and postpones her upcoming wedding. All looks bleak until the Ya-Yas step in and convince Vivi to send Sidda a scrapbook of their girlhood mementos, called "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood."

Check out the film starring Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn, and Ashley Judd.

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A Year in Provence

By Peter Mayle

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They had been there often as tourists. They had cherished the dream of someday living all year under the Provencal sun. And suddenly it happened. Here is the month-by-month account of the charms and frustrations that Peter Mayle and his wife -- and their two large dogs -- experience their first year in the remote country of the Luberon restoring a two-centuries-old stone farmhouse that they bought on sight. From coping in January with the first mistral, which comes howling down from the Rhone Valley and wreaks havoc with the pipes, to dealing as the months go by with the disarming promises and procrastination of the local masons and plumbers, Peter Mayle delights us with his strategies for survival.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

By Harper Lee

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Two children in a small southern town in the 1930s are thrust into an adult world of racial bigotry and hatred when their lawyer father defends a black man charged with raping a white girl. The book has been challenged and banned from several school libraries over the years.

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The Call of the Wild

By Jack London

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This book tells the story of the magnificent dog Buck, who is a loyal pet until cruel men make him a pawn in their search for the gold of the Klondike. Brutally treated, Buck finds the blood of his wolf ancestors rising within him and breaks free to roam the Alaskan wilderness as leader of a ferocious pack. Banned in three European countries in the '20's and '30's, it is now required reading in many U.S. schools.

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