Required Reading Lists

Our Required Reading Lists Collection features poems, fiction, short stories, and other texts frequently studied in academic contexts. With texts spanning from the ancients, such as Plato, through contemporary literary giants, this well-rounded Collection represents the breadth and enduring appeal of literature and its study.

Publication year 1891Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Animals, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Natural World: EnvironmentTags Animals, Science / Nature

Publication year 1922Genre Poem, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Lyric Poem

Publication year 1710Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: ClassTags Satire

Publication year 1849Genre Poem, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Romanticism / Romantic Period, Grief / Death

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Identity: Race, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Realistic Fiction, Race / Racism, Relationships, Social Justice

Publication year 1909Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: AnimalsTags Lyric Poem

Publication year 2011Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Community, Society: EducationTags Fantasy, African Literature, Afrofuturism

Publication year 1959Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Masculinity, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, American Literature, Classic Fiction, Action / Adventure, Military / War, Relationships, History: U.S., Cold War

Alas, Babylon is a 1959 novel by Pat Frank. Written during the Cold War, it is one of the earliest post-apocalyptic novels to deal with the potential consequences of nuclear war. It examines themes of nationalism, natural selection, deterrent force, and resilience.Plot SummaryAs the novel begins, Mark Bragg sends a telegram to his brother, Randy. The telegram includes the words, “Alas, Babylon,” their code for the onset of a nuclear attack. Mark is an officer... Read Alas, Babylon Summary


Publication year 1865Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Childhood & YouthTags Fantasy, Victorian Period, Classic Fiction, Action / Adventure, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by British author Lewis Carroll (1832-1838) is a classic work of nonsense literature first published in 1865. Originally intended for children, the novel has become a perennial favorite of adults thanks to Carroll’s sophisticated wordplay and humor. Carroll’s work has influenced or inspired authors as diverse as James Joyce and Neil Gaiman, surrealist painters like Salvador Dalí, and the philosopher Gilles Deleuze. The novel has never been out of print and... Read Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland Summary


Publication year 1929Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Relationships: Friendship, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Military / War, Historical Fiction, WWI / World War I

All Quiet on the Western Front is a 1929 novel by Erich Maria Remarque which details the experiences of German soldiers at the frontlines of World War I. At the heart of the novel are graphic portrayals of trench warfare and the psychological trauma inflicted on the soldiers as a result. The novel presents a realistic portrait of a horrific war and provides unflattering accounts of the elite classes responsible for such mass destruction. The... Read All Quiet on the Western Front Summary


Publication year 1946Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Relationships: Family, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Classic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Southern Literature, Politics / Government

All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren is a fictional political novel originally published in 1946 by Harcourt Brace & Company. Robert Penn Warren was an acclaimed novelist and poet from the American South. Along with fellow Southerners Cleanth Brooks and John Crowe Ransom, he was a leading proponent of the literary critical approach known as New Criticism. His best-known novel, All the King’s Men follows the political rise and fall of Governor Willie... Read All the King's Men Summary


Publication year 1998Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Life/Time: Mortality & Death

Publication year 1921Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Nation, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Lyric Poem, Harlem Renaissance, Race / Racism

Publication year 2006Genre Graphic Novel/Book, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: ImmigrationTags Allegory / Fable / Parable, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Bullying, Race / Racism, History: Asian, Immigration / Refugee, Chinese Literature

American Born Chinese is a graphic novel published in 2006 by the American author and illustrator Gene Luen Yang. Through three interweaving stories that span from the 16th century to the present, the novel explores issues of Chinese American identity, anti-Asian racism, and assimilation. American Born Chinese is the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award. The novel also won both the Printz Award from the American Library Association and the... Read American Born Chinese Summary


Publication year 1893Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: NationTags Lyric Poem, Inspirational, American Literature

Publication year 1595Genre Play, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags British Literature, Play: Comedy / Satire, Fantasy, Fairy Tale / Folklore, Arts / Culture, Love / Sexuality, Relationships, Animals

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedic play by William Shakespeare that was likely first written and performed around 1600. The first certifiably recorded performance took place in 1604. Set in the Greek city-state of Athens, the play centers on an impending marriage. Before the wedding, the characters find themselves in a forest where a group of fairies manipulates and tricks them. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s most popular and most performed... Read A Midsummer Night's Dream Summary


Publication year 1990Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Life/Time: Birth, Relationships: Family, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags History: U.S., Health / Medicine, Gender / Feminism, Women's Studies (Nonfiction)

A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on her Diary, 1785-1812 is a 1990 nonfiction biography of midwife Martha Ballard by American historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Using Martha Ballard’s diary as a primary source, Ulrich utilizes a microhistorical approach to evaluate the life of Ballard, the history of Maine’s Kennebec River region, and the themes of social medicine, women’s role in the economy, and religion’s place in everyday life. A Midwife’s Tale won... Read A Midwife's Tale Summary


Publication year 1985Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Education, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Sociology, Philosophy, Technology, Information Age, Education

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business is a nonfiction book by Neil Postman, published in 1985. Postman was a professor of education and communication at New York University with a special interest in the role of technology and media in society. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York in Fredonia and a master’s degree and doctorate from the Teachers College of Columbia University. In... Read Amusing Ourselves to Death Summary


Publication year 1957Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Business / Economics, Politics / Government, Philosophy

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: War, Relationships: MothersTags Historical Fiction, Animals, WWII / World War II

Publication year 1895Genre Play, FictionThemes Relationships: Marriage, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: ArtTags Play: Comedy / Satire

An Ideal Husband is a satirical play about blackmail, politics, morality, and marriage by Victorian writer Oscar Wilde. It was first performed at the Theatre Royal in Haymarket, London, on January 3, 1895. Wilde was an acclaimed playwright in London at the time, though his imprisonment in late 1895 marked his fall from public grace. The play has since been adapted for both film and theater across the world, as have many of Wilde’s other... Read An Ideal Husband Summary


Publication year 1884Genre Poem, FictionTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Gender / Feminism, American Literature

Publication year 1920Genre Poem, FictionTags Lyric Poem, Military / War, WWI / World War I

Publication year 1916Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Art, Identity: LanguageTags Classic Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Irish Literature, Modernism

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is the 1916 debut novel by Irish author James Joyce. The novel tells the story of Stephen Dedalus, a thinly-veiled alter ego for Joyce, who embarks on a journey of artistic awakening. As a landmark novel in the history of literary modernism, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man has been hailed as one of the most important works of the 20th century and... Read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Summary


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Publication year 1914Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Classic Fiction, Irish Literature

“Araby” is a short story by Irish writer James Joyce. The story is a part of Joyce’s renowned Dubliners collection, first published in 1914, which portrays daily life in the Irish city of Dublin in the early 20th century. In “Araby,” a young boy falls in love with his friend’s sister and attempts to purchase her a gift from the Araby Bazaar. The short story has been adapted as a song and a short film... Read Araby Summary


Publication year 1929Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Identity: Femininity, Values/Ideas: Literature, Identity: SexualityTags Gender / Feminism, Philosophy

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf, first published in 1929, is a book-length essay that Woolf modeled after a series of her at the University of Cambridge. A Room of One’s Own is considered an exemplary piece of modernist criticism that questions traditional values. It examines the topic of “women and fiction”–women characters in fiction; the great women authors in English history who wrote fiction; and, more abstractly, “the fiction that is written... Read A Room of One's Own Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, History: Asian

Publication year 269Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionThemes Society: Education, Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Animals, Society: EconomicsTags Education, Science / Nature, Philosophy

A Sand County Almanac is a 1949 nonfiction book by the American naturalist and writer Aldo Leopold. The book is structured as a series of essays, beginning with Leopold’s description of a year on his farm and progressing to a series of essays on humanity’s relationship with nature, culminating in an argument for an ethical approach to the land. Published by Oxford University Press a year after Leopold’s death, the book is credited with having... Read A Sand County Almanac Summary


Publication year 1930Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Relationships: MothersTags Southern Gothic, American Literature, Classic Fiction, Grief / Death, Parenting

As I Lay Dying is a Southern Gothic novel by William Cuthbert Faulkner, which he published in 1930. The story follows a poor, rural family’s journey across Mississippi to bury their dead matriarch and is marked by dark humor and stream-of-consciousness style narration.Faulkner (1897-1962) was a writer from Oxford, Mississippi. His novels and works of short fiction, including The Sound and the Fury (1929) and As I Lay Dying (1930), earned him the Nobel Prize... Read As I Lay Dying Summary


Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Relationships: FriendshipTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction

A Simple Favor is New York Times bestselling author Darcey Bell’s debut novel. Published in 2017 by Harper, the novel was praised for its chilling portrayals of its characters and shocking plot twists, and quickly became a New York Times bestseller. Bell followed this novel in 2020 with Something She’s Not Telling Us, cementing her reputation for domestic noir psychological thrillers. In 2018, A Simple Favor was adapted into a movie starring Blake Lively and... Read A Simple Favor Summary


Publication year 2001Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Emotions/Behavior: FearTags Historical Fiction, Children's Literature, Asian Literature, Realistic Fiction, Arts / Culture, History: Asian, Poverty, American Literature

A Single Shard (2001) is an award-winning, middle-grade historical novel by Korean American author Linda Sue Park. Park has written multiple children’s books, picture books, and volumes of poetry. Some of her better-known titles include A Long Walk to Water (2010), The Thirty-Nine Clues series in nine volumes (2010), and Prairie Lotus (2020). Much of her historical fiction is based on Korean history. A Single Shard is intended for readers in grades 5 to 7... Read A Single Shard Summary


Publication year 1887Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Natural World: Place, Relationships: Teams, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Classic Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet (1887) is a detective novel about a mysterious murder in a vacant house, one man’s lifelong hunt for justice, and the powers of deduction and reason. It marks the introduction of the famed detective character Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick John Watson, along with several other characters and locations that would become important to the 56 short stories and three other novels about Holmes that followed. The... Read A Study in Scarlet Summary


Publication year 1941Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Natural World: Environment, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags Allegory / Fable / Parable, Race / Racism

Eudora Welty’s short story “A Worn Path” is considered one of the author’s finest works and a classic in the repertory of American Southern literature. First published in 1941 as a stand-alone piece in The Atlantic Monthly, it was also included in her first short story collection, A Curtain of Green and Other Stories, published that same year. The story established Welty as a notable new voice in American literature. In addition to short stories... Read A Worn Path Summary


Publication year 2005Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: WarTags Grief / Death

Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Society: Education, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Military / War, Asian Literature, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Class

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins is a middle grade/young adult coming-of-age novel about two boys—one Burmese, the other Karenni—growing up during an intense period of violence between the Burmese military and the Karenni people. The book was named an “ALA APALA Honor Book, Indies Choice Honor Book of the Year for Young Adults, ALA Top Ten Book in Best Fiction for Young Adults, [and] International Reading Association Notable Book for a Global Society [and received]... Read Bamboo People Summary


Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Relationships: Friendship, Society: Community, Relationships: Siblings, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Relationships: Family, Society: Education, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Society: Politics & Government, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Realistic Fiction, Children's Literature

Publication year 1939Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Relationships: Fathers, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Historical Fiction, American Literature

First published in Harper’s magazine in 1939, William Faulkner’s short story “Barn Burning” comments upon inheritance, loyalty, and the heavy bonds that link fathers and sons. Many of Faulkner’s writings, including his short stories and novels, are set in fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, which is based loosely upon Lafayette County. The Snopes family, who are the main characters in “Barn Burning,” appear in many of Faulkner’s other short stories and novels.The story opens in a... Read Barn Burning Summary


Publication year 1853Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: LonelinessTags American Literature, Classic Fiction

Herman Melville’s short story “Bartleby, the Scrivener” was published anonymously in 1853 to little recognition. Today it is considered a masterpiece. Some critics view “Bartleby” as a precursor to absurdist literature like Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis,” highlighting the incredibly modern nature of this mid-19th-century short story. Others read “Bartleby” as commentary on poverty and the harsh nature of menial work on Wall Street, or as an allegory for Melville’s own frustrations with writing. This guide... Read Bartleby, the Scrivener Summary


Publication year 1978Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Relationships: FamilyTags Fairy Tale / Folklore, Fantasy, Romance

Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast (1978) is author Robin McKinley’s debut novel. It’s an adaptation of the original Beauty and the Beast fairy tale written in 1740 by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, with genre elements of fantasy and romance and marketed for a middle grade readership. McKinley’s version of the story maintains an 18th-century setting while modernizing thematic explorations of outer versus inner beauty, ideals of faithfulness and selflessness... Read Beauty Summary


Publication year 1855Genre Novella, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Historical Fiction, Action / Adventure, Race / Racism

Benito Cereno is a novella by American author Herman Melville, first published in monthly periodical Putnam’s Monthly in 1855 and subsequently included in Melville’s short story collection The Piazza Tales in 1856. The story offers a fictionalized portrayal of the 1805 revolt of enslaved passengers on a Spanish ship under Captain Benito Cereno’s command. Melville drew inspiration from American Captain Amasa Delano’s memoir, A Narrative of Voyages and Travels, in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres:... Read Benito Cereno Summary


Publication year 1975Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Animals, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Lyric Poem, Relationships, Animals

Publication year 1966Genre Poem, FictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Natural World: Nurture v. Nature

Publication year 1972Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Identity: Masculinity, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Latin American Literature

Bless Me, Ultima is a novel by American author Rudolfo Anaya (1937-2020). Published in 1972 by independent Chicanx publishing house TQS Publications, it is one of the first literary accounts of Chicanx culture to attain widespread acclaim in the United States. The novel is a semi-autobiographical account based on Ayana’s experience of coming of age in post-World War II New Mexico. Anaya explores themes of the Multiplicity within Chicanx Identity, Catholicism, Innocence Versus the Power... Read Bless Me, Ultima Summary


Publication year 1978Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Natural World: ObjectsTags Science / Nature, Confessional

Publication year 1994Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure

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Publication year 2012Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Emotions/Behavior: GuiltTags History: World, Military / War

Publication year 2011Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Russian Literature

Publication year 1945Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Historical Fiction, Classic Fiction, British Literature, LGBTQ

Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred & Profane Memoirs of Captain Charles Ryder (1945) is the ninth published novel by British novelist Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh, who published under “Evelyn Waugh.” It chronicles the life and relationships of Charles Ryder, particularly his complex friendship with the aristocratic Flyte family, during the interwar period in England. The novel was an immediate success, and, despite his later dislike, Waugh referred to it as his “magnum opus.” It has been... Read Brideshead Revisited Summary


Publication year 1999Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Society: ColonialismTags Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Children's Literature, Race / Racism, Poverty, African American Literature

Bud, Not Buddy is a 1999 children’s realistic historical novel by American author Christopher Paul Curtis. Ten-year-old protagonist Bud Caldwell is an orphan living in Flint, Michigan in 1936. Four years after the death of his mother and after a series of abusive and neglectful foster homes, Bud sets out to find his father, whom he believes is the locally famous jazz musician Herman E. Calloway of Grand Rapids. Bud encounters a host of characters... Read Bud, Not Buddy Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Gratitude, Identity: Gender, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 1999Genre Poem, FictionTags Lyric Poem, Arts / Culture, Education, American Literature

Publication year 1970Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Nation, Society: War, Identity: Indigenous, Natural World: Place, Natural World: EnvironmentTags History: U.S., Military / War, Race / Racism, Politics / Government

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West, a nonfiction history by librarian and historian Dee Brown, was published in 1970 and became a widely influential bestseller. Dee Brown (full name Dorris Alexander Brown) was the author of more than 30 fiction and nonfiction books. As a librarian at the University of Illinois, he had access to the primary historical records from the late 19th century that became the main... Read Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee Summary


Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Historical Fiction, Immigration / Refugee, Vietnam War, Asian Literature

Publication year 1945Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Community, Natural World: Place, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Natural World: Environment, Relationships: FriendshipTags Historical Fiction, Classic Fiction, Arts / Culture, Anthropology, Animals, Class, Education, Philosophy, Poverty, Relationships, Science / Nature

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck was originally published in 1945. A Nobel Prize-winning writer, Steinbeck grew up in Salinas, California, which is near Monterey—the location of Cannery Row. Aside from a few years in Palo Alto, New York, and Los Angeles, Steinbeck spent most of his adult life living in Monterey County, and he drew on his personal experiences to write Cannery Row.Considered literary fiction or classic literature, Cannery Row is realistic and was written... Read Cannery Row Summary


Publication year 2013Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags Business / Economics, Politics / Government

Publication year 1888Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Win & LoseTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Sports

Publication year 2015Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Sociology, Health / Medicine, Politics / Government, Social Justice

Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs is a 2015 work of investigative nonfiction by British-Swiss author Johann Hari. Hari explores the so-called international war on drugs by looking deeply into its historical roots, its legal and social implications, and the possibility for reform. He examines addiction and the consequences of past and present drug laws across nine continents and 30,000 miles. A major focus is the criminalization and... Read Chasing the Scream Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Society: Class, Society: ColonialismTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Children of Blood and Bone (2018) by Tomi Adeyemi is a young adult fantasy novel and the first book in the Legacy of Orϊsha trilogy. Adeyemi is a Nigerian American author and creative writing coach who graduated from Harvard University with a degree in English literature. Following her graduation, she studied West African mythology in Brazil, which partly inspired her to write Children of Blood and Bone. Adeyemi also wrote Children of Blood and Bone... Read Children of Blood and Bone Summary


Publication year 2004Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: Colonialism, Society: Class, Life/Time: The Future, Life/Time: The Past, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Social Justice, Anthropology, Class, Depression / Suicide, Finance / Money / Wealth, Politics / Government, Love / Sexuality, Race / Racism, Sociology, Religion / Spirituality

Cloud Atlas is a 2004 novel by British author David Mitchell. The sprawling narrative is composed of a series of nested stories, spanning centuries into the past and the future. In addition to winning numerous literary and science fiction awards, the novel was adapted into a 2012 film of the same name. This guide uses the 2014 Sceptre edition of Cloud Atlas.Content Warning: The novel and this guide depict slavery and discuss racism, death by... Read Cloud Atlas Summary


Publication year 1999Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Society: ClassTags Sociology, Race / Racism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Poverty

Publication year 1900Genre Poem, NonfictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags History: World, History: U.S.

Publication year 400Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: BeautyTags Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature, Philosophy

Confessions, or Confessiones in the original Latin, is a book of spiritual reflection, philosophical commentary, and Biblical interpretation produced in the last century of the Western Roman Empire. Written around the year 400 CE by Saint Augustine of Hippo, a prominent Catholic bishop in the Roman province of Africa, the book is sometimes called the world’s first autobiography. Although this claim is inaccurate, Confessions has nevertheless born enormous influence on personal narrative writing in the... Read Confessions 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 1866Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Classic Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Philosophy, Poverty, Class

Crime and Punishment is a novel by Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, first published in 1866. The story charts the alienation of a student named Raskolnikov, who decides to commit the perfect crime as a way of philosophically proving his superiority over others. The novel traces the depths of his mental disintegration as he comes to grips with the psychological consequences of being a murderer.Dostoevsky is widely considered one of the world’s greatest psychological fiction writers... Read Crime and Punishment Summary


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Publication year -1Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Philosophy, Ancient Greece, Politics / Government

Crito, written by the philosopher Plato, is a dialogue between the famous philosopher Socrates and his friend Crito. This dialogue, which Plato is believed to have published shortly after 399 BCE, is set after the city of Athens has sentenced Socrates to death. Crito takes place after the events of Plato’s Apology, which details Socrates’s defense speech at his trial. Within the corpus of Plato’s many Socratic dialogues, scholars generally group Crito with Euthyphro, Apology... Read Crito Summary


Publication year 1878Genre Novella, FictionThemes Identity: Femininity, Society: Class, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Society: CommunityTags Classic Fiction, Romance, Victorian Period

Daisy Miller is a novella by Henry James, first published in Cornhill Magazine in 1878 and in book form a year later. This short piece of fiction explores the differences in class and social expectations in America and Europe, especially for young women just before the turn of the 20th century. James was a member of a prominent and wealthy American family; his education and travels to England and continental Europe allowed him to gain... Read Daisy Miller Summary


Publication year 1912Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: BeautyTags Science / Nature, African American Literature

Publication year 1633Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Values/Ideas: Win & LoseTags Lyric Poem, Grief / Death

Genre Poem, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Fathers, Society: Education, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: The Past, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: NostalgiaTags Relationships, Agriculture, Lyric Poem

Publication year 1975Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: Politics & Government, Society: ClassTags Philosophy, Incarceration, History: World, Sociology, Psychology, French Literature

Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault is a socio-political study of how power manifests in the Western penal system throughout history. Considered to be Foucault’s masterpiece, Discipline and Punish traces the history of how punishment and control were applied in Western society and how penal systems evolved to match changes in social sensibilities. Michel Foucault was a French historical philosopher and literary critic in the 20th century. Foucault’s work has... Read Discipline And Punish Summary


Publication year 1968Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Relationships: Marriage, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Life/Time: The FutureTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Science / Nature

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a 1968 novel by American science fiction author Philip K. Dick. Set in a future version of San Francisco in the aftermath of a destructive world war, the novel tells the story of Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter who makes a living by tracking down and killing human-like androids. Dick was already an established science fiction author by 1968; he won the Hugo Award for The Man in... Read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Summary


Publication year 1589Genre Play, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Classic Fiction, Elizabethan Era, Play: Tragedy

In the play Doctor Faustus, an ambitious scholar sells his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and power. Written by Christopher Marlowe, the work was first produced in 1592 in London, where it caused a sensation, influenced Shakespeare’s plays, and launched a cottage industry in books, music, and other arts about the man who risked eternal damnation for the chance to control reality.Christopher Marlowe was born in Canterbury, England, in 1564 and died... Read Doctor Faustus Summary


Publication year 1951Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Classic Fiction

“Do not go gentle into that good night” is an iconic poem by 20th-century Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, who occupied a special place in the public imagination for his magnetic readings and the revival of Romantic themes in his poetry. This poem, which appeared in his 1952 collection In Country Sleep, remains a favorite in anthologies and popular culture for its universal content and unforgettable dual refrain. “Do not go gentle into that good night” is... Read Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night Summary


Publication year 1605Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Aging, Relationships: FriendshipTags Classic Fiction, Mental Illness, Class, Philosophy, Politics / Government, Renaissance, Religion / Spirituality, Satire

Don Quixote is a novel in two parts by Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes published between 1605 and 1615. The novel portrays the life of a middle-aged Spanish man who decides to become a knight, just like the characters in the works of fiction he loves. Considered to be a foundational work of Western literature and one of the first modern novels, Don Quixote is one of the most translated books of all time. It... Read Don Quixote Summary


Publication year 2016Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Religion / Spirituality, Indian Literature

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Publication year 1897Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Identity: SexualityTags Victorian Period, British Literature, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Gothic Literature

Dracula is a gothic novel by Bram Stoker published in 1897. Stoker tells the story of the fight against the vampire Dracula in an epistolary format. The story comprises various letters, telegrams, journal entries, and newspaper articles written by the main characters. Dracula explores the classic theme of good versus evil, but the novel also illuminates the relationships between religion and reason, the East and the West, the modern age versus the old world, and... Read Dracula Summary


Publication year 1979Genre Poem, FictionThemes Life/Time: Aging, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Place, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Lyric Poem, Grief / Death

Publication year 1923Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Identity: Race, Life/Time: The FutureTags Inspirational

Publication year 2015Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Inspirational, Music, Gender / Feminism

Publication year 1914Genre Short Story Collection, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Mental Health, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Relationships: Fathers, Society: Class, Society: Colonialism, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Classic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Irish Literature

Dubliners is a collection of 15 short stories by Irish writer James Joyce. Originally published in 1914, the collection met resistance from publishers and critics due to its controversial themes and unusual portrayal of the everyday. Dubliners follows a range of people living in the titular city, often seeking some form of social or emotional transcendence without ever truly achieving it. This study guide is for the 1965 paperback edition from Penguin Modern Classics. Content... Read Dubliners Summary


Publication year 1920Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: War, Society: NationTags Military / War, Grief / Death, WWI / World War I

Among Wilfred Owen’s most famous poems, “Dulce et Decorum Est” was written in 1917 while he was in Craiglockhart War Hospital in Scotland, recovering from injuries sustained on the battlefield during World War I. The poem details the death of a soldier from chlorine gas told by another soldier who witnesses his gruesome end. Owen himself died in action on November 4, 1918 in France at the age of 25. He published only five poems... Read Dulce et Decorum est Summary


Publication year 1923Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Identity: Mental Health, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Flora/plantsTags Lyric Poem, Science / Nature

Publication year 1921Genre Poem, FictionTags History: European, Grief / Death, Modernism

Publication year 1986Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: ColonialismTags History: European, Science / Nature, Anthropology, Animals, Agriculture, History: World

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Realistic Fiction, Immigration / Refugee

Publication year 1984Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Immigration, Identity: LanguageTags Immigration / Refugee

Publication year 1979Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Immigration, Identity: RaceTags Immigration / Refugee, Colonialism / Postcolonialism

Publication year 1815Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Relationships: Marriage, Society: ClassTags Classic Fiction, Victorian Period, Romanticism / Romantic Period, British Literature, Historical Fiction, Romance, Humor, Class, Gender / Feminism, History: European, Relationships

Emma is a fiction novel published in 1815 by the English author Jane Austen. The book centers on the character development of its eponymous protagonist, a genteel young woman on a country estate who meddles in the love lives of friends and neighbors. Jane Austen was conscious that Emma’s snobbery, vanity, and meddling might make her a “heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” (Austen-Leigh, James Edward. A Memoir of Jane Austen. London:... Read Emma Summary


Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: War, Relationships: Mothers, Self Discovery, Natural World: AnimalsTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Action / Adventure, Survival Fiction, Animals

IntroductionEliot Schrefer’s coming-of-age novel Endangered was published by Scholastic in 2012 and is the first book in The Ape Quartet. Set the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the story is written for a young adult audience and is a 2012 National Book Award finalist in Young People’s Literature. The novel follows Sophie Biyoya-Ciardulli’s journey as she navigates the perils of war-torn Congo in search of her mother, protecting a young, orphaned bonobo throughout her journey... Read Endangered Summary


Publication year 2005Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Mothers, Society: ImmigrationTags Politics / Government, Social Justice, History: U.S., Immigration / Refugee

Enrique’s Journey: The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother is a best-selling nonfiction book by Sonia Nazario, an American journalist best known for her work on social justice. Originally published in 2006, the book is based on Nazario’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Enrique’s Journey” series, which was written in six parts and published in The Los Angeles Times.The book, which has been published in eight languages and adapted for young adults in... Read Enrique's Journey Summary


Publication year 2000Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Society: Immigration, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Historical Fiction, Poverty, Class

Pam Muñoz Ryan is the award-winning author of over 40 books for new readers, middle-grade students, and young adults. Esperanza Rising (2000) is one of her most popular works and was honored with the 2001 Southern California Judy Lopez Award and the 2001 Arizona Young Adult Book Award. It also became a 2001 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist. Other titles by the same author include Riding Freedom (1998), Becoming Naomi Léon (2004), Paint the... Read Esperanza Rising Summary


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 1998Genre Reference/Text Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Society: Education, Identity: LanguageTags Education

Publication year 2001Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Food, Society: Economics, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Food, Sociology, Health / Medicine, Agriculture, Business / Economics, Journalism, Politics / Government, Social Justice

IntroductionFast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal is a 2001 nonfiction book by Eric Schlosser that investigates the business practices of the American fast food industry and the associated agricultural industries that supply it. Following the precedent of Upton Sinclair’s famous 1906 work The Jungle, Schlosser provides readers with a glimpse into the questionable ethics of these large food corporations. Schlosser likewise provides brief historical accounts of fast food’s origins and traces... Read Fast Food Nation Summary


Publication year 1989Genre Poem, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: MemoryTags Lyric Poem, African American Literature

Publication year 1946Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Holocaust

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: FriendshipTags Humor, Children's Literature, Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Animals

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures is a middle-grade magical realism novel written by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K. G. Campbell, and originally published in 2013. DiCamillo is a renowned middle-grade author who also wrote Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux, among other books. Flora and Ulysses was the recipient of the John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children in 2014. It was also adapted into a... Read Flora And Ulysses Summary


Publication year 1975Genre Play, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Identity: Femininity, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Poetry: Dramatic Poem, Play: Drama, Gender / Feminism, Race / Racism

A choreopoem is a work of art that combines dance, music, and poetry. Because the medium focuses as much on nonverbal communication as the written word, choreopoems are performance pieces. Ntozake Shange originated this format in 1974, when for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf debuted in San Francisco, California. Later, the choreopoem made its Broadway debut in December 1976, a move that Shange describes as “either too big for... Read For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf Summary


Publication year 2012Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Race / Racism, History: U.S.

Publication year 2006Genre Graphic Memoir , NonfictionThemes Identity: Sexuality, Identity: Gender, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Identity: Femininity, Identity: MasculinityTags LGBTQ, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Relationships, Love / Sexuality, Parenting, Depression / Suicide, Mental Illness, Grief / Death, Gender / Feminism

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006) is a graphic novel memoir written and illustrated by underground cartoonist Alison Bechdel. The book centers on Bechdel’s relationship with her late father Bruce Allen Bechdel, who died in what she believes was a death by suicide. Fun Home is a non-linear narrative that rehashes events from Alison Bechdel’s youth and adolescence. Her memories are presented in the comic panels, overlayed with her prosaic, retrospective musings in text boxes... Read Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic Summary


Publication year 2008Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Community, Identity: LanguageTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Middle Eastern Literature

Publication year 1978Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Society: Colonialism, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Identity: Femininity, Society: CommunityTags Gender / Feminism, Colonialism / Postcolonialism, Prose poetry, Afro-Caribbean Literature

Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” was first published on June 26, 1978 in The New Yorker and was later included in Kincaid’s debut 1983 short story collection, At the Bottom of the River. According to Kincaid, her works, including “Girl,” can be considered autobiographical. Kincaid grew up on the Caribbean island of Antigua and had a strained relationship with her mother before Kincaid moved to New York City. These same cultural and familial contexts are present in... Read Girl Summary


Publication year 1971Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & AngerTags Fantasy, Mythology, Post Modernism

John Gardner’s 1971 novel Grendel is a retelling of the story of Beowulf, an Anglo-Saxon epic poem from the 6th century, from the perspective of the villain, the monster Grendel. In Grendel, the monster Grendel is an anti-hero, challenging the conventions of traditionally heroic behavior as he tries to understand the world in which he lives. In 1982, an animated Australian film adaptation of the novel called Grendel Grendel Grendel was released in major cities... Read Grendel Summary


Publication year 1726Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: Politics & Government, Self Discovery, Society: NationTags Satire, Classic Fiction, Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Travel Literature

Gulliver’s Travels is a 1726 novel written by Jonathan Swift. It is both an early English novel and a seminal satirical text in British Literature, remaining Swift’s best-known work and spawning many adaptations in both print and film. The targets of Swift’s satire range from political structures in early 18th-century England to the national rivalry between England and France during the same period. Swift also lampoons science and educational trends that lean towards more speculative... Read Gulliver's Travels Summary


Publication year 1978Genre Poem, FictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Identity: Race, Identity: Femininity, Relationships: MothersTags Free verse, Race / Racism, Gender / Feminism

Publication year 2004Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love

Publication year 1915Genre Novel, FictionTags Gender / Feminism, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Satire

Herland (1915) is the second installment of The Herland Trilogy by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, but it is typically read as a standalone novel. Gilman was an American humanist, feminist activist, and author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her most famous work is “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892), a short story that depicts the late 1800s “rest cure”: a popular treatment for women’s mental health that Gilman underwent herself. Herland follows three men—Van, Jeff, and Terry—who find... Read Herland Summary


Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Romance, Psychological Fiction

Publication year 1942Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: Joy, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Natural World: Space & The Universe

Publication year 1927Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: ApathyTags Relationships, American Literature, The Lost Generation

Ernest Hemingway’s 1927 short story “Hills Like White Elephants” was published first in the periodical transitions and then in his short story collection Men Without Women. One of his most well-known short stories, it utilizes many of the techniques that typify Hemingway’s writing, such as minimalism, direct dialogue, and indirect characterization. The story consists almost entirely of dialogue, with only sparse, sporadic narrative description. Please note that this story concerns discussions of abortion and may... Read Hills Like White Elephants Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Book, NonfictionTags Politics / Government

How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us Versus Them is a nonfiction book published in 2018 by the American philosopher and Yale University professor Jason Stanley. In it, the author discusses ten mechanisms by which fascist politicians gain and consolidate power in democratic states, potentially yielding a fascist state with an absolute leader. Drawing on examples that range from Nazi Germany to the contemporary United States, Stanley explains the appeal of fascist ideology during times... Read How Fascism Works Summary


Publication year 1926Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Self Discovery, Society: EducationTags Arts / Culture, Modernism

Publication year 2017Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Identity: Race, Identity: Sexuality, Identity: Femininity, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & PrideTags Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Race / Racism, Social Justice, Gender / Feminism

Content Warning: Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body describes and references rape and sexual violence, emotional abuse, and verbal abuse.Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body (2017) is a memoir by Roxane Gay that addresses the emotional, physical, and psychological effects of sexual assault—and how they tie into self-image. Though Gay’s memoir centers her body, food, and self-image, she also confronts society’s fatphobia—the world’s unwillingness to accept fat people as they are due to assumptions about... Read Hunger Summary


Publication year 1916Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Nation, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Modernism, Class

Publication year 1977Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Lyric Poem, Philosophy, Science / Nature, Latin American Literature, Animals

Publication year 1910Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Daughters & SonsTags Inspirational, Lyric Poem, Relationships

Publication year 1896Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Self Discovery, Natural World: Space & The Universe, Emotions/Behavior: LonelinessTags Lyric Poem, Grief / Death, Romanticism / Romantic Period, Transcendentalism, American Literature

Publication year 1919Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Grief / Death, Race / Racism, Colonialism / Postcolonialism, African American Literature, Harlem Renaissance

Publication year 1998Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Race, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Romance, Realistic Fiction, Race / Racism

If You Come Softly is a work of young adult fiction written by Jacqueline Woodson in 1998. The novel tells the story of Ellie and Jeremiah, a young couple from New York City who finds love and connection across the boundaries of race.Plot SummaryThe novel begins with a prologue where Ellie wakes from dreaming about Jeremiah. Ellie tells her mother Marion that she dreamed about Jeremiah, and Marion tells Ellie to remember what she can... Read If You Come Softly Summary


Publication year 1860Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Nation, Society: Community, Relationships: Teams, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Lyric Poem, Modernism, American Literature

Publication year 1965Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Art, Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Historical Fiction

Elizabeth Borton de Treviño’s I, Juan de Pareja is a young adult historical fiction novel published in 1965. Its complicated portrayal of slavery, art, and self-expression earned it the Newbery Medal in 1966. In 1656, Spanish Golden Age painter Diego Velázquez unveiled his newest portrait: a simple study of one of his enslaved workers entitled Portrait of Juan de Pareja. Upon viewing the painting, de Treviño was inspired to imagine the story of this man... Read I, Juan de Pareja Summary


Publication year 2008Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Identity: RaceTags Lyric Poem, Harlem Renaissance, Race / Racism, Social Justice

Publication year 1977Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Immigration / Refugee, Social Justice, American Literature

Publication year 1891Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Values/Ideas: Fame, Natural World: AnimalsTags Lyric Poem, American Literature

Publication year 1861Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Inspirational, Race / Racism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, History: U.S., African American Literature, American Civil War

The memoir Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861) is an account of the life of Harriet Ann Jacobs, who calls herself “Linda Brent” in the narrative. Written in the tradition 18th-century writer Olaudah Equiano, Jacobs’s work joins that of her American contemporaries and fellow anti-slavery activists Solomon Northrup and Frederick Douglass. It is a key text for understanding the conditions of the lives of the enslaved in the Southern United States in... Read Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Summary


Publication year 1915Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: MemoryTags Lyric Poem, Military / War

Publication year 2003Genre Novel, FictionTags Fantasy, Magical Realism, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Action / Adventure, German literature

Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart (2003) is a novel of magical realism—the story takes place in the real world, but magic figures into the plot and character development. Funke went on to write other books in the Inkworld series: Inkspell (2005), and Inkdeath (2007). A fourth, The Colour of Revenge, will be released in October 2023. A movie adaption of Inkheart, produced by Funke, was released in 2008. Inkheart has received numerous literary accolades, including the 2004... Read Inkheart Summary


Publication year 1850Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Lyric Poem, Grief / Death, Victorian Period

Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s In Memoriam AHH explores the cosmic implications of the death of a college friend (his sister’s fiancé), poet Arthur Henry Hallam, who died quite unexpectedly in 1833 at the age of 22 most likely from a cerebral hemorrhage. The poem is among the most ambitiously conceived philosophical poems in the English language and a monument to the dynamics of how Christians themselves grapple with the thorny question of mortality. The work stands... Read In Memoriam Summary


Publication year 1889Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Win & LoseTags Lyric Poem, Disability

Publication year 1926Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Equality, Identity: RaceTags Lyric Poem, Race / Racism, Civil Rights / Jim Crow, African American Literature, Harlem Renaissance, Black Arts Movement

Publication year 1807Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Emotions/Behavior: MemoryTags Lyric Poem, Romanticism / Romantic Period

Publication year 1871Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Natural World: AnimalsTags Mythology

Publication year 1943Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: War, Society: Politics & Government, Self Discovery, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courageTags Historical Fiction, Children's Literature, Action / Adventure, American Revolution

Originally published in 1943, Esther Forbes’s Johnny Tremain is a classic middle-grade historical fiction/adventure novel. After a prideful accident ends 14-year-old Johnny Tremain’s promising career as a silversmith, his search for a new trade leads to his direct involvement in the early events of the American Revolution. The novel won a Newbery Medal and explores themes of self-sacrifice, humility, and change. Citations in this study guide refer to the 2018 eBook edition released by Houghton... Read Johnny Tremain Summary


Publication year 1895Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Marriage, Society: Class, Society: Education, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Victorian Period, Classic Fiction, Class, Historical Fiction, Romance

English author Thomas Hardy published his final novel, Jude the Obscure, in 1895. Critics deemed it “immoral” and “indecent,” and it became a target of book burnings because of its critique of marriage, religion, education, and class structure. The narrative follows the tragic journey of Jude Fawley, a working-class man striving for education and love, whose aspirations are consistently thwarted by societal barriers, personal setbacks, and internal struggles.This guide refers to the e-book version of... Read Jude the Obscure Summary


Publication year 2013Genre Poem, FictionThemes Relationships: Fathers, Identity: Masculinity, Relationships: FamilyTags Race / Racism

Publication year 1928Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Marriage, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Sexuality, Identity: FemininityTags Classic Fiction, Romance, Love / Sexuality, British Literature, Modernism

Lady Chatterley’s Lover is a Modernist novel by the English writer D. H. Lawrence. It was written between 1926 and 1928, while Lawrence was living in Italy, and first published privately in 1928. Since it was considered scandalous and obscene, the novel was not widely available in America or the United Kingdom until the 1960s. The novel was controversial because of its explicit sexual content, as well as its depiction of an adulterous affair between... Read Lady Chatterley's Lover Summary


Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Fantasy, Mythology, Action / Adventure, Asian Literature

Publication year 1916Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: Language, Life/Time: The Future, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Science / Nature, Modernism

Publication year 1872Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Education, Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Lyric Poem, History: U.S., Race / Racism

Publication year 1936Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Equality, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Social Justice, African American Literature, Harlem Renaissance

Publication year 1929Genre Collection of Letters, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: BeautyTags Inspirational, Arts / Culture, Education

Letters to a Young Poet is a collection of 10 letters written by the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke to Franz Xaver Kappus, from February 1903 to December 1908. In an introduction to the book, Kappus describes how he came to begin his correspondence with Rilke. At the time, Kappus was a 19-year-old student at an Austrian military school. Though Kappus was set to become a military officer, he held aspirations of instead becoming a... Read Letters to a Young Poet Summary


Publication year 2017Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: Nation, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: JoyTags Climate Change

Publication year 2017Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Femininity, Identity: Sexuality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Identity: Gender, Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags Philosophy, Gender / Feminism, Politics / Government, Women's Studies (Nonfiction), Social Justice

Publication year 1997Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Food, Natural World: Place, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Economics, Society: Education, Society: War, Society: NationTags Science / Nature, Health / Medicine, Politics / Government, Social Justice

Publication year 2005Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Science / Nature, Education, History: World

Dava Sobel’s best-selling book Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time tells the story of the 18th-century contest to find a precise way to locate a ship at sea, the clockmaker who built the first timepiece that could do so, and his battle with the astronomers whose alternate method competed for the winning prize. Replete with sea disasters, brilliant scientists, and scheming politicians, Longitude won... Read Longitude Summary


Publication year 1976Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Lyric Poem

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Race, Identity: Mental Health, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: MusicTags Historical Fiction, Romance, Mythology, Civil Rights / Jim Crow, Grief / Death, History: World, Love / Sexuality, Military / War, Music, Race / Racism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, WWI / World War I, WWII / World War II

Publication year 2003Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Animals, Emotions/Behavior: Love

Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Society: War, Identity: FemininityTags Classic Fiction, Ancient Greece, Play: Comedy / Satire, Gender / Feminism, Politics / Government, Military / War

Lysistrata (411 BCE) was written by the best-known Greek comic poet, the Athenian playwright Aristophanes. We know little of Aristophanes’ life outside of his work. His birth and death cannot be firmly dated, but he was believed to have been born around 460 BCE and died sometime in the mid-380s BCE. His active period, though, is more certain— around 425 to 388 BCE—making him a contemporary of other fifth-century Athenian luminaries like Socrates, Euripides, and... Read Lysistrata Summary


Publication year 1856Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Marriage, Society: Class, Emotions/Behavior: ApathyTags Classic Fiction, French Literature, Realism

Madame Bovary is a foundational realist novel. Authored by the esteemed French writer Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880), Madame Bovary was first released through serialization in 1856, and then formally published as Flaubert’s debut novel in 1857. Madame Bovary is one of the earliest examples of realism in literature and is credited with helping to develop the importance of psychological realism in literature. It is a love story, a vociferous critique of the ways in which society... Read Madame Bovary Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: Literature, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Fantasy, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Arts / Culture, Grief / Death, Education, Relationships, American Literature

Publication year 1817Genre Play, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Poetry: Dramatic Poem

Written in 1816-1817 by the British poet Lord George Gordon Byron, Manfred is a closet drama, meaning that Byron never intended it to be produced onstage despite writing it in the style of a play in verse, with dialogue parts for various characters. The work centers on the guilt of the eponymous Manfred over his tragically flawed romantic relationship with a woman named Astarte. Many critics believe that Manfred and Astarte’s relationship is implied to... Read Manfred Summary


Publication year 1990Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Class, Identity: Race, Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Realistic Fiction

Published in 1990, Maniac Magee is a Newbery award–winning middle grade novel by renowned children’s author Jerry Spinelli. After his parents die, 11-year-old Jeffrey Lionel Magee runs away from his guardians and a year later ends up in the racially divided Pennsylvania town of Two Mills. Jeffrey, a white boy, finds a home with a Black family, but racial tension and threats send him back on the run. By accepting a host of challenges with... Read Maniac Magee Summary


Publication year 2011Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Relationships

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Friendship, Society: Community, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Grandparents, Relationships: FathersTags Immigration / Refugee, Food, Asian Literature, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Publication year 1981Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Relationships: FamilyTags Magical Realism, Colonialism / Postcolonialism, Poverty, Class, History: World, Religion / Spirituality

Midnight’s Children is a 1981 magical realism novel by British American novelist Salman Rushdie. The story follows Saleem, a child born at the moment of India’s independence who possesses strange powers. The novel won many awards, including the Booker of Bookers Prize, which was awarded to the best all-time winner of the Booker Prize on the award’s 40th anniversary. Midnight’s Children has been adapted for theater, radio, and film. This guide uses the 2006 Vintage... Read Midnight's Children Summary


Publication year 1851Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Society: Community, Identity: Mental HealthTags Action / Adventure, American Literature, Classic Fiction, Romanticism / Romantic Period

Published in 1851, Moby Dick was based in part on author Herman Melville’s own experiences on a whaleship. The novel tells the story of Ahab, the captain of a whaling vessel called The Pequod, who has a three-year mission to collect and sell the valuable oil of whales at the behest of the ship’s owners. Instead, the furious Ahab takes the ship on his own personal journey through hell, seeking revenge against the eponymous white... Read Moby Dick Summary


Publication year 1925Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Life/Time: The Past, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Modernism

Publication year 1999Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Race / Racism

Monster, a YA novel about a Black New York teenager accused of murder, quickly became one of Walter Dean Myers's most acclaimed works when it was published in 1999, winning the Coretta Scott King Award, receiving the Prime Excellence Award of the American Library Association, named a National Book Award Finalist. The completion and release of the novel occurred during the arc of the conviction and eventual exoneration of the Central Park 5, Black teenagers... Read Monster Summary


Publication year 1972Genre Poem, FictionThemes Relationships: MothersTags Lyric Poem, African American Literature, Relationships

Publication year 1987Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: RaceTags Lyric Poem, Race / Racism, Harlem Renaissance, African American Literature

Publication year 1946Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Nurture v. NatureTags Christian literature, Animals, American Literature

Publication year 1598Genre Play, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Relationships: Marriage, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Classic Fiction, Elizabethan Era, Play: Comedy / Satire, Modern Classic Fiction, Love / Sexuality, Relationships, Class, Gender / Feminism, Renaissance

Much Ado About Nothing, a comedy dating from the mid-career period of William Shakespeare was probably written just prior to 1600. The play has the trappings of a theatrical farce with its use of assumptions and misunderstandings. Main characters Benedick and Beatrice are duped into announcing their love for each other while Claudio is fooled into spurning Hero at the altar when he mistakenly believes that she has not been faithful to him. The theme of lovers being tricked... Read Much Ado About Nothing Summary


Publication year 1934Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: Globalization, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Classic Fiction

Murder on the Orient Express, first published in 1934, is a mystery by Agatha Christie featuring one of her most famous characters, the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. A locked-room mystery, the entire plot unfolds in a train, the Orient Express, which has become stranded in a snowstorm. Poirot happens to be on the train when a man named Mr. Ratchett is murdered. Poirot is called upon to solve the case, and the book follows his... Read Murder on the Orient Express Summary


Publication year 1842Genre Poem, FictionTags Poetry: Dramatic Poem, Victorian Period

Publication year 1940Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Existentialism, American Literature, African American Literature, Race / Racism

Richard’s Wright’s debut novel Native Son was an immediate success upon its publication in 1940, selling 250,000 copies in three weeks. Today, it is widely recognized as not only Wright’s greatest work, but as one of the most significant American novels of the twentieth century. In his essay “How ‘Bigger’ Was Born” (1940), Wright explains that he based the protagonist of the novel on five young Black men he had known as a child. These... Read Native Son Summary