Fate

We can call it destiny; we can call it providence; we can even call it the will of the gods. Whatever words we use, the idea that the events in our lives are beyond our control is powerful — which explains why so many authors, past and present, have used the ever-relevant idea of fate to communicate rich lessons about humanity.

Publication year 2011Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Historical Fiction, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, History: U.S., Cold War

Publication year 2003Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Identity: Mental Health, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Relationships

Acceleration (2003) is a young adult novel by Graham McNamee. Narrated in the first person, it tells the story of 17-year-old Duncan as he learns of a potential serial killer in his city and his attempt to stop him. It examines themes of guilt, forgiveness, mental health, poverty, and more. Plot SummaryThe story opens with 17-year-old Duncan working a two-month stint at a lost and found, his boss being a quiet man named Jacob. The... Read Acceleration Summary


Publication year 1896Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Fate, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Lyric Poem

Publication year 1980Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags Humor

John Kennedy Toole’s novel A Confederacy of Dunces was written in the 1960s but only published years after the author’s death. It depicts the adventures of Ignatius J. Reilly, an academic but lazy man who, at age 30, lives with his mother in New Orleans in the early 1960s. Forced to find a job, he encounters a string of colorful characters endemic to the city of the time.The novel begins outside the D. H. Holmes... Read A Confederacy of Dunces Summary


Publication year 1933Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Identity: Masculinity, Values/Ideas: FateTags Classic Fiction, Health / Medicine

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: Teams, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Fantasy, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Class

Publication year 1947Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Identity: Language, Society: Colonialism, Values/Ideas: FateTags Trauma / Abuse / Violence

“A Distant Episode,” a modernist short story by Paul Bowles, was first published in 1947 in The Partisan Review. It was one of Bowles’s first published works of fiction. The story follows an unnamed professor of linguistics as he undergoes a horrifying experience while travelling in the remote interior of Algeria.Paul Bowles was born in 1910 and grew up in New York City. He had already developed a reputation as an up-and-coming composer and music... Read A Distant Episode Summary


Publication year -1Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Values/Ideas: FateTags Mythology, Narrative / Epic Poem, Ancient Rome, Italian Literature

An epic poem composed by the Roman poet Virgil between the years of 29 and 19 BCE, the Aeneid represents one of the most important and influential works in Western literature. It centers on the story of Aeneas, a refugee from the Trojan War who was fated to found the Roman nation in Italy. This guide refers to the Oxford World Classic’s edition of the Aeneid, translated by Frederick Ahl. All study guide citations refer... Read Aeneid Summary


Publication year 1955Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Fate, Society: Class, Society: Colonialism, Society: Politics & Government, Society: War, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Allegory / Fable / Parable, Classic Fiction, Historical Fiction, WWI / World War I, Military / War

Publication year 2024Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Identity: Femininity, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Marriage, Self Discovery, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Fantasy, Romance, Mythology, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Gender / Feminism

Publication year 458Genre Play, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Classic Fiction, Mythology, Fantasy, Play: Tragedy

Agamemnon is an Attic tragedy—a work of the fifth century BCE in Athens—composed by Aeschylus (circa 525-circa 456 BCE). The play was first performed at the City Dionysia in 458 BCE. Agamemnon was the first part of the Oresteia, Aeschylus’s trilogy on the murder of Agamemnon and its grisly aftermath. It was followed by the tragedies Libation Bearers and Eumenides, which also survived, and by a satyr play titled Proteus, which was lost. The play... Read Agamemnon Summary


Publication year 1838Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Society: Class, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: LonelinessTags Classic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Russian Literature

A Hero of Our Time is a classic work of Russian literature written by Mikhail Lermontov and published in 1840. It exemplifies the “superfluous man” trope common in later Russian literature, in which a person of great talent and genius is unable to express these talents healthily due to personal and societal circumstances of some kind. The novel was highly influential for its critique of tsarist Russian society and for its iconic antihero, who came... Read A Hero Of Our Time Summary


Publication year 1961Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Life/Time: Birth, Identity: Mental Health, Life/Time: Aging, Life/Time: The Past, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: Midlife, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Marriage, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Society: Class, Society: Colonialism, Society: Community, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Literature, Society: EconomicsTags Historical Fiction, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Poverty, Finance / Money / Wealth, Depression / Suicide, Class, Colonialism / Postcolonialism, Indian Literature

A House for Mr. Biswas is a 1961 novel by V. S. Naipaul. The story takes a postcolonial perspective of the life of a Hindu Indian man in British-owned and occupied Trinidad. Now regarded as one of Naipaul's most significant novels, A House for Mr. Biswas has won numerous awards and has been adapted as a musical, a radio drama, and a television show. This guide is written using an eBook version of the 2001... Read A House for Mr. Biswas Summary


Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Classic Fiction, Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Ancient Greece

Ajax is an ancient Athenian tragedy by Sophocles. Its production date, the festival at which it was first presented, and the other tragedies performed alongside it remain unknown, but it is believed to be among Sophocles’s earlier plays, possibly from the 440s BC. The narrative retells a story from Trojan war mythology concerning the suicide of the hero Ajax and its aftermath, exploring the hero’s excesses, reversals of fortune, and social bonds.This study guide refers... Read Ajax Summary


Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Play: Tragedy, Ancient Greece

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: The Future, Life/Time: The Past, Relationships: Family, Self Discovery, Society: Community, Society: Nation, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Society: Immigration, Values/Ideas: FateTags Historical Fiction, Gender / Feminism, Class, Immigration / Refugee, Latin American Literature

Publication year 2013Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: HopeTags Poverty

A Long Way Home is a 2013 memoir by Saroo Brierley, an Indian-born author who was accidentally separated from his biological family at the age of five and adopted by an Australian couple. The memoir traces Saroo’s remarkable journey from India to Australia and back again 25 years later. The book inspired the 2016 film Lion and became a New York Times Best Seller after the film’s release. This guide refers to the 2015 edition published... Read A Long Way Home Summary


Publication year 2024Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Identity: Race, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: The Past, Natural World: Flora/plants, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: MusicTags Romance, Harlem Renaissance

Publication year 1931Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Identity: DisabilityTags Disability

At around 1,000 words, “A Man Who Had No Eyes” by American author MacKinlay Kantor (born Benjamin MacKinlay Kantor) can be considered an example of flash fiction. The short story was first published in The Monitor in 1931. It is one of Kantor’s early works of fiction and is markedly different from his later works of historical fiction, which earned him literary fame. Kantor was best known for his prolific novels, many of which are... Read A Man Who Had No Eyes Summary


Publication year 1997Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: FateTags Historical Fiction, American Literature, Relationships

American Pastoral (1997) by Philip Roth examines in detail one man’s quest for the American dream and the fragility of the entire enterprise. Roth, one of the most critically acclaimed novelists of the 20th century, focuses his narrative microscope through the eyes of Nathan Zuckerman, his literary alter ego from whose perspective he has written 10 other novels, including Zuckerman Unbound (1981), The Anatomy Lesson (1983), and The Human Stain (2000). Roth has won virtually... Read American Pastoral Summary


Publication year 2017Genre Poem, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Life/Time: The Future, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: FearTags Lyric Poem, Race / Racism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Black Lives Matter, African American Literature

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

Ancillary Justice, published in 2013, is author Ann Leckie’s first novel; Leckie previously published short fiction in various science fiction magazines. Leckie’s first installment of the Imperial Radch trilogy, continued in Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy, won numerous science fiction awards for best novel of the year and became the first book to win the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke awards. Ancillary Justice was nominated for other awards, including the James Tiptree, Jr. Award... Read Ancillary Justice Summary


Publication year 1939Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Life/Time: The Past, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Identity: Gender, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Femininity, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Society: ColonialismTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Modernism

Published in 1939, And Then There Were None is a mystery novel by Agatha Christie, best-selling novelist of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. With over 100 million copies sold, And Then There Were None is the world’s best-selling crime novel as well as one of the best-selling books of all time. It has had more adaptations than any other work by Agatha Christie, including television programs, films, radio broadcasts, and most... Read And Then There Were None Summary


Publication year 2010Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: FateTags Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Poverty, Addiction / Substance Abuse

Author Laura Schroff’s 2012 New York Times bestseller An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny recounts a fateful meeting between two vastly different individuals: Maurice, a young boy living in poverty and a broken home, and Schroff, a successful ad executive enjoying a fast-paced career. In the memoir, the author posits that an invisible thread joins their lives. It is beyond her... Read An Invisible Thread Summary


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Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags Classic Fiction, Ancient Greece, Mythology, Play: Drama, Play: Tragedy

Sophocles, one of the three great ancient Greek tragedians, premiered Antigone in Athens circa 441 BCE. The Classical Greek theater tradition to which this play belongs began in Athens in the sixth century B.C.E. with the performance of plays in dramatic competitions at yearly religious festivals. The forms of comedy and tragedy, first developed in plays such as Antigone, have lasting influence on theater today. This study guide uses the 2003 Oxford University Press edition... Read Antigone Summary


Publication year 1607Genre Play, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Femininity, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Classic Fiction, Play: Tragedy, Play: Historical, Romance

Antony and Cleopatra is a play by William Shakespeare that was first performed in 1607. The plot centers around the romantic affair between a Roman general, Mark Antony, and the Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra. Shakespeare had previously written the tragedy Julius Caesar in 1599 and this play continues to follow the history of Rome’s transformation from a republic into an empire. Antony and Cleopatra is one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies, portraying the downfall of... Read Antony and Cleopatra Summary


Publication year 1989Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: FateTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Historical Fiction

John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989) is the novelist’s seventh and best-selling novel to date. Through a series of flashbacks, it tells the story of an unusually small boy with a strange voice named Owen Meany who believes himself to be specially chosen by God. Narrated by John Wheelwright, Owen’s best friend, the narrative alternates between the past—which begins in 1950s New Hampshire and extends to the late 1960s—and the present, Toronto in... Read A Prayer for Owen Meany Summary


Publication year 1644Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Philosophy

As an epigram, Milton quotes Euripides, who wrote: “This is true liberty, when free-born men, having the advise the public, may speak free, which he who can, and will, deserves high praise; who neither can, nor will, may hold his peace; what can be juster in a state than this?” (337). Milton explains that addressing Parliament in the name of the “public good” (337) is no small feat and that any person in this position... Read Areopagitica Summary


Publication year 1903Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: FateTags Classic Fiction, American Literature

“A Retrieved Reformation,” by prolific American short story writer O. Henry, was first published as “A Retrieved Reform” in The Cosmopolitan in 1903. The story is an example of Realism, a literary movement popular in the US and Europe in the years between the end of the American Civil War and the early 20th century. Realism explores the everyday lives of ordinary people, using detailed descriptions and colloquial dialogue. Events in “A Retrieved Reformation” are... Read A Retrieved Reformation Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Self DiscoveryTags Fantasy, Romance, New Adult

Publication year 1997Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Self Discovery, Society: Community, Society: Education, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Humor, Philosophy, Post Modernism, American Literature

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again is a 1997 essay collection by David Foster Wallace. The seven essays explore 1990s US social issues through subjects such as television, tennis, and (in the most famous essay) a Caribbean cruise. The essays have been referenced many times in popular culture, particularly the title essay, which recounts Wallace’s experiences on a cruise.This guide references the 1998 Abacus edition of the collection.SummaryIn the first essay, “Derivative Sport... Read A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again Summary


Publication year 1859Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: FateTags British Literature, Historical Fiction, Victorian Period, Classic Fiction

A Tale of Two Cities, published in 1859, is a historical drama written by Charles Dickens. The backdrop of the novel takes place in London and Paris prior to the French Revolution. The novel, told in three parts, has been adapted into numerous productions for film, theater, radio, and television.In 1775, a banker named Jarvis Lorry travels to Dover, where he meets a young, half-French woman named Lucie Manette. Together, the pair travel to Paris... Read A Tale of Two Cities Summary


Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Self Discovery, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Fantasy, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Magical Realism

Publication year 1897Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Relationships: Marriage, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Society: Class

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Space & The Universe, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Place, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Teams, Identity: Femininity, Identity: Gender, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Sexuality, Society: ClassTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Mythology, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Historical Fiction, Gender / Feminism

Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Relationships: Mothers, Values/Ideas: FateTags Fantasy, Romance, Mythology

Publication year 1939Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Fate, Life/Time: The Past, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Irish Literature, Humor, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Fairy Tale / Folklore, Satire, Arts / Culture, Class, British Literature

Publication year 1968Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Fate, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Fantasy, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

First published in 1968, Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea follows Ged, a young man in training to be a wizard, as he embarks on a necessary journey of self-discovery and self-mastery. It is the first in a series of six novels aimed at young-adult readers. The novel has won numerous awards and is regarded as a classic of young adult fantasy literature. Set over the course of several years, the novel follows... Read A Wizard of Earthsea Summary


Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags Bullying

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver is a young adult novel about redemption, written in 2010. Following her death in a car accident, high school senior Sam Kingston wakes the next morning to find that she’s reliving the same day—February 12, or Cupid Day. She juggles the complexities of bullying, blossoming sexuality, self-confidence, and self-sacrifice after reliving the same day seven times. Through this experience, she reconnects with her family and friends, but mostly with... Read Before I Fall Summary


Publication year 1943Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Philosophy, Existentialism, French Literature, Absurdism

Being and Nothingness: An Essay in Phenomenological Ontology (1943) by Jean-Paul Sartre is a foundational text for the philosophical movement of existentialism. Sartre, a 20th-century writer and philosopher, wrote Being and Nothingness while in a prisoner of war camp during World War II. Being and Nothingness addresses theories of consciousness, nothingness, self-identity, essences, and freedom. Sartre’s work builds upon a legacy of existentialist theories while defining and shaping them into a comprehensive ideology. He challenges... Read Being and Nothingness Summary


Publication year 2004Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Inspirational, Action / Adventure, Travel Literature, Animals, Arts / Culture, Philosophy, Relationships, Religion / Spirituality, Science / Nature, Music, Sports

Between a Rock and a Hard Place is a 2004 adventure and survival memoir by American mountain climber Aron Ralston. The narrative focuses on Ralston’s near-death experience when his arm became stuck under a boulder in a canyon in Utah, where he remained trapped for five days until he amputated his arm. Dealing with profound existential themes, the book garnered critical acclaim and became a New York Times bestseller. A 2010 film adaptation titled 127... Read Between a Rock and a Hard Place Summary


Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Values/Ideas: FateTags Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages

Publication year 1920Genre Play, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Siblings, Values/Ideas: FateTags American Literature, Play: Tragedy

Eugene O’Neill’s Beyond the Horizon is a play that centers on the disaster that befalls two brothers when they choose to fight against their own natures. Realizing that they both love the same woman, each brother ends up pursuing the dream of the other with dire consequences.Written in 1918, Beyond the Horizon was O’Neill’s first full-length work to be produced, although it wasn’t published and first performed until 1920, the same year that it won... Read Beyond the Horizon Summary


Publication year 2010Genre Graphic Novel/Book, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Values/Ideas: FameTags Humor, Realistic Fiction

Publication year 2004Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: The Past, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Flora/plants, Natural World: Place, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Historical Fiction, Magical Realism

Published in 2004, Alice Hoffman’s novel Blackbird House chronicles a house on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and its inhabitants over a 200-year span. The story, which invokes elements of magical realism, begins during the War of 1812 and ends in the present day. Shifting between first-person and third-person point-of-view, the novel delves into the themes of Love as Motivation, Resilience Resulting from Adversity, and The Power of Place in Shaping Lives.This guide refers to the 2005... Read Blackbird House Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Values/Ideas: Fate, Society: ClassTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Southern Literature, Race / Racism, Poverty

Publication year 1985Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Western, Historical Fiction, American Literature

Blood Meridian, a 1985 novel by Cormac McCarthy, is one of the most celebrated works of modern American literature. The novel was inspired by people and events of the mid-19th century in the borderlands of the United States and Mexico. McCarthy’s works have won many honors including the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize. Blood Meridian is often considered his greatest novel. This guide uses an eBook version of the 1992 First Vintage International edition... Read Blood Meridian Summary


Publication year 1982Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Place, Life/Time: The Past, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: NostalgiaTags Travel Literature, Action / Adventure, History: U.S., Race / Racism

Blue Highways: A Journey into America (1982) is an autobiographical travelogue by American historian William Least Heat-Moon. The trip in question—a 13,000-mile circuit around the States—began in 1978, the book’s title deriving from out-of-the-way routes drawn in blue on an old road atlas. The author-narrator researches local history of the areas visited and interviews the many people he meets. Heat-Moon spent the subsequent years composing and revising the manuscript, and after a few rejections, it... Read Blue Highways: A Journey into America Summary


Publication year 2016Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Joy, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Midlife, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Friendship, Self Discovery, Society: Community, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Music, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Music, Arts / Culture, Mental Illness, Social Justice

Publication year 1990Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Class, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Relationships: FamilyTags Lyric Poem, Arts / Culture, Climate Change

Publication year 2007Genre Novel, FictionThemes Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: Joy, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: New AgeTags Religion / Spirituality, Philosophy, Travel Literature

Publication year 2003Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: BeautyTags September 11 Attacks

The chief protagonist of Brick Lane was born in an East Pakistan village in 1967, prior to Bangladesh Liberation War. In 1971, the nation won its independence only to suffer through a devastating famine and political turmoil marked by a succession of military coups. The narrative mostly takes place in 2001, concerning events in a Muslim immigrant community in London before and after the World Trade Center tragedy. In this span of a woman’s life... Read Brick Lane Summary


Publication year 1944Genre Play, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags French Literature, Philosophy, Play: Drama, Existentialism, Absurdism

Publication year 2016Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Self Discovery, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: JoyTags Inspirational, Philosophy

Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work, written by Dave Isay with Maya Millett and published in 2016, is a collection of brief, first-person narratives about the value and meaning of work. These stories were collected through the oral history project of StoryCorps, a nonprofit organization that records, archives, and shares stories of life in America. StoryCorps and its founder and president, Dave Isay, have received many grants and awards for the organization’s work, including... Read Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work Summary


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Publication year 1759Genre Novella, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Satire, Philosophy, Science / Nature, French Literature

Candide, or Optimism was first published in 1759 by the French writer Voltaire (born Francois-Marie Arouet in 1694, died in 1778). The most famous and widely read work published by Voltaire, Candide is a satire that critiques contemporary philosophy, and specifically Leibnizian optimism, which posited the doctrine of the best of all possible worlds. Along with other French contemporaries, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Denis Diderot, and Montesquieu, Voltaire published at the height of the French... Read Candide Summary


Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: LonelinessTags Fantasy, Romance, Parody, LGBTQ, Class, Education, Love / Sexuality

Published in 2015, Rainbow Rowell’s young-adult fantasy novel Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a spinoff of her young-adult novel Fangirl (2013) and the first book of the Simon Snow trilogy.Carry On, which was awarded a place on the Rainbow Project Book List in 2016, examines themes of love, power, and free will. Simon Snow is the Chosen One of a magical world. During his eighth and final year at the... Read Carry On Summary


Publication year 1999Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags Travel Literature

Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam is a 1999 nonfiction book by Andrew X. Pham. Pham’s other books include The Eaves of Heaven: A Life in Three Wars and The Theory of Flight. He is a recipient of the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Award, the Whiting Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.Plot SummaryPham, an American citizen, decides to take a cycling trip to Vietnam in a search for identity. It... Read Catfish And Mandala Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Society: CommunityTags Fantasy, Romance, Historical Fiction, LGBTQ, Gender / Feminism, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Publication year 1952Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: Aging, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Fate, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Natural World: Animals, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: GratitudeTags Classic Fiction, Allegory / Fable / Parable, Children's Literature, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Animals

Charlotte’s Web was written by E. B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams, and first published in 1952. It is considered a quintessential American children’s fiction novel and has been adapted into two films (1973, 2006) and a stage musical. Over the years, Charlotte’s Web has been awarded the Newbery Honor Award for children’s books, the George C. Stone Center for Children’s Books Recognition of Merit Award, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and the Massachusetts Children’s... Read Charlotte's Web Summary


Publication year 1973Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Southern Gothic

Child of God (1973) is the third novel by American Pulitzer Prize–winning author Cormac McCarthy. Like McCarthy’s first two novels, Child of God is a Gothic horror set in Appalachia. The story follows the deterioration of 27-year-old Lester Ballard after he is violently dispossessed of his family farm and becomes a serial killer. Through Lester’s extreme isolation and moral corruption, McCarthy explores the themes of Fate in a World Without Grace, The Violence Inherent to... Read Child of God Summary


Publication year 1998Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: Fate, Natural World: Animals, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Natural World: PlaceTags Western, Historical Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Post-War Era

Cities of the Plain is a 1998 novel by American author Cormac McCarthy. The novel is the final entry in a trilogy that began with All the Pretty Horses, followed by The Crossing. The protagonists from each of the previous novels return for Cities of the Plain. This guide uses an eBook version of the 1998 Knopf edition of the novel.Plot SummaryJohn Grady Cole (the protagonist of All the Pretty Horses) and Billy Parham (the... Read Cities of the Plain Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Identity: Femininity, Relationships: Family, Society: Politics & Government, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Mythology, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Gender / Feminism

Publication year 524Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags Self Help, Italian Literature, Ancient Rome

The Consolation of Philosophy by Roman senator and philosopher Boethius is considered the last great philosophical work of the classical era and one of the foundational texts of medieval Christian thought. Anicius Boethius (c. 477-524 CE) was a philosopher and statesman in late Roman times, acting as advisor to the Gothic king Theodoric. Around 523, he was convicted of conspiracy and treason and sentenced to death. While in prison, and prior to his trial, he... Read Consolation Of Philosophy Summary


Publication year 1936Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Fate, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Poverty, Class, Indian Literature, Realism

Since its publication in 1936, Mulk Raj Anand’s novel Coolie has become a landmark in modern Indian literature. The novel condemned the social, economic, and cultural impact of more than two centuries of British occupation and indicted India’s own rigid caste system, which had long separated its citizens into groups based on their work status and their ethnicity. The novel appeared at the height of a turbulent decade in which India itself, under the moral... Read Coolie Summary


Publication year 1933Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Relationships: Mothers, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & PrideTags Race / Racism, Social Justice

Publication year 1981Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Fate, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Relationships: FamilyTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Animals

Cujo, a horror-thriller novel first published in 1981, is the 10th novel by the American “King of Horror,” Stephen King. It was inspired by a trip the author took to a mechanic in rural Maine whose St. Bernard nearly attacked King. Cujo received several accolades upon its release and won the British Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1982. It was adapted into a film of the same name in 1983.The citations in this study... Read Cujo Summary


Publication year 170Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: FateTags Classic Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology, Romance, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome

Content Warning: The source text and study guide both contain references to suicide.“Cupid and Psyche” is a story from the ancient Roman novel The Metamorphoses (also known as The Golden Ass) by Apuleius, written around 160 CE. The story describes the love between Cupid, the god of love, and Psyche (pronounced SY-kee), a young woman, and the trials they undergo as the result of human and divine meddling.Although the legend of Cupid and Psyche was... Read Cupid and Psyche Summary


Publication year 1998Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Identity: FemininityTags Latin American Literature, Historical Fiction, Love / Sexuality

Daughter of Fortune, first published in Spanish in 1998 (Hija de la fortuna), is the fifth novel by celebrated Latin American writer Isabel Allende. The winner of multiple awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Chile’s National Literature Prize, Allende created this work of historical fiction, in part, to explore the impact of feminism on her own life. Daughter of Fortune tells the story of a young woman, Eliza Sommers, and her odyssey of... Read Daughter Of Fortune Summary


Publication year 1960Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Society: WarTags Historical Fiction, WWII / World War II, Holocaust, Military / War, Relationships

Publication year 2004Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Values/Ideas: Fate, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Realistic Fiction, Grief / Death

Publication year 1992Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Gender, Identity: Femininity, Identity: Sexuality, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: The Past, Life/Time: The Future, Natural World: Place, Relationships: Marriage, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & Government, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Action / Adventure, History: European, Health / Medicine

Publication year 1969Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Fate, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

Originally serialized in Galaxy magazine, Dune Messiah (1969) is the sequel to Frank Herbert’s epic science fiction novel Dune (1965) and the second novel in Herbert’s six-book Dune Chronicles series. Taking place in the distant future, the novel continues the saga of Paul Atreides, a powerful messianic figure who overcame a plot against his family to become Emperor of the Known Universe. As Paul endeavors to ensure the survival of humanity across the galaxy, the... Read Dune Messiah Summary


Publication year 1992Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Art, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Life/Time: The Future, Life/Time: The Past, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Space & The Universe, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Historical Fiction, Philosophy, Science / Nature

Einstein’s Dreams (1993) by Alan Lightman is a best-selling novel that explores the intersection of art and science, and the nature of time. The novel imagines the dreams of a fictionalized version of Albert Einstein to explain various theories about time, leading up to Einstein’s 1905 theory of special relativity, which he formed while working as a patent clerk and starting a family in Berne, Switzerland.Each chapter of the novel features a dream that exemplifies... Read Einstein's Dreams Summary


Publication year 450Genre Play, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Fate, Relationships: Siblings, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Grief / Death, Ancient Greece

Publication year 1911Genre Novella, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Identity: Gender, Society: ClassTags American Literature, Classic Fiction, Historical Fiction

Ethan Frome, first published in 1911, is a novella by American writer Edith Wharton. Wharton’s work, which most often concerned the lives of America’s Gilded Age elite, is usually classified as social realism or even naturalism, a realist subgenre that depicted human life and society through a determinist lens. Although Ethan Frome’s focus on rural, working-class life was unusual for Wharton, its themes and tone reflect this naturalist influence. The novel has become a staple... Read Ethan Frome Summary


Publication year 1847Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Romance

Publication year 2019Genre Short Story Collection, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: ForgivenessTags Chinese Literature, Asian Literature, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

Ted Chiang’s Exhalation is a collection of nine science fiction short stories. Published in 2019, the stories feature time travel, robots, artificial intelligences, and human beings grappling with an everchanging world. Seven of the nine stories appeared in previous publications, going on to win multiple Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. Through the science fiction genre, Exhalation explores forgiveness, parenting, technology ethics, free will, and climate change. This is Ted Chiang’s second collection, following Stories of... Read Exhalation Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Disability, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Fate

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Fate, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Fantasy, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

Publication year 2007Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Place, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Historical Fiction, American Literature, September 11 Attacks

Falling Man is a 2007 novel by American author Don DeLillo. The novel explores the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. This guide uses an eBook version of the 2011 Picador edition of Falling Man.Plot SummaryOn September 11, 2001, a group of 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacks commercial passenger planes and attempt to crash them into American landmarks. In addition to one plane that crashed... Read Falling Man Summary


Publication year 1874Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Romance, Classic Fiction, Victorian Period, British Literature

Far from the Madding Crowd is Thomas Hardy’s fourth novel, originally published in 1874 as a serial for Cornhill Magazine. Hardy was a Victorian poet and novelist writing in the Realist tradition. The novel is the first to be set in Hardy’s Wessex, a fictitious region of England modeled after his own Dorset and named after the early Saxon kingdom in the same region. Like much of Hardy’s work, the novel explores rural, Victorian-era English... Read Far From The Madding Crowd Summary


Publication year 2015Genre Play, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: LiteratureTags American Civil War

Publication year 1952Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Space & The Universe, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy

Publication year 1941Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: Aging, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Lyric Poem, The Lost Generation

Four Quartets is a collection of four poems by T.S. Eliot. The four pieces were originally published between 1934 and 1942, during a period of time in which Eliot’s life was disrupted by the events of World War II. They were then collected into a single volume in 1943. The poems are linked loosely by theme; all of them are about the relationship between people and the divine. At the time of its publication, several of... Read Four Quartets Summary


Publication year 1985Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Society: Class, Society: Economics, Society: War, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Natural World: Nurture v. NatureTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Humor, Post Modernism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Finance / Money / Wealth, Anthropology

Galapagos is a 1985 novel by American author Kurt Vonnegut. The novel’s narrator is the long-dead Leon Trout, a ghost who watched the evolution of humanity of the course of a million years. The story explores the themes Nature Versus Nurture, Pacifism, and Regret.This guide uses an eBook version of the 1985 Dial Press edition.Content Warning: This novel depicts explicit acts of violence and refers to death by suicide.Plot SummaryLeon Trout, the story’s narrator, is... Read Galapagos Summary


Publication year 1989Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: FateTags American Literature, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

Geek Love is a 1989 novel by Katherine Dunn. The novel is structured as a memoir written by Olympia “Oly” Binewski, an albino hunchback dwarf, as she chronicles the bizarre story of her family of carnival freaks. Her parents, Aloysius “Al” and Lillian “Lil, Lily, or Crystal Lil” Binewski, had sought to prop up their faltering traveling carnival by breeding their own children into freaks through the prenatal use of illicit drugs, poison, and radiation. The eldest living child, Arturo, nicknamed... Read Geek Love Summary


Publication year 1979Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Life/Time: Aging, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: The Past, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Environment, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Music, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Identity: Gender, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Femininity, Identity: Sexuality, Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: Marriage, Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Siblings, Relationships: Teams, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction

Publication year 1939Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, The Lost Generation

Published in 1939, Good Morning, Midnight is a semiautobiographical work written by Jean Rhys. A writer of Creole and Welsh descent, Rhys lived in the British West Indies before traveling to England to study. She married and traveled throughout Europe with her first husband, a journalist of French origin. This marriage ended in divorce. Sasha Jensen, the narrator of Good Morning, Midnight, also leaves London to follow her husband Enno. They eventually settle in Paris... Read Good Morning, Midnight Summary


Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Fantasy, British Literature

Good Omens, The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman is a darkly comic novel originally published in 1990. It is a satirical imagining of the Biblical apocalypse featuring angels, demons, humans, and the hosts of Heaven and Hell.Pratchett is well known for his ˙comic fantasy Discworld series, which spans 41 books. Gaiman is the author of, among other titles, Stardust, American Gods, and the graphic novel series... Read Good Omens Summary


Publication year 1898Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Self Discovery, Society: Class, Society: Community, Society: Education, Society: NationTags Classic Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Class, Finance / Money / Wealth, Education, History: World, Social Justice

“Gooseberries,” by Russian author Anton Chekhov, is a short story that uses symbolism, subtlety, irony, and keen observation of human behavior to explore themes of the quest for happiness, the meaning of life, social expectations, privilege, and social equality. Written in mid-1898, the story is the second in what was later referred to as The Little Trilogy, together with “The Man in the Case” and “About Love.” All three stories explore the definitions of happiness... Read Gooseberries Summary


Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Friendship, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: FateTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Gwendy’s Button Box is a horror fantasy novella written by the American authors Stephen King and Richard Chizmar. It is the first in a trilogy and was published in 2018. The novel follows Gwendy Peterson, a young and awkward middle school student, whose life changes when she becomes the guardian of a magical button box that has the potential for extreme good and extreme destruction. The novella explores themes such as Fate Versus Free Will... Read Gwendy's Button Box Summary


Publication year 1998Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: Fate, Society: Community, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: FameTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Children's Literature

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a 1998 young adult fantasy novel by J.K. Rowling, the second in the Harry Potter series. The story follows Harry’s tumultuous second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, including an encounter with Voldemort, the wizard who killed Harry’s parents. Against this fantastic backdrop, Rowling examines such themes as death, fame, friendship, choice, and prejudice. Upon release, the novel became a worldwide bestseller and won several... Read Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets Summary


Publication year 2016Genre Play, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: GuiltTags Fantasy, Play: Drama, Action / Adventure, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (2016) is a two-part play written by Jack Thorne, based on an original story collaboratively created by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Thorne himself. Set in the universe of the Harry Potter books penned by J. K. Rowling, the play follows events occurring 19 years after the epilogue of the seventh book; the story revolves around Albus Potter, the second son and middle child of Harry Potter, and... Read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Summary


Publication year 2007Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: RevengeTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the seventh installment in the record-breaking Harry Potter series and the highly-anticipated conclusion of the boy wizard’s story. Since the publication of the first Harry Potter novel in 1997, the series has sold over 500 million copies, and Harry Potter has become the best-selling fantasy series of all time. Released 10 years after the initial publication of the first Harry Potter book, The Deathly Hallows takes place during... Read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Summary


Publication year 1997Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Natural World: Nurture v. Nature, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Children's Literature

Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Fantasy, Romance, Fairy Tale / Folklore, Class, Grief / Death, Love / Sexuality, Relationships

Heartless, first published in 2016, is a contemporary fantasy Young Adult novel by Marissa Meyer. Meyer is best known for her dystopian sci-fi YA series The Lunar Chronicles, inspired by fairy tales such as Cinderella and Snow White. Set in a fantasy world, Heartless imagines the backstory of Lewis Carroll’s iconic character the Queen of Hearts from the 1876 novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This guide utilizes the Feiwel and Friends hardcover edition, published in... Read Heartless Summary


Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & AngerTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Ancient Greece, Classical Period, Grief / Death, History: European, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Fate, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Classic Fiction, Mythology, Play: Tragedy

Publication year -416Genre Play, FictionThemes Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Ancient Greece, Classical Period

Publication year 1598Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: Sexuality, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: FateTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Mythology, Renaissance, Love / Sexuality

Hero and Leander is an epyllion (brief epic) by 16th-century English poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe. It can also be described as a mythological-erotic poem, one of a number of such poems that were published in England around this time, including Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis. The poem is based on the ancient Greek story of two tragic lovers. The exact date of composition is not known but the poem was published in 1598, five years... Read Hero and Leander Summary


Publication year 428Genre Play, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Identity: Sexuality, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Ancient Greece, Classical Period

Hippolytus is a tragedy by Euripides, originally produced in Athens at the City Dionysia of 428 BCE. The tetralogy to which Hippolytus belonged earned Euripides the first prize that year. According to ancient authorities, this was Euripides’s second attempt at a play on the myth of Hippolytus, his earlier play having apparently horrified contemporary Athenians with its allegedly sensational depiction of Phaedra. Euripides’s original Hippolytus no longer survives, but the revised play quickly came to... Read Hippolytus Summary


Publication year -1Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags History: European

Herodotus, “the Father of History,” researched and wrote the Histories in the middle of the 5th century BCE. Composed in the Ionic dialect of ancient Greek, this expansive account of the Greco-Persian war that occurred during the first two decades of the 5th century is the first prose masterpiece in European literature. The work traces the conflict between the Greek city-states and the Persian empire from its origins in the conquest of the Hellenic settlements... Read Histories Summary


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Publication year 1998Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Relationships: Friendship, Life/Time: The PastTags Action / Adventure, Realistic Fiction

Louis Sachar’s 1998 children’s novel, Holes, tells the story of a boy accused of stealing. A judge sentences him to 18 months in a camp where a tyrannical warden has the boys digging holes that appear random. Holes was awarded the 1998 National Book Award and the 1999 Newbery Medal, and was adapted into a film by Disney.Plot SummaryStanley Yelnats IV is a 14-year-old boy whose family claims it is cursed due to his “no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather”... Read Holes Summary


Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Grief / Death

Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Aging, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Place, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Grandparents, Self Discovery, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Magical Realism, Fantasy, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Published in 2016, Hour of the Bees is a young adult magical realism novel by Lindsay Eagar. Set in contemporary New Mexico, the story follows 12-year-old Carol as she spends the summer on her grandfather’s sheep ranch, helping her family prepare it for sale and helping care for her grandfather, who has dementia. However, her grandfather’s stories of the land’s magic and history cause her to fall in love with it. Hour of the Bees... Read Hour of the Bees Summary


Publication year 1980Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Values/Ideas: FateTags Modern Classic Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, American Literature

Housekeeping (1980) is a novel by Marilynne Robinson that follows the upbringing of two sisters, Ruthie and Lucille Stone, in Fingerbone, Idaho, in the 1950s. This is the first novel by Marilynne Robinson. It was awarded the PEN/Hemingway Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, an award the author later won for her novel Gilead (2004). Beyond Housekeeping, Robinson is most known for Gilead (2004) and Home (2008). Housekeeping, which has been named... Read Housekeeping Summary


Publication year 1968Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Natural World: Place, Natural World: Animals, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Society: Colonialism, Society: Community, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & Government, Society: War, Emotions/Behavior: MemoryTags Historical Fiction, Classic Fiction, American Literature, Addiction / Substance Abuse, Social Justice

The novel House Made of Dawn, by N. Scott Momaday, was first published in 1968. Heralded as a major landmark in the emergence of Indigenous American literature, the novel won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. House Made of Dawn blends fictional and nonfictional elements to depict life on an Indigenous American reservation like the one where Momaday grew up.This guide uses an eBook version of the 2018 First Harper Perennial Modern Classics (50th Anniversary)... Read House Made of Dawn Summary


Publication year 1891Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Nurture v. Nature, Society: Economics, Natural World: Environment, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Lyric Poem, Grief / Death, Business / Economics

Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Published in 2011, I Let You Go is Clare Mackintosh’s debut novel. In 2016 it won Theakson’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. That same year, the French translation won Best International Novel at the Cognac Festival Prix du Polar Awards. In 2017, publisher Little, Brown said it had sold more than one million copies. Mackintosh spent 12 years in the police force before becoming a writer. She has said that a real-life... Read I Let You Go Summary


Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Art, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Life/Time: Aging, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Identity: Sexuality, Life/Time: The Past, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Siblings, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Win & LoseTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Magical Realism, Romance, Realistic Fiction, LGBTQ, Grief / Death, Love / Sexuality

I’ll Give You the Sun (2015) is an award-winning novel penned by Jandy Nelson about relationships, art, and destiny. It follows the story of twins Noah and Jude Sweetwine who once shared a close relationship but find themselves barely speaking to each other two years after their mother’s death.Jandy Nelson is an American author who writes young adult fiction. I’ll Give You the Sun is her second novel, which won numerous awards and honors, including... Read I'll Give You the Sun Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Relationships: FriendshipTags Romance

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Fate, Relationships: Family, Relationships: FriendshipTags Romance, Magical Realism

Publication year 1983Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate

Published in 1983, Ironweed is the third entry in William Kennedy’s cycle of historical fiction set in Albany, New York; it garnered critical acclaim and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as well as the National Book Critics Circle Award. The novel details a few days in the life of Francis Phelan, a drifter long estranged from his family, upon his return to Albany in 1938, taking his story as a chance... Read Ironweed Summary


Publication year 2002Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Music, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: FateTags Asian Literature, Japanese Literature

A coming-of-age story that raises many questions about concepts such as good and evil, reality, time, and memory, Kafka on the Shore describes the journey of a fifteen year-old run-away, Kafka Tamura, from his home in Tokyo to the shores of Takamatsu. Kafka flees home because his father, a famous—but violent—sculptor, cursed him: he will kill his father and sleep with his mother and sister. Kafka’s mother fled with his older sister when Kafka was... Read Kafka on the Shore Summary


Publication year 1978Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Relationships: Friendship, Society: Community, Society: Education, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Drama / Tragedy, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 1980Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: FateTags Lyric Poem

Publication year 1979Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Life/Time: The Past, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: FateTags Historical Fiction, African American Literature, Afrofuturism, American Literature, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

The 1979 novel Kindred was written by Octavia E. Butler, a Black author from California who wrote science fiction that challenged white hegemony. The novel tells the story of Edana “Dana” Franklin, a young Black woman in 1976 whose connection to a young white boy named Rufus Weylin allows her to time travel to 1800s Maryland. As she jumps between 1976 and the 1800s, she learns how she and Rufus are connected, and she must survive... Read Kindred Summary


Publication year 1953Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: FateTags Classic Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology, Fairy Tale / Folklore, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 1944Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Identity: Race, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Race / Racism, African American Literature, Existentialism

American author Ralph Ellison (1914-1994) wrote “King of the Bingo Game” in 1944. The short story was originally published in the New York literary journal Tomorrow in November 1944 and is widely considered a precursor to his classic novel Invisible Man (1953). Ellison was an important figure in the Harlem Renaissance and is considered one of the most important American authors of the 20th century. Invisible Man won a National Book Award in 1953, and... Read King of the Bingo Game Summary


Publication year 1819Genre Poem, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Love / Sexuality

Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Identity: Femininity, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Sexuality, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Place, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Marriage, Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Siblings, Self Discovery, Society: Community, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology, Military / War

Publication year 1924Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Society: WarTags Lyric Poem, Mythology, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Love / Sexuality

Publication year 1990Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Values/Ideas: Fate, Natural World: PlaceTags Lyric Poem

Publication year -1Genre Collection of Letters, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Values/Ideas: FateTags Philosophy, Ancient Rome

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Siblings, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: FateTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Addiction / Substance Abuse

Publication year 1887Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Classic Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Humor

Publication year 2021Genre Graphic Novel/Book, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Gender, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Fantasy, Romance, Mythology, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2007Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Fate, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Emotions/Behavior: LonelinessTags Romance, Realistic Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Jerry Spinelli’s beloved free-spirited character from his eponymously titled 2000 young adult novel, Stargirl, returns in this companion work Love, Stargirl (2007). Writing the “World’s Longest Letter” to her ex-boyfriend, Leo, 16-year-old Stargirl chronicles her new life in Pennsylvania. Lonely and emotionally wounded by Leo’s rejection, Stargirl struggles to regain her confidence. Over the course of a year, Stargirl forms lasting friendships, falls for charismatic bad boy, Perry, and learns important lessons about self-worth and... Read Love, Stargirl Summary


Publication year 1731Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Classic Fiction, French Literature

Manon Lescaut, written by Abbé Antoine Francois Prévost and published in 1731, is perhaps best described as a novella. Originally just a small piece of Prévost’s seven-volume work, Memoirs and Adventures of a Man of Quality, it quickly became very popular and is now Prévost’s most well-known work. Memoirs is a fictional autobiography of Monsieur de Renoncour, who introduces Manon Lescaut, which is in turn narrated by the protagonist of the story, the Chevalier Des... Read Manon Lescaut Summary


Publication year 1909Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Society: Education, Self Discovery, Society: CommunityTags Historical Fiction, Auto/Biographical Fiction, American Literature, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Arts / Culture, Class, Depression / Suicide, Education, Finance / Money / Wealth, Philosophy, Politics / Government, Poverty, Relationships, History: U.S.

Martin Eden is a 1909 novel by American author Jack London. Known for his stories of adventure and use of naturalism and realism, London authored more than 50 books, including Call of the Wild and White Fang, before his untimely death at age 40. London wrote Martin Eden at the height of his literary career, inspired by his own disillusionment with fame and literary critics. Although the protagonist’s individualist principles are at odds with London’s... Read Martin Eden Summary


Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Literature, Life/Time: The Future, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Self DiscoveryTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Romance, Arts / Culture

Matched is a science fiction novel for young adults by best-selling author Ally Condie. Published in 2010, it is the first novel in the Matched trilogy. It was followed by Crossed in 2011 and Reached in 2012. Matched was a critical and commercial success—as were the other two books in the trilogy. It was a New York Times bestseller and named one of the best children’s books of the year by Publisher’s Weekly. The Young... Read Matched Summary


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Publication year 1986Genre Graphic Novel/Book, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: FateTags History: World, WWII / World War II, Holocaust, History: European, Post Modernism

Maus by Art Spiegelman is the first graphic novel to win the Pulitzer Prize. It originally ran in Spiegelman’s Raw magazine between 1980 and 1991 before receiving mainstream attention as two collected volumes, Maus I in 1986 and Maus II in 1991. This guide is based on the 1996 complete edition. This historic memoir interlaces two narratives, one of Spiegelman’s Jewish father as he survives World War II Poland and the Auschwitz concentration camp, and... Read Maus Summary


Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Marriage, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: FateTags Romance, Realistic Fiction

Publication year 180Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Philosophy, Ancient Rome

Meditations is a collection of prose philosophical reflections and exercises composed in Koine Greek by Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who lived from 121-180 and ruled from 161-180. Though the precise dating of his compositions is unknown and they are not believed to be presented in chronological order, at least some of the books were written while he was on military campaign in the north of Europe during his reign. Scholars are generally in consensus that... Read Meditations Summary


Publication year 1641Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Philosophy, Age of Enlightenment, Religion / Spirituality

Meditations on First Philosophy is a philosophical treatise by René Descartes. Originally published in Latin in 1641, the text would go on to influence European and global philosophical traditions. In this work, Descartes argues for the existence of God and the immortality of the soul. Two of its major contributions to philosophy are mind/body dualism and the famous phrase “I think, therefore, I am.” The book comprises six meditations wherein Descartes seeks to doubt all... Read Meditations on First Philosophy Summary


Publication year 2001Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Society: Class, Society: Colonialism, Society: Community, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Technology, Class

Publication year 1998Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Values/Ideas: Fate

In writing Mother to Mother, Sindiwe Magona drew inspiration from a real event: the murder of a white American named Amy Biehl by young black men in 1990s South Africa. The crime caused shockwaves around the world, not least because Biehl herself had come to South Africa to combat apartheid—the system of segregation and discrimination that relegated black South Africans, as well as other people of color, to second-class citizenship.On the face of it, then... Read Mother to Mother Summary


Publication year 1816Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Music, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Lyric Poem, Science / Nature, Romanticism / Romantic Period

Publication year 2005Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags British Literature, Japanese Literature, Asian Literature, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

Never Let Me Go is a 2005 novel by Kazuo Ishiguro set in an alternative dystopian version of Great Britain in the 1990s in which cloning technology allows for the mass proliferation of organ donation. Medical problems like cancer are cured because organs are harvested from clones through a state-sanctioned program. The cloned “donors” have their organs taken one at a time until they die. The novel is narrated by Kathy, a clone who works... Read Never Let Me Go Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Romance, New Adult, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Love / Sexuality

Publication year 1280Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Identity: Masculinity, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Mythology, Classic Fiction, Historical Fiction

Njal’s Saga is a late medieval Icelandic family saga authored around 1280 but set around the year 1000. It combines legend and history—many of its protagonists were historical figures, and other historical sources corroborate some of the major events the saga mentions. However, the author also embellishes characters and events as he describes them in the saga.The saga recounts intermarriage, friendships, and tragic blood feuds between multiple Icelandic families who trace their ancestry back to... Read Njals Saga Summary


Publication year 1996Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Sociology

No Matter How Loud I Shout is a work of nonfiction written by Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Edward Humes and published in 1996. This work comprises the author’s ethnographical observations and participations in the Los Angeles juvenile justice system for the year of 1994. Humes asserts that the names of juveniles have been changed in accordance with state laws regarding confidentiality; however, everything else is true, and reported in the allegedly unbiased style of 1990s investigative journalism... Read No Matter How Loud I Shout Summary


Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate

Norse Mythology is a 2017 collection of short stories by British author Neil Gaiman. The stories are retellings of tales from ancient Norse mythology, presented mostly in retrospect by an unnamed narrator. Through frequent addresses to the audience, the narration evokes the oral tradition of storytelling.In the beginning, there was nothing but darkness and fire until the creation of the nine worlds. Odin and his brothers create other beings; Odin, the all-father breathes life into... Read Norse Mythology Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: Fate, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: The Future, Life/Time: The Past, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Flora/plants, Natural World: Objects, Natural World: Place, Self Discovery, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Historical Fiction

Publication year 60Genre Play, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: FateTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology

Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: FateTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality, Ancient Greece, Classic Fiction

Sophocles’s play Oedipus Rex, first performed in the early-to-mid 400s BCE, is one of the most famous and influential tragedies left to us from the ancient Greek tradition. Based on the myth of Oedipus, whose cursed fate was to marry his mother and kill his father, the play explores themes of destiny, free will, and literal and metaphoric vision and blindness. This guide uses the 1984 Penguin edition of The Three Theban Plays, translated by... Read Oedipus Rex Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Fate, Society: Nation, Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: FearTags Historical Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Arts / Culture, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Addiction / Substance Abuse, Depression / Suicide, History: U.S., Mental Illness

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags Psychological Fiction, Natural Disaster

Published in 2010, novelist and poet Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s One Amazing Thing tells the story of nine people from diverse backgrounds who become trapped inside the visa office of the Indian Consulate after a major earthquake hits. As they wait for help to arrive, each person takes a turn telling a story from their own life, often revealing feelings or tales previously unshared. Told in third-person perspective from the point of view of each character... Read One Amazing Thing Summary


Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Midlife, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: The Future, Life/Time: The Past, Relationships: Marriage, Values/Ideas: FateTags Romance, Play: Drama, British Literature

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies

One Day in December is a romance novel by Josie Silver, told through the first-person point of view of two characters: Jack O’Mara and Laurie James. The story focuses on specific months in the characters’ lives, providing a circular narrative that encourages the reader to notice how people develop but do not necessarily change over time. A #1 New York Times bestseller, the novel was published in 2018 by Broadway Books of Crown Publishing Group... Read One Day in December Summary


Publication year 1967Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Siblings, Relationships: Family, Society: War, Values/Ideas: FateTags Magical Realism, Latin American Literature, Classic Fiction

One Hundred Years of Solitude, first published in Spanish in 1967 as Cien años de soledad, is an internationally renowned work of literature by Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez. The most highly regarded English version of the book is Gregory Rabassa’s translation, which was first published in 1970. This guide uses citations from the HarperPerennial Modern Classics Edition, which was released in 2006. García Márquez became the fourth Latin American winner of the Nobel Prize... Read One Hundred Years of Solitude Summary


Publication year 2008Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Gratitude, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Identity: Indigenous, Identity: Language, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Flora/plants, Natural World: Place, Self Discovery, Society: Colonialism, Society: Community, Society: Education, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Music, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies

Publication year 1994Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Natural World: AnimalsTags Existentialism

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Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Classic Fiction, Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Ancient Greece

Written in 458 BC by Greek playwright Aeschylus, The Oresteia is a trilogy of plays that includes Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Eumenides, as well as the lost satyr play, Proteus. The plays of The Oresteia are classic tragedies, a dramatic genre focused on the piteous and cathartic downfall of great heroes. The plays were written to be performed at the City Dionysia festival which celebrated Dionysus, god of wine and theater. The festival was... Read Oresteia Summary


Publication year 1532Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Identity: Gender, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Gender / Feminism, History: European, Love / Sexuality, Military / War, Italian Literature, Renaissance, Mental Illness

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Language, Society: Colonialism, Values/Ideas: Fate, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance, LGBTQ

Publication year 1939Genre Novella, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Fate, Society: War, Society: NationTags Historical Fiction, Health / Medicine

Pale Horse, Pale Rider is a novella written by Katherine Anne Porter. It was published in 1939, along with two other short novellas, Old Mortality and Noon Wine, under the collective title Pale Horse, Pale Rider. The story portrays two young lovers who are tragically affected by the 1918 influenza epidemic, or Spanish Flu.This guide uses an eBook version of the 2008 Library of America edition.Plot SummaryMiranda is a young female theater critic who lives... Read Pale Horse, Pale Rider Summary


Publication year 1983Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

Pet Sematary is a 1983 novel by Stephen King. It was adapted into a film in 1989 and a second film adaptation is scheduled to be released in April 2019. The book takes place in semi-rural Ludlow, Maine, a small town that Chicago doctor, Louis Creed, has just moved to with his family. Dr. Creed has taken a job at the university and moved his family against the wishes of his wife’s parents, with whom... Read Pet Sematary Summary


Publication year 1836Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Community, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Relationships: Family, Relationships: MarriageTags Classic Fiction, Victorian Period, Action / Adventure, Humor, Travel Literature, Class, History: European, Politics / Government, Social Justice, Sports

The debut novel of British author Charles Dickens, The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (commonly known as The Pickwick Papers) was first published as a series by Chapman and Hall between 1836 and 1837. The Pickwick Papers chronicles the adventures of the members of the Pickwick Club, a group of travelers who journey around England and share their experiences. Because of the original serial format of the novel, the chapters contain individual but interconnected... Read Pickwick Papers Summary


Publication year 2001Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Climate, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & PrideTags Free verse, Natural Disaster, Latin American Literature

Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Fate, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Identity: Indigenous, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: CommunityTags Poverty, Addiction / Substance Abuse, Grief / Death, Relationships

Publication year 1868Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Class, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Win & LoseTags Classic Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Historical Fiction, American Literature, Class

Ragged Dick; or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks was Horatio Alger, Jr.’s first bestselling book. Ragged Dick was serialized in 1867 in the monthly American children’s magazine, Student and Schoolmate, prior to its successful publication as a novel in 1868. The first volume in a six-volume series, Ragged Dick established Alger’s primary theme of a boy’s rise from humble beginnings to prosperity and respectability. Alger’s “rags to riches” narrative built on... Read Ragged Dick Summary