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List of Favorite Books

The following is a list of favorite books submitted by faculty.  Try one, you might like it!  If you have a favorite book you would like to share, let us know!    PDF File

Alexandria Quartet    Lawrence Durrell
The language of this epic 4-volume novel is some of the most beautiful and lyric I have ever read.  It is a story of love and lovers set in Egypt with all its sensual beauty.

All God’s Children Have Traveling Shoes    Maya Angelou
I like her insights on Africa.

An American Tragedy    Theodore Dreiser
Dreiser is a naturalistic writer with great story lines.

Animal Farm    George Orwell
An easy to read book that can be interpreted on several levels.

As I Lay Dying    William Faulkner
The story is about a poor family transporting the body of the mother to a distant cemetery.  Sounds grisly, but the book focuses on the secret inner thoughts of each person.

The Autobiography of Malcom X    Alex Haley
An amazing autobiography where one can visualize Malcom X at different stages of his life.

Beloved    Toni Morrison
One of America’s best writers, Morrison tells of the effects of slavery on one family.

Black Like Me    John Howard Griffin
No other story has been written like this.  It’s an unbelievable, yet true story of a white man passing as a black.

Bless Me Ultima    Rudolfo Anaya
A coming-of-age novel that is great for the cultural content and story. 

Brave New World     Aldous Huxley
Huxley predicts future development. Many of his predictions pinpoint present social issues.

To Build a Fire and Other Stories   Jack London
“To Build a Fire” is, in my opinion, one of the greatest short stories in English because of its descriptive power.

Call it Sleep    Henry Roth
“Call it Sleep” is a great novel about a young Jewish boy growing up in New York, and the tension in his parent's marriage.

Carrie    Theodore Dreiser
Dreiser is a naturalistic writer with great story lines.

Catch 22    Joseph Heller
Heller’s classic novel makes World War II both horrifying and funny.

Catcher in the Rye    J.D. Salinger
On the brink of adulthood, a teenager’s simple, honest, and funny observations perfectly capture growing up.

Childhood’s End       Arthur C. Clarke
A great science-fiction book about the invasion of Earth by aliens and how they help humans evolve to a higher level.

A Christmas Carol    Charles Dickens
I love it for its message.

The Color of Water  James McBride
McBride’s memoir reveals the connections and chasms between blacks and whites in America.

Confederacy of Dunces        John Kennedy Toole
An eccentric intellectual failure has strange adventures in New Orleans – very funny.

Crime and Punishment         Fydor Dostoyevsky
One of my favorites.  (Translation from Russian)

The Decapitated Chicken and Other Stories    Horacio Quiroga
If you like Jack London and Poe, you should like Quiroga.  (Translation from Spanish)

Deptford Trilogy (3 novels)    Robertson Davies
These three interconnected books explore the lives of several fascinating characters and their adventures over several years.

Different Seasons    Stephen King
Four novellas of some of King’s best work, including “Shawshank Redemption” and "Stand By Me.”

(The Dr. Kay Scarpetta books)
Body Farm, From Potter’s Field, Point of Origin  Patricia Cornwall
Cornwall is a former prosecutor.  So she bases her novels on this knowledge.  Dr. Kay Scarpetta is a successful single career woman making it on her own.

Dr. Zhivago    Boris Pasternack
I read this in the 10th grade at the age of 16 and found it a fascinating tale of romance and the Russian Revolution.

Dracula          Bram Stoker
Good horror story.  None of the movies have come close to equaling the book in descriptive details.

Earth  David Brin
A scientist invents a quantum singularity (a mini black hole) and it escapes into the center of the earth – very forward-looking book.

Eloquent Dissent       James Sledd
A collection of essays from a former teacher of mine argues that to change education we in education must change society first.

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test     Tom Wolfe
My first book in which I read a style that matched the story, both wild and exuberant.

Final Jeopardy & Likely to Die       Linda Fairstein
About Alex Cooper, a single, career woman in New York, who prosecutes sex crimes and watches Jeopardy.

The Foundation Trilogy       Isaac Asimov
Any Asimov science fiction is good!  But, this trilogy is the basis around which his entire written universe is built.

Grapes of Wrath       John Steinbeck
Steinbeck’s novel looks into the Depression era with great characterizations.

Great Expectations   Charles Dickens
I like the social realism.

The Great Gatsby     F. Scott Fitzgerald
A wonderful, but grim look into the decadence of America in the 1920s.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter          Carson McCullers
This is one of my all-time favorites.  I like the content, point of view.  Good coming-of-age novel.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy    Douglas Adams
Hilarious satire on science fiction.  An ordinary Englishman ends up traveling on an alien spaceship.

The Hobbit     J.R.R. Tolkien
A fantasy epic of good versus evil.  I like it because a little guy (like me) learns to face his fears.  Oh, yeah, it has a big dragon, too!

The House of Mango Street    Sandra Cisneros
Cisneros’ style is easy to read, but her characters are complex and fascinating.

Huckleberry Finn      Mark Twain
I loved this book about adventure on the Mississippi River, and also the way Huck became friends with Jim, an African-American former slave.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings    Maya Angelou
I like Maya’s descriptive Power.

Jazz style in Kansas City and the Southwest          Ross Russell
This book led me to my decades-long love of swing and modern jazz.

Jane Eyre       Emily Bronte
I found this to be an intriguing love story set in England.

The Joy Luck Club   Amy Tan
It makes you laugh and cry.  It’s well written and has good descriptive passages.

Lolita  Vladimir Nabokov
A middle-class man obsessed with a 12-year old girl.  Creepy, but touching, funny, and beautifully written.

Lonesome Dove         Larry McMurtry
If you only read one Western in your 1ife, read this one!  The novel is full of tough men, spunky women, fast guns, cattle, bad guys, and a good plot to hold it all together.

Lord of the Flies        William Golding
An amazing, insightful look at the society children unmonitored can develop.  Very relevant to some of our gang issues today.

Lucifer’s Hammer     Larry Niven & Jerry Pournell
A great book about mankind’s struggle to survive after a comet devastates the Earth.

The Miracle of Mindfulness Thich Nhat Hanh
This Vietnamese Zen monk teaches various ways of paying attention to our every moment.

Mists of Avalon         Marion Bradley Zimmerman
This is the Arthurian legend told from all the women’s point of view.

The Mote in God’s Eye         Larry Niven & Jerry Pournell
First contact with aliens!  What more needs to be said?

The Moviegoer          Walker Percy
Set in New Orleans, a middle-class man cannot quite adjust mentally to the world; funny and thoughtful.

Night   Elie Wiesel
Very sad Holocaust story.

Norwood        Charles Portis
Funny, odd story of a simple man’s life.  Set in Texas.

Nine Princes in Amber         Roger Zelazny
A favorite of mine and the first in a long series about contemporary adults in a fantasy-fiction setting.

On Being Blue           William Gass
A philosphical wandering, this book explores the color blue and different meanings of the word “blue.”

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich      Alexander Solzhenitsin
A touching story of how a Siberian prison laborer transcends his situation by his love of work.

One Hundred Years of Solitude      Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I just love it – the story, characters and, above all, descriptive power.  (Translation from Spanish)

A Patch of Blue         Elizabeth Kata
It was a story of great poignancy about a black man befriending and helping a young blind woman against the wishes of her family.

Pet Sematary    Stephen King
For escape, I read anything and everything by Stephen King, but I like his early works best.

A Prayer for Owen Meany    John Irving
A great story of the friendship between two boys who grow up to be men.  The unforgettable character of Owen and the odd twists in the plot make this book a real page-turner.

Pride and Prejudice    Jane Austen
I loved reading about society during the last century in England.

Razors’ Edge    Somerset Maughmam
Set in the years following World War I, the story traces the intellectual and spiritual wanderings of a young American in search of a meaning for life.

She’s Come Undone    Wally Lamb
This funny and provocative story of a woman from 4 to 40 was written by a man!

Silas Marner    George Eliot
Even though we had to read it in school, I have always enjoyed the story.

Speak Memory          Vladimir Nabokov
His prose is like poetry.  Nabokov asks for no sympathy in telling how his family lost all and then had to leave Russia.

The Sun Also Rises   Ernest Hemingway
Hemmingway’s abbreviated prose is an easy introduction to literary style.

Tess of the D’Urbevilles        Thomas Hardy
I greatly enjoyed this story of romance in England.

To Kill a Mockingbird          Harper Lee
The author painted such a vivid picture of life during the Depression and raised my sensitivity to the issues of race.

The Tropic of Cancer           Henry Miller
Some call it pornography; others colorful prose.  The author’s adventures in France were so intriguing that I had to go there myself to take a look.

Ulysses            James Joyce
Joyce’s book, so rich I’ll read it all my life, has beautiful language that comments on all aspects of life.

Waiting for Godot     Samuel Beckett
This play tells of the loneliness of modern man with wordplay and slapstick.

The Warlock in Spite of Himself     Christopher Stasheff
The first of a series, this book depicts a futuristic pioneer who reluctantly finds himself in a quasi-medieval world.

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