11th Grade Reading List

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Here is our Master list for 11th Grade, please feel free to comment which books you used with your children and which they enjoyed. Many should be used for SAT and ACT as well. Here is the Printable list.

Fiction

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This carefully crafted ebook: “The Great Gatsby – The Original 1925 Edition” is formatted for your eReader with a functional and detailed table of contents. The Great Gatsby is a novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald and first published in 1925. It follows a cast of characters living in the fictional town of West Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922. The story primarily concerns the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his quixotic passion for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. Considered to be Fitzgerald’s magnum opus, The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and excess, creating a portrait of the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties that has been described as a cautionary tale regarding the American Dream. Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (1896 – 1940) was an American author of novels and short stories, whose works are the paradigmatic writings of the Jazz Age, a term he coined. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century.


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Adventures of Huckleberry Finnis a novel by Mark Twain. Commonly named among the Great American Novels.The novel’s preeminence derives from its wonderfully imaginative re-creation of boyhood adventures along the Mississippi River, its inspired characterization, the author’s remarkable ear for dialogue, and the book’s understated development of serious underlying themes: “natural” man versus “civilized” society, the evils of slavery, the innate value and dignity of human beings, and other topics. Most of all, Huckleberry Finn is a wonderful story, filled with high adventure and unforgettable characters.


The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

An “A” for “adultery” marks Hester Prynne as an outcast from the society of colonial Boston. Although forced by the puritanical town fathers to wear a bright red badge of shame, Hester steadfastly resists their efforts to discover the identity of her baby’s father. The return of her long-absent spouse brings new pressure on the young mother, as the aggrieved husband undertakes a long-term plot to reveal Hester’s partner in adultery and force him to share her disgrace.
Masterful in its symbolism and compelling in its character studies, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale of punishment and reconciliation examines the concepts of sin, guilt, and pride. The Scarlet Letter was published to immediate acclaim in 1850. Its timeless exploration of moral and spiritual issues, along with its philosophical and psychological insights, keep it ever relevant for students of American literature and lovers of fiction.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement.

The Old man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The last novel Ernest Hemingway saw published, The Old Man and the Sea has proved itself to be one of the enduring works of American fiction. It is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream.

Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway takes the timeless themes of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph won from loss and transforms them into a magnificent twentieth-century classic. Written in 1952, this hugely successful novel confirmed his power and presence in the literary world and played a large part in his winning the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Native Son by Richard Wright

Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic.

Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Richard Wright’s powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.

This abridged edition of Native Son reprints the original edition from 1940. It also includes an essay by Wright, How “Bigger” was Born, as well as an afterword by John Reilly.

Tar Baby by Toni Morrison

Jadine Childs is a black fashion model with a white patron, a white boyfriend, and a coat made out of ninety perfect sealskins. Son is a black fugitive who embodies everything she loathes and desires. As Morrison follows their affair, which plays out from the Caribbean to Manhattan and the deep South, she charts all the nuances of obligation and betrayal between blacks and whites, masters and servants, and men and women

All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this classic book is generally regarded as the finest novel ever written on American politics. It describes the career of Willie Stark, a back-country lawyer whose idealism is overcome by his lust for power. 

Jubilee by Margaret Walker

Jubilee tells the true story of Vyry, the child of a white plantation owner and his black mistress. Vyry bears witness to the South’s antebellum opulence and to its brutality, its wartime ruin, and the promises of Reconstruction. Weaving her own family’s oral history with thirty years of research, Margaret Walker’s novel brings the everyday experiences of slaves to light. Jubilee churns with the hunger, the hymns, the struggles, and the very breath of American history.

Cane by Jean Toomer

First published in 1923, Jean Toomer’s Cane is an innovative literary work―part drama, part poetry, part fiction―powerfully evoking black life in the South. Rich in imagery, Toomer’s impressionistic, sometimes surrealistic sketches of Southern rural and urban life are permeated by visions of smoke, sugarcane, dusk, and fire; the northern world is pictured as a harsher reality of asphalt streets. This iconic work of American literature is published with a new afterword by Rudolph Byrd of Emory University and Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard University, who provide groundbreaking biographical information on Toomer, place his writing within the context of American modernism and the Harlem Renaissance, and examine his shifting claims about his own race and his pioneering critique of race as a scientific or biological concept.

Moby Dick by Herman Hellman

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is a novel by Herman Melville, in which Ishmael narrates the monomaniacal quest of Ahab, captain of the whaler Pequod, for revenge on the albino sperm whale Moby Dick, which on a previous voyage destroyed Ahab’s ship and severed his leg at the knee. Although the novel was a commercial failure and out of print at the time of the author’s death in 1891, its reputation grew immensely during the twentieth century. D. H. Lawrence called it “one of the strangest and most wonderful books in the world,” and “the greatest book of the sea ever written.” Moby-Dick is considered a Great American Novel and an outstanding work of the Romantic period in America and the American Renaissance. “Call me Ishmael” is one of world literature’s most famous opening sentences. The product of a year and a half of writing, the book is dedicated to Nathaniel Hawthorne, “in token of my admiration for his genius,” and draws on Melville’s experience at sea, on his reading in whaling literature, and on literary inspirations such as Shakespeare and the Bible. The detailed and realistic descriptions of whale hunting and of extracting whale oil, as well as life aboard ship among a culturally diverse crew, are mixed with exploration of class and social status, good and evil, and the existence of God. In addition to narrative prose, Melville uses styles and literary devices ranging from songs, poetry and catalogs to Shakespearean stage directions, soliloquies and asides. The author changed the title at the very last moment in September 1851. The work first appeared as The Whale in London in October 1851, and then under its definitive title Moby-Dick in New York in November. The whale, however, appears in both the London and New York editions as “Moby Dick,” with no hyphen. The British edition of five hundred copies was not reprinted during the author’s life, the American of almost three thousand was reprinted three times at approximately 250 copies, the last reprinting in 1871. These figures are exaggerated because three hundred copies were destroyed in a fire at Harper’s; only 3,200 copies were actually sold during the author’s life.

Carrie by Stephen King

Stephen King’s legendary debut, about a teenage outcast and the revenge she enacts on her classmates.
 
Carrie White may be picked on by her classmates, but she has a gift. She can move things with her mind. Doors lock. Candles fall. This is her power and her problem. Then, an act of kindness, as spontaneous as the vicious taunts of her classmates, offers Carrie a chance to be a normal…until an unexpected cruelty turns her gift into a weapon of horror and destruction that no one will ever forget.

The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins

Suzanne Collins’s worldwide-bestselling Hunger Games trilogy is now available in a paperback box set! This edition features the books with the classic cover art in a striking new package.Now available, a paperback box set of the Hunger Games! This box set features the original cover artwork from the ground-breaking, bestselling trilogy. A perfect gift for fans of the books or movies.In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker.Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula’s attempt to move from Transylvania to England so he may find new blood and spread undead curse, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing.

Dracula has been assigned to many literary genres including vampire literature, horror fiction, the gothic novel and invasion literature. The novel touches on themes such as the role of women in Victorian culture, sexual conventions, immigration, colonialism, and post-colonialism.

Although Stoker did not invent the vampire, he defined its modern form, and the novel has spawned numerous theatrical, film and television interpretations.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

IN THREE WEEKS in April of 1951, Jack Kerouac wrote his first full draft of On the Road—typed as a single-spaced paragraph on eight long sheets of tracing paper, which he later taped together to form a 120-foot scroll. A major literary event when it was published in Viking hardcover in 2007, this is the uncut version of an American classic—rougher, wilder, and more provocative than the official work that appeared, heavily edited, in 1957. This version, capturing a moment in creative history, represents the first full expression of Kerouac’s revolutionary aesthetic.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Sam Gribley is terribly unhappy living in New York City with his family, so he runs away to the Catskill Mountains to live in the woods—all by himself. With only a penknife, a ball of cord, forty dollars, and some flint and steel, he intends to survive on his own. Sam learns about courage, danger, and independence during his year in the wilderness, a year that changes his life forever.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

In Anthony Burgess’s influential nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, a teen who talks in a fantastically inventive slang that evocatively renders his and his friends’ intense reaction against their society. Dazzling and transgressive, A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil and the meaning of human freedom. This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition, and Burgess’s introduction, “A Clockwork Orange Resucked.”


One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

In this classic novel, Ken Kesey’s hero is Randle Patrick McMurphy, a boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who swaggers into the world of a mental hospital and takes over. A lusty, life-affirming fighter, McMurphy rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorship of Nurse Ratched. He promotes gambling in the ward, smuggles in wine and women, and openly defies the rules at every turn. But this defiance, which starts as a sport, soon develops into a grim struggle, an all-out war between two relentless opponents: Nurse Ratched, backed by the full power of authority, and McMurphy, who has only his own indomitable will. What happens when Nurse Ratched uses her ultimate weapon against McMurphy provides the story’s shocking climax.


To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

One of the most cherished stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father—a crusading local lawyer—risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

City of Thieves by David Benioff

During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.

By turns insightful and funny, thrilling and terrifying, the New York Times bestseller City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.


The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. 

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Few creatures of horror have seized readers’ imaginations and held them for so long as the anguished monster of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The story of Victor Frankenstein’s terrible creation and the havoc it caused has enthralled generations of readers and inspired countless writers of horror and suspense. Considering the novel’s enduring success, it is remarkable that it began merely as a whim of Lord Byron’s.
“We will each write a story,” Byron announced to his next-door neighbors, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin and her lover Percy Bysshe Shelley. The friends were summering on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland in 1816, Shelley still unknown as a poet and Byron writing the third canto of Childe Harold. When continued rains kept them confined indoors, all agreed to Byron’s proposal.
The illustrious poets failed to complete their ghost stories, but Mary Shelley rose supremely to the challenge. With Frankenstein, she succeeded admirably in the task she set for herself: to create a story that, in her own words, “would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken thrilling horror — one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart.”


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. It follows the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy— from childhood to womanhood and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters. Although Little Women was a novel for girls, it differed notably from the current writings for children, especially girls. The book was an immediate commercial and critical success and has since been adapted for cinema, TV, Broadway and even the opera.


Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks

It started when she was served a soft drink laced with LSD in a dangerous party game. Within months, she was hooked, trapped in a downward spiral that took her from her comfortable home and loving family to the mean streets of an unforgiving city. It was a journey that would rob her of her innocence, her youth—and ultimately her life.

Read her diary.
Enter her world.
You will never forget her.

For thirty-five years, the acclaimed, bestselling first-person account of a teenage girl’s harrowing decent into the nightmarish world of drugs has left an indelible mark on generations of teen readers. As powerful—and as timely—today as ever, Go Ask Aliceremains the definitive book on the horrors of addiction.


The Plague by Albert Camus

A haunting tale of human resilience and hope in the face of unrelieved horror, Albert Camus’ iconic novel about an epidemic ravaging the people of a North African coastal town is a classic of twentieth-century literature. 

The townspeople of Oran are in the grip of a deadly plague, which condemns its victims to a swift and horrifying death. Fear, isolation and claustrophobia follow as they are forced into quarantine. Each person responds in their own way to the lethal disease: some resign themselves to fate, some seek blame, and a few, like Dr. Rieux, resist the terror.

An immediate triumph when it was published in 1947, The Plague is in part an allegory of France’s suffering under the Nazi occupation, and a timeless story of bravery and determination against the precariousness of human existence.


Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

A new, beautifully laid-out edition of Emily Brontë‘s 1847 classic, Wuthering Heights.Set in the west Yorkshire moors, Wuthering Heights is the story of two gentry families — the Earnshaws and the Lintons — and their turbulent relationships with Earnshaw’s adopted son, Heathcliff. Now considered to be a timeless classic, it was a polarizing and controversial work in its own day, with its frank depictions of mental and physical cruelty and ahead-of-its-time challenges to Victorian conventions and mores. Emily Brontë’s only published novel, it has established her as one of the most significant and most beloved novelists of the nineteenth century, and Wuthering Heights is often listed among the greatest novels of all time by critics and readers alike. It has been the subject of countless highly successful TV and movie adaptations. 

Billy Budd by Herman Melville

“Billy Budd” is the final work of American author Herman Melville which was discovered amongst his papers three decades after his death and first published in Raymond Weaver’s 1924 edition of “The Collected Works of Melville.” The emergence of that collection as well as Weaver’s 1921 biography, “Herman Melville: Man, Mariner and Mystic”, sparked a revival of interest in the forgotten writer. Despite the complex and incomplete nature of the manuscript excitement arose around this “new” Melville work when it was first discovered. The novel is concerned with its titular character, Billy Budd, a navy sailor accused of mutiny by a fellow officer, who immediately strikes his accuser dead, followed quickly by a trial, conviction and execution. The story stemmed from Melville’s interest in an 1888 article called “The Mutiny on the Somers,” concerning three sailors who in 1842 had been convicted of mutiny. Presented here in this volume is Weaver’s original 1924 edition, a first of many attempts to piece together and refine the sometimes illegible text, which included questionable additions and omissions made by Melville’s wife after his death. This edition is printed on premium acid-free paper and includes the often omitted “Daniel Orme” chapter.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, where women are prohibited from holding jobs, reading, and forming friendships. She serves in the household of the Commander and his wife, and under the new social order she has only one purpose: once a month, she must lie on her back and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if they are fertile. But Offred remembers the years before Gilead, when she was an independent woman who had a job, a family, and a name of her own. Now, her memories and her will to survive are acts of rebellion. 

Provocative, startling, prophetic, The Handmaid’s Tale has long been a global phenomenon. With this stunning graphic novel adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s modern classic, beautifully realized by artist Renée Nault, the terrifying reality of Gilead has been brought to vivid life like never before.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

For the seventieth anniversary of Penguin Classics, the Penguin Orange Collection celebrates the heritage of Penguin’s iconic book design with twelve influential American literary classics representing the breadth and diversity of the Penguin Classics library. These collectible editions are dressed in the iconic orange and white tri-band cover design, first created in 1935, while french flaps, high-quality paper, and striking cover illustrations provide the cutting-edge design treatment that is the signature of Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions today.


The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads—driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s powerful landmark novel is perhaps the most American of American Classics.

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy—it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved. 


The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman

for 6 men, 4 women. Picture a charming home in the South. Into this peaceful scene put the prosperous, despotic Hubbard family—Ben, possessive and scheming; Oscar, cruel and arrogant; Ben’s dupe, Leo, weak and unprincipled; Regina wickedly clever—each trying to outwit the other. In contrast, meet lonely intimidated Birdie, whom Oscar wed for her father’s cotton fields; wistful Alexandra, Regina’s daughter; and Horace, ailing husband of Regina, between whom a breach has existed for years. The conflict in these lives has been caused by Ben’s ambition to erect a cotton mill. The brothers still lack $75,000 to complete the transaction. This, they hope, will come from Horace, who has been in a hospital with a heart ailment. Horace is beset by his relatives the first hour of his homecoming, but refuses to commit himself. Desperate, Leo and his father, Oscar, plan for Leo to take $80,000 worth of bonds from Horace’s safe-deposit box. However, knowing that he is to be short-lived, Horace has his box brought to him. Discovering the theft, he informs his wife that he has willed the bonds to her. He promises to say nothing about the theft, calling it a loan. Cruelly, Regina recalls their unhappy married life, causing Horace to be stricken with a severe attack. Regina refuses to get his medicine upstairs, hoping that the effort of climbing may prove fatal. Horace collapses. Then Regina blackmails her brothers into giving her 75% of the business instead of their planned 33 1/3%, or she will reveal their theft. We feel, however, that crafty Ben holds the trump card by his parting remark, “What was a man in a wheelchair doing on a staircase?”


The Eye of the Dragon by Stephen King

Thus begins one of the most unique tales that master storyteller Stephen King has ever written—a sprawling fantasy of dark magic and the struggle for absolute power that utterly transforms the destinies of two brothers born into royalty. Through this enthralling masterpiece of mythical adventure, intrigue, and terror, you will thrill to this unforgettable narrative filled with relentless, wicked enchantment, and the most terrible of secrets….

Their Eyes were Watching God by Zola Neale Hurston


The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullars

With the publication of her first novel, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers, all of twenty-three, became a literary sensation. With its profound sense of moral isolation and its compassionate glimpses into its characters’ inner lives, the novel is considered McCullers’ finest work, an enduring masterpiece first published by Houghton Mifflin in 1940. At its center is the deaf-mute John Singer, who becomes the confidant for various types of misfits in a Georgia mill town during the 1930s. Each one yearns for escape from small town life. When Singer’s mute companion goes insane, Singer moves into the Kelly house, where Mick Kelly, the book’s heroine (and loosely based on McCullers), finds solace in her music. Wonderfully attuned to the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition, and with a deft sense for racial tensions in the South, McCullers spins a haunting, unforgettable story that gives voice to the rejected, the forgotten, and the mistreated—and, through Mick Kelly, gives voice to the quiet, intensely personal search for beauty.

Richard Wright praised Carson McCullers for her ability “to rise above the pressures of her environment and embrace white and black humanity in one sweep of apprehension and tenderness.” She writes “with a sweep and certainty that are overwhelming,” said the New York Times. McCullers became an overnight literary sensation, but her novel has endured, just as timely and powerful today as when it was first published. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is Carson McCullers at her most compassionate, endearing best.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it.

There are many voices in this novel: children’s voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden’s voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But when he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.

Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis

When Babbitt was first published in 1922, fans gleefully hailed its scathing portrait of a crass, materialistic nation; critics denounced it as an unfair skewering of the American businessman. Sparking heated literary debate, Babbitt became a controversial classic, securing Sinclair Lewis’s place as one of America’s preeminent social commentators.

Businessman George F. Babbitt loves the latest appliances, brand names, and the Republican Party. In fact, he loves being a solid citizen even more than he loves his wife. But Babbitt comes to resent the middle-class trappings he has worked so hard to acquire. Realizing that his life is devoid of meaning, he grows determined to transcend his trivial existence and search for greater purpose. Raising thought-provoking questions while yielding hilarious consequences, and just as relevant today as ever, Babbitt’s quest for meaning forces us to confront the Babbitt in ourselves—and ponder what it truly means to be an American.

Tender is the Night by F.Scott Fitzgerald

Set in the south of France in the late 1920s, Tender Is the Night is the tragic tale of a young actress, Rosemary Hoyt, and her complicated relationship with the alluring American couple Dick and Nicole Diver. A brilliant psychiatrist at the time of his marriage, Dick is both husband and doctor to Nicole, whose wealth pushed him into a glamorous lifestyle, and whose growing strength highlights Dick’s decline.

Lyrical, expansive, and hauntingly evocative, Tender Is the Night was one of the most talked-about books of the year when it was originally published in 1934, and is even more beloved by readers today.

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

“I set out deliberately to write a tour-de-force. Before I ever put pen to paper and set down the first word I knew what the last word would be and almost where the last period would fall.” —William Faulkner on As I Lay Dying
 
As I Lay Dying is Faulkner’s harrowing account of the Bundren family’s odyssey across the Mississippi countryside to bury Addie, their wife and mother. Narrated in turn  by each of the family members—including Addie herself—as well as others the novel ranges in mood, from dark comedy to the deepest pathos. Considered one of the most influential novels in American fiction in structure, style, and drama, As I Lay Dying is a true 20th-century classic. 

The Hamlet by William Faulkner

The Hamlet, the first novel of Faulkner’s Snopes trilogy, is both an ironic take on classical tragedy and a mordant commentary on the grand pretensions of the antebellum South and the depths of its decay in the aftermath of war and Reconstruction. It tells of the advent and the rise of the Snopes family in Frenchman’s Bend, a small town built on the ruins of a once-stately plantation. Flem Snopes — wily, energetic, a man of shady origins — quickly comes to dominate the town and its people with his cunning and guile.

The Reivers by William Faulkner

One of Faulkner’s comic masterpieces, The Reivers is a picaresque that tells of three unlikely car thieves from rural Mississippi. Eleven-year-old Lucius Priest is persuaded by Boon Hogganbeck, one of his family’s retainers, to steal his grandfather’s car and make a trip to Memphis. The Priests’ black coachman, Ned McCaslin, stows away, and the three of them are off on a heroic odyssey, for which they are all ill-equipped, that ends at Miss Reba’s bordello in Memphis. From there a series of wild misadventures ensues—involving horse smuggling, trainmen, sheriffs’ deputies, and jail.

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Originally published in 1952 as the first novel by a then unknown author, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century. 

The book’s nameless narrator describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of “the Brotherhood”, before retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be.  

The book is a passionate and witty tour de force of style, strongly influenced by T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, James Joyce, and Dostoevsky.

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Sister Carrie … came to housebound and airless America like a great free Western wind, and to our stuffy domesticity gave us the first fresh air since Mark Twain and Whitman.” — Sinclair Lewis
“It is a great novel and belongs on anybody’s list, absolutely.” — Garrison Keillor
An eighteen-year-old girl without money or connections ventures forth from her small town in search of a better life in Theodore Dreiser’s revolutionary first novel. The chronicle of Carrie Meeber’s rise from obscurity to fame — and the effects of her progress on the men who use her and are used in turn — aroused a storm of controversy and debate upon its debut in 1900. The author’s nonjudgmental portrait of a heroine who violates the contemporary moral code outraged some critics, including the book’s publisher, Frank Doubleday, who tried to back out of his agreement his firm had made with Dreiser. But others were elated — and Dreiser’s compelling plot and realistic characters continue to fascinate readers.
“Sister Carrie stands outside the brief traffic of the customary stage. It leaves behind an inescapable impression of bigness, of epic sweep and dignity. It is not a mere story, not a novel in the customary American meaning of the word; it is at once a psalm of life and a criticism of life … [Dreiser’s] aim is not merely to tell a tale; his aim is to show the vast ebb and flow of forces which sway and condition human destiny. The thing he seeks to do is to stir, to awaken, to move. One does not arise from such a book as Sister Carrie with a smirk of satisfaction; one leaves it infinitely touched.” — H. L. Mencken

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

First published in 1895, this small masterpiece set the pattern for the treatment of war in modern fiction. The novel is told through the eyes of Henry Fleming, a young soldier caught up in an unnamed Civil War battle who is motivated not by the unselfish heroism of conventional war stories, but by fear, cowardice, and finally, egotism. However, in his struggle to find reality amid the nightmarish chaos of war, the young soldier also discovers courage, humility, and perhaps, wisdom. Although Crane had never been in battle before writing The Red Badge of Courage, the book was widely praised by experienced soldiers for its uncanny re-creation of the sights, sounds, and sense of actual combat. Its publication brought Crane immediate international fame and established him as a major American writer. Today, nearly a century later, the book ranks as an enduring landmark of American fiction.

The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper

The Deerslayer, depicts young Natty Bumppo on his first warpath with lifelong friend-to-be, Chingachgook. The story centers around a lake used as the chronologically subsequent setting for Cooper’s first Leatherstocking Tale, The Pioneers. Tom Hutter lives on the lake with his daughters and it is here that Deerslayer (Bumppo) intends to meet Chingachgook to rescue Chingachgook’s betrothed from a band of roving Iroquois. A desperate battle for control of the lake and it’s immediate environs ensues and consumes the remainder of the story. Throughout this ultimate Leatherstocking Tale, Cooper provides Natty much to postulate upon. Seemingly desiring a comprehensive finality to the philosophy of Bumppo, Cooper has Natty “speechify” in The Deerslayer more so than in any other book, though the character could hardly be considered laconic in any. Though the reason for this is obvious and expected (it is, after all, Cooper’s last book of the series), it still detracts a tad from the pace of the story as Natty picks some highly inappropriate moments within the plot to elaborate his position. And, thus, somewhat incongruently, Cooper is forced to award accumulated wisdom to Bummpo at the beginning of his career rather than have him achieve it through chronological accrual. Set in upstate New York in the 1740s, The Deerslayer provides the reader with an idolized introduction to the society of white and red of this colonial frontier.

The Awakening by Kate Choppin

My Antonia by Willa Cather

My Ántonia is a novel published in 1918 by American writer Willa Cather, considered one of her best works. It is the final book of her “prairie trilogy” of novels, preceded by O Pioneers! and The Song of the Lark.

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli

Odd One Out by Nic Stone

Herestics Anonymous by Katie Henry

The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig by Don Zolidis

Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Damsel by Elana K. Arnold

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

If I was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

Up to this Pointe by Jennifer Longo

Autoboyaugraphy by Christina Lauren

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yanchey

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobosky

A Psalm for Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Replica by Lauren Oliver

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Revolution by Deborah Wiles

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Plays


The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Based on historical people and real events, Arthur Miller’s play uses the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence unleashed by the rumors of witchcraft as a powerful parable about McCarthyism.

Fences by August Wilson

Troy Maxson is a strong man, a hard man. He has had to be to survive. Troy Maxson has gone through life in an America where to be proud and black is to face pressures that could crush a man, body and soul. But the 1950s are yielding to the new spirit of liberation in the 1960s, a spirit that is changing the world Troy Maxson has learned to deal with the only way he can, a spirit that is making him a stranger, angry and afraid, in a world he never knew and to a wife and son he understands less and less. This is a modern classic, a book that deals with the impossibly difficult themes of race in America, set during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s. 


The Piano Lesson by August Wilson Black Boy by Richard Wright

August Wilson has already given the American theater such spell-binding plays about the black experience in 20th-century America as Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Fences. In his second Pulitzer Prize-winner, The Piano Lesson, Wilson has fashioned perhaps his most haunting and dramatic work. 

At the heart of the play stands the ornately carved upright piano which, as the Charles family’s prized, hard-won possession, has been gathering dust in the parlor of Berniece Charles’s Pittsburgh home. When Boy Willie, Berniece’s exuberant brother, bursts into her life with his dream of buying the same Mississippi land that his family had worked as slaves, he plans to sell their antique piano for the hard cash he needs to stake his future. But Berniece refuses to sell, clinging to the piano as a reminder of the history that is their family legacy. This dilemma is the real “piano lesson,” reminding us that blacks are often deprived both of the symbols of their past and of opportunity in the present.

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

San Piedro Island, north of Puget Sound, is a place so isolated that no one who lives there can afford to make enemies.  But in 1954 a local fisherman is found suspiciously drowned, and a Japanese American named Kabuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder.  In the course of the ensuing trial, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than a man’s guilt. For on San Pedro, memory grows as thickly as cedar trees and the fields of ripe strawberries–memories of a charmed love affair between a white boy and the Japanese girl who grew up to become Kabuo’s wife; memories of land desired, paid for, and lost. Above all, San Piedro is haunted by the memory of what happened to its Japanese residents during World War II, when an entire community was sent into exile while its neighbors watched.  Gripping, tragic, and densely atmospheric, Snow Falling on Cedars is a masterpiece of suspense– one that leaves us shaken and changed.

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail by Jerome & R.E. Lee Lawrence

A Lesson Before Dying by Earnest Gaines

The Zoo Story by Edward Albee

A collection of some of Edward Albee’s earliest and most acclaimed works

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Ever since it was first performed in 1949, Death of a Salesman has been recognized as a milestone of the American theater. In the person of Willy Loman, the aging, failing salesman who makes his living riding on a smile and a shoeshine, Arthur Miller redefined the tragic hero as a man whose dreams are at once insupportably vast and dangerously insubstantial. He has given us a figure whose name has become a symbol for a kind of majestic grandiosity—and a play that compresses epic extremes of humor and anguish, promise and loss, between the four walls of an American living room.

NonFiction

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. 

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

My Soul is Rested by Howell Raines

The almost unfathomable courage and the undying faith that propelled the Civil Rights Movement are brilliantly captured in these moving personal recollections. Here are the voices of leaders and followers, of ordinary people who became extraordinary in the face of turmoil and violence. From the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1956 to the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968, these are the peeople who fought the epic battle: Rosa Parks, Andrew Young, Ralph Abernathy, Hosea Williams, Fannie Lou Hamer, and others, both black and white, who participated in sit-ins, Freedom Rides, voter drives, and campaigns for school and university integration.

Here, too, are voices from the “Down-Home Resistance” that supported George Wallace, Bull Connor, and the “traditions” of the Old South—voices that conjure up the frightening terrain on which the battle was fought. My Soul is Rested is a powerful document of social and political history, as well as a magnificent tribute to those who made history happen.


The Lively Art of Writing by Lucile Vaughn Payne

Students, teachers, businessmen, aspiring authors, and complaining consumers all have one thing in common—the need to express successfully ideas, opinions, arguments, problems, explanations, or instructions through the medium of the written word. And The Lively Art of Writing is the perfect guide to the mastery of this essential skill. It will answer all of your questions, provide you with the best techniques, and offer important information about:

• Choosing a subject
• Working with words
• The sound of sentences
• The power of paragraphs
• Essentials of style
• Essays, theses, and term papers
• And much, much more…

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

The Jungle is a 1906 novel written by the American journalist and novelist Upton Sinclair (1878–1968). Sinclair wrote the novel to portray the lives of immigrants in the United States in Chicago and similar industrialized cities. Many readers were most concerned with his exposure of health violations and unsanitary practices in the American meatpacking industry during the early 20th century, based on an investigation he did for a socialist newspaper.

The book depicts working class poverty, the lack of social supports, harsh and unpleasant living and working conditions, and a hopelessness among many workers. These elements are contrasted with the deeply rooted corruption of people in power. A review by the writer Jack London called it, “the Uncle Tom’s Cabin of wage slavery.

“Sinclair was considered a muckraker, or journalist who exposed corruption in government and business. He first published the novel in serial form in 1905 in the Socialist newspaper, Appeal to Reason, between February 25, 1905, and November 4, 1905. In 1904, Sinclair had spent seven weeks gathering information while working incognito in the meatpacking plants of the Chicago stockyards for the newspaper. It was published as a book on February 26, 1906 by Doubleday and in a subscribers’ edition.

The Outside Shot by Walter Dean Myers Wise Blood

When Lonnie Jackson leaves Harlem for a basketball scholarship to a midwestern college, he know he must keep his head straight and his record clean. That’s the only way he’ll have a chance of making it to the pros someday.

But his street smarts haven’t prepared him for the pressures of tough classes, high-stakes college ball, and the temptation to fix games for local gamblers. Everyone plays by a whole new set of rules — including Sherry, who’s determined to be a track star. Her independence attracts Lonnie, but their on-again, off-again relationship is driving him crazy.

Lonnie has one year to learn how to make it as a “college man.” It’s his outside shot at a bright future. Does he have what it takes?

The Autobiography of Malcom X by Malcom Little

In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement. His fascinating perspective on the lies and limitations of the American Dream, and the inherent racism in a society that denies its nonwhite citizens the opportunity to dream, gives extraordinary insight into the most urgent issues of our own time. The Autobiography of Malcolm X stands as the definitive statement of a movement and a man whose work was never completed but whose message is timeless. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand America.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter. How Christopher Johnson McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.

Immediately after graduating from college in 1991, McCandless had roamed through the West and Southwest on a vision quest like those made by his heroes Jack London and John Muir. In the Mojave Desert he abandoned his car, stripped it of its license plates, and burned all of his cash. He would give himself a new name, Alexander Supertramp, and, unencumbered by money and belongings, he would be free to wallow in the raw, unfiltered experiences that nature presented. Craving a blank spot on the map, McCandless simply threw the maps away. Leaving behind his desperate parents and sister, he vanished into the wild.

Jon Krakauer constructs a clarifying prism through which he reassembles the disquieting facts of McCandless’s short life. Admitting an interst that borders on obsession, he searches for the clues to the drives and desires that propelled McCandless.

When McCandless’s innocent mistakes turn out to be irreversible and fatal, he becomes the stuff of tabloid headlines and is dismissed for his naiveté, pretensions, and hubris. He is said to have had a death wish but wanting to die is a very different thing from being compelled to look over the edge. Krakauer brings McCandless’s uncompromising pilgrimage out of the shadows, and the peril, adversity, and renunciation sought by this enigmatic young man are illuminated with a rare understanding–and not an ounce of sentimentality. Mesmerizing, heartbreaking, Into the Wild is a tour de force. The power and luminosity of Jon Krakauer’s stoytelling blaze through every page.

Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

In the Deep South of the 1950’s, a color line was etched in blood across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. Journalist John Howard Griffin decided to cross that line. Using medication that darkened his skin to deep brown, he exchanged his privileged life as a Southern white man for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man.
 
What happened to John Howard Griffin—from the outside and within himself—as he made his way through the segregated Deep South is recorded in this searing work of nonfiction. His audacious, still chillingly relevant eyewitness history is a work about race and humanity every American must read.

An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

An American Masterpiece Clyde Griffiths finds his social-climbing aspirations and love for a rich and beautiful debutante threatened when his lower-class pregnant girlfriend gives him an ultimatum.

Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass by Fredrick Douglass

Born into a life of bondage, Frederick Douglass secretly taught himself to read and write. It was a crime punishable by death, but it resulted in one of the most eloquent indictments of slavery ever recorded. His gripping narrative takes us into the fields, cabins, and manors of pre–Civil War plantations in the South and reveals the daily terrors he suffered.
 
Written more than a century and a half ago by a Black man who went on to become a famous orator, U.S. minister to Haiti, and leader of his people, this timeless classic still speaks directly to our age. It is a record of savagery and inhumanity that goes far to explain why America still suffers from the great injustices of the past.

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin’s early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document from the iconic author of If Beale Street Could Talk and Go Tell It on the Mountain. It consists of two “letters,” written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as “sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle…all presented in searing, brilliant prose,” The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of literature.

Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin

James Baldwin’s stunning first novel is now an American classic. With startling realism that brings Harlem and the black experience vividly to life, this is a work that touches the heart with emotion while it stimulates the mind with its narrative style, symbolism, and excoriating vision of racism in America. Moving through time from the rural South to the northern ghetto, Baldwin chronicles a 14-year-old boy’s discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Go Tell it on the Mountain is an unsurpassed portrayal of human beings caught up in a dramatic struggle and of a society confronting inevitable change.

Nobody Knows my Name by James Baldwin

Told with Baldwin’s characteristically unflinching honesty, this collection of illuminating, deeply felt essays — “passionate, probing, controversial” (The Atlantic) — examines topics ranging from race relations in the United States to the role of the writer in society, and offers personal accounts of Richard Wright, Norman Mailer and other writers.

I know Why the Caged Bird Songs by Maya Angelou

Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Singscaptures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.
 
Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.
 
Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.

We Rise: The Earth Guardians Guide to Building a Movement that Restores the Planet by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is a 16-year-old climate activist, hip-hop artist, and powerful new voice on the frontlines of a global youth-led movement. He and his group the Earth Guardians believe that today’s youth will play an important role in shaping our future. They know that the choices made right now will have a lasting impact on the world of tomorrow, and people—young and old—are asking themselves what they can do to ensure a positive, just, and sustainable future. We Rise tells these stories and addresses the solutions.

Beginning with the empowering story of the Earth Guardians and how Xiuhtezcatl has become a voice for his generation, We Rise explores many aspects of effective activism and provides step-by-step information on how to start and join solution-oriented movements. With conversations between Xiuhtezcatl and well-known activists, revolutionaries, and celebrities, practical advice for living a more sustainable lifestyle, and ideas and tools for building resilient communities, We Rise is an action guide on how to face the biggest problems of today, including climate change, fossil fuel extraction, and industrial agriculture.

If you are interested in creating real and tangible change, We Risewill give you the inspiration and information you need to do your part in making the world a better place and leave you asking, What kind of legacy do I want to leave?

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them.

What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived.

In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

In the dark years of the First World War, radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright. Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” are the luckiest alive — until they begin to fall mysteriously ill. And, until they begin to come forward.

As the women start to speak out on the corruption, the factories that once offered golden opportunities ignore all claims of the gruesome side effects. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America’s early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights that will echo for centuries to come. A timely story of corporate greed and the brave figures that stood up to fight for their lives, these women and their voices will shine for years to come.

Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the “wonder” substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives…

Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac

Throughout World War II, in the conflict fought against Japan, Navajo code talkers were a crucial part of the U.S. effort, sending messages back and forth in an unbreakable code that used their native language. They braved some of the heaviest fighting of the war, and with their code, they saved countless American lives. Yet their story remained classified for more than twenty years.
But now Joseph Bruchac brings their stories to life for young adults through the riveting fictional tale of Ned Begay, a sixteen-year-old Navajo boy who becomes a code talker. His grueling journey is eye-opening and inspiring. This deeply affecting novel honors all of those young men, like Ned, who dared to serve, and it honors the culture and language of the Navajo Indians.

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming

Here is the tumultuous, heartrending, true story of the Romanovs—at once an intimate portrait of Russia’s last royal family and a gripping account of its undoing. Using captivating photos and compelling first person accounts, award-winning author Candace Fleming (Amelia Lost; The Lincolns) deftly maneuvers between the imperial family’s extravagant lives and the plight of Russia’s poor masses, making this an utterly mesmerizing read as well as a perfect resource for meeting Common Core standards.

Boys on the Boat by Daniel James Brown

For readers of Unbroken, out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.

It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. Drawing on the boys’ own journals and vivid memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, Brown has created an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man’s personal quest.

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen

Danish countess Karen Blixon, known as Isak Dineson, ran a coffee plantation in Kenya in the years when Africa remained a romantic and formidable continent to most Europeans. Out of Africa is her account of her life there, with stories of her respectful relationships with the Masai, Kikuyu, and Somali natives who work on her land; the European friends who visit her; and the imposing permanence of the wild, high land itself. Stage and television actress Julie Harris delivers a reading that is emotionally charged and reflective, recreating Dinesen’s lively appreciation for the land she loved so much.

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

This modern classic and New York Times best seller was a finalist for both the 1990 Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award and has become a staple of American classrooms. Hailed by The New York Times as “a marvel of storytelling”, The Things They Carried’s portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book’s hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.

The soldiers in this collection of stories carried M-16 rifles, M-60 machine guns, and M-79 grenade launchers. They carried plastic explosives, hand grenades, flak jackets, and landmines. But they also carried letters from home, illustrated Bibles, and pictures of their loved ones. Some of them carried extra food or comic books or drugs. Every man carried what he needed to survive, and those who did carried their shattering stories away from the jungle and back to a nation that would never understand.

This audiobook also includes an exclusive recording “The Vietnam in Me,” a recount of the author’s trip back to Vietnam in 1994, revisiting his experience there as a soldier 25 years before, read by Tim O’Brien himself.

Night by Ellie Wiesel

Night is Elie Wiesel’s masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie’s wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author’s original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man’s capacity for inhumanity to man.

Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant, and what its legacy is and will be.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, this special edition of Stephen King’s critically lauded, million-copy bestseller shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work.

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

A Century of Dishonor: A Sketch of the United States Goverment’s Dealings with some of the Indian Tribes by Helen Hunt Jackson

Helen Hunt (1830-1885) was an American writer who most widely became famous as an activist to improve United States government treatment of Native Americans. In 1879 her interests turned to the Native Americans after hearing a lecture in Boston by Standing Bear, the Ponca Chief. He described the forceful removal of the Ponca from their reservation in Nebraska. Moved by the issues presented by Standing Bear, Hunt learned about the government defaulting on treaties, the removal of Indians to reservations, and the Indian Wars. Soon after Standing Bear’s speech, she became an activist, investigating and publicizing government misconduct, circulating petitions, raising money, and writing letters to “The New York Times” on behalf of the Ponca. She gained the widest exposure with her novel, “Ramona”, dramatizing the ill treatment by the US government of Native Americans in Southern California

Poetry


Collected Poems by Phillip Larkin

One of the best-known and best-loved poets of the English-speaking world, Philip Larkin had only a small number of poems published during his lifetime. Collected Poems brings together not only all his books–The North ShipThe Less DeceivedThe Whitsun Weddings, and High Windows--but also his uncollected poems from 1940 to 1984. 

A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson

A Coretta Scott King and Printz honor book now in paperback. A Wreath for Emmett Till is “A moving elegy,” says The Bulletin.

In 1955 people all over the United States knew that Emmett Louis Till was a fourteen-year-old African American boy lynched for supposedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. The brutality of his murder, the open-casket funeral held by his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, and the acquittal of the men tried for the crime drew wide media attention. In a profound and chilling poem, award-winning poet Marilyn Nelson reminds us of the boy whose fate helped spark the civil rights movement.

Solo by Kwame Alexander

Blade never asked for a life of the rich and famous. In fact, he’d give anything not to be the son of Rutherford Morrison, a washed-up rock star and drug addict with delusions of a comeback. Or to no longer be part of a family known most for lost potential, failure, and tragedy, including the loss of his mother. The one true light is his girlfriend, Chapel, but her parents have forbidden their relationship, assuming Blade will become just like his father.

In reality, the only thing Blade and Rutherford have in common is the music that lives inside them. And songwriting is all Blade has left after Rutherford, while drunk, crashes his high school graduation speech and effectively rips Chapel away forever. But when a long-held family secret comes to light, the music disappears. In its place is a letter, one that could bring Blade the freedom and love he’s been searching for, or leave him feeling even more adrift.