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Cherokee Dragon: A Novel by Robert Conley
The Cherokee Nation did have a Warrior Chief who chose to stand and fight against the "confiscation by treaty" of their homes and land. Conley's historical chronicle of Dragging Canoe and the conflicting decisions that faced tribal leaders gives a balanced insight and understanding of the Cherokee politics of the time.
Maggie: Girl a/the Streets by Stephen Crane
Maggie lives in the slum section of New York. Her dreams to better her life are much more modest than the heroines of any novel by Edith Wharton. Maggie's dream is more than to find love, and when her brother brings home his friend Pete, she thinks she finds it. Pete is handsome. After dating Maggie for a while, raising her hopes of marriage, but after living with her, he tires of her and dumps her. Maggie's family is outraged at her for violating the Puritanical rules that forbade such a relationship. Her family will not accept her back so she is left to wander the streets as a prostitute.
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
The story centers on Henry Fleming, the protagonist, who matures from an inexperienced soldier, to a more quiet mature man. Initially, Fleming believes war to be glorious and honorable--the perfect test for courage-sand thus enlists in the Union army. However, after fleeing from his first battle, Fleming realizes his own cowardice. Guilty from avoiding fighting, Fleming arrives back at his camp with a gash in his head he received accidentally from another Union soldier. As he is cared for among the other soldiers, his wound is mistaken for a battle scar and ironically earns a reputation. In later battles, Fleming even becomes the flag bearer and leads his regiment in battles. Finally understanding that war is not all glory, he matures into the experienced veteran.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
The period from 1775--the outbreak of the American Revolution-to 1789--the storming of the Bastille-vis the turbulent setting of this uncharacteristic Dickens novel. It is his only novel that lacks comic relief, is one of only two that are not set in nineteenth-century England and is also unusual in lacking a primary central character. London and Paris are the real protagonists in this tale.
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
A rousing action-adventure-comedy-romance about three famous adventure-seekers, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and their new friend D'Artangnan, the young hot-head, who are all embroiled in courtly intrigues with the Cardinal, the Queen, the King, the Duke of Buckingham, and the villainous and evil Milady.
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
A Confederate soldier, Inman, deserts the army after he has a serious injury. He treks across the southern states in order to get back to the love of his life, Ada. Inman meets interesting, barbaric, vicious and victimized people, all who have been ravaged by the Civil War. His journey is physically and emotionally exhausting and he is traumatized by the violence he sees around him. The chapters rotate between Ada's and Inman's stories.
The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass
Terrible things are happening to Oskar, to his family, to his city, to his nation and to his century, but we see everything only through the distorted glass of this unique character's view. First, he tells us about his ancestors and the life they led in pre-war German Poland. Then we know the story of his parents, the infidelity of his mother and other disturbing and often sordid events. His community starts falling apart as the Nazis rise to power. Oskar spends the whole war in Danzig as well as wandering through France and Belgium as part of a grotesque midget-troupee. The end is strange, confusing but full of hope.
Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
This is the epic of Zhivago set against the background of Russia's transition from Czarist rule to Bolshevism, passing through the First World War and the Civil War. The novel tells the intercrossing stories of Dr. Yuri Zhivago and Lara, whose lives meet several times during their childhood and adolescence, without getting to know each other. When he is missing in action, Lara becomes a military nurse, in order to look for him. Zhivago also has to go to war, and there he finds Lara. After the war, he and his family move to a rural estate near the city ofYuriatin. There he finds Lara again. They fall in love immediately and absolutely, and they start an affair which torments Zhivago, since he feels bad about being unfaithful to his wife. One day, he is kidnapped by the Partisans, who keep him in prison during the Civil 'Var. Eventually he escapes,
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All Quiet on the Western Front by Erica Maria Remarque
Remarque tells the story of a nineteen-year-old German boy faced with serving in World War 1. The main character, Paul Baumer, joins the army with three of his fellow classmates. After a couple weeks, he befriends a man named Stanislaus Katczinsky or Kat. Kat, at the age of forty, is older and wiser to the ways of the world and looks out for his younger friends. Throughout the fighting, Kat has proven himself to be very resourceful in finding needed food and other provisions. Remarque describes life in the trenches in great detail.
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
Ivanhoe is set in Merry Ole England, with Richard the Lion-Hearted on the throne and his malevolent kid brother plotting to take it away from him. In this setting, we find the Saxon-bred Ivanhoe, who against his father's wishes, joined Richard in the Middle East to fight the "Infidel." Ultimately, Ivanhoe finds his way back into his father's good graces.
High School Isn It Pretty: A Close to Home Collection by John McPherson
McPherson explores the world of adolescence, that time in everyone's life when the quest for coolness prevails over all other impulses. He notices the oddities, the idiosyncrasies, the inconsistencies that make us human and make us laugh. His oddball characters and unusual situations strike a universal chord because they present a distorted mirror of ourselves. High school was never this much funl
Evermore ... by Matthew Sterner
Do you ever feel like you wake up on the wrong side of the bed way too often? In Mason's case, he feels like he's awakened on the wrong side oflife. What most people learn over a course of years, Mason is forced to learn in twenty-four hours. He finds out that a terrible situation doesn't always have to remain the way it began, but it has the ability and potential to turn into something beautiful.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
After their parents' separation, young Marguerite and her brother, Bailey, are sent to live with their strong-willed grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas, deep in the segregated South. Angelou also describes her time spent with her other grandmother in St. Louis, as well as her young adulthood in San Francisco. The overall time period of the book overlaps that of World War II. Angelou recalls vividly the authors who made an impact on her during her childhood and young adulthood: James Weldon Johnson, Edgar Allan Poe, William Shakespeare, and others.
Days of Grace: A Memoir by Arthur Ashe and Arnold Rampersad
In short, Ashe's book offers an account of his life, his beliefs and his final thoughts on the world, and his experiences. Ashe triumphed in sport to become wealthy and well-known, but suffered from racial prejudice as a child and terrible diseases as an adult. Yet not once did wealth change his outlook or basic lifestyle nor did he give up in the face of racism or death. Instead, Ashe took another path, the noble path. He showed deep respect and understanding towards his fellow man, he used his wealth and his disease to help thousands of others, and he never lost site of the moral lessons he had learned as child.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
This is a beautiful memoir by a man named Bauby. He tells his story with "locked-in syndrome." The only part of his body that he can move is one eye and he is blind in the other. With the help of a caring nurse he looks back at a life of materialism, adultery and shallow values overall. Now, with scarcely a visitor and left to his own thoughts and feelings, he becomes more alive than when he went busily from thing to thing following the money, the beautiful people and never a thought of values or personal integrity.
Gifted Hands by Ben Carson
Benjamin Carson, M.D. started out on the mean Detroit streets. His father had to leave the family after it was found he was practically living a double life: he had a girlfriend and another family while married to Ben's mother. While his mother assured him the family would be fine, they struggled to make ends meet. All the while, she knew he'd make something of himself. And he did.
To Destroy You is No Loss: the Odyssey of a Cambodian Family by JoAn D. Criddle and Teeda Butt Mam
Joan Criddle has woven a gripping account of the personal experience of one young woman, Teeda Butt Mam, and her family under the oppression of the Khymer Rouge. This book reveals in considerable detail the brutality and horror of Pol Pot's regime. Yet, it's an inspiring tale of survival, courage, and family loyalty under the most extreme conditions of deprivation, fear and suffering.
Having Our Say -- The Delaney Sisters' First 100 Years by Sarah and Elizabeth Delaney with Amy Hill Hearth
These two extraordinary women tell their story about how their family survived through segregation and racism in the South. Sadie and Bessie encountered racism early in their lives while the Jim Crow laws were inplay. Throughout the South, it was required that blacks and whites were separated and had their own facilities. Even with all the obstacles, all of the Delaney children go to college to become teachers or other professions that deal with helping others.
Born on the Fourth of July by Ron Kovic
Born on the Fourth of July is Kovic's unpolished, sincere, aggressive and searingly sad remembrance of his Vietnam experience. Kovic was seriously wounded on the first day of the Tet Offensive. Returning home as a paraplegic, Kovic tells us of the hideous treatment he received at the hands of the Veterans Administration, a bureaucracy so rotten that it neglected and abused the very men and women it was supposed to aid.
Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi
Primo Levi, who mainly survived Auschwitz due to the sheer luck of enforced labor being more heavily used as opposed to just gassing, recounts the capture, journey, and life of a Haftling. The account is a very accurate portrayal of the time period and gives readers one of the most realistic senses of being a prisoner to help increase the understanding of the genocides and concentration camps.
The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride This book is, indeed, a tribute to the author's mother. In it, McBride, a man whose mother was white and his father black, tells two stories: that of his mother and his own. Tautly written in
spare, clear prose, it is a wonderful story of a bi-racial family who succeeded and achieved the American dream, despite the societal obstacles placed in its way.
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis is the story of one girl's experience during the fall of the Shah ofIran, the ensuing Islamic Revolution, and war with Iraq. Only it's not told in plain text, but rather is pictured in comic book style. The pictures in Persepolis, coupled with Marjane's rich historical account, compounds and achieves emotional critical mass.
Little X: Growing Up in the Nation of Islam by Sonsyrea Tate
The author's paternal grandparents join the Nation ofIslam in the early 1950s, and by the time she is born in 1966, the family enjoys a leading position in the Washington, D.C. temple. With a memory that borders slightly on the unbelievable, Tate recounts her early childhood in the Nation, followed by her mother's conversion to mainstream Islam, the discovery of her family's religious hypocrisy, and then her own crisis of faith and exit from Islam, followed by a journalistic career that included a stint at The Washington Post.
On Our Way to Beautiful: A Family Memoirby Yolanda Young
Among the many churches and juke joints, Yolanda grew up in a deeply religious home amid poverty, family violence, and dreams deferred. Raised by women, who endured much heartache, Yolanda watched and questioned their strengths, which in tum allowed her to seek out her dreams; this is the memoir of Yolanda Young. On Our Way to Beautiful paints a poignant picture of her childhood in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Mysteries and Suspense
The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie
The Mousetrap revolves around a couple who set up a guesthouse for the first time and find that their visitors are not what they seem--that every visitor seems to have some connection to the couple, expected or unexpected. This is not made known until much later when a ski-happy policeman, Trotter, arrives on the scene, and starts connecting Monkswell Manor to a violent death scene in Paddington a few hours ago, where a notebook was left behind at the crime scene with the words "Monkswell Manor" written on it. Trotter then gets everyone hyped up over this murderer's identity.
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Charles Baskerville has been found dead of a heart attack--apparently killed by a family curse in the shape of a giant dog. So his pal Dr. Mortimer asks Sherlock Holmes to protect Charles' heir, Henry Baskerville, who has just arrived in England to claim his estate and inheritance. Something is up--secretive servants, peculiar neighbors, an escaped criminal, a giant quicksand marsh, and the sounds of a dog howling in the night. But Holmes knows that the curse is no supernatural hound--and that Sir Henry is in danger from a more real kind of ancient enemy.
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
Set in 1792 in Europe during the French Reign of Terror, cunning, smart and witty, the Scarlet Pimpernel goes to France for the purposes of rescuing aristocrats.
Madame Curie: A Biography by Eva Curie and Vincent Sheean
The book documents the story of Marie Curie, a native Pole who would seem out of place in France and--being a woman in a more prejudiced historical moment and being a member of the scientific community in general. Although this was the case, it did not stop her from becoming one of the most prolific and important scientists in the realm of physics and chemistry.
Man's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl
Starting with a firsthand account of the Holocaust, and finishing with a psychoanalytical approach to the suffering which took place there, Frankl shows us his ability to objectively analyze and draw conclusions from his own experiences. His story is not one of bitterness, as one might expect, but one of survival, of deep meaning and optimism.
In the Shadow of the Two Towers by Stephanie Izarek, Dan Costa, ed
In the Shadow of the Two Towers is a collection of essays and poems by Tribecca residents about 9111 and its aftermath. These are people who lived two to six blocks from the World Trade Center, who pulled their kids out of the elementary school three blocks north of the towers when the planes hit and were unable to return home for a month afterwards, but who eventually did return to rebuild their community next to the gaping hole of Ground Zero.
This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer by Kay Mills
Fannie Lou Hamer is a poorly educated woman who, like most of her contemporaries growing up in pre-Depression Mississippi and beyond, endures virtual apartheid for a good portion of her life. Voting rights are essentially unknown to African Americans in the state. Ms. Hamer is among the first African Americans to challenge Mississippi's voting registration practices, which were designed to bar blacks from voting. For her troubles, she is arrested, detained in a smalltown jail and beaten so severely that she sustained injuries that eventually shortened her life. Mills paints a vivid picture of Ms. Hamer's indomitable spirit.
The Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy
On May 7, 1915, the ocean liner Lusitania was struck by a terrifying new weapon--and became a casualty of a terrible new kind of war. This account offers us a vivid picture of the event that shocked the world; a view ofthe heyday of the luxury liner and the first days ofthe modem submarine; a critical chapter in the progress of World War I; and a remarkable human drama. With first-person survivor accounts, original translations of German documents, and a cast of characters ranging from Winston Churchill and Alfred Vanderbilt to the crew ofthe German Uboat that torpedoed a ship full of civilians, this moment in history will not be forgotten.
In the Shadow of No Towers by Art Spiegelman
Spiegelman's work encompasses the experience of watching the towers fall, clear through the decision by the GOP to hold its convention in New York. He discusses and illustrates, at length, the degree to which he feels violated and betrayed by the co-option of9/11 for the current administration's political ends. But this is not detached political commentary, but something different, something deeply personal, felt close to the heart and deep in the bones.
Why Are the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum Children of color are generally confronted by the fact of their race at a much earlier age. Their process of identity development differs significantly from that of most white children. This is the issue psychologist Beverly Tatum discusses in her book. She opens with the question that foTITIS the book's title. It is common to see high school students self-segregate, socializing in groups composed mostly of others of the same racial background. But why is this?
Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years 1954-1965 by Juan Williams
The book takes its cues from the documentary series and examines a select set of pivotal moments of the movement: school desegregation, the Montgomery bus boycott, the march on Washington, the Selma to Montgomery march and others. Each chapter delves into the story of the events, but also fleshes out the areas between these momentous events, both telling the background and hearing the experiences of those there, in their own words.
Everywhere Faces Everywhere by James Berry
Berry, born in Jamaica and an emigre to England at the age of twenty-three, brings his two worlds together in this evocative, vivacious, and poignant collection. In spite ofthe adult sensibilities, the poems will have direct appeal for young people, particularly those experiencing culture shock, discrimination, and, perhaps, a confusing disdain for a childhood spent elsewhere mitigated by happy memories. Skillful economy of expression strengthens the poet's messages and the lilt of his Caribbean voice softens their realities.
Performing the Word: African American Poetry as Vernacular Culture by Fahamisha Patricia Brown
Brown organizes her study around the concept of "African-American vemacular culture," which she defines as "customs and mores that appear to be most specifically manifested by persons in the United States who trace their ancestry to Africans enslaved there." While the book is not a "history" of African-American poetry, Brown does believe that poetry operates within a continuum. Thus, Langston Hughes can be spoken of in relationship to recent poets like Saul Williams or Reg E. Gaines. An ambitious book for all students of poetry.
Poetry After Lunch by Joyce A. Carroll and Eddie E. Wilson
The book is divided into a number of sections such as "fruit and cheese," which allows for interesting topics! Some of the poets are famous (Robert Frost included) while others are new and different. A fun collection of pick- up- and-read poetry!
The Other Side: Shorter Poems by Angela Johnson
Decorated with blurred photographs from a family album, this touching collection focuses on the denizens of Shorter, Alabama, a town that is due to be leveled because of "some big company wanting to make a dog track." The fourteen-year-old narrator returns at the bidding of her grandmother, and her journey back is the impetus for a series of nostalgic poems that describe her experiences at various ages: a disastrous attempt at piano lessons, the smell of soap at the Wash-a- Teria, leaving the South for the Midwest.
Seize the Day by Saul Bellow
Seize the Day tells the story of one day in the life of Tommy Wilhelm, a middle-aged failed actor who now lives in the same New York hotel as his father. Tommy is separated from his wife, and rarely sees his children; furthermore, he has been unemployed for several months and faces losing the last of his money in an ill-conceived stock market venture. It is with all of this in mind that Tommy finally comes to a day of realization and reckoning, when he realizes his isolation and his failure.
Mother Courage and her Children by Bertolt Brecht
A classic in the repertory of West em theater, Brecht writes in response to the outbreak of World War II. This chronicle play of the Thirty Years War follows one of Brecht's most enduring characters, Courage, as she trails the armies across Europe, selling provisions from her canteen wagon. However, Courage pays the highest price of all. One by one, her children are devoured by violence, but she will not give up her livelihood-the wagon and the war.
The Plague by Albert Camus
In the port city of Oran, the population ignores the signs of danger and only grudgingly admits that an epidemic, a form of the bubonic plague to be exact, has taken root in their city. The protagonist, Dr. Rieux, is a doctor who fmally helps convince the authorities to take extreme measures in the interest of public safety and to eventually quarantine the entire town. Over the course of the novel, we observe the manner in which Dr. Rieux, his companions, and prominent men of the community react to the worsening plague and its social consequences.
October Suite: A Novel by Maxine Clair
A modern epic, it has a tragic hero, October Brown, who fights to regain her life from a youthful indiscretion that cost more than she could have foreseen. It has villains. James is the archetype of evil married men who destroy the lives of young women to satisfy his needs. Vergie is driven by paranoia to keep the hero in misery but finds redemption at the end. In all, the characters become the family down the street that always seems to have a new challenge. We do not know everything about them--just enough to feel for them.
A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris
A Yellow Raft in Blue Water takes place on a Native American reservation in Montana and explores the lives of three women: Rayona, Christine, and Ida. Ida is the mother of Rayon a and the grandmother of Rayona. The book is divided into three sections, one for Rayona's life, one for Christine's life and one for Ida's life. Michael Dorris journeys back in time and provides the reader with history from the character's prospective. The novel explores true family love that isn't always visible to an outsider.
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines
This story is told through the eyes of a young teacher named Grant, who finds himself struggling to find happiness in the small community in which he lives. Early in the novel, we learn that the story includes a young black man named Jefferson, who is caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. When two men attempt to rob a local liquor store, the owner of the store and the robbers begin shooting. Jefferson is an innocent bystander to the crime, and when the smoke clears, Jefferson is the only one left standing. Even though Jefferson is unable to attend his own trial, he already knows the outcome.
The Aguero Sisters by Cristina Garcia
The Aguero Sisters consists of several stories interwoven into one. It is a love story, and a mystery. It is a story of generation and cultural differences and of the strange emotional contradictions felt between siblings. Most importantly, it is a story with rhythm, energy, and touches of dark humor.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Hosseini's first novel tells a heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between Amir, the son of a wealthy Afghan businessman, and Hassan, the son of his father's servant. Amir is Sunni; Hassan is Shi'a. One is born to a privileged class; the other to a loathed minority. One to a father of enormous presence; the other to a crippled man. One is a voracious reader; the other illiterate. The poor Hassan is born with a hare lip, but Amir's gaps are better hidden, deep inside. Yet Amir and Hassan live and play together, not simply as friends, but as brothers without mothers. Their intimate story traces across the expansive canvas of history, forty years in Afghanistan's tragic evolution, like a kite under a gathering storm.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hossieni
Khaled Hosseini follows his best-selling debut novel The Kite Runner with a sequel that is every bit as splendid as the title suggests. The tone is set early: this is a story about the hardships women face in Afghanistan. Mariam is the daughter of a well-to-do man. Her mother had ended her own life, and Mariam feels a great shame about her life, being married-off to a much older, abusive man named Rasheed. Laila is the second heroine in the story-she becomes Rasheed's second wife. Her life, though a bit brighter, also finds sudden tragedy. The two women become friends ... and later allies ... protecting each other from the abuse suffered by Rasheed.
The Trial by Franz Kafka
One morning Joseph K. is arrested. It is never made clear what the charges are, but K. always maintains his innocence, as he grapples with a bureaucracy that slowly strangles his career and consumes his life.
The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
The author of The Secret Life of Bees follows up her first novel by telling the story of Jessie Sullivan--a love story between a woman and a monk, a woman and her husband, and ultimately a woman and her own soul. Kidd charts a journey of awakening and self-discovery.
Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver
Kingsolver creates a multi-leveled novel about the Noline family secrets through dynamic and sympathetic characters. Kingsolver writes about Codi and Loyd's romance. She writes about Cadi finding herself through having a cause, and she writes about Codi's relationship with her sister and father.
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
The Bean Trees is a novel about a young woman, Taylor Greer, who leaves her home state of Kentucky to find a life outside of what she knew--growing up to become barefoot and pregnant. She finally arrives in Tucson and meets a woman who wants to give Taylor a three-year-old child. Taylor promises to take care of the little girl. Turtle, the name Taylor gives the child, does not talk. Taylor also finds bruises over the child's body while giving her a bath. Now, she is responsible for the welfare ofthis Native American child. No money and no job, and she has a kid she never planned on having.
Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver
Turtle and Taylor are now on the run, fleeing from their home in Tucson and leaving the boyfriend behind. They live from motel room to motel room, eating what they can afford. When Alice Greer, Taylor's mother, gets involved, the story takes a surprising tum, and soon, Turtle's biological family gets involved as welL Taylor will either keep Turtle, or she will have to hand him over to the Cherokee Nation.
Passing by Nella Larson
Nella Larsen's 1929 novella, Passing, is an incredible, dark exploration of the lengths to which people go to secure personal happiness. Larsen's work is richly lathered with carefully nuanced and complicated views ofracial, economic, and more generally, personal and national identity.
The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor
This book consists of seven interwoven short stories and novellas. They are all centered on the inner strengths and weaknesses of its female characters--not only as women, but also as women of color.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
The animals on Mr. Jones' farm have had enough of what they deem to be slavery. They're tired of being ordered around by humans while they see no benefits in their daily work. This is all sparked by a dream that the boar, Major, had about a unique place where animals called the shots and never had to be ordered around by humans ever again. He tells them a revolution is very much needed. When Major dies, the animals act quickly and are able to overthrow the alcoholic farmer and his thugs from his very own farm. The pigs are in charge now, as they claim that they are much smarter than the others and know how to lead. What seems to be paradise quickly transforms.
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
Steinbeck depicts Kino, a pearl diver and occasional fisherman, his wife Juana, and their baby son, Coyotito. All they have is a grass shack house, a few clay cooking utensils, and their prize possession, Kino's boat, inherited from his father and grandfather. The boat is the family'S livelihood, providing the means to put a meal on the table and to provide a few pesos for store bought goods by selling the small pearls Kino is able to find. But Kino and his family, far from being depressed or unhappy, have a great treasure, the love they have for each other and their satisfaction with life as it is, with few disturbing dreams of greater things. But their quiet, routine life is turned upside down the day that Kino finds a Great Pearl.
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler
The story of the Tulls is for the most part unexceptionaL It is from this ordinariness, however, that the novel derives its strength. Each the Tulls is dysfunctional in his or her own way. Ezra, the gentlest of the three children and owner of the "Homesick Restaurant" is the most sympathetically-drawn character but even then, there is a feeling of defeat and being thwarted about his whole life. There are no saints, heroes or villains in the novel--only ordinary men and women who are different shades of grey.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
We travel with a scarred survivor --Celie-- from the time the abuse begins for her at fourteen, until she is liberated probably in her fifties. The book is set up as letters to God from Celie and written in ebonies. Her sister Nettie is a fighter and runs away before she can be abused. Nettie becomes a missionary and writes letters in good English to her sister for thirty years before one is ever received by Celie. She comes into possession of these letters through the intervention of a provocative woman, A very Shug. Shug teaches Celie how to find meaning in her life by sewing pants for everyone.
Our Town by Thornton Wilder
Through the use of small town characters and the element of simplicity, Thornton Wilder creates universal themes about the cycle of life that reign eternal even today. The play tells the story of two simple families, the Gibbs and the Webbs, living in the town of Grover's Comers, New
Hampshire. In three acts, Wider journeys through the cycle of life, from the birth of a new life, all the way up to the inevitable.
The Piano Lesson by August Wilson
August Wilson's sensitive story of a family's struggle to reconcile the past with the present centers on the carved piano which dominates the living room ofDoaker Charles and his niece, Berniece. The legs of the piano are carved with faces of their slave ancestors, carvings made by a distant relation who was owned by the Sutter family and working on their farm in Mississippi before Emancipation. Berniece's brother Boy Willie, recently released from a prison farm and penitentiary, has come to Pittsburgh determined to sell this ancient piano in which he claims half-ownership. The struggle of Boy Willie and Berniece over possession of the piano gradually broadens as they reveal the past, incorporating vivid pictures of the family's tenuous survival from slavery to the present.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Skellig by David Almond
Skellig includes the remarkable, enchanting, spiritual journey of a young boy, Michael, who goes through a family trauma, as well as trying to adjust to a new home. When he and his new neighbor, Mina, discover Skellig, the real page-turning begins. The mystery of Skel1ig's identity plays along with the increasing severity of Michael's baby sister's illness. What happens next will keep any reader guessing.
Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror by Steve Allen
A scientist named Jonas Taylor runs into something in the Mariana Trench that scares him. So much so, that it costs the lives of the two Naval scientists with him. From that point on, he becomes wary of the deep sea, but completely addicted to the study of Carcharodon megalodon, the prehistoric cousin of the great white shark. He swears that a megalodon lives in the Mariana Trench, but cannot prove it. Ten years after his accident, Taylor is given another chance at the Mariana Trench. Taylor agrees to help, not without reservations. From this point on, the story picks up at a nail-biting pace.
Enchantment by Orson Scott Card
Ivan, who grew up between two worlds, his cousin's farm in the remote Carpathian mountains where they sought refuge before emigration and the U.S., goes back to recapture his roots and finds the Princess asleep in the woods. What unfolds, however, is a dramatic adventure involving mega-death bears, nasty-tempered princesses, kings, and the evil witch Baba Yaga, who here is portrayed with a mix oflighthearted casualness towards absolute sadism, like some kind of middle-aged, bitter housewife who just happens to be the twin sister of Hannibal Lecter. And has magic powers.
Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card
In Pastwatch, Card addresses the topic of time travel. Future historians lay the blame for their ruined planet at the foot of global evils such as slavery. While appreciating the complex
causality of our world, their technology lets them zoom in on Columbus's expansion of Europe's cultural boundaries as crucial. Ifhe could be dissuaded from his momentous voyage, the Pastwatchers consider, we should surely erase slavery from our troubled past. Pastwatch tells the story of their struggle with new data and with conscience; satisfactorily, it also tells us how, why and what they conclude.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Carroll's fascinating book is about an adventurous and curious girl named Alice who follows a white rabbit and mistakenly falls into a long, long hole. When she lands, she is in an amazing new land called Wonderland. Wonderland is a world of crazy ideas and unfamiliar rhymes. Alice meets many new characters such as, The Mad Hatter, The Dormouse, The March Hare, The Queen of Hearts, a Duchess, a Gryphon, a footman that is actually a fish, and The Cheshire Cat, as she tries new adventures to get herself back home. She doesn't just meet these
characters; she also battles with them in a court case which is bizarrely unfair--she plays crochet, and even continually shrinks and grows herself. She gets herself tied up in odd situations but her curiosity carries her onward. In the end, Alice discovers something truly amazing!
The Diary of Victor Frankenstein by Roscoe Cooper
Once you open the book, you are immediately transported to the deep, dark laboratory where the monster was created. It's like the actual diary, littered with pencil-sketched anatomical illustrations on ancient looking paper, scrawly han.dwriting. Get ready to be transported into the psyche of Dr. Frankenstein!
Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Families are only allowed to have two kids. Luke is a shadow child. He lives out in the farmland. The farm becomes a neighborhood. Luke has to watch out now for the population police and other neighbors seeing him. If Luke gets caught, he will endure severe consequences. When Luke gazes from the vents in his room, he sees somebody in his neighbor's house. At this time, he realizes he isn't the only shadow child. Luke and Jen become good friends, and this is the story of what happens to them.
Chronicles of the Olympics by Dorling Kindersley
This comprehensive chronicle of the Games features information on every competition, athlete, and result, as well as inside stories on the Games, from the first modem Olympics in Athens in 1896 to the return to Greece over a century later. The book contains color photos and over one hundred pages of data on medal winners.
The Good Guys of Baseball: Sixteen True Sports Stories by Terry Egan, Stan Friedman and Mike Levine
Mark McGwire. Sammy Sosa. Cal Ripken, Jr. Mike Piazza. Ken Griffey, Jr. They share more than fame and fortune and awesome talent. They're also the Good Guys of baseball, terrific role models in a world where that can't be said of a lot of sports heroes. Theirs are just some of the
inspiring stories Terry Egan, Stan Friedmann, and Mike Levine tell in The Good Guys of Baseball. They remind us why baseball will always be America's favorite pastime.
Sports Science Projects: The Physics of Balls in Motion by Madeline Goodstein
This well-organized, clearly written series title will get readers thinking about why a baseball has stitches, why a tennis ball has fuzz, and how a Ping-Pong ball will change if its center is filled. Exciting experiments demonstrate the differences among the types of balls used in sports and the relationship between design and performance. Many of the experiments are followed by excellent ideas for science-fair projects. Black-and-white diagrams and drawings illustrate the concepts discussed.
Survival/Coming of Age
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
Set in New Mexico on the border between a small village and the huge llano, Bless Me, Ultima is Rudolfo Anaya's much acclaimed and award-winning coming-of-age novel from the Hispanic perspective. Antonio is tom between his father's cowboy side of the family who ride on the llano and his mother's village and farming relations. Many conflicts are presented here: Hispanic vs. American culture, Catholicism vs. paganism, parents' expectations vs. the child's desires, Spanish
blood vs. native blood. Antonio's life is forever altered when his aunt Ultima, a curandera, comes to live withthe family; she teaches Antonio many things, most importantly how to gather the self-knowledge that will help carry him into adulthood.
My Antonia by Willa Cather
The story of an immigrant struggling to survive in a new world is epitomized here in Cather's
My Antonia. Cather weaves together the story of Antonia Shimerda, an immigrant girl from Bohemia who represents the optimism, determination and pure grit that newcomers to America needed to make a successful life, and that of American-born Jim Burden, our narrator. Burden, a successful and cultured East-coast lawyer, is returning to his childhood home in Blackhawk, Nebraska, for a visit. On the long train ride, he reminisces with an unnamed friend about the place where they had both grown up and about the people they knew--especially their dear friend Antonia, "who seemed to mean to us the country, the conditions, the whole adventure of our childhood."
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Robinson Crusoe is a story about the ability of mankind to master his surroundings through hard work and patience. The combination of these two supports is what allows him to escape captivity in Africa, overcome the deadly obstacles on the island, and finally leave the island itself. His physical prowess and combat skills are significantly less important to his journey than the message of trust and persistence that the decades he spends on the island convey. Inspirational and important for all students.
On the Fringe by Donald R. Gallo, ed
There is a war going on in our schools. Although many people may not see it or many people may not be aware of it, the war is there--the on-going fighting between "outcasts" and the "populars." Through some tragic events, some heartwarming events, and some events that just want to make you stand up to anyone who gets in your way, the realities and violence of this war's victims are spelled out in this work. Through this collection of short stories, with authors such as Jack Gantos, many lessons can be learned. It is a book that will make you think about the kids at your school and the events that have happened in your community.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Set during World War II, a plane carrying young British children crashes on a remote island. The children initially try to organize themselves, but then, some of these children realize that they are in complete control. There are no adults on the island to monitor what they are doing, and this is when the primitive human nature starts to take over. They start with killing pigs and they end up killing three innocent children. Golding uses this novel to introduce to us our basic and primitive instincts that emerge in the absence of civilization.
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
As the son of a Brahmin, Siddhartha would naturally have enjoyed access to all of the finest lessons and things oflife. Knowing of his natural superiority in many ways, he becomes disenchanted with teachers and his companions. In a burst of independence, he insists on being allowed to leave home to become a wandering Shramana.
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The Secret Life of Bees is an enduring story set on a southern bee farm, The novel is similar to many southern stories; however, the bee lore that Kidd interjects throughout makes the book unique and interesting. Lily Owens is fleeing an abusive father and an all-consuming truth surrounding her mother's death. The Secret Life of Bees is set in the 1960's when racial tensions and violence were at an all time high. Lily and her caretaker Rosaleen, leave town after a violent encounter with racists. The clues to her mother's death lead Lily and Rosaleen to Tiburon,
South Carolina, and the bee farm. Through her work on the farm, Lily examines her past and begins to trust as she finds love again.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird tells the story of two children, sister Scout and brother Jem, and their childhood during three years in the midst of the Great Depression. Scout and Jem spend most of their summers with their summer-neighbor, Dill, making up plays and spying on the town recluse, Boo Radley. During the school year (minus Dill, who goes back home to Mississippi), Scout finds herself in trouble one too many times and struggles with the concept of being a lady, especially when all she wants to do is wear overalls and beat up her classmates. Then everything changes one fall.
The Contender by Robert Lipsyte
Alfred is waiting on his friend James, a drug addict who is getting his next fix. After telling James about the loose cash in the Epstein's store, James and his friends try to break in. Like in most crimes, the leader is caught. As the story goes on, Alfred begins training at the gym. Soon after, he meets an old man, Donatelli, who starts training him to box. Before he knows it, he books his first fight.
The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers
Frankie's wish to live with her brother and his wife-to-be symbolizes her frantic need to escape the stagnant monotony her young life had become. Trapped in an awkward world of adolescence, Frankie no longer fits in. School is out and she has no friends her own age with whom she can associate. She felt isolated. John Henry is too young for her to relate to, and though Berenice is in many ways, her only source of emotional support, she is a permanent fixture of the kitchen from which Frankie so desperately wanted to flee. Somehow, someway, Frankie was going to leave.
The Chosen by Chaim Potok
Potok's story is primarily about two boys, Reuven and Danny, who meet one day in a softball game. Danny is a Hassidic Jew, and Reuven is merely Orthodox. Danny's initial impression is one of disdain towards Reuven, as he is unable to relate to people who are not on his religious level at first impression. An accident on the ball field brings them together and eventually they begin a friendship. The backdrops of the hospital, World War II, the surrender of the Nazis, The Zionist Movement, and the eventual statehood ofIsrael affect the two worlds of Danny and Reuven.
Growing Up Latino by Ilan Stavans and Harold Augenbraum, ed.
Augenbraum's anthology collects twenty-eight stories about what it means to grow up Latino. Well-known authors, such as Gloria Anzaluda, Richard Rodriguez, and Sandra Cisneros are included. Topics covered include death, education, religion, language, gringos, food, social norms and many more.
Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
Asixteen-year-old orphan is kidnapped by his villainous uncle, but later escapes and becomes involved in the struggle of the Scottish highlanders against the English rule. This is the story of a young man overcoming adversity to gain maturity and his birthright. It moves right along, in Stevenson's beautiful prose. Read it out loud; it rolls along, carrying the reader back to Scotland.
The Cay by Theodore Taylor
In February 1942, the Germans attack an oil refinery on Aruba, neighboring island of Curacao, Dutch island off the Venezuelan coast. Young Phillip is living in Willemstad, Curacao, with his parents, but after the attack, his mother wants to return to America. Phillip and Father are against the plan, but eventually Mother gets her way.
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