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. 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." 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. by Hansberry, Lorraine Year Published:A Raisin in the Sun is a play by Lorraine Hansberry that debuted on Broadway in 1959. The title comes from the poem "Harlem" (also known as "A Dream Deferred") by Langston Hughes. The story is based upon a black family's experiences in the Washington Park Subdivision of Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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... 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. by Elliot, George Year Published:The novel is set in the early years of the 19th century. Silas Marner, a weaver, is a member of a small Calvinist congregation in Lantern Yard, a slum street in an unnamed city in Northern England. He is falsely accused of stealing the congregation's funds while watching over the very ill deacon. Two clues are given against Silas: a pocket-knife and the discovery in his own house of the bag formerly containing the money. There is the strong suggestion that Silas' best friend, William Dane, has framed him, since Silas had lent his pocket-knife to William shortly before the crime was committed. Silas is proclaimed guilty. The woman he was to marry casts him off, and later marries William Dane. With his life shattered and his heart broken, Silas leaves Lantern Yard and the city. by Morrison, Toni Year Published:Song of Solomon is a 1977 novel by American author Toni Morrison. It follows the life of Macon "Milkman" Dead III, an African-American male living in Michigan, from birth to adulthood. by Dickens, Charles Year Published:A Tale of Two Cities is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. With well over 200 million copies sold, it ranks among the most famous works in the history of fictional literature. by Hardy, Thomas Year Published:The novel is set in impoverished rural Wessex during the Long Depression. Tess is the eldest child of John and Joan Durbeyfield, uneducated rural peasants. One day, Parson Tringham informs John that he has noble blood. Tringham has discovered that "Durbeyfield" is a corruption of "d'Urberville", the surname of a noble Norman family, now extinct. The news immediately goes to John's head. That same day, Tess participates in the village May Dance, where she meets Angel Clare, youngest son of Reverend James Clare, who is on a walking tour with his two brothers. He stops to join the dance, and finds partners in several other girls. Angel notes Tess's beauty, too late to dance with her, as he is already late for a promised meeting with his brothers. Tess feels slighted...... by Fitzgerald, F. Scott Year Published:The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that 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. by Ellison, Ralph Year Published:Invisible Man addresses many of the social and intellectual issues facing African-Americans early in the twentieth century, including black nationalism, the relationship between black identity and Marxism, and the reformist racial policies of Booker T. Washington, as well as issues of individuality and personal identity. by Jackson, Shirley Year Published:A seemingly ordinary village participates in a yearly lottery to determine a sacrificial victim. by Machiavelli, Niccolo Year Published:Need to seize a country? Have enemies you must destroy? In this handbook for despots and tyrants, the Renaissance statesman Machiavelli sets forth how to accomplish this and more, while avoiding the awkwardness of becoming generally hated and despised. "Men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge." by Crane, Stephen Year Published:The Red Badge of Courage is a war novel by American author Stephen Crane. Taking place during the American Civil War, the story is about a young private of the Union Army, Henry Fleming, who flees from the field of battle. Overcome with shame, he longs for a wound, a "red badge of courage," to counteract his cowardice. When his regiment once again faces the enemy, Henry acts as standard-bearer. by Hemingway, Ernest Year Published:Harry, a writer, and his wife, Helen, are stranded while on safari in Africa. A bearing burned out on their truck, and Harry is talking about the gangrene that has infected his leg when he did not apply iodine after he scratched it. As they wait for a rescue plane from Nairobi that he knows won't arrive on time, Harry spends his time drinking and insulting Helen. Harry reviews his life, realizing that he wasted his talent through procrastination and luxury from a marriage to a wealthy woman that he doesn't love. by Hurston, Zora Neale Year Published:Janie Crawford, the protagonist of the novel, returns home after being away for a very long time. The townsfolk, particularly the women, are unfriendly towards her. They gossip about Janie and how Tea Cake was too young for her. Janie's best friend, Pheoby, is angry at the women and leaves their company to take some supper to Janie. Janie tells Pheoby that she is wealthy, with nine hundred dollars in the bank. Tea Cake was a wonderful husband who never took a cent of her money. He recently died, and that is the only reason that she is back from the Everglades. Janie tells Pheoby the story of her life to so that Pheoby can explain her actions to the nosy community on her behalf. by Achebe, Cninua Year Published:Things Fall Apart is an English-language novel by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe published in 1958 by William Heinemann Ltd in the UK; in 1962, it was also the first work published in Heinemann's African Writers Series. Things Fall Apart is seen as the archetypal modern African novel in English, one of the first to receive global critical acclaim. It is a staple book in schools throughout Africa and is widely read and studied in English-speaking countries around the world. The title of the novel comes from William Butler Yeats' poem "The Second Coming". by Harper, Lee Year Published:Lawyer Atticus Finch defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic, Puliter Prize-winning novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white woman. Through the eyes of Atticus's children, Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unanswering honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930's. by Gordon, Sheila Year Published:Waiting for the Rain (1987) by Sheila Gordon tells the story of two boys growing up on Oom Koos', Frikkie's uncle's, farm in South Africa during the Apartheid era. The friendship between the two boys dissipates as they grow older because one of them, who is black, seeks political equality, while the other boy, who is white, wants everything to stay the same. by Bronte, Emily Year Published:Wuthering Heights is a novel by Emily Brontë, written between October 1845 and June 1846, and published in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell. It was her first and only published novel: she died the following year, at age 30. The decision to publish came after the success of her sister Charlotte's novel, Jane Eyre. After Emily's death, Charlotte edited the manuscript of Wuthering Heights, and arranged for the edited version to be published as a posthumous second edition in 1850.