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Around the World (2) slide show books 1-20

Around the World (2) slide show books 21-40

Around the World (2) slide show books 61-80

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult (ATW #1 – New Hampshire)
Shay Bourne is a prisoner on death row in New Hampshire for the double murder of a young girl and her step-father. The girl’s mother was pregnant at the time and has since given birth to another girl named Claire. 11 years later Shay is scheduled for execution and he wants to donate his heart to Claire who is need of a transplant.
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (ATW #2 – Massachusetts)
Symbologist Robert Langdon returns in this sequel to The Da Vinci Code. The head of the Smithsonian has been kidnapped and will be killed unless Langdon agrees to find the Mason’s Pyramid which is hidden somewhere underground in Washington D.C. Over 1 million copies of the book where sold the day it was released making it the fastest selling adult novel in history. Author Dan Brown is a graduate of Amherst College in Massachusetts.
A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks (ATW #3 – North Carolina)
This novel is set in the 1950’s in coastal town of Beaufort, North Carolina. The novel was inspired by author Nicholas Sparks’ sister who suffering from cancer at the time of the writing in 1998. She passed away 2 years later. At her eulogy he said, “I suppose I wrote the novel so you could get to know my sister and so you would know what a wonderful thing her husband once did for her.”
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (ATW #4 – Chicago)
This is a love story about a man who suffers from a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredictably and his wife who has to deal with his frequent absences. The concept of time travel is symbolic of miscommunication and distance in every day relationships. Author Audrey Niffenegger has also written and illustrated a number of graphic novels and works as a professor at an art institute in Chicago.
Invitation to the Game by Monica Hughes (ATW #5 – Edmonton, Canada)
In the year 2154, the Earth is suffering from massive overpopulation and unemployment. Lisse and her friends are invited to participate in the Game, a series of vividly life-like simulations that gradually increase in difficulty. Eventually it is revealed that the Game is a way of training the group to form a colony on another world. Author Monica Hughes died in Edmonton, Canada in 2003.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (ATW #6 – Vancouver, Canada)
Jacob’s parents are killed in a car crash a week before he is supposed to take his exam to become a veterinarian. He walks out of the test without writing a single word and joins a traveling circus. He soon falls in love with the circus’s star performer even though she is married to the circus’s animal trainer. Author Sara Gruen was born in Vancouver, Canada.
Brother Eagle, Sister Sky by Susan Jeffers (ATW #7 – Seattle)
Chief Seattle was the leader of a Native America tribe that lived in the area surrounding the modern city of Seattle, Washington during the 1800’s. This story is an adaptation of a speech he made describing his people’s respect and love for the earth and their concern for its destruction. The ideology of the modern environmental movement has found many parallels with Native American thought.
The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks (ATW #8 – Seattle)
With the help of the powerful Druid Allanon, Shea Ohmsford begins a quest to find the magical Sword of Shannara and use the powerful weapon against the evil Warlock Lord. It took author Terry Brooks 7 years to complete the novel because he was only able to work on it sporadically while he was attending law school. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (ATW #9 – San Diego)
After his success with The Cat in the Hat which used 225 different words, Dr. Seuss’s publisher bet him $50 that he could not write a book using only 50 different words. After reflecting on the problem for awhile, he came up with a creative use of rhyming dialogue that allowed him to win the bet. Dr. Seuss (aka Theodor Geisel) moved to San Diego after WW II and lived there until he passed away in 1991.
No One Here Gets Out Alive by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman (ATW #10 – Los Angeles)
This meticulously researched biography reveals the complexity of rock and roll icon Jim Morrison who was the lead singer and song writer of The Doors. The son of a Navy Admiral, Morrison moved around a lot as a child. After graduating from UCLA film school in 1965, he decided to stay in Los Angeles and from a rock band, taking the name from Aldous Huxley’s book The Doors of Perception. After a meteoric rise to fame he died in Paris in 1971 at the age of 27.
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (ATW #11 – Mexico)
This was the 1st novel written by Mexican author Laura Esquivel.
15 year old Tita will never get to marry her love Pedro because of a family tradition that requires the youngest daughter to stay unmarried and take care of her mother until the day her mother passes away. Tita is only able to express herself when she cooks. Each chapter of the book begins with a Mexican recipe and the preparation of the dish ties into an event in Tita’s life.
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (ATW #12 – Mexico)
16 year old John grew up on his grandfather’s ranch in Texas. After his grandfather passes away, the ranch is sold and John travels by horseback south into Mexico hoping find work. He lands a job as a cowboy at a ranch but the situation becomes complicated when he falls in love with the ranch owner’s daughter. The book was adapted into a movie starring Matt Damon and Penelope Cruz.
Cosmos by Carl Sagan (ATW #13 - Puerto Rico – SETI)
Astronomer Carl Sagan was the host of a popular 1980 TV series based on this book. He was the key promoter in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). The Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico is the main tool in the search. It’s location near the equator is ideal for viewing the billions and billions of stars in the universe.
The Cay by Theodore Taylor (ATW #14 – Curacao)
During WW II, 11 year old Philip lives with his parents on the Dutch island of Curacao. When the war moves to close for comfort, Philip’s mother decides to move to a safer location. But after their boat is torpedoed Philip finds himself adrift on a life raft with an elderly black man and a cat. To make matters worse he has been blinded. They eventually land on a deserted island but their problems are just beginning.
Diamonds are Forever by Ian Fleming (ATW #15 – Jamaica)
Author Ian Fleming was a British Naval Intelligence officer during WW II. After the war he retired to Jamaica and pursued a career as a writer. He drew on his real life military experiences to create the character of James Bond. The character made the leap onto the big screen and into the public consciousness in 1958. Diamonds are Forever was the last film in the series to star the quintessential Sean Connery as James Bond.
The Boys from Brazil by Ira Levin (ATW #16 – Brazil)
In 1974, a Nazi hunter receives a call from a frantic young man who claims to have just finished eavesdropping on Joseph Mengele, the evil doctor who performed horrible experiments on concentration camp prisoners during WW II. The young man claims that Mengele is sending out Nazis to kill 94 men who all share some common traits. All the men are civil servants and all have to be killed on a certain date. All men will be 65 years old at the time of their killing.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (ATW #17 – Brazil)
The Earth has barely survived 2 conflicts with an insect-like alien race. A special school has been set up to train future military leaders in preparation for another invasion. A boy genius named Ender Wiggin may be our best hope, but how will he react when he learns that the training “games” he thought he was playing turn out to be actual battles with the aliens? Author Orson Scott Card first came up with the idea for this story while serving on a Mormon mission to Brazil during his time as a student at BYU.
Inca Gold by Clive Cussler (ATW #18 – Peru)
Author Clive Cussler has written 21 novels starring super spy Dirk Pitt. In this adventure, Pitt is called upon to locate a legendary treasure lost somewhere in the Andes Mountains in Peru. After being plundered from the Incas by Spanish conquistadors the treasure has changed hands many times leaving a complex series of clues for Pitt to unravel.
Gauguin’s Intimate Journals (ATW #19 – Tahiti)
The life of painter Paul Gauguin is the stuff of legend. He lived in Denmark where he had a loving wife, family, and a promising career but he longed to be a painter. He left his family and lived with Vincent van Gogh in a house on the sunny Mediterranean coast but left after van Gogh chopped of his ear. Gauguin then sailed to the tropics and lived on several islands including Tahiti.
Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff (ATW #20 – Pitcairn Island)
Unrest amongst the crew of the HMS Bounty led to a mutiny on Apr 28, 1789. Captain Bligh and 18 of his crew were set adrift on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean. They made an epic 3,000 mile journey to Australia and reported the event. The mutineers settled on several small islands including Tahiti and Pitcairn Island. Descendents of mutineers still live on the islands today.
Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener (ATW #21 – South Pacific)
Author James Michener wrote this collection of related short stories based on his experiences while serving as a lieutenant commander on several small islands in the south Pacific during WW II. The highly successful musical South Pacific by Rodgers and Hammerstein which opened on Broadway in 1949 was based on these short stories.
Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (ATW #22 – Antarctica)
This long poem written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1798 tells the tale of an ill-fated sea voyage. Despite initial good fortune, the ship is driven south off course and eventually reaches Antarctica. A bird called an albatross appears and leads the ship back to safety, but the Mariner foolishly kills the bird bringing more bad luck to the crew. The heavy metal group Iron Maiden used this poem as the basis for a popular song.
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough (ATW #23 – Australia)
The 1977 best seller follows a family on a sheep farm in the Australian outback over a 50 year period. The enormous cast of characters and numerous intricate plots are similar to many modern day soap operas. The title refers to a mythical bird that impales itself on a thorn and sings a beautiful song as it dies. Many of the characters in the book exhibit similar destructive behavior.
Deathwatch by Robb White (ATW #24 – Philippines)
A college student named Ben is hired by a rich lawyer to act as a guide on a hunting trip. On the trip the lawyer accidentally shoots an old prospector. Fearing that he will be sent to jail, the lawyer decides to eliminate the only witness to the crime - Ben. What follows is a non-stop, heart pounding battle of wits that will leave you breathless. Author Robb White was born in the Philippines where his parents were working as Episcopalian missionaries.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Persig (ATW #25 – Japan)
The book describes a father-son motorcycle trip that is punctuated by numerous philosophical and religious discussions. Zen is a form of Buddhism that is popular in Japan and other countries of the Far East. It focuses on meditation and relaxation. According to the Guinness Book of Records this novel was rejected by 121 publishers, more that any other best-selling book.
Tales of the Otori by Lian Hearn (ATW #26 – Japan)
This is the 1st story The Tales of Otori, a series of historical fantasy novels set in a fictional world based on feudal Japan. The series follows a young warrior named Takeo in his struggles to avenge his adoptive father, escape the legacy of his biological father, and pursue the love of his life in the midst of an enormous power struggle involving dozens of clan lords and thousands of warriors.
Shogun by James Clavell (ATW #27 – Japan)
Set in 17th century feudal Japan this is the extraordinary saga of a bold English explorer, an invincible Japanese warlord and a beautiful woman torn between 2 very different worlds and 2 very different ways of life. Author James Clavell was a POW in Japan during WW II. This story became a cultural phenomenon when it was turned into a popular TV mini-series in the 1980’s.
The Corps by W.E.B. Griffin (ATW #28 - Korea)
Author W.E.B. Griffin served as a war correspondent in the Korean War and worked closely with the 1st Marine Division. His firsthand experiences with combat and garrison life provide his stories and characters with a stunning sense of realism. This is the first in a series of ten books chronicling life in the U.S. Marine Corps.
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (ATW #29 - China)
This lyrical novel about a peasant farmer in China tells a deceptively simple story about a flawed human being and a troubled economic system. Author Pearl S. Buck grew up in China where her parents worked as Presbyterian missionaries. Written in 1931, this perennial favorite has enjoyed steady success for decades and has been on the New York Times Best Seller list as recently as 2004.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (ATW #30 - China)
Set in California, this book explores the intertwined lives of 4 Chinese immigrant mothers and their American born children. The mothers’ never-spoken of lives in China are called into question when one of the mothers passes away. The novel is very auto-biographical. Author Amy Tan was born in Oakland and her parents were Chinese immigrants.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Linda See (ATW #31 - China)
Lily and Snow Flower are inseparable friends in a rural town in 19th century China. Lily comes from a humble background but marries into a powerful family. She has 4 healthy children and becomes an influential member of the community. Snow Flower is from a more affluent family but marries a poor butcher who beats her and they are unable to have kids. Lily and Snow Flower’s relationship experiences many ups and downs, but in the end their powerful bond remains intact.
A Passage to India by E.M. Forster (ATW #32 - India)
Miss Quested, Mrs. Moore, and Mr. Fielding are 3 Englishmen on a trip to India in the 1920’s, a time period when India was fighting for independence from Great Britain. The novel paints a troubling portrait of colonialism and weaves a complex tapestry of personal, cultural, and political differences. In addition to writing a number of highly successful novels, E. M. Forster was also a successful broadcaster on BBC Radio.
The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks (ATW #33 - Iraq)
A U.S marine finds a photograph of a smiling young girl half-buried in the sand of Iraq and it becomes his lucky charm. He becomes convinced that he is destined to be with the girl and when his tour of duty is over he sets out to find her. His search leads him to North Carolina where unexpected circumstances make him confront his own shrouded past.
Sunrise over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers (ATW #34 - Iraq)
Robin’s parents aspire for him to go to college but after September 11 he feels compelled to join the military. After completing his training he is deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom and he soon learns that the situation will not be resolved quickly. Like many teenagers sent to war, he soon yearns for his lost innocence but he tries to remain hopeful and comforting in his letters to his family.
The Riddle of the Rosetta Stone (ATW #35 - Egypt)
In 1799, Napoleon led an expedition to Egypt that included 25,000 soldiers and a special group of 200 scientists and historians who collected and catalogued thousands of ancient Egyptian artifacts. One of the artifacts, a massive block of granite covered with carvings in different languages, held the key to deciphering ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. This book documents how scholars slowly unraveled the riddle of the Rosetta Stone.
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Congo by Michael Crichton (ATW #36 - Republic of the Congo)
A high tech company sends an expedition to search for diamonds in the dense rain forest of the Congo where they stumble onto an ancient lost city. Communications are lost and the only clue is a video image transmitted via satellite that shows a peculiar race of gorillas. Another expedition is quickly organized and sent to investigate the mysterious situation.
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton (ATW #37 - South Africa)
A black priest leaves his small village to search for his son who disappeared in the metropolis of Johannesburg, South Africa. When he gets there he learns that his son has been sentenced to death for the murder of the son of a wealthy white landowner. The landowner comes to realize that unfair racial policies spurred the murder and he vows to make changes. The closing scene in the book occurs at sunrise on the day after the execution, indicating a symbolic rebirth and the dawn of a new era.
The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox (ATW #38 - Liberia)
Based on true events this historical fiction tells the story of a white boy who is kidnapped from the streets of New Orleans in 1840 and forced to work on a slave ship. The country of Liberia was set up by citizens of the U.S. as a colony for former slaves. Author Paula Fox is the grandmother of singer Courtney Love, the wife of the late Kurt Cobain, lead singer of the rock group Nirvana.
Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez-Reverte (ATW #39 - Spain)
Captain Diego Alatriste, a famed mercenary in 17th century Spain, is hired to assassinate 2 Englishmen, but he is so impressed by their fighting spirit that he decides to let them live. It’s a decision that he soon regrets as he finds himself in the middle of warring factions from all across Europe. This novel captures the romance and flair of this important era in Spanish history.
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (ATW #40 - Spain)
This 17th century classic by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes is one of the most important works of early Western literature. The main character is a retired country gentleman who becomes obsessed with books about knights and chivalry. He dons an old suit of armor, mounts a skinny horse, and goes off on a series of make believe adventures. His most famous adventure occurs when he attacks some windmills that he thinks are ferocious giants.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (ATW #41 - Spain)
In Barcelona in the 1950’s, the 10 year old son of a widowed bookstore owner becomes obsesses with a book called The Shadow of the Wind by an author named Julian Carax. The novel is rare, the author obscure, and rumors tell of a horribly-disfigured man who has been burning every copy he can find of Carax’s novels. As Daniel’s delves into the mystery he begins to uncover eerie parallels between the author’s life and his own.
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy (ATW #42 - France)
This adventure novel is set during the French Revolution. A beautiful young woman has been sentenced to the guillotine. Her only hope is the Scarlet Pimpernel, a mysterious masked man who fights against the Reign of Terror. Little does she realize that the Pimpernel is none other than her mild-mannered husband! This book was the 1st to feature a masked hero with a secret identity, a tradition that would be passed onto Zorro, Batman, and an entire generation of costumed adventurers.
The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois (ATW #43 - France)
Professor Sherman departed San Francisco on a balloon ride in search of adventure. After 3 weeks he was found floating in the north Atlantic where he recounted his incredible tale. He crash landed on a volcanic island in the Pacific where he found the world’s largest diamond mine. He managed to collect a fortune in diamonds before the island erupted. This novel by French author William Pene du Bois won the 1948 Newbery award.
The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel (ATW #44 - France)
This novel is set 35,000 years ago, a time when scientific evidence indicates that Neanderthals, a near-human species, and Cro-Magnon, the precursor to modern humans, lived side by side in an area that would become modern France. When her parents are killed by an earthquake, 5 year old Ayla, a Cro-Magnon, wanders through the forest alone until she is discovered and taken in by a group of Neanderthals called the ‘Clan of the Cave Bear.’ Scientists are unsure of the exact fate of Neanderthals.
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (ATW #45 - England)
The works of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells gave birth to the modern genre of science fiction. Verne’s works featured a future made brighter by the wonders of science. Wells was far more skeptical about human nature and his works were considerably darker in tone. In this novel an English scientist travels into the future where he finds that the human race has splintered into 2 separate species: a leisured class known as the Eloi and a class of workers who provide slave labor known as the Morlocks.
Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (ATW #46 - England)
This popular book is an excellent example of a growing genre known as “chick-lit” that humorously and lightheartedly addresses the issues of modern womanhood. Becky is a financial journalist from London who has, ironically, accumulated a tremendous amount of debt through her shopping addiction. She is forced to come up with increasingly creative untruths to stay one step ahead of her bill collectors.
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (ATW #47 - Wales)
This historical novel about the building of a cathedral in the 12th century weaves a rich and intricate tapestry of intrigue and conspiracy. The subject matter represented a vast undertaking for best-selling author Ken Follett who was born in Wales in 1949. He knew it had to be a long book because the building of a cathedral in medieval times took at least 30 years so the story had to cover the entire lives of its main characters.
The High King by Lloyd Alexander (ATW #48 - Wales)
In the 5th and final book in The Chronicles of Prydain, an older and wiser Taran rallies the people of Prydain in the final struggle against the evil sorcerer Arawn. Author Lloyd Alexander was stationed in Wales during WW II. He fell in love with the castles and imagery of the Welsh countryside and used it as the setting for this epic fantasy series.
Room by Emma Donoghue (ATW #49 - born in Ireland)
The story is told entirely from the perspective of a 5 year old boy who is being held a hostage in a small room along with his mother. Despite their frightening situation, the young mother is determined to do the best job she can raising her boy. Author Emma Donoghue was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1969. She came up with the idea for the novel after hearing the disturbing details of a real-life woman who was imprisoned and abused for 24 years.
Valhalla Rising by Clive Cussler (ATW #50 - Iceland)
Take a modern day dilemma, add a generous helping of interesting historical facts, and throw in a dash of urban legend. Mix them all together and you have a classic Clive Cussler adventure. In this offering an oil company is determined to keep a modern ultra-efficient engine off the market. By the time super spy Dirk Pitt has thwarted the nefarious plans he’s also uncovered proof of a Viking landing on the Hudson River and the remains of a British soldier who inspired Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo.
Beowulf (ATW #51 - Norway)
This 1,000 year old epic poem is commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature. The story is set in Scandinavia, a term used by the Ancient Romans to describe an area that is now comprised of parts of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. In the poem, the hero Beowulf battles a monster called Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and a dragon. Only one copy of the original manuscript is known to exist and it was badly damaged in a fire in 1731.
Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell (ATW #52 - Sweden)
This is the 1st in a series of crime novels featuring Kurt Wallander, a 42 year old Swedish detective going through a mid-life crisis. He is called in to investigate the brutal murder of an elderly farm couple, but the case soon leads in a very different direction as the strong xenophobic nature of modern Sweden is exposed. Author Henning Mankell was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1948.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (ATW #53 - Scotland)
Claire and her husband Frank take a 2nd honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands in 1945. When Claire steps through an opening in a magical stone she is transported back in time to the year 1743 where she is drawn into a bitter war between rival clans. She nurses an injured warrior named James back to health and they fall in love. Eventually Claire has a chance to return to 1945 and she must choose between distant memories of Frank and her happy, uncomplicated existence with James.
Watership Down by Richard Adams (ATW #54 - England)
When land developers destroy their home, a group of talking rabbits goes in search of a new home at Watership Down, a hill in the north of Hampshire, England. As they search for safe haven we become aware of their compelling culture and mythos in this incredibly detailed world created by author Richard Adams. This allegorical novel has its roots in a story that Adams told his 2 daughters on a long car ride. They loved the story so much that they insisted he write it down.
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (ATW #55 - England)
Complicated but coherent plots and a wealth of believable characters give this fantasy epic an incredible sense of realism. This novel also offers something that fantasy readers usually don’t find: richly textured female characters. Loosely based on the history of England during the War of the Roses, this novel has been turned into a big budget TV series by HBO.
The Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva (ATW #56 - Netherlands)
Gabriel Allon is an art restorer and a part-time Israel spy featured in a series of thrillers by author Daniel Silva. At the start of this novel, Allon is trying to distance himself from the world of international intrigue, but when a close friend is killed and the Rembrandt painting he was restoring is stolen, he comes out of retirement to investigate the crime. Famed painter Rembrandt van Rijn was born in 1606 in the Dutch Republic, an area known today as Netherlands.
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer (ATW #57 - Germany)
This lengthy 1960 book is widely considered as the definitive text on the German Empire under Adolf Hitler. Author William Shirer undertook the monumental task of combing through mountains of primary source materials before attempting to sculpt them into a coherent and comprehensible narrative. He lived and worked in Germany as a CBS reporter and was a firsthand witness to the atrocities of Nazis.
Faust by Johan Wolfgang von Goethe (ATW #58 - Germany)
A true Renaissance man, Johan Wolfgang von Goethe was accomplished in science, mathematics, art and philosophy as well as writing. He is considered the supreme genius of German literature. This long poem is written in 2 parts. In the first part, written in 1806, Faust sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for knowledge and power during his time on Earth. Goethe completed and sealed the second part with orders that it was not to be opened until after his death. He passed away in 1832.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (ATW #59 - Germany)
After losing her parents, 9 year old Liesel is sent to live with a foster family in war torn Germany during WW II. Shortly thereafter she steals her 1st book. She also befriends a boy named Rudy and together they slowly discover the power of books and the power of friendship. As the years go by she slowly adds to her precious collections of stolen texts.
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (ATW #60 - Germany)
Several American soldiers are captured by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge and then sent to a makeshift prison in an unused slaughterhouse in the German city of Dresden. Several months later the city is destroyed by intense fire bombing from the Allies. The prisoners miraculously survived the devastating attack by hiding in a deep cellar in the slaughterhouse.
Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson (ATW #61 - Switzerland)
Albert Einstein’s ideas revolutionized science and drastically changed the world. After graduating from college he was unable to find a teaching position so he took a job at a patent office in Switzerland. There were few customers and a significant amount of down time which he spent thinking about the world. Without consulting any textbooks or any other scientists he completely reformulated ideas about gravity, space, time, light, and energy.
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss (ATW #62 - Switzerland)
This 1812 classic novel tells the story of family from Switzerland that shipwrecked in the East Indies en route to Australia. Written by Swiss pastor Johan David Wyss, it was intended to teach his 4 sons about family values and self-reliance. The family’s name in the book is not actually “Robinson.” The name “Robinson” in the title is a reference to the fact that the family is shipwrecked in a manner similar to Robinson Crusoe.
The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone (ATW #63 - Italy)
This biographical novel about the great Italian painter and sculptor Michelangelo was thoroughly researched by author Irving Stone. Stone had all 495 letters written by the artist translated from Italian to English. He also lived in Italy for several years and apprenticed himself to a marble sculptor. A popular movie version starred Charlton Heston as the Michelangelo.
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (ATW #64 - Italy)
Frederic Henry is an American serving in the ambulance corps in Italy during WW I. After he is injured he is sent to a hospital where he falls in love with a nurse named Catherine. By the time he is healthy enough to return to the front she is pregnant. Months later Henry deserts the army and he and Catherine flee to the Swiss Alps where they live a quiet life until Catherine and the baby both die during childbirth, providing a bleak ending for a bleak novel.
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (ATW #65 - Italy)
Set in a desolate villa in Italy in the final days of WW II, this poetic novel follows the intertwined lives of a nurse, a spy, and a soldier. Each is haunted by the mysterious burn victim who lies in a room upstairs. The impulses that lead to passion and danger are carefully explored as the nameless man’s past is slowly revealed.
Catch-22 by (ATW #66 - Italy – island of Archipelago)
This 1961 novel satirizes the foolishness of many bureaucratic policies as seen through the eyes of members of an American Air Force bomb squad stationed on a small Italian island during WW II. Again and again these soldiers are bogged down in bureaucratic quagmires that completely defy common sense. The phrase “Catch-22” has entered our everyday language and is used to describe a no-win situation.
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The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan (ATW #67 - Greece)
Percy Jackson is a teenage boy who discovers that his father is the Greek god Poseidon. This is the 4th book in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. When Percy discovers that an invading army plans to enter our world through the labyrinth, the race is on to avert disaster. In Greek mythology, the labyrinth was an elaborate structure built to hold a half-man, half-bull creature known as the Minotaur.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres (ATW #68 - Greece)
This romance takes place on a Greek island during WW II and explores many different levels and types of love. Antonio Corelli is the leader of an Italian force that is occupying the island. He is a man who loves life, loves music, and detests the war. As the story progress he gradually falls in love with a Greek girl. Throughout the book the beauty of music is set in stark contrast with the horror and destruction of war.
Vlad the Impaler: The Real Count Dracula by Enid Goldberg (ATW #69 - Romania)
Before writing Dracula in 1897, Bram Stoker spent several years researching European folklore and stories about vampires. It was during this time that he first encountered tales of a brutal man named Vlad III, who ruled in the mid -1400’s in an area in present day Romania. His surname was “Dracul” which is still a common surname in Eastern Europe. Much has been said and written about his legendary cruelty. This book attempts to separate fact from fiction.
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (ATW #70 - Russia)
An epileptic Russian prince returns home after spending several years in an insane asylum in Switzerland and slowly comes to realize that in a world obsessed with money, power, and lust an insane asylum might be the safest place. The main character is very autobiographical because author Fyodor Dostoyevsky struggled with epilepsy his entire life. His novels are famous for exploring human psychology.
Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak (ATW #71 - Russia)
This epic novel spans the last days of the Russian Empire and the early days of the Soviet Union. Author Boris Pasternak was in constant conflict with the Communist party. Evidence shows that at one point his name was on one of Joseph Stalin’s execution lists. This novel was repeatedly denied publication by the Soviet government. The manuscript was eventually smuggled to Italy and soon after its publication it became an overnight sensation.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (ATW #72 - Afghanistan)
This 2007 novel, which takes its name from an old Middle Eastern poem, follows the lives of two young Afghan women who both end up as wives to the same older, abusive man. Mariam is an illegitimate child who suffers shame throughout her childhood. Laila is pregnant and the father of her child has been killed in a missile attack. Through shared trials and tribulations the women become best friends and confidants.
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (ATW #73 - born in Russia)
This 1957 dystopian novel imagines a bleak future where the U.S. government increasingly exerts control over industry as society slowly collapses. Repelled by the move towards socialism, the leading innovators withdraw themselves from society. The novel’s title is a reference to Atlas, a Titan of Greek mythology, who carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. Author Ayn Rand was born and educated in Russia. She moved to the U.S. when she was 21 years old.
Fantastic Voyage by Isaac Asimov (ATW #74 - Russia)
An American spy obtains vital information but he is injured in a wreck and develops a blood clot in his brain before he can share his findings. The fate of the world may hang in the balance so the government is willing to go to extraordinary measures. 4 men and a woman are reduced to microscopic size then injected into a dying man’s blood stream aboard a miniaturized submarine and attempt to destroy the brain clot. Prolific science fiction writer Isaac Asimov was born in Russia in 1920.
White Fang by Jack London (ATW #75 – Yukon, Canada)
The 1903 classic The Call of the Wild featured a domesticated dog from California reverting to its wild roots as it travels to the Yukon Territory. This 1906 sequel turns that scenario completely around. A wild wolf from the Yukon Territory is tamed and taken to California. Both novels explore the violent world of wild animals and the equally violent world of humans.
Far North by Will Hobbs (ATW #76 - set in Yukon, Canada)
An airplane accident leaves 2 teenage boys and an elderly Native American stranded in the Yukon Territory at the start of winter. The old man teaches the boys how to deal with blizzards, starvation, and wild animals. His expertise gives the boys a chance to survive, but when he dies from the cold the boys are left alone in Canada’s vast and foreboding wilderness.
The Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon (ATW #77 – Ontario, Canada)
Frank and Joe Hardy are rough and tumble teenage brothers with an abundance of curiosity. Their father is a detective and the two boys invariably get drawn into his investigations. This is the 1st book in a series which appeared from 1927-2005 and featured 190 different adventures. There is no Franklin W. Dixon. Many different authors wrote stories under that pen name. Most of the early adventures were written by Leslie McFarlane who was born in Ontario, Canada.
Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose (ATW #78 - Illinois)
This best-seller about WW II follows the members of Easy Company from basic training all the way through to the end of the war. The book was adapted into a 10 part mini-series by HBO in 2001. Stephen Spielberg and Tom Hanks, the executive producers, became fascinated with WW II when they collaborated on the film Saving Private Ryan. Author Stephen Ambrose was born in Illinois in 1936. In addition to his prolific career as a writer, he also was a college professor for 35 years.
Alias Grace by Mary Atwood (ATW #79 - born in Ottowa, Canada)
This is a fictionalized account of a sensational trial that made worldwide headlines. In 1843, a 16 year old Canadian house maid named Grace Marks was tried for the murder of her employer and mistress. Despite conflicting evidence and contradictory testimony, she was found guilty and spent the next 30 years in an assortment of jails and asylums.
The Rookie by Sidney Crosby book (ATW #80 - born in Halifax, Canada)
After the entire 2004-2005 hockey season was canceled because of a labor dispute, the NHL prayed for a miracle and their prayers were answered in the form of Sidney Crosby. Hockey’s young savior was bright, photogenic, and personable. This book documents his rookie season, a year in which he lived with former great and current Penguins owner Mario Lemieux. Crosby was born in Halifax, Canada on August 7, 1987 (8-7-87).

The Riddle of the Rosetta Stone, A Key to Ancient Egypt
The Riddle of the Rosetta Stone, A Key to Ancient Egypt