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Origin

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2017 | Dan Brown

Rated by 102 people

The #1 New York Times Bestseller (October 2017) from the author of The Da Vinci Code. Bilbao, Spain Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend a major announcement--the unveiling of a discovery that "will change the face of science forever." The evening's host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon's first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence. As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch's precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch's secret. Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain's Royal Palace itself . . . and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch's shocking discovery . . . and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us. Origin is stunningly inventive--Dan Brown's most brilliant and entertaining novel to date.

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Frankenstein

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2017 | Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Rated by 70 people

The original 1818 text of Mary Shelley's classic novel, with annotations and essays highlighting its scientific, ethical, and cautionary aspects. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has endured in the popular imagination for two hundred years. Begun as a ghost story by an intellectually and socially precocious eighteen-year-old author during a cold and rainy summer on the shores of Lake Geneva, the dramatic tale of Victor Frankenstein and his stitched-together creature can be read as the ultimate parable of scientific hubris. Victor, "the modern Prometheus," tried to do what he perhaps should have left to Nature: create life. Although the novel is most often discussed in literary-historical terms--as a seminal example of romanticism or as a groundbreaking early work of science fiction--Mary Shelley was keenly aware of contemporary scientific developments and incorporated them into her story. In our era of synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, robotics, and climate engineering, this edition of Frankenstein will resonate forcefully for readers with a background or interest in science and engineering, and anyone intrigued by the fundamental questions of creativity and responsibility. This edition of Frankenstein pairs the original 1818 version of the manuscript--meticulously line-edited and amended by Charles E. Robinson, one of the world's preeminent authorities on the text--with annotations and essays by leading scholars exploring the social and ethical aspects of scientific creativity raised by this remarkable story. The result is a unique and accessible edition of one of the most thought-provoking and influential novels ever written. Essays by Elizabeth Bear, Cory Doctorow, Heather E. Douglas, Josephine Johnston, Kate MacCord, Jane Maienschein, Anne K. Mellor, Alfred Nordmann

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Conversations with Friends

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2017 | Sally Rooney

Rated by 63 people

"[A] cult-hit . . . [a] sharply realistic comedy of adultery and friendship."--Entertainment Weekly SALLY ROONEY NAMED TO THE 2019 TIME 100 NEXT LIST - WINNER OF THE SUNDAY TIMES (UK) YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD - ONE OF BUZZFEED'S BEST BOOKS OF THE DECADE - NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY VOGUE AND SLATE AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY BUZZFEED AND ELLE Frances is a coolheaded and darkly observant young woman, vaguely pursuing a career in writing while studying in Dublin. Her best friend is the beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi. At a local poetry performance one night, they meet a well-known photographer, and as the girls are then gradually drawn into her world, Frances is reluctantly impressed by the older woman's sophisticated home and handsome husband, Nick. But however amusing Frances and Nick's flirtation seems at first, it begins to give way to a strange--and then painful--intimacy. Written with gemlike precision and marked by a sly sense of humor, Conversations with Friends is wonderfully alive to the pleasures and dangers of youth, and the messy edges of female friendship. SHORTLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD "Sharp, funny, thought-provoking . . . a really great portrait of two young women as they're figuring out how to be adults."--Celeste Ng, "Late Night with Seth Meyers Podcast" "The dialogue is superb, as are the insights about communicating in the age of electronic devices. Rooney has a magical ability to write scenes of such verisimilitude that even when little happens they're suspenseful."--Curtis Sittenfeld, The Week "Rooney has the gift of imbuing everyday life with a sense of high stakes . . . a novel of delicious frictions."--New York "A writer of rare confidence, with a lucid, exacting style . . . One wonderful aspect of Rooney's consistently wonderful novel is the fierce clarity with which she examines the self-delusion that so often festers alongside presumed self-knowledge. . . . But Rooney's natural power is as a psychological portraitist. She is acute and sophisticated about the workings of innocence; the protagonist of this novel about growing up has no idea just how much of it she has left to do."--Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker "This book. This book. I read it in one day. I hear I'm not alone."--Sarah Jessica Parker (Instagram)

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