Reading Choice List

A Streetcar Named Desire


REQUIRED READING 
A Streetcar Named Desire
by Tennessee Williams
Year Published: 1947

A Streetcar Named Desire is one of the most remarkable plays of our time. It created an immortal woman in the character of Blanche DuBois, the haggard and fragile southern beauty whose pathetic last grasp at happiness is cruelly destroyed. It shot Marlon Brando to fame in the role of Stanley Kowalski, a sweat-shirted barbarian, the crudely sensual brother-in-law who precipitated Blanche's tragedy.

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A biographical sketch of the author

The Road Book Image


REQUIRED READING 
The Road
by Cormac McCarthy 
Year Published: 2006

The searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive.
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A profile of the author



All My Sons


All My Sons
by Arthur Miller
Year Published: 1947


This classic play, first produced in 1947, is about guilt, responsibility, and the relationship between fathers and sons in the aftermath of a World War II corruption case.
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Interview with the author


Anna Karenina Book Image


Anna Karenina
by Leo Tolstoy
Year Published: 1877

Anna Karenina is one of the most loved and memorable heroines of literature. Her overwhelming charm dominates a novel of unparalleled richness and density. This book addresses the very nature of society at all levels,- of destiny, death, human relationships and the irreconcilable contradictions of existence.

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How to read Anna Karenina



Invisible Man Book Image



Invisible Man
by Ralph Ellison
Year Published: 1952

Invisible Man is a milestone in American literature.  The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of "the Brotherhood", and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be.  

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Article about the author



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Measure for Measure
by William Shakespeare
Year Published: 1623

Measure for Measure is among the most passionately discussed of Shakespeare’s plays. In it, a duke temporarily removes himself from governing his city-state, deputizing a member of his administration, Angelo, to enforce the laws more rigorously. Angelo chooses as his first victim Claudio, condemning him to death because he impregnated Juliet before their marriage.

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Article about the play



Middle March Book Image

Middlemarch
by George Eliot
Year Published: 1871

Set during the early part of the 19th century, George Eliot’s “Middlemarch” is a work of epic scope that centers on the intersecting lives of the inhabitants of the fictitious titular town of Middlemarch.  Through the narrative of the story the author addresses the status of women, the nature of marriage, politics, religion, and education in the 19th century.

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Book Trailer



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Nostromo
by Joseph Conrad
Year Published: 1904
 
One of the greatest political novels in any language, Nostromo reenacts the establishment of modern capitalism in a remote South American province. In the harbor town of Sulaco, a vivid cast of characters is caught up in a civil war to decide whether its fabulously wealthy silver mine, funded by American money but owned by a third-generation English immigrant, can be preserved from the hands of venal politicians.

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Read an article about the novel


Six Characters in Search of an Author Book Image

Six Characters in Search of an Author
by Luigi Pirandello
Year Published: 1925

One of the major figures of modern theater, Luigi Pirandello (1867–1936), in his most celebrated work, Six Characters in Search of an Author, presents an open-ended drama on a stage without sets. This intellectual comedy introduces six individuals to a stage where a company of actors has assembled for a rehearsal. Claiming to be the incomplete, unused creations of an author's imagination, they demand lines for a story that will explain the details of their lives.

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Article about the play


The Good Soldier Book Image

The Good Solider
by Fort Madox Ford
Year Published: 1915

In 1998, the Modern Library ranked The Good Soldier 30th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. Set just before World War I, the novel is told using a series of flashbacks in non-chronological order, through a rather unreliable narrator; for as it turns out, the story is not what we are led to believe at the beginning.

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Professors Discuss the Novel


 The Sojourn Book Image  
The Sojourn
by Andrew Krivak
Year Published: 2011

The Sojourn, finalist for the National Book Award, is the story of Jozef Vinich, who was uprooted from a 19th-century mining town in Colorado by a family tragedy and returns with his father to an impoverished shepherd’s life in rural Austria-Hungary. When World War One comes, Jozef joins his adopted brother as a sharpshooter in the Kaiser’s army, surviving a perilous trek across the frozen Italian Alps and capture by a victorious enemy.

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Author discusses novel and reads excerpt


 Tracks Book Image  
Tracks
by Louise Erdrich 
Year Published: 1988

Set in North Dakota at a time in the past century when Indian tribes were struggling to keep what little remained of their lands, Tracks is a tale of passion and deep unrest. Over the course of ten crucial years, as tribal land and trust between people erode ceaselessly, men and women are pushed to the brink of their endurance—yet their pride and humor prohibit surrender.

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Interview with the author




Ulysses book image

Tracks
by James Joyce
Year Published: 1922

One of the most important works of the Modernist era,  “Ulysses” chronicles the passage of Leopold Bloom through Dublin during an ordinary day, June 16, 1904. While the novel appears largely unstructured at first glance it is in fact very closely paralleled to Homer’s “Odyssey”, containing eighteen episodes that correspond to various parts of Homer’s work.

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Book Trailer