Great Books for a Quick Read
Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian
Call Number: PZ7.A382 Ab 2007
Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
Call Number: PQ2683.I32 J613 1962
In this modern classic, a young journalist steps off a curb and into the path of a speeding taxi. Is it an accident, or has a tormented past driven Eliezer, a German death camp survivor, to attempt suicide? Torn between choosing life and death, he must come to grips with the catastrophe that befell him, his family, his people.
Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned
Call Number: PS3563.O88456 A49 1998
This is a wonderful collection of stories about life in the "hood".
And the War is Over
Call Number: PL 5089 M356 D313
n this novel of three clashing cultures at the end of World War II, Dutch and Indonesian prisoners in a Japanese work camp on the island of Sumatra plan an escape from their captors, unaware that the Japanese have lost the war. The novel won the Pegasus Prize for literature in 1984.
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
Call Number: PQ2664.A437 B3513 2001
This beautifully presented novella tracks the lives of two teens, childhood friends who have been sent to a small Chinese village for "re-education" during Mao's Cultural Revolution. Sons of doctors and dentists, their days are now spent muscling buckets of excrement up the mountainside and mining coal. But the boys-Luo and the unnamed narrator-receive a bit of a reprieve when the villagers discover their talents as storytellers; they are sent on monthly treks to town, tasked with watching a movie and relating it in detail on their return. It is here that they encounter the little seamstress of the title, whom Luo falls for instantly. When, through a series of comic and clever tricks and favors, the boys acquire a suitcase full of forbidden Western literature, Luo decides to "re-educate" the ignorant girl whom he hopes will become his intellectual match.
Call Number: PS3563.O8749 B55 2007
There are far uglier things in the world than, well, ugliness, and poor Pecola is subjected to most of them. She's spat upon, ridiculed, and ultimately raped and impregnated by her own father. No wonder she yearns to be the very opposite of what she is--yearns, in other words, to be a white child, possessed of the blondest hair and the bluest eye.
Call Number: PQ4876.O53 N3713 2002
When Paolo is born, he sustains cerebral lesions as the result of an inept delivery; his mind isn't impaired, it turns out, but he lurches when he walks and has difficulty speaking. The book focuses on what Paolo's disabilities mean, over time, to him, to his impassioned mother, and to his father.
Call Number: PL812.A8 B613 1968
Lazy, unmotivated, and spoiled by the housekeeper who raised him, Botchan suddenly finds himself needing to make his own way in the world when his father dies and his older brother inherits the fortune. Thinking school is easier than work, Botchan takes his brother's offer to pay his way through university. Life is good so far, but even Botchan must graduate, and he finds himself educated and assigned as a middle school teacher in a rural town in the island of Shikoku, Japan's most rural island. Arrogant and sure of his superiority over the hicks, Botchan quickly runs afoul of the locals and winds up in a merry war with both students and co-teachers.
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Call Number: PS3505.A59 A6 1993
With her tousled blond hair and upturned nose, dark glasses and chic black dresses, Holly Golightly is top notch in style and a sensation wherever she goes. Her brownstone apartment vibrates with martini-soaked parties as she plays hostess to millionaires and gangsters alike. Yet Holly never loses sight of her ultimate goal - to find a real life place like Tiffany's that makes her feel at home.
Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio
Call Number: PQ4912 .A34 C53 2008
A bully is killed in the elevator of his apartment in Rome. Most of the apartment residents are immigrants. They hate the young man who deliberately urinated in the elevator, regularly raped a Peruvian maid, and was in general cruel to everyone in his building. Suspicion falls on the most popular resident because he is missing. This is a great psychological mystery that looks at the results of immigration on life in Italy's capitol.
Call Number: PR6052.U638 C5
Alex, has a passion for classical music and is a member of a vicious teenage gang that commits random acts of brutality. Captured and imprisoned, he is transformed through behavioral conditioning into a model citizen, but his taming also leaves him defenseless. He ultimately reverts to his former behavior.
Closely Watched Trains
Call Number: PG 5039.18 R2 O8
A young man comes of age in Czechoslovakia during World War II. He is torn between his job as a train dispatcher, his burgeoning love of women and his hatred for the German invaders.
Call Number: PS 3561 E38574 C66
A Korean American teenager growing up in Hawaii is embarrassed by her mother's strangeness, unaware that her mother was forced to be a "comfort woman" during World War II.
Ecotopia: the Notebooks and Reports of William Weston
Call Number: PS3553.A424 E35 1990
The setting is the early 21st century. Ecotopia, made up of what was once Northern California, Oregon, and Washington, has been independent for several decades. At last, an official visitor from New York is admitted: Will Weston, top investigative reporter. Like a modern Gulliver, Weston is sometimes horrified sometimes impressed despite himself, and sometimes touched by the strange practices he encounters--which include ritual war games, collective ownership and operation of farms and factories, and an attention to trees and reforestation which borders on tree-worship.
Call Number: PS3568.O855 E94
Everyman begins with its hero's end, his interment. Only three of the graveside mourners speak -- the dead man's daughter, his second wife and his older brother.
Go Ask Alice
Call Number: PZ7 .G534 2006
Lonely, awkward, and under extreme pressure from her "perfect" parents, the author swings madly between optimism and despair. When one of her new friends spikes her drink with LSD, this diarist begins a frightening journey into darkness. The drugs take the edge off her loneliness and self-hate, but they also turn her life into a nightmare of exalting highs and excruciating lows.
Guide to the Birds of East Africa
Call Number: PR9619.4.D73 G85 2008
In Nairobi, Kenya, two middle-aged men begin a contest to see who can spot the most birds within a week. The prize will be a date with the woman who leads the weekly bird-sighting walks
Call Number: PZ7.P2843 Hat 1987
After a plane crash, Brian spends fifty-four days in the wilderness, learning to survive with only the aid of a hatchet given him by his mother, and learning also to survive his parents' divorce.
Call Number: PZ7.C81634 He 1998
Eighteen-year-old Francis Cassavant has returned from World War II an unwilling hero. Although he can still see and hear, a grenade has blown away his nose, his ears, his teeth, and his cheeks, leaving him faceless. Hiding his ghastly wounds with bandages and a white silk scarf, Francis welcomes the anonymity his mutilation brings him, for he has returned to his hometown with a secret mission--a plot for revenge that he values more than his own life.
Call Number: PZ7. L36 2009
Ingrid didn't leave a note. Three months after her best friend's suicide, Caitlin finds what she left instead: a journal, hidden under Caitlin's bed
Hope Was Here
Call Number: PZ7.B32615 H6 2001
Sixteen-year-old Hope has grown used to the nomadic life she has built with her aunt Addie, a talented diner cook. She doesn't mind the hard work it takes to make a diner hum; she seems to have inherited a knack for waiting tables from the free-spirit mom who abandoned her years ago.
House on Mango Street
Call Number: PS3553.I78 H6 1991
The House on Mango Street covers a year in the life of Esperanza who moves with her family into a house on Mango Street.
I Heard the Owl Call My Name
Call Number: PS3553.R277 I2 1973
This book tells of a young vicar named Mark, sent to a remote Kwakiutl village not knowing he has less than three years to live. In the village, Mark comes to understand the Kwakiutl Indians around him and sees how their traditions are being destroyed through the influence of white men.
If I Asked You, Would You Stay?
Call Number: PS3552.U4735 I4 1987
When Crow, a seventeen-year old loner, rescues a troubled young girl from the ocean, his jealously guarded solitary existence is threatened by his first awakening to love.
If I Stay
Call Number: PZ7.F75876 If 2009
In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year- old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make - and the ultimate choice Mia commands
Call Number: PZ10.3.P935 In 1996
A Siamese cat, an old bull terrier, and a young Labrador retriever travel together 250 miles through the Canadian wilderness to find their family.
Call Number: PZ7.C89 Ir 1995
Although slow to accept his placement in an anger-management class, triathlete Bo Brewster learns to control and develop his emotional strength. Powerful, perceptive, and wickedly funny.
Jimmy the Terrorist
Call Number: PR9499.4.A363 J56 2010
In Moazzamabad, Uddar Pradesh, too large to be a town and too backward to be a city, a young man stabs a police inspector and is beaten to death. The last words he speaks are, My name is Jimmy the Terrorist. Journalists descend on the town, like shrill birds , and a long-time resident decides to tell a story that none of them will know.This is a story of the marginalization of the Muslim population and of a serious young man whose life is destroyed by curfews and ever-growing limits on life
Journal of Scott Pendelton Collins: a World War II Soldier
Call Number: PZ7.M992 Jp 1999
Each harrowing day of battle in France convinces 17 year-old Scott that he may not survive. In desperation, he records his thoughts, fears and hope in a journal he has carried since his first days as a soldier in Basic Training.
Life and Times of Michael K
Call Number: PR9369.3.C58 L5 1984
Set in a turbulent South Africa, a young gardener decides to take his mother away from the violence towards a new life in the abandoned countryside, but finds that war follows wherever he goes
Lilies of the Field
Call Number: PS3503.A62873 L5 1963
With the help of a black ex-GI, some determined German nuns build a chapel in the desert.
Looking for Alaska
Call Number: PZ7.G8233 Lo 2005
Sixteen-year-old Miles Halter's adolescence has been one long nonevent - no challenge, no girls, no mischief, and no real friends. Seeking what Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps," he leaves Florida for a boarding school in Birmingham, AL. His roommate, Chip, is a dirt-poor genius scholarship student with a Napoleon complex who lives to one-up the school's rich preppies.
Call Number: PS3558.O62 M3 1976
Before the movie, this is the novel that gave life to Hawkeye Pierce, Trapper John, Hot Lips Houlihan, Frank Burns, Radar O'Reilly, and the rest of the gang that made the 4077th MASH like no other place in Korea or on earth.
Man Without a Country
Call Number: PS3572.O5 Z473 2005
In a collection of brief autobiographical essays, the renowned novelist offers his views on art, politics, and everyday life in America. A Man Without a Country is Kurt Vonnegut's hilariously funny and razor-sharp look at life.
Call Number: PZ7.S75663 Man 1990
After his parents die, Jeffrey Lionel Magee's life becomes legendary, as he accomplishes athletic and other feats which awe his contemporaries.
Member of the Wedding
Call Number: PS3525.A1772 M4 1966
This is the story of a young girl who has made up her mind that she will go on her brother's honeymoon whether she is invited or not.
Model World and Other Short Stories
Call Number: PS3553.H15 M95 1991
Chabon deftly paints humorously odd people floundering for fulfillment. In the first part, readers glide into a kaleidoscope of worlds--a Jewish wedding in Los Angeles; Laguna Beach with an estranged couple; Paris with an American do-gooder; Pittsburgh with a down-and-out baseball catcher, a disc jockey, and a blundering toy maker; and finally duplicity in academe.
Call Number: PS3505.A87 O2 1993
O Pioneers! tells the story of the Bergsons, a family of Swedish immigrants in the farm country near the fictional town of Hanover, Nebraska, at the turn of the 20th century. Alexandra, inherits the family farm when her father dies, and she devotes her life to making the farm a viable enterprise at a time when other immigrant families are giving up and leaving the prairie.
Of Love and Other Demons
Call Number: PQ8180.17.A73 D4513 1995
A young girl is bitten by a rabid dog. Her father, who has shown no interest in the child, begins a crusade to save her life, eventually committing her to the Convent of Santa Clara when the bishop persuades him that his daughter is possessed by demons. In fact, she has shown no signs of being infected by rabies or by demons; she is simply being punished for being different.
Of Mice and Men
Call Number: PS3537.T3234 O2 2002
The plot centers on George Milton and Lennie Small, itinerant ranch hands who dream of one day owning a small farm. George acts as a father figure to Lennie, who is large and simpleminded, calming him and helping to rein in his immense physical strength. When Lennie accidentally kills the ranch owner's flirtatious daughter-in-law, George shoots his friend rather than allow him to be captured by a vengeful lynch mob.
Old Man and the Sea
Call Number: PS3515.E37 O4 1996
Set in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Havana, Hemingway's magnificent fable is the story of an old man, a young boy and a giant fish. It was The Old Man and the Sea that won for Hemingway the Nobel Prize for Literature. Here, in a perfectly crafted story, is unique and timeless vision of the beauty and grief of man's challenge to the elements in which he lives.
Old Man Who Read Love Stories
Call Number: PQ8098.29.E585 V5413 1993
An old man living in the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle is forced to become part of a hunt for a man-eating ocelot
Call Number: PZ7.H5976 Ou 1968
According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc.
Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Call Number: PR6037.P29 P7 1961
An inspiration to the young girls she teaches and a challenge to the 1932 Edinburgh school who retains her services, Jean Brodie espouses her wisdom on art and music, defends fascism, and otherwise encourages fiercely independent thinking in her students. As she engages in ongoing battles with the school's rigid administration and bewilders two men in love with her, Miss Brodie also faces the biggest trial of her life when her career and livelihood become threatened.
Rag and Bone Shop
Call Number: PZ7.C81634 Rag 2001
The author offers an in-depth study of two complicated characters: Trent, an ambitious and renowned interrogator who holds a perfect record wrenching confessionals out of criminals, and teenager Jason Dorrant, suspected of murdering his neighbor, seven-year-old Alicia Bartlett. The killing attracts much publicity plus the attention of a senator. The local police, anxious to solve the case quickly, call on the expertise of Trent to get Jason, the last person seen with the victim, to confess to the crime.
Call Number: PR9440.9.G86 R44 1994
A young man is working as a cook in a wealthy household as the fabric of Sri Lankan culture is changing drastically. He sees his master's life and fortunes change as economic change and ethnic conflict begin to sweep the island. This approachable novel not only tells about Sri Lanka but also how food is a medium of communication.. (Sri Lanka)
Reflections in a Golden Eye
Call Number: PS3525.A1772 R4 1941
The novel takes place at an Army base in the U.S. state of Georgia. Private Ellgee Williams is a solitary man full of secrets and desires. He has been in service for two years and is assigned to stable duty. After doing yard work at the home of Capt. Penderton, he sees his wife nude and becomes obsessed with her.
Call Number: PZ4.S62 R49 2001
Peter finds out he is adopted, strives to gain glimmers of affection from his stoic, insensitive parents and gets killed by a car when he runs out of their home in a tearful rage. "Peter always acted without thinking," says his mother at his funeral. But life is not over yet; Peter is granted three chances to get it right before he is permanently dead.
Call Number: PZ7.M992 Rjo 2009
Fifteen-year-old Claire, the beloved daughter of a black father and Irish mother, finds herself torn between the two warring sides. Faced with the breakdown of the city–the home–she has loved, Claire must discover the strength and resilience to address the new world in which she finds herself, and to begin the hard journey of remaking herself and her identity.
Call Number: PS3566.A834 R58 1991
Two years earlier, Brian was stranded alone in the wilderness for fifty-four days with nothing but a small hatchet. Now the government wants him to do it again so that astronauts and the military can learn survival skills. Everything goes all too smoothly until their camp is struck by lightning, zapping the radio and leaving Derek in a coma. Brian manages to float Derek 100 miles down a river to a trading post, thus saving his life. Sequel to Hatchet.
River Runs Through It
Call Number: PS3563.A317993 R58 1976
A River Runs Through It concerns a Presbyterian family during early 20th century Montana whose opinions of life are filtered through their passion for fly fishing. The novella is presented from the point of view of older brother Norman who goes on one last fishing trip with his rowdy and troubled younger brother Paul in an attempt to help him get his life on track.
Call Number: PR9570.N43 R69 2006
The story takes place in June 2001, on the day Nepali Crown Prince Dipendra murdered his entire family before killing himself; its focus, however, is a rough-around-the-edges taxi driver coming to terms with his brother's homosexuality and his own intense loneliness.
Call Number: PT2617.E85 S52 1951
On fire with youthful idealism, the Brahmin joins a group of ascetics, fasting and living without possessions. Meeting Gotama the Buddha, he comes to feel this is not the right path, though he also declines joining the Buddha's followers. He reenters the world, hoping to learn of his own nature, but instead slips gradually into hedonism and materialism.
So Long a Letter
Call Number: PQ3989.2.B23 S513 1981
A woman describes the experience when her husband decides to take a second wife.
Call Number: PZ7.A73394 So 1969
Angry and humiliated when his sharecropper father is jailed for stealing food for his family, a young black boy grows in courage and understanding by learning to read and through his relationship with his devoted dog Sounder.
Call Number: PZ7.A54385 Sp 1999
Melinda Sordino was a regular teenager. But when things went wrong at a summer party she is the new biggest outcast. Now with her first year of high school ahead of her and a bad reputation, things are bound to happen. She goes through many changes and grows with time. The question is will she ever find the courage to explain what truly happened at the party or will the truth always be hidden?
Sticks and Stones
Call Number: PZ7.G597 St 2002
After developing an unearned reputation as a slut, Jujube finds a novel way to take on her tormentors and help a group of girls win back their self-esteem.
Call Number: PZ7.P44727 Te 2007
Legally, a corporation is a person, so why shouldnt they be able to adopt a child? Fourteen year old Jaidens family is a corporation and his home is an office building. When his parents are killed in an accident caused by a faulty piece of equipment manufactured by NECorp, the company adopts him and raises him in its headquarters.
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Call Number: PS3515.U789 T5 1998
The novel follows the fortunes of Janie Crawford, a woman living in the black town of Eaton, Florida. Janie has married three men and been tried for the murder of one of them. Janie feels no compulsion to justify herself to the town, but she does explain herself to her friend, Phoeby.
Things Fall Apart
Call Number: PR9387.9.A3 T5 1992
This novel depicts the rise and fall of Okonkwo, a Nigerian whose sense of manliness is more akin to that of his warrior ancestors than to that of his fellow clansmen who have converted to Christianity and are appeasing the British administrators who infiltrate their village.
Call Number: PZ7.H39356 To 2009
To keep her aging, ex-hippie, drug dealing parents out of jail, Ellie agrees to assist the FBI by infiltrating a radical environmental activist group. She doesn't have to feign her support until the group shows its deadly side after a botched mission.
Call Number: PS3551.L35774 W37 2009
Alexie delivers a heartbreaking, hilarious collection of stories that explores the precarious balance between self-preservation and external responsibility in art, family, and the world at large. With unparalleled insight into the minds of artists, laborers, fathers, husbands, and sons, Alexie populates his stories with ordinary men on the brink of exceptional change.
Who is Lou Sciortino?; a Novel About Nurder, the Movies, and Mafia Family Values
Call Number: PQ4903.A55 C5513 2007
Lou Sciortino, a young member of a New York organized crime family, is tapped to head a new movie studio intended to be a cash cow for the organization. After a rival mob family derails that plan with a fatal bombing of the studio's offices, Lou's bosses send him to Sicily.
Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now
Call Number: PS3551.N464 W68 1993
This inspiring collection includes essays on morality, manners, friendships, and love by the renowned playwright and poet.