The novel follows the life of a woman named Una, whose curiosity and intelligence push

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2010-2011 Language Arts

12th Grade Reading List

Contemporary Literature

RAhab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund (Fiction), 688 pages

The novel follows the life of a woman named Una, whose curiosity and intelligence push

her beyond the bounds of her family, her region, and her gender. It begins with the adult

Una freezing to death while in the midst of childbirth during a blizzard which has just

killed her mother. A run-a-way slave helps to deliver Una’s child.

RAmerican Pastoral by Philip Roth (Fiction), 432 pages

Nathan Zuckerman recalls an innocent time when Seymour Levov was the pride of his

Jewish neighborhood whose life did not turn out as expected. It is a story about the

challenges in America during the 60’s. It is the story of a father who has “utterly lost his

daughter” during this difficult decade.

RBeauty by Robin McKinley (Fiction), 336 pages

This is a retelling of the classic tale, Beauty and the Beast. In this version, Beauty is not

as beautiful as her older sisters, who are both lovely and kind. Here, in fact, Beauty has

no confidence in her appearance but takes pride in her own intelligence, her love of

learning and books, and her talent in riding. She is the most competent of the three

sisters, which proves essential when they are forced to move to the country because of

their father’s financial ruin.

RThe Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (Fiction), 288 pages

Believed to be an autographical novel about the author, it tells the story of a gifted young

woman’s mental breakdown beginning during a summer internship as a junior editor at a

magazine New York City in the early 1950’s and is a tale of a woman’s descent into


RCharms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons (Fiction), 272 pages

This story depicts three generations of Southern women living together during World

War II. Unworthy men marry into this formidable tribe but they cannot break the

women’s circle of strength and grace.

RCrocodile Bird by Ruth Rendell (Fiction), 384 pages

Eve lives in isolation as caretaker of a remote, (mostly) vacant British estate, where she

raises and educates her illegitimate daughter, Liza, away from any modern influences.

She becomes involved with men from time to time, but if her privacy is threatened in any

way, she murders them.

REva Luna by Isabelle Allende (Fiction), 320 pages

Born in the back room of the mansion where her mother toils, and herself in service from

an early age, Eva Luna escapes oppression through story telling. Rolf Carle flees

Germany for South America to escape childhood memories of burying the concentration

camp dead. The two are brought together by guerilla Huberto Naranjo, Eva’s lover

and Rolf’s friend.

RFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle stop Café by Fannie Flagg (Fiction), 416 pages

Cleo Threadgood, 86, shares a lifetime of memories of Whistle Stop, Alabama where the

social scene centered on its one café with Evelyn Couch, a younger woman who is

looking for meaning in her life.

RGirl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (Fiction), 240 pages

The story centers on Vermeer’s prosperous Delft household during the 1760’s. When

Griet, the novel’s quietly perceptive heroine, is hired as a servant, turmoil follows. First,

the 16-year-old narrator becomes increasingly intimate with her master. Then Vermeer

employs her as his assistant—and ultimately has Griet sit for him as a model. The story

ends with “a delicious twist.”

RThe Greenlanders by Jane Smiley (Fiction), 608 pages

This is a story about a Scandinavian settlement that lasted perhaps 500 years. The action

centers on the family of Gunnar Asgeirsson. Gunnar’s sister Margret is married off to

Olaf, but he fails to consummate the marriage, and Margret begins a clandestine affair

with a Norwegian sailor who has stayed on in Greenland as a household retainer.

Violence and tragedy ensue.

RGrendel by John Gardner (Fiction), 192 pages

This is a retelling of the Beowulf epic from the point of view of the monsters, Grendel,

the villain of the 8th-century Anglo-Saxon epic.

RHow Green Was my Valley by Richard Llewellyn (Fiction), 512 pages

This is a bitter sweet coming of age tale of a boy growing up in a large family in a small

town, and of his love for his lovely sister-in-law. It’s a coal mining story so you can

expect some tragedy.

RIn Country by Bobbie Ann Mason (Fiction), 272 pages

Sam Hughes, whose father was killed in Vietnam, lives in rural Kentucky with

her uncle Emmett, a veteran whom she suspects is suffering from exposure to Agent

Orange. Sam is a typical teenager, trying to choose a college, anticipating a new job at

the local Burger Boy, sharing intimacies with her friend Dawn, breaking up with her high

school boyfriend, and dealing with her feelings for Tom, one of Emmett’s buddies.

RThe Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (Fiction), 368 pages

This is a historical-fiction novel that retells the Civil War battle at Gettysburg.

ROral History by Lee Smith (Fiction), 320 pages

When Jennifer, a college student, returns to her childhood home of Hoot Owl Holler with

a tape recorder, the tales of murder and suicide, incest and blood ties, bring to life a

vibrant story of a doomed family that still refuses to give up.

RPainted Bird by Jerzy Konzinski (Fiction), 234 pages

The story follows a dark-haired, olive-skinned boy, abandoned by his parents during

World War II, as he wanders alone from one village to another, sometimes hounded and

tortured, only rarely sheltered and cared for.

RParable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (Fiction), 352 pages

Lauren Olamina is an 18 year old woman with hyperempathy syndrome—if she

sees another in pain, she feels their pain as acutely as if it were real. When her relatively

safe neighborhood enclave is inevitably destroyed, along with her family and dreams for

the future, Lauren grabs a backpack full of supplies and begins a journey north.

RPoisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (Fiction), 576 pages

The story follows an evangelical Baptist minister’s family to the Congo in the late

1950’s, entwining their fate with that of the country during three turbulent decades.

Nathan Price’s determination to convert the natives of the Congo to Christianity is, we

gradually discover, both foolhardy and dangerous, unsanctioned by the church

administration and doomed from the start.

RPossession by A.S. Byatt (Fiction), 576 pages

Together with Roland Michell, a fellow academic, Maud discovers a love affair

between the two Victorian writers the pair has dedicated their lives to studying. As they

unearth the truth about the long-forgotten romance their involvement becomes

increasingly urgent and personal.

RPractical Magic by Alice Hoffman (Fiction), 304 pages

The story begins as a tale of two orphaned girls whose aunts they live with are witches

and tells about their struggles in a New England town.

RThe Things They Carried by Tim O’brien (Fiction), 149 pages

A book that many consider to be a memoir that tells the story of soldiers during the

Vietnam War and the struggles they dealt with.

RWe Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates (Fiction), 464 pages

The Mulvaneys are a happy family who have everything. After decades of marriage,

Mom and Dad are still in love and the proud parents of a brood of youngsters that

includes a star athlete, a class valedictorian, and a popular cheerleader. But, as we all

know, Eden can’t last forever.

RThe Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Fiction), 400 pages

This follows the story of Amir, the privileged son of a wealthy businessman in

Afghanistan and the son of Amir’s father’s servant, Hassan. As children the boys are

inseparable until an unspeakable event changes the nature of their relationship. Even

after Amir and his father flee to America, he remains haunted by his cowardly actions

and disloyalty.

RA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HOsseini (Fiction), 384 pages

The story covers three decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban tyranny through

the lives of two women; Mariam who is the scorned illegitimate daughter of a wealthy

businessman, forced to marry a 40-year-old man at the age of 15 and 14-year-old Laila,

an orphan who is also forced to marry Mariam’s older and cruel husband.

RWatership Down by Richard Adams (Fiction), 496 pages

The story follows a warren of Berkshire rabbits fleeing the destruction of their home by a

land developer. As they search for a safe haven, skirting danger at every turn, the reader

becomes acquainted with the band.

World Literature Classics

RAll Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot (Non-Fiction), 448 pages

Follow the true adventures of veterinarian James Herriott and his charming comrades as

he traverses the Yorkshire dales in the 1930’s attending to the ailing animals that he

loved so dearly.

RAnd then There Were None by Agatha Christie (Fiction), 272 pages

Considered the best mystery novel ever written by many readers, this is the story of 10

strangers, each lured to Indian Island by a mysterious host. Once his guests have arrived,

the host accuses each person of murder. Unable to leave the island, the guests begin to

share their darkest secrets—until they begin to die.

RBless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya (Fiction), 304 pages

Set in New Mexico, Antonio is torn between his father’s cowboy side of the family who

ride on theIiano and his mother’s village and farming relations. His life is forever altered

when his aunt comes to live with the family.

RBrave New World by Aldous Huxley (Fiction), 288 pages

“Community, Identity, Stability” is the motto of this utopian World State. Here everyone

consumes daily grams of soma, to fight depression, babies are born in laboratories, and

the most popular form of entertainment is a “Feelie,” a movie that stimulates the senses

of sight, hearing, and touch. Though there is no violence and everyone is provided for,

Bernard Marx feels something is missing and senses his relationship with a young

woman has the potential to be much more.

RCat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood (Fiction), 480 pages

When Elaine Risley returns to her Toronto for a show of her paintings, she finds more

than critical acclaim. Local streets, long-gone landmarks, and elements in the paintings

themselves trigger memories of her transient childhood traveling across Canada with her

father; of adolescence marred by the cruel teasing of three friends; and love affairs with

her first art teacher and mentor, and with Jon, her first husband.

RDr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Lewis Stevenson (Fiction), 144 pages

What would you do if you could drink an elixir that removes all guilt from your mind for

a few hours and allows you to partake in things that you normally would never dream

of? This novel gives us a glimpse of what could happen.

REmma by Jane Austen (Fiction), 512 pages

It is the story of a seemingly perfect young woman who, while attempting to play match-

maker for other people, finds true love herself with an unlikely character.

RThe English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (Fiction), 320 pages

This is the story of the entanglement of four damaged lives in an Italian monastery as

World War II ends. Each is haunted by the riddle of the English patient, the nameless,

burn victim who lies in an upstairs room.

RFrankenstein by Mary Shelley (Fiction), 352 pages

Dr. Frankenstein uses the body parts of dead people to create life. The monster he creates

is horrifying to him. The two try to hunt and kill each other.

RMilagro Beanfield War by John Nichols (Fiction). 464 pages

The peace-loving agrarians of Milagro find themselves oppressed by the city slickers and

suits who draw up water-compacts and grazing regulations. Slowly, but certainly,

they’re being squeezed off their ancestral lands, having their bucolic lifestyle eroded by

the landed, the government, and the wealthy.

RNectar in the Sieve by Kamala Markandaya (Fiction), 208 pages

This is the very moving story of a peasant woman in a primitive village in India whose

whole life was a gallant and persistent battle to care for those she loved.

ROne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Fiction), 448 pages

This tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo

through the history of the Buendia family.

RRemains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (Fiction) 128 pages

Stevens is a perfect English butler who tries to give his narrow existence form and

meaning through self-effacing, almost mystical practice of his profession. In a career

that spans World War II, he is oblivious of the real life that goes on around him.

RSiddartha by Hermann Hesse (Fiction), 112 pages

Siddartha’s life takes him on a journey toward enlightenment. Meeting Gotama, the

Buddha, he comes to feel this is not the right path and begins his journey again.

RThe Stranger by Albert Camus (Fiction), 124 pages

A young Algerian, afflicted with a sort of aimless inertia, becomes embroiled in the petty

intrigues a local pimp and, somewhat inexplicably, ends up killing a man. It is the story

of what happens after.

RThings Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (Fiction), 224 pages

The story depicts the rise and fall of a Nigerian whose sense of manliness is more akin to

that of his warrior ancestors than to that of his fellow tribesmen who have converted to

Christianity and are appeasing the British who infiltrate their village.

RTill We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis (Fiction), 324 pages

This is the tale of two princesses – one beautiful and one unattractive – and the struggle

between sacred and profane love.

RWuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (Fiction), 432 pages

This is the romantic tale of the tormented relationship between Heathcliff and Cathy.

RJane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (Fiction), 624 pages

A woman of virtuous integrity, keen intellect, and tireless perseverance breaks through

class barriers to win equal stature with the man she loves.

R1984 by George Orwell (Fiction), 268 pages

In a grim city and a terrifying country, where ‘Big Brother’ is always watching you

and the Thought Police can practically read your mind, Winston is a man in grave danger

for the simple reason that his memory still functions.

RA Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man by James Joyce (Fiction), 256 pages

Joyce’s semi-autobiographical first novel follows Stephen Dedalus, a sensitive and

creative youth who rebels against his family, his education, and his country by

committing himself to the artist’s life.

American Literature Classics

RThe Age of Innocence by Edith Warton (Fiction), 352 pages

Newland Archer, of a wealthy New York family, has become engaged to pretty, naïve

May. But as he tries to get their wedding date moved up, he becomes acquainted with

May’s exotic cousin, Countess Olenska, who has returned home after dumping her

cheating count husband. At first, the two are friends, but then they become something


RThe Awakening by Kate Chopin (Fiction), 192 pages

The story focuses on 28-year-old Edna Pontellier’s life. Struggling to fulfill her role as

mother and wife as dictated by Southern society, she engages in an affair with a younger


RA Death in the Family by James Agee (Fiction), 320 pages

A novel about a family’s reaction to the accidental death of the father.

RGrapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (Fiction), 464 pages

The Joads and thousands of others are driven out of Oklahoma by drought and the

Depression. It is the story of their struggle during this difficult time in American history.

RInvisible Man by Ralph Ellison (Fiction), 608 pages

The narrator of the novel is expelled from his Southern Black college for inadvertently

showing a white trustee the reality of black life in the south. It is the story of his search

for truth.

RA Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain (Fiction), 184 pages

It is the tale of Hank Morgan, a resident of 19th century Hartford Connecticut who is

inexplicably transported to the early medieval England of King Arthur.

RMy Antonia by Willa Cather (Fiction), 336 pages

This is the story of two young people, Jim and Antonia. They meet for the first time

when Jim is 10 and Antonia is 14. Separated and then reunited, it is the story of the

forging of a friendship and unconditional love that time will not diminish.

ROn the Road by Jack Kerouak (Fiction), 304 pages

A writer holed up in a room at his aunt’s house decides to “hit the road and see America.”

It is the story of his adventures and travels as he hitchhikes across America.

RThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (Fiction), 288 pages

It is the coming-of-age novel about a 17-year-old prep school student named Holden

Caulfield who relates his lonely, life-changing twenty–hour stay in New York City as he

experiences the phoniness of the adult world while dealing with his own personal issues.

RThe Optimist’s Daughter by Eudoa Welty (Fiction), 180 pages

The optimist is 71-year-old Judge McKelva who has come to a New Orleans hospital

complaining of vision problems. It is the story of how he, his daughter, and his wife deal

with the challenge.

RA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (Fiction), 528 pages

Francie Nolan, an avid reader, has much to ponder in Brooklyn. She grows up with a

sweet, tragic father, a severely realistic mother, and an aunt who gives likes the attention

of men. It is the story of her life with these characters while growing up in Brooklyn,

New York.

RWise Blood by Flannery O’Conner (Fiction), 232 pages

It is a comedy with a fierce, Old Testament soul. It is the story of a man named Hazel

who does his best to avoid Jesus but continues to be mistaken for a preacher. It is the

story of his adventures as he finally gives in to the preacher mode.

Adolescent Literature Classics

RAmandine by Adele Griffin (Fiction) 208 pages

When Amandine asks Delia if she would like to see her drawings of “the ugliest things I

ever saw in my entire life,” Delia can’t resist. Repulsed by the sick and twisted images,

she is nonetheless drawn by her personality. Hungry for friendship, the Delia is drawn

into Amandine’s odd world.

RBreathing Underwater by Alex Finn (Fiction), 272 pages

A 16-year-old, who is considered perfect by his classmates, suffers a turbulent home life

with an abusive father, and he himself follows the pattern of violence.

RCut by Patricia McCormick (Fiction), 160 pages

Burdened with the pressure of believing she is responsible for her brother’s illness, 15-

year-old Callie begins a course of self-destruction that lands her in a psychiatric hospital.

It is her story of coming to grips with her dysfunctional family and the role they played in

her brother’s health crisis.

RDamage by A.M. Jenkins (Fiction), 192 pages

Austin Reid is a star of his high school football team and dates the prettiest girl in the

school. Everything would seem to be going great for him; yet, at its core, this novel is

about Austin’s depression.

RFeed by M.T. Anderson (Fiction), 320 pages

This satire is set in a future world where television and computers are connected directly

into people’s brains when they are babies. The result is a chillingly recognizable

consumer society where empty-headed kids are driven by fashion, shopping, and silly


RThe First Part Last by Angela Johnson (Fiction), 144 pages

This is the story of a 16-old-father and how he deals with the situation.

RFlipped by Wendelin Van Draanen (Fiction), 224 pages

Juli devoutly believes in three things: the sanctity of trees, the wholesomeness of the eggs

she collects from her backyard chickens, and that someday she will kiss Bryce Loski.

This is her story.

RThe Gospel According to Larry by Janet Tashijian (Fiction), 246 pages

Josh is bright and in love with Beth, the girl next door. Afraid to declare his love, he

pours his energy into a clever Web site, through which his alter ego, Larry, gives advice

and opinions. Beth loves Larry as well as people across the nation. This creates a new

problem for Josh, how to tell her that he is Larry.

RMiracle Boys by Jacqueline Woodson (Fiction), 144 pages

This is the story of three brothers who overcome seemingly insurmountable odds.

RSometimes I think I hear My Name by Avi (Fiction), 144 pages

It wasn’t that 13-year-old Conrad didn’t like living with his aunt and uncle. It’s just that

he missed his father and his mother. This is the story of the strangest week in his life

where important questions were answered.

RTouching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen (Fiction), 320 pages

Cole Matthews is a violent teen offender convicted of viciously beating a classmate.

Cole elects to participate in Circle Justice, an alternative sentencing program based on

traditional Native American practices that results in his being banished to a remote

Alaskan Island where he is left to survive for a year.

RTrue Confessions of a Heartless Girl (Fiction), 224 pages

This is the story of a pregnant teen from a small Canadian town who finds help and

comfort from the community.

Fantasy/Science Fiction

RThe Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (Fiction), 288 pages

Starting in the far-flung future of 1999, expedition after expedition leaves Earth to

investigate Mars. The Martians guard their mysteries well, but they are decimated by the

diseases that arrive with the rockets. Colonists appear, most with ideas no more lofty

than starting a hot-dog stand, and with no respect for the culture they’ve displaced.

RA Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (Fiction), 192 pages

This is the tale of an awkward boy who becomes a wizard’s apprentice and is fated to do

great things.

RCrystal Cave by Mary Stewart (Fiction), 512 pages

Born the bastard son of a Welsh princess, Myridden Emrys - - or as he would later be

known, Merlin - - leads a perilous childhood, haunted by portents and visions. But

destiny has great plans for this no-man’s-son, taking him from prophesying before the

High King Vortigern to the crowning of Uther Pendragon…and the conception of Arthur

- - king for once and always.

RDragon Flight by Ann McCaffrey (Fiction), 320 pages

The planet Pern has been colonized for centuries by humans. When they first settled,

they did not take notice of its sister planet with dangerous “threads.” To combat this

menace, the people developed a species of dragon that could destroy the “threads.” The

dragons and their riders are needed once again.

R Eater by Gregory Benford (Fiction), 400 pages

This is the story of a group of scientists who take a journey to a black hole to stop it from

destroying earth.

RThe Fountain Trilogy by Isaac Asimov (Fiction), ??? pages

RI Am Mordred by Nancy Springer (Fiction), 192 pages

The young King Arthur has a child with his half sister and names him Mordred who is

fated to destroy King Arthur. It is the story of the 15-year-old Mordred and the

fulfillment of his destiny.

RPastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card

(Fiction), 416 pages

Tagiri and Hassan are members of Pastwatch, an academic organization that uses

machines to see into the past and record it. Their project focuses on slavery and its

dreadful effects and gradually evolves into a study of Christopher Columbus. They go on

a quest to discover what drove Columbus West and fix the problems they believe he


RSlaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut (Fiction), 288 pages

The reader is introduced to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is

abducted by aliens. The reader follows Pilgrim simultaneously through all of the phases

of his difficult life.

RThief of Time by Terry Pratchett (Fiction), 384 pages

A mysterious lady wants time-obsessed Jeremy Clockson to build a totally accurate glass

clock that will trap time and stop it, eliminating humanity’s irritating unpredictability.

RWicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

(Fiction), 560 pages

The story of the Wicked Witch of the west from the movie, The Wizard of Oz.

RThe Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (Fiction), 416 pages

Tolkien’s inspiration for The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

True Crime

RThe Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed

America by Erik Larson (Non-fiction), 447 pages

Not long after jack the Ripper killed in the streets of 1888 London, H.H. Holmes

murdered, pretending to be a doctor, between 27-200 people, mostly single young

women, in the churning new metropolis of Chicago; many of the murders occurred

during the city’s finest moment, the World’s Fair of 1893.

RIn Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Non-fiction), 368 pages

Two two-time losers living in a lonely house in western Kansas are out to make the heist

of their life, but when things don’t go as planned, the robbery turns ugly and the well-

respected and unsuspecting family of four are viciously murdered. This is a book with a

real-life look into murder, prison, and the criminal mind.


RI Am the Central Park Jogger by Trisha Meili (Autobiography), 288 pages

In April of 1989, a young woman was brutally assaulted and raped while jogging in New

York’s Central Park. The attack captured headlines around the world as the anonymous

“Central Park Jogger” fought to recover from massive injuries that left her near death.

Fourteen years later, Trisha broke her silence to discuss the incident in her own words and reveal who she was before the attack and who she became as a result of it.

RMy Grandfather’s Son by Clarence Thomas (Autobiography), 320 pages

The true story of how Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas overcame extreme

poverty, racism in the South, and many other issues to become the only currently sitting,

black member of the court.

RInto the Wild by Jon Krakauer (Biography), 224 pages

After graduating from Emory University in Atlanta in 1992, top student and athlete

Christopher Mcandless abandoned his possessions, gave his entire $24,000 savings

account to charity and hitchhiked to Alaska where he went to live in the wilderness. Four

months later, he turned up dead. His diary, letters and two notes found at a remote

campsite tell of his desperate effort to survive, apparently stranded by an injury and

slowly starving.

RD-day June 6, 1944 by Stephen Ambrose (Non-fiction), 656 pages

The true story behind D-day and the inspiration for the book and HBO series, Band of


RCitizen Soldiers by Stephen Ambrose (Non-fiction), 528 pages

The true story of the American troops march from D-day to the end of the war.

RBeyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters by Major Dick

Winters (Memoir), 320 pages

Major Winters was the man in charge of Easy Company, the company portrayed by HBO

entitled Band of Brothers. This is his personal account as he fought from D-day to the

end of World War II.

RThe Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley (Non-fiction), 528 pages

Malcolm X’s memoir tells the story of his life.

RAlmost a Woman by Esmeralda Santiago (Non-fiction), 336 pages

The story of a teenage Puerto Rican girl growing up in New York City.

RThe Blood of Strangers: Stories from Emergency Medicine by Frank Hulyer (Non-

Fiction), 176 pages

Hulyer invites the reader behind the drape as he recounts his personal journey from his

first days as a medical student in gross anatomy lab through the harder, lonelier days of

his internship and residency before he finally stepped into the coveted role of attending

physician, vested with full authority.

RComing of Age with Elephants: A Memoir by Joyce Poole (Memoir), 336 pages

This is Poole’s reflection of her time in Africa studying the elephant.

RDon’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexander Fuller (Non-

fiction), 336 pages

This is Fuller’s account of growing up as white farmers living in Zimbabwe.

RFast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser (Non-

Fiction), 356 pages

This is a detailed research project into the fast food industry. It appears to be marketed as

an expose detailing how fast food makes you fat and ruins the world but it is a thorough

fact based description of all aspects of the industry.

RHamlet’s Dresser: A Memoir by Bob Smith (Memoir), 288 pages

This is the story of Bob smith’s life and the overcoming of several challenges.

RIn These Girls, Hope is a Muscle by Madeleine Blais (Non-fiction), 272 pages

They were a talented team with a near-perfect record but a reputation for choking in the

crunch of the state playoffs. Finally, after five straight years of disappointments, the

Lady Hurricanes found they just might have what it took to go all the way.

RInto Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer

(Non-fiction), 368 pages

In March 1996, Outside magazine sent veteran journalist and seasoned climber Jon

Krakauer on an expedition led by celebrated Everest guide Rob Hall. Despite the

expertise of Hall and the other leaders, by the end of the climb, eight people were dead.

RInventions by Design: How Engineers Get From Thought to Things by Henry Petroski

(Non-fiction), 256 pages

The author has done much to make the nerdy world of engineering interesting and

accessible to the reader as he focuses on the process of invention.

RMaiden Voyage by Tania Aebe (Non-fiction), 304 pages

This is the story of an 18-year-old New York City girl and her exciting solo

circumnavigation of the globe on a 26-foot sloop with only a car for company.

ROn Writing by Stephen King (Memoir), 320 pages

This is a combination of “how to write” according to Stephen King as well as how he

became a writer.

ROne Writer’s Beginnings by Eudore Welty (Non-fiction), 128 pages

The author reflects on her years as a writer as well as offers insight in the art of writing.

RProfiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy (Non-fiction), 272 pages

In 1954-1955 a freshman U.S. Senator from Massachusetts wrote a book profiling eight

of his historical Senatorial colleagues, such men as John Quincy Adams, Sam Houston,

and Robert A. Taft. Instead of focusing on their storied careers, JFK chose to illustrate

their acts of integrity, when they stood alone against tremendous political and social

pressure for what they felt was right.

RA Time to Stand by Walter Lord (Non-fiction), 271 pages

The true story of the Alamo and the men who fought there.

RA Night to Remember by Walter Lord (Non-fiction), 208 pages

The true story of the sinking of the Titanic as recalled by its survivors.

RDay of Infamy by Walter Lord (Non-fiction), 256 pages

The true story of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Challenge List

RMoby Dick by Herman Melville (Fiction), 720 pages

This is the story of Captain Ahab who goes mad searching for a giant whale.

RTale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (Fiction), 416 pages

This is the story of the French Revolution and the time of terror and treason, starving

people rising in frenzy and hate to overthrow a corrupt and decadent regime that resulted.

RThe Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemmingway (Fiction), 256 pages

This is the story of Jake Barnes and Brett, and an English woman he adores, and their

relationship while in Spain during the running of the bulls.

RAnna Karinna by Leo Tolstoy (Fiction), 864 pages

This is the story of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and

the dashing officer, Count Vronsky, and the tragedy that unfolds.

RAngela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt (Memoir), 368 pages

The true account of a young Irish boy growing up first in America and then in Ireland and

the terrible life that he and his family lived.

ROne Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexsander Solzhenitsyn (Fiction),

176 pages

This is the story of a typical day of the titular character’s life in a labor camp in Siberia.

RTess of the D’urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (Fiction), 336 pages

This is the story of a ne’er-do-well and the exploits of his gentle daughter’s beauty for

social advancement and the effects on her life.

RWalden by Henry David Thoreau (Non-fiction), 156 pages

This is the account of two years spent by Thoreau living at Walden Pond. The story is

detailed accounts of his day-to-day activities, observations, and undertakings to survive

out in the wilderness for two years. It is an account of a man seeking to live a more

simple life by living in harmony with nature.

RA Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemmingway (Fiction), 336 pages

This is the story of Lieutenant Henry, an American, and Catherine Barkley, a British

nurse and their affair during World War I.

RThe Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (Fiction), 336 pages

This is the story of the dissolution of the Compsons, one of those august old

Mississippi families that fell on hard times and wild eccentricity after the Civil


RThe Turn of the Screw by Henry James (Fiction), 142 pages

This is the tale of psychological horror as the governess struggles – and ultimately fails –

to protect the children from the “corruption” that only she can conceive of…but cannot

name. It provides a shocking glimpse into the ultimate source of evil…the human mind.

þ Please note that this list is not set in stone. If you have a book that you would like to add to the list feel free to bring it to me. I will review it and let you know. Do not read a book that is not on the list or that I have not approved.

*summaries for the books were provided by

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