Reading List: Literary Classics

pex classics 1

Literature can be a broad genre, full of well-written tomes of years past and present. We’ve made a reading list of popular and diverse literary classics that are available at the library. For more books like these, search the subject tag “fiction” on our library catalog, or browse shelves PN-PS on the library’s second floor.

*book descriptions are from the library website and/or the publishers.

For classics in eBook form, click here.

 

Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

Set on the Caribbean coast of South America, this love story brings together Fermina Daza, her distinguished husband, and a man who has secretly loved her for more than fifty years.

 

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Jay Gatsby had once loved beautiful, spoiled Daisy Buchanan, then lost her to a rich boy. Now, mysteriously wealthy, he is ready to risk everything to woo her back.

 

To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Psychological description of the Ramsay family at their summer home on the Scottish coast.

 

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria.

 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Discovered on the streets of Liverpool, Heathcliff is rescued by Mr. Earnshaw and taken to the remote Yorkshire farmhouse of Wuthering Heights. Earnshaw’s daughter Catherine rapidly forms an attachment to him, but when Catherine’s brother takes over the Heights, Heathcliff is lowered to the position of a barely-tolerated farmhand.

pex classics 2

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The lives of two sisters–Nettie, a missionary in Africa, and Celie, a southern woman married to a man she hates–are revealed in a series of letters exchanged over thirty years.

 

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A young girl growing up in an Alabama town in the 1930s learns of injustice and violence when her father, a lawyer, defends a black man accused of raping a white girl.

 

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

The story of flamboyant Lady Brett Ashely and the hapless Jake Barnes in an age of moral bankruptcy, spiritual dissolution, unrealized love, and vanishing illusions.

 

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Part ghost story, part history lesson, part folk tale, Beloved finds beauty in the unbearable and lets us all see the enduring promise of hope that lies in anyone’s future.

 

Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Determined to overreach his humanity and assert his untrammeled individual will, Raskolnikov, an impoverished student living in the St. Petersburg of the Tsars, commits an act of murder and theft and sets a story into motion.

 

Read Through The Decade: 2010-2020

read through decade

If you want to revisit the past 10 years, reading the books that were published in that time period is a great start. The major discoveries and concerns of a decade are often reflected in its literature and nonfiction. We’ve listed a book that was published in each year from 2010-2019, leaving 2020 open for new books. Which of these recent books have you read?

All of these books are available at the library. Click the links to find where they are located, or ask for help at the Circulation Desk.

 

2010

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer, yet her cells–taken without her knowledge–became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years.

 

2011

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Waging a fierce competition for which they have trained since childhood, circus magicians Celia and Marco unexpectedly fall in love with each other and share a fantastical romance that manifests in fateful ways.

 

2012

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Read our review of Gone Girl here.

 

2013

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected

 

2014

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.  But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow and Reds like him are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class. Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power.

 

2015

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction- if they don’t kill each other first.

 

2016

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape.

 

2017

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Memphis, Tennessee, 1936. The five Foss children find their lives changed forever when their parents leave them alone on the family shantyboat one stormy night. Rill Foss, just twelve years old, must protect her four younger siblings as they are wrenched from their home on the Mississippi and thrown into the care of the infamous Georgia Tann, director of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. South Carolina, Present Day. Avery Stafford has lived a charmed life. But when Avery comes home to help her father weather a health crisis and a political attack, a chance encounter with a stranger leaves her deeply shaken. Avery’s decision to learn more about the woman’s life will take her on a journey through her family’s long-hidden history.

 

2018

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

Explores the life of one lighthouse as it beams its message out to sea through shifting seasons, changeable weather, and the tenure of its final keeper.

 

2019

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Eleven-year-old George Washington Black – or Wash – a field slave on a Barbados sugar plantation, is initially terrified when he is chosen to be the manservant of his master’s brother. To his surprise, however, the eccentric Christopher Wilde turns out to be a naturalist, explorer, inventor, and abolitionist. Soon Wash is initiated into a world where two people, separated by an impossible divide, can begin to see each other as human. But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash’s head, they must abandon everything and flee.

 

2020

What will you read in 2020? Be on the lookout as new books are released and added to our shelves!

 

Library Staff Picks: What’s On Your “To Be Read” List?

pex book in spanish

For some people, the “to be read” (or TBR) pile of books never stops growing. But what if you’re still looking for something else to read? The library staff are happy to share the books that they are planning to read next- and who knows, you may see some book reviews of these in the future, once we’ve read them!

 

TBR Lists Below

Olivia Chin, Circulation Manager:

  • Next up for Olivia Chin is the fourth book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Feast For Crows. She is hoping to finish the current books in the series this fall; she’s also hoping that George R.R. Martin finishes writing the last two books!
  • Olivia is also looking forward to reading the true-crime biography Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson by Jeff Guinn (which she’s ordered through Interlibrary Loan).
  • And she’d like to finally read the thriller Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

 

Amber Wessies, Instruction Librarian:

 

Matthew Beyer, Library Associate:

 

Shelby Lucius, Student Assistant: