My Booklist

FICTION

  • A Death In Venice

    by Mann, Thomas Year Published:
    "Death in Venice," tells about a ruinous quest for love and beauty amid degenerating splendor. Gustav von Aschenbach, a successful but lonely author, travels to the Queen of the Adriatic in search of an elusive spiritual fulfillment that turns into his erotic doom. Spellbound by a beautiful Polish boy, he finds himself fettered to this hypnotic city of sun-drenched sensuality and eerie physical decay as it gradually succumbs to a secret epidemic.
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  • A Farewell to Arms

    by Hemingway, Ernest Year Published:
    A Farewell to Arms is about a love affair between the expatriate American Frederic Henry and Catherine Barkley against the backdrop of the First World War, cynical soldiers, fighting and the displacement of populations. The publication of A Farewell to Arms cemented his stature as a modern American writer, became his first best-seller, and is described by biographer Michael Reynolds as "the premier American war novel from that debacle World War I."
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  • A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man

    by Joyce, James Year Published:
    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is the story of Stephen Dedalus, a young man struggling to decide between a religious vocation and an artistic one. As the story unfolds, we begin to witness Stephen's metaphoric change, from a confused, fraught young man to an individual who, through his trials, is given the chance to test his faith as a member of those who seek the truth.
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  • A Raison in the Sun

    by Hansberry, Lorraine Year Published:
    A Raisin in the Sun is a play by Lorraine Hansberry that debuted on Broadway in 1959.[1] The title comes from the poem "Harlem" (also known as "A Dream Deferred"[2]) by Langston Hughes. The story is based upon a black family's experiences in the Washington Park Subdivision of Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood.
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  • A Seperate Peace

    by Knowles, John Year Published:
    Gene Forrester, the protagonist, returns to his old prep school, Devon (a thinly veiled portrayal of Knowles' alma mater, Phillips Exeter Academy), fifteen years after he graduated to visit two places he regards as "fearful sites": a flight of marble stairs and a tree by the river. First, he examines the stairs and notices that they are made of very hard marble. He then goes to the tree, which brings back memories of Gene's time as a student at Devon. From this point, the plot follows Gene's description of the time span from the summer of 1942 to the summer of 1943. In 1942, he was 16 and living at Devon with his best friend and roommate, Phineas (nicknamed Finny). At the time, World War II is taking place and has a prominent effect on the story.
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  • After the First Death

    by Cormier, Robert Year Published:
    After the First Death is a suspense novel for young adults by American author Robert Cormier. The focus is on the complex relationships that develop between the various characters. After the First Death describes the terrorist hijacking of a summer camp bus full of children. The main characters include Kate, a high school student driving the bus, Miro, one of the terrorists, and Ben, the son of a general for an anti-terrorism group. The story is mostly written from the point of view of Kate, Miro and Ben, switching back and forth, and brief sections are told from the point of view of some other characters Kate is driving the bus when it is hijacked by four terrorists, Miro, Artkin, Antibbe and Stroll. The terrorists force Kate to drive the bus to an old, worn-down railroad bridge, where a drawn-out siege begins, the terrorists threatening to kill one child for every attack by the police or death of a terrorist. The terrorists are working to "free" their homeland, which is never named specifically but could be assumed from their descriptions to be a Middle Eastern, or African country.
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  • All the Pretty Horses

    by McCarthy, Cormac Year Published:
    John Grady Cole is a 16-year-old boy who leaves his Texas home when his grandfather dies. With his parents already split up and his mother working in theater out of town, there is no longer reason for him to stay. He and his friend Lacey Rawlins ride their horses south into Mexico; they are joined by another boy, the mysterious Jimmy Blevins, a 14-year-old sharpshooter. Although the year is 1948, the landscape--at some moments parched and unforgiving, at others verdant and gentled by rain--seems out of time, somewhere before history or after it. These likable boys affect the cowboy's taciturnity--they roll cigarettes and say what they mean--and yet amongst themselves are given to terse, comic exchanges about life and death.
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  • As I Lay Dying

    by Faulkner, William Year Published:
    The book is narrated by 15 different characters over 59 chapters. It is the story of the death of Addie Bundren and her family's quest and motivations – noble or selfish – to honor her wish to be buried in the town of Jefferson.
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  • Beloved

    by Morrison, Toni Year Published:
    Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. 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. Set in rural Ohio several years after the Civil War, this profoundly affecting chronicle of slavery and its aftermath is Toni Morrison's greatest novel, a dazzling achievement, and the most spellbinding reading experience of the decade.
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  • Call of the Wild

    by London, Jack Year Published:
    Part St. Bernard, part Scotch shepherd, Buck is a sturdy crossbreed canine accustomed to a comfortable life as a family dog -- until he's seized from his pampered surroundings and shipped to Alaska to be a sled dog. There, the forbidding landscape is as harsh as life itself during the gold rush of the 1890s. Forced to function in a climate where every day is a savage struggle for survival, Buck adapts quickly. Traces of his earlier existence are obliterated and he reverts to his dormant primeval instincts, encountering danger and adventure as he becomes the leader of a wolf pack and undertakes a journey of nearly mythical proportions. Superb details, taken from Jack London's firsthand knowledge of Alaskan frontier life, make this classic tale of endurance as gripping today as it was over a century ago. One of literature's most popular and exciting adventure stories, The Call of the Wild will enrich the reading experience of youngsters, and rekindle fond memories of a favorite among older generations.
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  • Crime and Punishment

    by Dostoyevsky, Fyodor Year Published:
    Crime and Punishment focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, an impoverished man who formulates and executes a plan to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker seemingly for her money, thereby solving his financial problems and at the same time, ridding the world of an evil parasite. Raskolnikov also strives to be an extraordinary being, believing that murder is permissible in pursuit of a higher purpose.
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  • Forbidden city

    by Bell, William Year Published:
    Forbidden City is a novel based on the events of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. It is a story of maturation/coming of age.
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  • Heart of Darkness

    by Conrad, Joseph Year Published:
    Heart of Darkness is a short novel by Polish novelist Joseph Conrad, written as a frame narrative, about Charles Marlow’s life as an ivory transporter down the Congo River in Central Africa. The river is “a mighty big river, that you could see on the map, resembling an immense snake uncoiled, with its head in the sea, its body at rest curving afar over a vast country, and its tail lost in the depths of the land.” In the course of his travel in central Africa, Marlow becomes obsessed with Mr. Kurtz.
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  • Ironweed

    by Kennedy, William Year Published:
    Francis Phelan, ex-ballplayer, part-time gravedigger, full-time drunk, has hit bottom. Years ago he left Albany in a hurry after killing a scab during a trolley workers' strike; he ran away again after accidentally—and fatally—dropping his infant son. Now, in 1938, Francis is back in town, roaming the old familiar streets with his hobo pal, Helen, trying to make peace with the ghosts of the past and the present...
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  • Les Miserables

    by Hugo, Victor Year Published:
    Les Misérables (pronounced /le? ?m?z?'r??b/; French pronunciation: ?[le mize?abl(?)]) is a French historical novel by Victor Hugo, first published in 1862, that is considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. In the English-speaking world, the novel is usually referred to by its original French title, which has not been successfully translated from French (attempts ranging from The Miserable, The Wretched, The Miserable Ones, The Poor Ones, The Wretched Poor and The Victims, to The Dispossessed). Beginning in 1815 and culminating in the 1832 June Rebellion in Paris, the novel follows the lives and interactions of several characters, focusing on the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his experience of redemption.
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  • Lord of the Flies

    by Golding, William Year Published:
    Lord of the Flies is a 1954 dystopian novel by Nobel Prize-winning English author William Golding about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves with disastrous results.
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  • Maggie: A Girl of the Streets

    by Crane, Stephen Year Published:
    Maggie: A Girl of the Streets is an 1893 novella by American author Stephen Crane. The story centers on Maggie, a young girl from the Bowery who is driven to unfortunate circumstances by poverty and solitude. The work was considered risqué by publishers because of its literary realism and strong themes. Crane – who was 22 years old at the time – financed the book's publication himself, although the original 1893 edition was printed under the pseudonym Johnston Smith. After the success of 1895's The Red Badge of Courage, Maggie was reissued in 1896 with considerable changes and re-writing. The story is followed by George's Mother.
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  • Moby Dick

    by Melville, Herman Year Published:
    Our intrepid narrator, a former schoolteacher famously called Ishmael, signs up as sailor on a whaling voyage to cure a bout of depression. On his way to find a ship in Nantucket, he meets Queequeg, a heavily tattooed South Sea Island harpooneer just returned from his latest whaling trip. Ishmael and Queequeg become best buds and roommates almost immediately. Together, they sign up for a voyage on the Pequod, which is just about to start on a three-year expedition to hunt sperm whales.
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  • My Antonia

    by Cather, Willa Year Published:
    Willa Cather's My Antonia is considered one of the most significant American novels of the twentieth century. Set during the great migration west to settle the plains of the North American continent, the narrative follows Antonia Shimerda, a pioneer who comes to Nebraska as a child and grows with the country, inspiring a childhood friend, Jim Burden, to write her life story. The novel is important both for its literary aesthetic and as a portrayal of important aspects of American social ideals and history, particularly the centrality of migration to American culture.
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  • Nicholas and Alexandra

    by Massie, Robert Year Published:
    Robert Massie sweeps readers back to the extraordinary world of Imperial Russia to tell the story of the Romanovs’ lives: Nicholas’s political naïveté, Alexandra’s obsession with the corrupt mystic Rasputin, and little Alexis’s brave struggle with hemophilia. Against a lavish backdrop of luxury and intrigue, Massie unfolds a powerful drama of passion and history—the story of a doomed empire and the death-marked royals who watched it crumble.
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  • Pentimento

    by Hellman, Lillian Year Published:
    The legendary playwright Lillian Hellman looks back at some of the people who, wittingly or unwittingly, exerted profound influence on her development as a woman and a writer. These remembrances have come under fire by many who claim she lifted some of these stories from others, such as the famous "Julia" chapter upon which the film was based, and completely invented others. Whether fact or fiction, begged, borrowed, or stolen, this book makes for great reading.
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  • Pride and Predujice

    by Austen, Jane Year Published:
    Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London.
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  • Prince of Tide

    by Conroy, Pat Year Published:
    The Prince of Tides is a novel by Pat Conroy, first published in 1986. It revolves around traumatic events that affected former football player Tom Wingo's relationship with his immediate family. Tom's elder brother, Luke, met a tragic and premature death and his sister, Savannah, a published poet, has attempted suicide and is now in a deep depression.
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  • Roots: The Saga of an American Family

    by Haley, Alex Year Published:
    Roots: The Saga of an American Family is a novel written by Alex Haley and first published in 1976. It tells the story of Kunta Kinte, an 18th-century African, captured as an adolescent and sold into slavery in the United States, and follows his life and the lives of his alleged descendants in the U.S. down to Alex Haley.
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  • Shogun

    by Clavell, James Year Published:
    Shogun is a 1975 novel by James Clavell. It is the first novel of the author's Asian Saga. A major bestseller, by 1990 the book had sold 15 million copies worldwide. Beginning in feudal Japan some months before the critical Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Shogun gives an account of the rise of the daimyo "Toranaga". Toranaga's rise to the Shogunate is seen through the eyes of the English sailor John Blackthorne, called Anjin by the Japanese, whose fictional heroics are loosely based on the historical exploits of William Adams.
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NON-FICTION

  • Ninety-Five Theses

    by Luther, Martin Year Published:
    Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses forever changed the world. This is one of Christianity's most important documents. It was not, as most people assume, Luther's explanation as to why he was separating from the Catholic Church, but it was a shot across the bow of a corrupt system that eventually lead to the Reformation.
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  • Stride Toward Freedom

    by King, Martin Luther Year Published:
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s account of the successful large-scale application of nonviolent resistance in America is comprehensive, revelatory, and intimate. King described his book as "the chronicle of 50,000 Negroes who took to heart the principles of nonviolence, who learned to fight for their rights with the weapon of love, and who, in the process, acquired a new estimate of their own human worth." It traces the phenomenal journey of a community, and shows how the twenty-six-year-old King, with his conviction for equality and nonviolence, helped transform the nation-and the world. Dr. King's own account of the Montgomery bus boycott, the first large-scale use of non-violent resistance in America.
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BIOGRAPHY/AUTOBIOGRAPHY

  • A Time to Speak

    by Jackson, Jesse Year Published:
    The first autobiography of Rev. Jackson, a Democratic presidential front-runner, is an inspiring, emotional journey from his childhood in Greenville, South Carolina, to his relationship with Martin Luther King and his candidacy.
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  • Black Like Me

    by Griffin, John Howard Year Published:
    Black Like Me is a nonfiction book by journalist John Howard Griffin first published in 1961. Griffin was a white native of Dallas, Texas and the book describes his six-week experience travelling on Greyhound buses (occasionally hitchhiking) throughout the racially segregated states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia passing as a black man.
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  • Blue Highways

    by Moon, William Least Heat Year Published:
    In 1978, after separating from his wife and losing his job as a teacher, Heat-Moon, 38 at the time, decided to take an extended road trip around the United States, sticking to only the "Blue Highways". He had coined the term to refer to small, forgotten, out-of-the-way roads connecting rural America (which were drawn in blue on the old style Rand McNally road atlas). He outfitted a green van with a bunk, a camping stove, a portable toilet and a copy of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass and John Neihardt's Black Elk Speaks. Referring to the Native American resurrection ritual, he named the van "Ghost Dancing", and embarked on a three-month soul-searching tour of the United States, wandering from small town to small town, often just because they have interesting names. The book chronicles the 13,000-mile journey and the people he meets along the way, as he steers clear of cities and interstates, avoiding fast food and exploring local American culture.
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  • Color of Water

    by McBride, James Year Published:
    Who is Ruth McBride Jordan? A self-declared "light-skinned" woman evasive about her ethnicity, yet steadfast in her love for her twelve black children. James McBride, journalist, musician, and son, explores his mother's past, as well as his own upbringing and heritage, in a poignant and powerful debut, The Color Of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother.
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  • Dark Child

    by Laye, Camara Year Published:
    This is a fairly short and simple autobiographical account of a boy growing up in Guinea in the 1930s and 40s. Camara Laye wrote it in 1954 while studying in France, and you can feel the nostalgia for his homeland. Although the writing style is quite understated, the emotion is communicated quite effectively, and it’s very moving in places.
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  • Days of Grace

    by Ashe, Arthur Year Published:
    A remarkable and inspiring memoir by a remarkable and inspiring human being: Arthur Ashe, embodiment of courage and grace in every aspect of his life, from his triumphs as a great tennis champion and his determined social activism to his ordeal in the face of death, a casualty of AIDS. As he brings us into his childhood in Richmond, Virginia, where he was born in 1943, where his mother died when he was six, and where he was raised by a loving but demanding father who set before his son the goals of self-reliance.
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  • Dust Tracks on a Road

    by Hurston, Zora Neale Year Published:
    Dust Tracks on a Road, is the very vivid recount of Hurston's life, from childhood to adulthood. She describes the Negro town where she was born and where her father was the mayor, and at the first pages of the book, describes how the town came to being and the history of the land-fights between White Americans and Native Americans with African Americans caught in between.
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  • Growing UP

    by Bakeer, Russell Year Published:
    Russell Wayne Baker is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning writer known for his satirical commentary and self-critical prose, as well as for his autobiography, Growing Up. Baker is the eldest of three children born to Benny and Lucy Elizabeth Baker in Morrisonville, Virginia. He has two full sisters, Doris Audrey and one half-sister, Mary Leslie from his mother's second marriage to Herbert Orrison. When Baker was five years old his father died of diabetes. Poor during the Depression, his mother gave Audrey up for adoption to her brother-in-law and his wife; she then moved the family to Belleville, New Jersey to live with her brother and sister-in-law. Later they moved to urban Baltimore, where he graduated from the Baltimore City College high school in 1943 and received his B.A. from the Writing Seminars in the School of Arts & Sciences at Johns Hopkins University in 1947.
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  • I Know Why the Caged bird Sings

    by Angelou, Maya Year Published:
    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the 1969 autobiography about the early years of African-American writer and poet Maya Angelou. The first in a seven-volume series, it is a coming-of-age story that illustrates how strength of character and a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma. The book begins when three-year-old Maya and her older brother are sent to Stamps, Arkansas, to live with their grandmother and ends when Maya becomes a mother at the age of 16. In the course of Caged Bird, Maya transforms from a victim of racism with an inferiority complex into a self-possessed, dignified young woman capable of responding to prejudice.
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  • Profiles in Courage

    by Kennedy, John F. Year Published:
    Profiles in Courage focuses on the careers of eight Senators whom Kennedy felt had shown great courage under enormous pressure from their parties and their constituents. His own battles with physical pain and his experiences in World War II as a PT boat commander also gave him inspiration. Profiles in Courage, which Kennedy dedicated to his wife Jacqueline Kennedy, received the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1957.
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  • The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass

    by Douglass, Frederick Year Published:
    Life and Times of Frederick Douglass is Frederick Douglass' third autobiography, published in 1881, revised in 1892. Because of the emancipation of American slaves during and following the American Civil War, Douglass gave more details about his life as a slave and his escape from slavery in this volume than he could in his two previous autobiographies (which would have put him and his family in danger). It is the only one of Douglass' autobiographies to discuss his life during and after the Civil War, including his encounters with American presidents such as Lincoln and Garfield, his account of the ill-fated "Freedman's Bank", and his service as the United States Marshall of the District of Columbia.
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NATURE

  • The Portable Emerson

    by Emerson, Ralph Waldo Year Published:
    The Portable Emerson comprises essays, including “History,” “Self-Reliance,” “The Over-Soul,” “Circles,” and “The Poet”; Emerson’s first book, Nature, in its entirety; twenty-two poems, including “Uriel,” “The Humble-Bee,” and “Give All to Love”; orations, including “The American Scholar,” “The Fugitive Slave Law,” and “John Brown”; English Traits, complete; and biographical essays on Plato, Napoleon, Henry David Thoreau, Thomas Carlyle, and others.
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