“Gravity’s Rainbow” by Thomas Pynchon – Meaning in a Cruel World

“Gravity's Rainbow” by Thomas Pynchon (Header image)

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Short Summary

Thomas Pynchon might not be a very prolific author, but his books have often had a powerful impact when they were published, with the most prominent of the lot arguably being his 1973 classic bestseller, Gravity’s Rainbow. It’s an unusual kaleidoscope of a novel, taking place against the backdrop of the Second World War, exploring through a large number of characters the madness and all-consuming paranoia it gave birth to.

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“The Shining” by Stephen King – The Horror Genre Redefined

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Short Summary

Stephen King has added nearly innumerable chapters to his legacy over the past few decades, but I still firmly believe none of his new works can hold a candle to the classics which defined him, such as The Shining. Having defined the horror genre in its time, the novel tells the story of a caretaker and his family stuck in a haunted hotel, slowly driven insane by its paranormal inhabitants.

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“Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach – The Dormant Explorer Within

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Short Summary

Richard Bach is one of the few authors whose works continue to stand the test of time, with his classic Jonathan Livingston Seagull still being as current as back when it was written. A tale of inspiration, it follows the titular seagull as he learns the art of flight and finds his own way through life, despite his peers’ lack of approval.

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“Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert Maynard Pirsig – The Fundamental Odyssey

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Robert Maynard Pirsig was recognized numerous times as a unique and exceptional author for the depth of reflection found in his unusual books. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was arguably his greatest work, telling a largely autobiographical story of a road trip he took with his son, learning quite a bit about life in the process.

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“The Day of the Jackal” by Frederick Forsyth – The Pinnacle of Professional Killing

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Frederick Forsyth might have very well written one of the absolute best criminal espionage novels when he published The Day of the Jackal back in 1971. Following a nameless English hitman known only as The Jackal, the story focuses on his methodical preparation to carry out what might be the most ambitious assassination of all time: killing Charles de Gaulle.

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“Ragtime” by E.L. Doctorow – The Recurring Patterns in Life

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

E.L. Doctorow is revered as one of the greatest and most influential authors of the 20th century, and I think anyone who picks up his works, whether they like them or not, can understand why. Ragtime was considered one of his best works and a true classic, presenting a relatively disjointed narrative following many characters, some real and others imagined, across their trials and tribulations in a snapshot of early 1900s New York City.

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“Coma” by Robin Cook – The Hospital without Recovery

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

It’s hard to believe it has already been over forty years since Robin Cook introduced the concept of medical thrillers to the world in true style, by penning his classic novel Coma which still holds up to this very day. Following a third-year medical student, we follow her investigation into the Boston Memorial Hospital, where people seem to be dropping into comas on the operating table at a suspiciously higher rate than usual.

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