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Terrorist/Hostage/Suspense narratives
“The Big Knockover” in The Big Knockover: Selected Stories and Short Novels (1966) by Dashiell Hammett
The Big Sleep (1939) by Raymond Chandler
Due Preparations for the Plague (2003) by Janette Turner Hospital
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2008) by Stieg Larsson
The Good Terrorist (1985) by Doris Lessing
John Dollar (1989) by Marianne Wiggins
Mao II (1991) by Don DeLillo
Plowing the Dark (2000) by Richard Powers
The Poseidon Adventure (1969) by Paul Gallico
The Princess Casamassima (1886) by Henry James
The Secret Agent (1907) by Joseph Conrad
The Secret History (2004) by Donna Tartt

Individual isolation/Group dynamics narratives
Cold Comfort Farm (1932) by Stella Gibbons
John Dollar (1989) by Marianne Wiggins
Life of Pi (2001) by Yann Martel
Lord of the Flies (1954) bt William Golding
The Magic Mountain (1927) by Thomas Mann
Pincher Martin (1956) by William Golding
Regeneration (1992) by Pat Barker

South American narratives
The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927) by Thornton Wilder
The Dancer Upstairs (1995) by Nicholas Shakespeare
The News From Paraguay (2004) by Lily Tuck
One Hundred Years of Solitude (1970) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Music-focused narratives
An Equal Music (1999) by Vikram Seth
The Piano Teacher (2009) by Janice Y. K. Lee
The Song of the Lark (1915) by Willa Cather

Contemporary literary fiction
Atonement (2002) by Ian McEwan
Blindness (1999) by Jose Saramago
Cleopatra’s Sister (1993) by Penelope Lively
Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel (2009) by Jeannette Walls
Her Fearful Symmetry (2009) by Audrey Niffenegger
The Lacuna (2009) by Barbara Kingsolver
The Last Days of Dogtown (2005) by Anita Diamant
The Lovely Bones (2002) by Alice Sebold
Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith (1999) by Gina B. Nahai
The Namesake (2003) by Jhumpa Lahiri
Peace Like a River (2000) by Leif Enger
The Secret Life of Bees (2002) by Sue Monk Kidd
The Speed of Light (1991) by Elizabeth Rosner
War Trash (2004) by Ha Jin

Recommended by Ann Patchett
Anna Karenina (1877) by Leo Tolstoy
Autobiography of a Face (1994) by Lucy Grealy
Best American Short Stories 2006, edited by Ann Patchett
Good Scent From a Strange Mountain (1992) by Robert Olen Butler
The Good Soldier (1991) by Ford Madox Ford
The Human Stain (2000) by Philip Roth
Light in August (1932) by William Faulkner
Lolita (1955) by Vladimir Nabokov
The Magic Mountain (1927) by Thomas Mann
Miss Lonelyhearts (1933) by Nathaniel West
Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (1989) by Allan Gurganus
One Hundred Years of Solitude (1970) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Opera 101: The Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Opera (1994) by Fred Plotkin
The Poseidon Adventure (1969) by Paul Gallico
The Rabbit Angstrom novels by John Updike
Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx (2003) by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
The Transit of Venus (1980) by Shirley Hazzard
The Year of Magical Thinking (2005) by Joan Didion

Operas recommended by Ann Patchett
Boris Godunov by Mussorgsky
Partenope by Handel
Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky
Don Carlos by Verdi
La Sonnambula by Bellini
Les Contes D’Hoffmann by Offenbach
Anything by Puccini