1. "Shantaram" by Gregory David Roberts
    It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall being tortured.
  2. "Charlotte's Web" by E B White
    Where's papa going with that axe?
  3. "Romeo and Juliet" by Shakespeare
    Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona (where we lay our scene), From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life; Whose misadventured piteous overthrows Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife.
  4. "Twelfth Night" by Shakespeare
    If music be the food of love, play on; Give me excess of it, that surfeiting, The appetite may sicken and so die.
  5. "Blood Meridian" by Cormac McCarthy
    See the child. He is pale and thin.
  6. "A Confederacy of Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole
    A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once.
  7. "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith
    Serene was a word you could put to Brooklyn, New York. Especially in the summer of 1912. Somber, as a word, was better. But it did not apply to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Prairie was lovely and Shenandoah had a beautiful sound, but you couldn’t fit those words into Brooklyn. Serene was the only word for it.
  8. "American Pastoral" by Philip Roth
    The Swede. During the war years, when I was still a grade school boy, this was a magical name in our Newark neighborhood, even to adults just a generation removed from the city's old Prince Street ghetto and not yet so flawlessly Americanized as to be bowled over by the prowess of a high school athlete.
  9. "Breakfast of Champions" by Kurt Vonnegut
    This is a tale of a meeting of two lonesome, skinny, fairly old white men on a planet which was dying fast.
  10. "Flatland" by Edwin Abbot
    I call our world Flatland, not because we call it so, but to make its nature clearer to you, my happy readers, who are privileged to live in Space.
  11. "Sidhartha" by Herman Hesse
    In the shade of the house, in the sunshine of the riverbank near the boats, in the shade of the Sal-wood forest, in the shade of the fig tree is where Siddhartha grew up, the handsome son of the Brahman, the young falcon, together with his friend Govinda, son of a Brahman.
  12. "Slaughterhouse Five" by Kurt Vonnegut
    All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true.
  13. "True Grit" by Charles Portis
    People do not give it credence that a fourteen-year-old girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father’s blood but it did not seem so strange then, although I will say it did not happen every day.