"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.
Last week, the literary world lost a great many prolific writers, maybe most notably J.D. Salinger. Also gone are historian Howard Zinn, mystery author Ralph McInerny, and fantasy writer Kage Baker. Here, we list our favorite books by these gone too soon scribes.
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
A staple of most high school and Advanced Placement summer reading lists, Salinger's first and most famous book has inspired legions of readers to be true to themselves and not the "phony" superficiality of the world. This coming-of-age novel is still used and criticized today for its literary merit.
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Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger
Salinger collected his nine stories that had previously appeared in The New Yorker, Harpers, and The World Review here and titled it as exactly what his readers should expect: nine short stories. This includes the very famous "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" and "Teddy," which is a logical end to Bananafish's beginning.
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Mendoza in Hollywood by Kage Baker
One of Baker's "The Company" series, this time travel science fiction novel follows the botanist Mendoza through her present location and her past stories and lovers. These 24th century novels are tightly plotted, taking a new look at old time travel tropes through the eyes of an enduring 'company' of regular narrators.
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Mother Aegypt and Other Stories by Kage Baker
The title story once again visits with members of "The Company," and the others included here go all over time and the world and other universes with Baker's exquisite prose. Occasionally, the characters are derived or inspired by other classic works of literature, too.
Her Death of Cold by Ralph McInerny
Author of over 100 books (including the Father Dowling mysteries and some nonfiction), Ralph McInerny was a longstanding staple of many patrons' Must-Read lists. He began with this first Father Dowling mystery in 1977.
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Half Past Nun: A Sister Mary Teresa Mystery by Ralph McInerny
Written under the pen name "Monica Quill," after the success of the Father Dowling mysteries, Sister Mary Teresa is a sleuth not unlike her predecessor. Here, she looks back in time to find the connection between several murder victims, all without leaving the convent. Mystery fans of any stripe will love this crafty tale.
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A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn
Long thought to be one of the most enlightening books on American history, Zinn's classic nonfiction offering (first printed in 1980) is still used today. Flipping the history most people learned in school on its ear, A People's History looks at history from the eyes of the working class, everyday people, rather than the educated and elite.
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Three Strikes: Stories of American Labor by Howard Zinn
A collection of three essays by three historians, Zinn appears here with an extended look at the Colorado Coal Strike of 1913-1914.
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