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Adventure

See also National Geographic 100 Greatest Adventure Books

Don Quixote

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Many consider this the greatest work of fiction ever written. Written in the 17th century, it is the tale of a gentleman who has read so many tales of knights he believes himself to be one. He sets out to fight injustice on behalf of his ideal woman Dulcinea.

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Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

The story of a journey up the Congo river illuminates the struggle between the different aspects of light and darkness; civilization vs. barbarism, virtue vs. evil, honesty vs. deceit. How darkness lurks beneath the surface even of “civilized” persons.

Easy to read for anyone over 10 eBook Amazon Barnes and Noble Kindle
Lord Jim

Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

After a ship’s crewman performs a cowardly act, his career is ruined and he becomes an outcast. He migrates to a remote town in Indonesia, where he achieves redemption in a final act of heroism.

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Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

The story of an English castaway who spends 28 years on a remote uninhabited island. This is often regarded as the first novel in the English language.

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Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

A poor orphan is thrown out of the workhouse. He falls in with a group of criminals, but his essential goodness is his salvation. A dark comedy that exposes the seedy side of London society in the nineteenth century.

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David Copperfield

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

The favorite novel of one of the best novelists. A somewhat autobiographical tale of the youth and growth into maturity of a young man in nineteenth century England. Dickens creates an incredible cast of characters and paints a vivid portrait of 19th-century England.

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Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

An arrogant college student decides to murder a pawnbroker. Once he does, he progresses from physical illness, through remorse and redemption, to humility and selflessness in this masterpiece of Russian literature.

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The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

On the surface it is the story of a patricide in which all of the murdered man's sons share varying degrees of complicity, but on a deeper level it is a spiritual dramatization of the struggle between faith, doubt, reason, and free will.

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The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

The adventures of D’Artagnan, one of the personal guards of King Louis XIII. He and his three fellow musketeers take their job seriously amid the court intrigues involving the queen, her English lover, Cardinal Richelieu, and Milady DeWinter.

Easy to read for anyone over 10 Held by the Library eBook Amazon Barnes and Noble Kindle
The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

The story of a man falsely accused and imprisoned as a spy. He escapes from his prison and makes use of a fortune bequeathed to him to exact vengeance on his enemies.

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King Solomon's Mines

King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard

The first novel of African adventure published in English. A group of adventurers are searching for the brother of one of them when they find a cache of fabulous wealth. The treasure is protected by witchcraft and treachery, from which there may be no escape.

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She

She by H. Rider Haggard

On an expedition to east Africa, a group of explorers encounters a civilization ruled by Ayesha, “she who must be obeyed”, an apparently immortal woman of surpassing beauty. She recognizes the leader of the expedition as the reincarnation of her lost lover.

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House of the Seven Gables

House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

An evil house, cursed through the centuries by a man who was hanged for witchcraft, is haunted by the ghosts of its sinful dead and occupied by his terrorized descendants. A gothic tale of how the wrongdoing of one person affects subsequent generations.

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For Whom the Bell Tolls

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

The story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to an antifascist guerilla unit in the mountains during the Spanish Civil War.

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The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The story of an old fisherman, Santiago, who has not caught anything in almost three months. He goes out alone in his boat and hooks a giant marlin. In the story of Santiago's struggle with the biggest fish he has ever caught, Hemingway elevates his "philosophy of manhood" that was evident in most of his other novels to an almost religious level.

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The Call of the Wild

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Buck, a pet dog, is abducted and sold to be trained as a sled dog. Seen from Buck’s point of view, a series of cruel and tragic events forces Buck to become a wild animal to survive. Despite the protagonist being a dog, this book is too dark for young children.

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White Fang

White Fang by Jack London

This story of a wild wolf/dog hybrid who becomes domesticated is the companion novel and mirror image of The Call of the Wild. The latter describes the effect of cruelty and hardship, and this one features the transforming power of kindness and love. Both are too dark and disturbing for young children.

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Moby Dick

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

On the surface, a seafaring adventure in which the New England Whaler Pequod, under command of Captain Ahab, pursues a white whale relentlessly. Hidden in this tale is a masterful exploration of the destructive effects of single-minded obsession.

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Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

The story takes place on a farm during the Great Depression. Two migrant farm workers, Lennie and George, who are traveling together find work on a ranch in California. Lennie is a large and physically strong man with the mind of a child, and George is a smaller man with quick wit. Their dream is to save enough money to buy their own farm. When Lennie encounters the young and attractive wife of another farm hand, tragic consequences follow.

Easy to read for anyone over 10 Held by the Library Amazon Barnes and Noble
Treasure Island

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

An adventure set in the eighteenth century in which a young boy encounters a sea voyage, mutiny, pirates, and buried treasure.

Suitable for children ages 4 to 10 Easy to read for anyone over 10 Held by the Library eBook Amazon Barnes and Noble Kindle
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

The story of a young rascal growing up in a small antebellum Missouri town on the banks of the Mississippi. Tom and his friend Huck Finn engage in petty thievery and shenanigans, then overhear the plans of some real crooks.

Suitable for children ages 4 to 10 Easy to read for anyone over 10 Held by the Library eBook Amazon Barnes and Noble Kindle
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Huck Finn was Tom Sawyer’s friend, but this is not a children’s book. Huck decides to run away to escape an abusive father. He builds a raft and sets off down the Mississippi and soon is accompanied by a runaway slave. Some consider this a racist work because of a pejorative word that occurs over 200 times, but this book is one of the great literary achievements of America, and a strong condemnation of racism. Huck’s daily contact with Jim allows him to see Jim as a person of worth and overcome the attitudes of his upbringing.

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