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The following books are available in the HMSH Library Media Center:
Find them on the "Pre-AP Book List" shelf in the media center.
Click the book title to check its availability status or request a hold.
Things Fall Apart by
Call Number: FIC ACH
A classic novel about the confrontation of African tribal life with colonial rule tells the tragic story of a warrior whose manly, fearless exterior conceals bewilderment, fear, and anger at the breakdown of his society.
Purple Hibiscus by
Call Number: FIC ADI
A teenaged Nigerian girl and her older brother struggle to cope with life in their tense, stifling household--caused by their father's demands for perfection--after getting a taste of freedom during a visit to their aunt's home.
Reservation Blues by
Call Number: FIC ALE
Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in 1931, and was murdered seven years later. He reappears in 1992 on the Spokane Indian Reservation and meets Thomas Builds-the-Fire, who starts Coyote Springs, an all-Indian Catholic rock-and-roll band.
Cat's Eye by
Call Number: FIC ATW
A feminist painter returns to Toronto for a retrospective of her work and confronts her memories, family, and friends.
Alias Grace by
Call Number: FIC ATW
Fact-based story of Grace Marks, a sixteen-year-old girl who received a life sentence in 1843 for allegedly taking part in the murder of her employer and his lover, but whose case continued to stir debate throughout her prison stay, resulting in her release in 1872.
Pride and Prejudice by
Call Number: FIC AUS
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's witty comedy of manners--one of the most popular novels of all time--that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues.
Call Number: FIC AUS
The most perfect of Jane Austen's perfect novels begins with twenty-one-year-old Emma Woodhouse comfortably dominating the social order in the village of Highbury, convinced that she has both the understanding and the right to manage other people's lives-for their own good, of course. Her well-meant interfering centers on the aloof Jane Fairfax, the dangerously attractive Frank Churchill, the foolish if appealing Harriet Smith, and the ambitious young vicar Mr. Elton-and ends with her complacency shattered, her mind awakened to some of life's more intractable dilemmas, and her happiness assured.
Wuthering Heights by
Call Number: FIC BRO
In early nineteenth-century Yorkshire, the passionate attachment between a headstrong young girl and a foundling boy brought up by her father causes disaster for them and many others, even in the next generation.
The Plague by
Call Number: FIC CAM
A coastal city in Algeria is struck by bubonic plague and is shut off from the world for months.
Don Quixote by
Call Number: FIC CER
Don Quixote has become so entranced reading tales of chivalry that he decides to turn knight errant himself. In the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, these exploits blossom in all sorts of wonderful ways. While Quixote's fancy often leads him astray -- he tilts at windmills, imagining them to be giants -- Sancho acquires cunning and a certain sagacity. Sane madman and wise fool, they roam the world together-and together they have haunted readers' imaginations for nearly four hundred years. With its experimental form and literary playfulness, Don Quixote has been generally recognized as the first modern novel.
The House on Mango Street by
Call Number: FIC CIS
A young girl living in a Hispanic neighborhood in Chicago ponders the advantages and disadvantages of her environment and evaluates her relationships with family and friends.
A Tale of Two Cities by
Call Number: FIC DIC
This story relates the adventures of a young Englishman who gives his life during the French Revolution to save the husband of the woman he loves.
Crime and Punishment by
Call Number: FIC DOS
Raskolnikov, an impoverished student living in the St. Petersburg of the tsars, is determined to overreach his humanity and assert his untrammeled individual will. When he commits an act of murder and theft, he sets into motion a story that, for its excruciating suspense, its atmospheric vividness, and its depth of characterization and vision is almost unequaled in the literatures of the world.
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by
Call Number: FIC EDW
Dr. David Henry, forced to deliver his own twins during a snowstorm in 1964 with only a nurse to help him, makes a decision that has far-reaching effects on his life, and the lives of his wife and son, when his infant daughter is born with Down Syndrome, and in a vain attempt to protect his wife, he orders the nurse to take the baby to an institution.
Invisible Man by
Call Number: FIC ELL
A black man's search for success and the American dream leads him out of college to Harlem and a growing sense of personal rejection and social invisibility.
As I Lay Dying by
Call Number: FIC FAU
Faulkner's harrowing account of the Bundren family's odyssey across the Mississippi countryside to bury Addie, their wife and mother. Narrated in turn by each of the family members--including Addie herself--as well as others the novel ranges in mood, from dark comedy to the deepest pathos. Considered one of the most influential novels in American fiction in structure, style, and drama, As I Lay Dying is a true 20th-century classic.
The Sound and the Fury by
Call Number: FIC FAU
The Sound and the Fury is the tragedy of the Compson family, featuring some of the most memorable characters in literature: beautiful, rebellious Caddy; the manchild Benjy; haunted, neurotic Quentin; Jason, the brutal cynic; and Dilsey, their black servant. Their lives fragmented and harrowed by history and legacy, the character’s voices and actions mesh to create what is arguably Faulkner’s masterpiece and one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.
Tom Jones by
Call Number: FIC FIE
Presents Henry Fielding's 1749 novel, in which Tom Jones, a bawdy young man, is believed to be the illegitimate son of a servant girl, and after he promises to tame his wild ways, Tom competes for the affection of his upper-class neighbor Sophia Western, and eventually learns his true identity.
A Passage to India by
Call Number: FIC FOR
While visiting her fiance in India, Adela, a young British lady, confronts an unexplained mystery in the Marabar caves.
Cold Mountain by
Call Number: FIC FRA
Inman, a wounded Confederate soldier, leaves the hospital where he is being treated and determines to walk home to his sweetheart Ada, only to find the land and the girl he remembers as changed by the war as he.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by
Call Number: FIC GAR
Translation of the Spanish novel which traces the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo, through the history of the Buendía family.
Snow Falling on Cedars by
Call Number: FIC GUT
When a newspaper journalist covers the trial of a Japanese American accused of murder, he must come to terms with his own past.
The Scarlet Letter by
Call Number: FIC HAW
A dramatic, moving depiction of social defiance and social deference A stark and allegorical tale of adultery, guilt, and social repression in Puritan New England, The Scarlet Letteris a foundational work of American literature. Nathaniel Hawthorne's exploration of the dichotomy between the public and private self, internal passion and external convention, gives us the unforgettable Hester Prynne, who discovers strength in the face of ostracism and emerges as a heroine ahead of her time.
Call Number: FIC HEL
Captain Yossarian, a paranoid bomber pilot stationed in the Italian theater during World War II, faces a "catch-22" in this comic novel when he wants to fly fewer combat missions.
A Farewell to Arms by
Call Number: FIC HEM
The best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse.
The Sun Also Rises by
Call Number: FIC HEM
Focuses on a "lost generation" of Americans who fought in France during World War I and who expatriated themselves from America after the war.
The Kite Runner by
Call Number: FIC HOS
Amir, haunted by his betrayal of Hassan, the son of his father's servant and a childhood friend, returns to Kabul as an adult after he learns Hassan has been killed, in an attempt to redeem himself by rescuing Hassan's son from a life of slavery to a Taliban official.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by
Call Number: FIC HOS
Afghan women Mariam and Laila grow close, despite their nearly twenty-year age difference and initial rivalry, as they suffer at the hands of a common enemy--their abusive, much-older husband, Rasheed.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by
Call Number: FIC HUR
"Belongs in the category ... of enduring American literature." -- Saturday ReviewFair and long-legged, independent and articulate, Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person -- no mean feat for a black woman in the '30s. Janie's quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots.
A Prayer for Owen Meany by
Call Number: FIC IRV
Tells the story of Owen Meany who believes he is God's instrument and his friendship with John Wheelwright; beginning at age eleven when Owen hits a foul ball that kills John's mother during a Little League game in 1953.
The Cider House Rules by
Call Number: FIC IRV
Set in rural Maine in the first half of this century, it tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch--obstetrician and director of the orphanage in the town of St. Clouds. It is also the story of his favorite orphan, Homer, who is never adopted.
A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man by
Call Number: FIC JOY
It is Stephen Dedalus's declared ambition 'to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use-silence, exile, and cunning.'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Manportrays Stephen Dedalus's Dublin childhood and youth and, in doing so, provides an oblique self-portrait of the young James Joyce.
The Secret Life of Bees by
Call Number: FIC KID
Fourteen-year-old Lily and her companion, Rosaleen, an African-American woman who has cared for Lily since her mother's death ten years earlier, flee their home after Rosaleen is victimized by racist police officers, and find a safe haven in Tiburon, South Carolina at the home of three beekeeping sisters, May, June, and August.
The Poisonwood Bible by
Call Number: FIC KIN
A novel in which the wife and four daughters of an evangelical Baptist missionary chronicle their family's struggles in the Belgian Congo over three decades, beginning in 1959.
A Separate Peace by
Call Number: FIC KNO
Gene was a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas was a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happened between them at school one summer during the early years of World War II is the subject of A Separate Peace. A great bestseller for over thirty years--one of the most starkly moving parables ever written of the dark forces that brood over the tortured world of adolescence.
The Namesake by
Call Number: FIC LAH
A young man born of Indian parents in America struggles with issues of identity from his teens to his thirties.
To Kill a Mockingbird by
Call Number: FIC LEE
Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep South and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father, a crusading local lawyer, risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.
All the Pretty Horses by
Call Number: FIC MCC
The story of young John Grady Cole, the last of a long line of Texas ranchers, who, along with two companions, sets off on an idyllic, sometimes comic adventure, to a place where dreams are paid for in blood.
The Crossing by
Call Number: FIC MCC
Billy and Boyd Parham embark on a journey to return a she-wolf to the mountains of Mexico, only to find their destiny and fate.
Call Number: FIC MCE
Imaginative thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis, misinterpreting a scene between her older sister Cecilia and Robbie Turner, the housekeeper's son, later accuses Robbie of a crime she has no proof he committed and spends years trying to atone for her actions.
Billy Budd, Sailor by
Call Number: FIC MEL
Billy Budd, Sailor has been called the best short novel ever written. In his brilliantly condensed prose, Herman Melville fashions a legal parable in which reason and intellect prove incapable of preserving innocence in the face of evil. For all those who feel themselves threatened by a hostile and inflexible environment, there is special significance in this haunting story of a handsome sailor who becomes a victim of man's intransigence.
Song of Solomon by
Call Number: FIC MOR
After meeting his mysterious aunt Pilate, whom his father warns is a bad influence, a young African-American man named Macon "Milkman" Dead III leaves his rich, cold home in 1950s Michigan in search of his roots.
Call Number: FIC MOR
Sethe, an escaped slave who now lives in post-Civil War Ohio, has borne the unthinkable and works hard at "beating back the past." She struggles to keep Beloved, an intruder, from gaining possession of her present while throwing off the legacy of her past.
Call Number: FIC MOR
Sula Peace returns to her hometown of Medallion, Ohio, in 1937 after a decade away, bringing danger and controversy into the life of her childhood friend Nel--now a conventional housewife--with whom she shares a dark secret.
The Women of Brewster Place by
Call Number: FIC NAY
A series of vignettes focusing on seven African-American women who are residents of Brewster Place, showing how their reactions to certain situations are affected by their backgrounds, ages, dreams, and problems.
Wise Blood by
Call Number: FIC OCO
After his release from the army at age twenty-two, Hazel Motes of Eastrod, Tennessee, moves to a Southern city where he falls under the spell of Asa Hawks, a blind street preacher who is led around by his daughter, Sabbath Lily.
The God of Small Things by
Call Number: FIC ROY
On a December day in 1969 twins Rahel and Estha, born to a wealthy family living in the province of Kerala, India, find their lives changed after the death of their English cousin who was visiting for the holidays.
Call Number: FIC SIL
Follows Tayo, a young Native American, after his release from a veteran's hospital following World War II as he searches for meaning and sanity in his life.
A Thousand Acres by
Call Number: FIC SMI
Dark truths and long-suppressed emotions come to the surface in 1979 when a successful Iowa farmer decides to cut one of his daughters out of his will.
Noah's Compass by
Call Number: FIC TYL
Sixty-one-year-old fifth-grade teacher Liam Pennywell, having been forced into retirement, is attacked shortly after moving into his new condominium on the outskirts of Baltimore, and embarks on a mission to recover memories which he lost during the incident, which results in an unlikely friendship with a woman half his age.
Native Son by
Call Number: FIC WRI
Trapped in the poverty-stricken ghetto of Chicago's South Side, a young African-American man finds release only in acts of violence.
Black Boy by
Call Number: 92 WRI
The autobiography of an African-American writer, recounting his early years and the harrowing experiences he encountered drifting from Natchez to Chicago to Brooklyn.
M. Butterfly by
Call Number: 812 HWA
Presents the text of the 1988 Tony Award-winning play in which diplomat Rene Gallimard, a captive of the French government, relives his twenty-year affair with a beautiful, elusive Chinese actress who turned out to be not only a spy, but a man in disguise, and includes comments by the author.
The Crucible by
Call Number: 812 MIL
"I believe that the reader will discover here the essential nature of one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history," Arthur Miller wrote of his classic play about the witch-hunts and trials in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts. Based on historical people and real events, Miller's drama is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria.
Death of a Salesman by
Call Number: 812 MIL
The Pulitzer Prize-winning tragedy of a salesman's deferred American dream. Ever since it was first performed in 1949, Death of a Salesman has been recognized as a milestone of the American theater. In the person of Willy Loman, the aging, failing salesman who makes his living riding on a smile and a shoeshine, Arthur Miller redefined the tragic hero as a man whose dreams are at once insupportably vast and dangerously insubstantial.
The Piano Lesson by
Call Number: 812 WIL
Dramatizes the struggles of an African-American family as they consider selling a prized possession, an ornate upright piano, in order to buy the tract of land upon which they were once enslaved.
Our Town by
Call Number: 812 WIL
Portrays life in Grover's Corner, New Hampshire, in the early 1900's through the routine daily events and the major moments in the lives of George Gibbs, Emily Webb, and their families; and how their lives, although mundane, are touched by the universal forces of love, despair, apathy, nature, and death.
A Streetcar Named Desire by
Call Number: 812 WIL
Blanche DuBois, a haggard and fragile southern beauty finds her pathetic last grasp at happiness cruelly destroyed in large part by her brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski.
The Glass Menagerie by
Call Number: 812 WIL
Amanda, a faded southern belle, abandoned wife, and dominating mother, hopes to match her daughter Laura with an eligible "gentleman caller" while her son Tom supports the family. Laura, lame and painfully shy, evades her mother's schemes and reality by retreating to the make-believe world of her glass animal collection. Tom eventually leaves home to become a writer but is forever haunted by the memory of Laura.
Call Number: 822 SHA
A psychiatrist's probings into the mind of a young man who has blinded six horses with a spike, leaves him questioning his own purpose and the work he is doing.
Call Number: 822 SHA
Additional copy available in nonfiction section (812 SHA).
One of George Bernard Shaw's best-known plays, Pygmalion was a rousing success on the London and New York stages, an entertaining motion picture and a great hit with its musical version, My Fair Lady. An updated and considerably revised version of the ancient Greek legend of Pygmalion and Galatea, the 20th-century story pokes fun at the antiquated British class system.
Waiting for Godot by
Call Number: 842 BEC
Two old tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, make jokes and reflect on the state of human existence while waiting on a bare stretch of road for Godot.
The Misanthrope by
Call Number: 842 MOL
Presents an English translation of seventeenth-century French playwright Molière's play about a man in love with a woman who is the embodiment of all that he abhors.
No Exit and Three Other Plays by
Call Number: 842 SAR
Four plays written by the French existentialist philosopher and writer addressing such topics as hell, racism, and conduct of life.
The following books are available for free online as ebooks:
Click the title of the book to access a free digital edition from Project Gutenberg or to borrow an electronic version from our school library through Destiny Discover.
The Awakening by
When first published in 1899, The Awakening shocked readers with its honest treatment of female marital infidelity. Audiences accustomed to the pieties of late Victorian romantic fiction were taken aback by Chopin's daring portrayal of a woman trapped in a stifling marriage, who seeks and finds passionate physical love outside the confines of her domestic situation.
Heart of Darkness by
Dark allegory describes the narrator's journey up the Congo River and his meeting with, and fascination by, Mr. Kurtz, a mysterious personage who dominates the unruly inhabitants of the region. Masterly blend of adventure, character development, psychological penetration. Considered by many Conrad's finest, most enigmatic story.
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by
In 1892 Stephen Crane (1871-1900) published Maggie, Girl of the Streets at his own expense. Considered at the time to be immature, it was a failure. Since that time it has come to be considered one of the earliest American realistic novels. Maggie is the story of a pretty child of the Bowery which is written with the same intensity and vivid scenes of his masterpiece -- The Red Badge of Courage. In her short life, Maggie "blossomed in a mud puddle", was driven to prostitution, and died by her own hand while still a teenager.
Bleak House by
Widely regarded as Dickens's masterpiece, Bleak House centers on the generations-long lawsuit Jarndyce and Jarndyce, through which whole families have inherited legendary hatreds. Focusing on Esther Summerson, a ward of John Jarndyce, the novel traces Esther's romantic coming-of-age and, in classic Dickensian style, the gradual revelation of long-buried secrets, all set against the foggy backdrop of the Court of Chancery. Mixing romance, mystery, comedy, and satire, Bleak House limns the suffering caused by the intricate inefficiency of the law.
The Brothers Karamazov by
The Brothers Karamazov is a passionate philosophical novel set in 19th century Russia, that enters deeply into the ethical debates of God, free will, and morality. It is a spiritual drama of moral struggles concerning faith, doubt, and reason, set against a modernizing Russia.
Madame Bovary by
When Emma marries Charles Bovary, she imagines she will pass into the life of luxury and passion that she reads about in sentimental novels and women's magazines. But Charles is an ordinary country doctor, and provincial life is very different from the romantic excitement for which she yearns. In her quest to realize her dreams she takes a lover, Rodolphe, and begins a devastating spiral into deceit and despair.
Jude the Obscure by
Hardy's last novel depicts a changing world, where a poor stonemason can aspire to a university education and a higher place in society, but where in reality such dreams remain unattainable. Thwarted at every turn, Jude Hawley abandons his hopes, is trapped into an unwise marriage, and pursues a doomed relationship with his free-spirited cousin, Sue Bridehead. The lovers find themselves equally incapable of living within the conventions of their era and of transcending its legal and moral strictures.
In the novel, Siddhartha, a young man, leaves his family for a contemplative life, then, restless, discards it for one of the flesh. He conceives a son, but bored and sickened by lust and greed, moves on again. Near despair, Siddhartha comes to a river where he hears a unique sound. This sound signals the true beginning of his life -- the beginning of suffering, rejection, peace, and, finally, wisdom.
The Golden Bowl by
This story of the alliance between Italian aristocracy and American millionaires is 'a work unique among all James's novels: it is his only novel in which things come out right for his characters ...he had finally resolved the questions, curious and passionate, that had kept him at his desk on his inquiries into the process of living. He could now make his peace with America - and he could now collect and unify the work of a lifetime.' - Leon Edel in The Life of Henry James
Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell's chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell's narrative is timelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions--a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.
Anna Karenina by
Set in imperial Russia, Anna Karenina is a rich and complex meditation on passionate love and disastrous infidelity. Married to a powerful government minister, Anna Karenina is a beautiful woman who falls deeply in love with a wealthy army officer, the elegant Count Vronsky. Desperate to find truth and meaning in her life, she rashly defies the conventions of Russian society and leaves her husband and son to live with her lover. Set against this tragic affair is the story of Konstantin Levin, a melancholy landowner whom Tolstoy based largely on himself.
Lady Windermere’s Fan by
Beautiful, aristocratic, an adored wife and young mother, Lady Windermere is 'a fascinating puritan' whose severe moral code leads her to the brink of social suicide. The only one who can save her is the mysterious Mrs Erlynne whose scandalous relationship with Lord Windermere has prompted her fatal impulse. And Mrs Erlynne has a secret - a secret Lady Windermere must never know if she is to retain her peace of mind.
The Cherry Orchard by
Published to tie in with the world premiere at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin In Chekhov's tragi-comedy - perhaps his most popular play - the Gayev family is torn by powerful forces, forces rooted deep in history and in the society around them. Their estate is hopelessly in debt: urged to cut down their beautiful cherry orchard and sell the land for holiday cottages, they struggle to act decisively.
A Raisin in the Sun by
Never before, the entire history of the American theater, has so much of the truth of black people's lives been seen on the stage, observed James Baldwin shortly before A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway in 1959. Indeed Lorraine Hansberry's award-winning drama about the hopes and aspirations of a struggling, working-class family living on the South Side of Chicago connected profoundly with the psyche of black America--and changed American theater forever.
A Doll's House by
One of the best-known, most frequently performed of modern plays, displaying Ibsen's genius for realistic prose drama. A classic expression of women's rights, the play builds to a climax in which the central character, Nora, rejects a smothering marriage and life in "a doll's house."
The Hairy Ape by
Although one of his lesser known one-act plays, "The Hairy Ape," written in 1922, followed the success of his first two Pulitzer Prize-winning plays. This drama follows the disturbing dehumanization of Yank, a ship's fireman and a representation of the lower class. He feels superiority from his brute strength until he meets Mildred, the well-intentioned daughter of an extremely wealthy steel magnate. She initiates Yank's uncertainty and disillusionment concerning his place in society and humanity, leading to his bitter anger and ultimate demise.
A Midsummer Night's Dream by
In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare stages the workings of love. Theseus and Hippolyta, about to marry, are figures from mythology. In the woods outside Theseus's Athens, two young men and two young women sort themselves out into couples, but not before they form first one love triangle, and then another. Also in the woods, the king and queen of fairyland, Oberon and Titania, battle over custody of an orphan boy; Oberon uses magic to make Titania fall in love with a weaver named Bottom, whose head is temporarily transformed into that of a donkey by a hobgoblin or "puck," Robin Goodfellow. Finally, Bottom and his companions ineptly stage the tragedy of "Pyramus and Thisbe."
Much Ado about Nothing by
Much Ado About Nothing includes two quite different stories of romantic love. Hero and Claudio fall in love almost at first sight, but an outsider, Don John, strikes out at their happiness. Beatrice and Benedick are kept apart by pride and mutual antagonism until others decide to play Cupid.
In 1603, James VI of Scotland ascended the English throne, becoming James I of England. London was alive with an interest in all things Scottish, and Shakespeare turned to Scottish history for material. He found a spectacle of violence and stories of traitors advised by witches and wizards, echoing James' belief in a connection between treason and witchcraft. In depicting a man who murders to become king, Macbeth teases us with huge questions. Is Macbeth tempted by fate, or by his or his wife's ambition? Why does their success turn to ashes?