Right. So. I'll just get started then, shall I? I've already taken several suggestions from people in an MSN chat. I have ten now, and you can vote for three of the ten. Obviously, the three with the most votes at the end will be the ones we read. Simple stuff. So I have summaries of the ten choices under the cut for you to read in case you aren't familiar with the books. Read 'em and vote, kids.
[I tried to put the genre for all of them, but I don't know them all. If you know them, tell me and I'll edit. Thanks.]
Title: The DaVinci Code
Author: Dan Brown
Length: 454 pages
Summary: While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. Near the body, police have found a baffling cipher. While working to solve the enigmatic riddle, Langdon is stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci -- clues visible for all to see -- yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.
Langdon joins forces with a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, and learns the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion -- an actual secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci, among others.
In a breathless race through Paris, London, and beyond, Langdon and Neveu match wits with a faceless powerbroker who seems to anticipate their every move. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle in time, the Priory’s ancient secret -- and an explosive historical truth -- will be lost forever.
THE DA VINCI CODE heralds the arrival of a new breed of lightning-paced, intelligent thriller…utterly unpredictable right up to its stunning conclusion.
Title: Angels and Demons
Author: Dan Brown
Length: 608 pages
Summary: An ancient secret brotherhood.
A devastating new weapon of destruction.
An unthinkable target.
World-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a cryptic symbol seared into the chest of a murdered physicist. What he discovers is unimaginable: a deadly vendetta against the Catholic Church by a centuries-old underground organization -- the Illuminati. Desperate to save the Vatican from a powerful time bomb, Langdon joins forces in Rome with the beautiful and mysterious scientist Vittoria Vetra. Together they embark on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and the most secretive vault on earth...the long-forgotten Illuminati lair.
Title: Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
Author: Gregory Maguire
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: 406 pages
Summary: When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum’s classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?
Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability, and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly, and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.
Title: The Lovely Bones
Author: Alice Sebold
Length: 352 pages
Summary: When we first meet Susie Salmon, she is already in heaven. As she looks down from this strange new place, she tells us, in the fresh and spirited voice of a fourteen-year-old girl, a tale that is both haunting and full of hope.
In the weeks following her death, Susie watches life on Earth continuing without her - her school friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her family holding out hope that she'll be found, her killer trying to cover his tracks. As months pass without leads, Susie sees her parents' marriage being contorted by loss, her sister hardening herself in an effort to stay strong, and her little brother trying to grasp the meaning of the word gone.
And she explores the place called heaven. It looks a lot like her school playground, with the good kind of swing sets. There are counselors to help newcomers adjust and friends to room with. Everything she ever wanted appears as soon as she thinks of it-except the thing she most wants: to be back with the people she loved on Earth.
With compassion, longing, and a growing understanding, Susie sees her loved ones pass through grief and begin to mend. Her father embarks on a risky quest to ensnare her killer. Her sister undertakes a feat of remarkable daring. And the boy Susie cared for moves on, only to find himself at the center of a miraculous event.
The Lovely Bones is luminous and astonishing, a novel that builds out of grief the most hopeful of stories. In the hands of a brilliant new writer, this story of the worst thing a family can face is transformed into a suspenseful and even funny novel about love, memory, joy, heaven, and healing.
Title: Kushiel's Dart
Author: Jacqueline Carey
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: 816 pages
Summary: Born with a scarlet mote in her left eye, Phedre no Delaunay is sold into indentured servitude as a child. When her bond is purchased by an enigmatic nobleman, she is trained in history, theology, politics, foreign languages, the arts of pleasure. And above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Exquisite courtesan, talented spy...and unlikely heroine. But when Phedre stumbles upon a plot that threatens her homeland, Terre d'Ange, she has no choice. Betrayed into captivity in the barbarous northland of Skaldia and accompanied only by a disdainful young warrior-priest, Phedre makes a harrowing escape and an even more harrowing journey to return to her people and deliver a warning of the impending invasion. And that proves only the first step in a quest that will take her to the edge of despair and beyond. Phedre no Delaunay is the woman who holds the keys to her realms's deadly secrets, and whose courage will decide the very future of her world.
Title: Mists of Avalon
Author: Marion Zimmer Bradley
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: 912 pages
Summary: Arthur sits on the throne of Britain, and it is his task to maintain the uneasy balance between the old ways and the new. But although the knights of Camelot owe their first allegiance to Arthur, the king himself is held in the sway of several powerful women, each of whom is determined to bend his authority toward her own ends. In The Mists of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley spins a familiar tale, but lends it a refreshing quality... for it is not the story of Gawaine, Arthur, or Launcelot. Instead, it is the story of Gwenhwyfar, Viviane and Morgaine - the women relegated to the shadows by legend and history, but who ply their invisible influence nevertheless.
Title: The Turn of the Screw
Author: Henry James
Length: 160 pages
Summary: When an impressionable young governess is left virtually alone and in charge of two children on a large country estate, she is frightened by what are apparently the evil visitations of a force from beyond the grave - but all is not what is seems. Like Henry James' other stories, The Turn of the Screw is full of excitement over the era's new methods of inquiry into the human mind: a subject that was to dominate the cultural and intellectual life of the 20th century.
Title: The Westing Game
Author: Ellen Raskin
Length: 192 pages
Summary: The mysterious death of an eccentric millionaire brings together an unlikely assortment of heirs who must uncover the circumstances of his death before they can claim their inheritance.
Title: A Separate Peace
Author: John Knowles
Length: 208 pages
Summary: Set at a boys' boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world. A bestseller for more than thirty years, A Separate Peace is John Knowles's crowning achievement and an undisputed American classic.
Title: Flowers for Algernon
Author: Daniel Keyes
Length: 224 pages
Summary: In this powerful, classic story, Charlie is a mentally disabled man whose mental and emotional progress mirrors that of a mouse named Algernon who is being given the same experimental treatment. When Algernon begins a sudden, unexpected deterioration, Charlie and his doctors fear the same might happen to him.