1. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    Literary Circles Book Listing 2009

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Kratos, Jan 20, 2009.

    The next book I have to read in English class has to be one of these. I've never read any of them before. Have you read any of them and would recommend them? Thanks.

    1. Their Eyes Were Watching God—Zora Neale Hurston
    Initially published in 1937, this novel about a proud, independent black woman's quest for identity, a journey that takes her through three marriages and back to her roots, has been one of the most widely read and highly acclaimed novels in the canon of African-American literature.

    2. To Kill a Mockingbird—Harper Lee
    Set in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus--three years punctuated by the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman. Though her story explores big themes, Harper Lee chooses to tell it through the eyes of a child. The result is a tough and tender novel of race, class, justice, and the pain of growing up.

    3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings—Maya Angelou
    Maya Angelou recounts a youth filled with disappointment, frustration, tragedy, and finally hard-won independence. Sent at a young age to live with her grandmother in Arkansas, Angelou learned a great deal from this exceptional woman and the tightly knit black community there. These very lessons carried her throughout the hardships she endured later in life.

    4. The Namesake—Jhumpa Lahiri
    Gogol Ganguli. Born to an Indian academic and his wife, Gogol is afflicted from birth with a name that is neither Indian nor American nor even really a first name at all. He is given the name by his father who, before he came to America to study at MIT, was almost killed in a train wreck in India. He grows up a bright American boy, goes to Yale, has pretty girlfriends, becomes a successful architect, but like many second-generation immigrants, he can never quite find his place in the world.

    7. Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting by in America—Barbara Ehrenreich
    To understand life beyond boom-time America, Barbara Ehrenreich spent months laboring as a cleaning woman; as a waitress; and as a Wal-Mart sales clerk. Her revelations about these hard, supposedly "unskilled" jobs and the difficulty of making ends meet in the U.S. gives this book a powerful, personal edge.

    8. Purple Hibiscus—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    Fifteen-year-old Kambili is the dutiful and self-effacing daughter of a rich man, a religious fanatic and domestic tyrant whose public image is of a politically courageous newspaper publisher and philanthropist. No one in Papa's ancestral village, where he is titled "Omelora" (One Who Does For the Community), knows why Kambili¹s brother cannot move one of his fingers, nor why her mother keeps losing her pregnancies. When a widowed aunt takes an interest in Kambili, her family begins to unravel and re-form itself in unpredictable ways.

    9. Three Cups of Tea—Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin
    Dangerously ill when he finished a climb in 1993, Mortenson was sheltered for seven weeks by the small Pakistani village of Korphe; in return, he promised to build the impoverished town's first school, a project that grew into the Central Asia Institute, which has since constructed more than 50 schools across rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. As the book moves into the post-9/11 world, Mortenson and Relin argue that the United States must fight Islamic extremism through alleviating poverty and improve access to education, especially for girls.

    10. Kaffir Boy—Mark Mathabane
    In stark prose, Mathabane describes his life growing up in a nonwhite ghetto outside Johannesburg--and how he escaped its horrors. Hard work and faith in education played key roles, and Mathabane eventually won a tennis scholarship to an American university. This is not an opportunity given to many of the poor blacks who make up most of South Africa's population. Mathabane reveals their troubled world on these pages in a way that only someone who has lived this life can.

    11. The Things They Carried—Tim O’Brien
    Depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and of course, the character Tim O'Brien who has survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three. They battle the enemy (or maybe more the idea of the enemy), and occasionally each other. In their relationships we see their isolation and loneliness, their rage and fear. They miss their families, their girlfriends and buddies; they miss the lives they left back home. Yet they find sympathy and kindness for stranger), and love for each other, because in Vietnam they are the only family they have. We hear the voices of the men and build images upon their dialogue. The way they tell stories about others, we hear them telling stories about themselves.
     
  2. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you want something short and easy to read, you could go for Their Eyes were Watching God. The story made a good movie, but I don't think anyone in my women's lit class liked it. There's some pretty writing on the first page and the last, but from what I can remember, beyond formatting, there is little that you would need to do to turn it into a script. It's all dialogue.
     
  3. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    It doesn't have to be short or easy, just the most interesting.
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I've heard of the first 4 but have only read To Kill a Mockingbird. TKAM is a classic and I would highly recommend it. I think that book is mandatory reading in most high schools, so it's best to read it now.
     
  5. Plushii
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    I've only read To Kill a Mockingbird and an excerpt of Why The Cage Bird Sings. I highly suggest To Kill a Mockingbird. It's a very good book. :3 Though I remember some parts being rather boring to read, it picked up the pace and was overall interesting to read.

    I really don't remember that much about it other than that though, since I read it about three years ago.
     
  6. xanadu
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    Back in my junior year of high school I had to read Their Eyes Were Watching God, but since it wasn't going to be on the test (we had to rush at the end of the year) I decided to not read it. Then in my first semester at college it appeared on my list of required texts for my English 1 class, and I figured I'd better read it this time. I did, and aside from the heavy use of regionalism in the dialogue it was a surprisingly enjoyable read.

    To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic, and it was good, but I think it's overrated. I would pick Their Eyes over TKAM if I had to choose.

    I've never even heard of the rest of them.
     
  7. Spook
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    I've read most of these, but not Purple Hibiscus or Kaffir Boy. I would say either To Kill A Mockingbird, which is one of the greatest books of the 20th century, or The Things They Carried, which has great prose and is very interesting. The Namesake is also good, but not as good as To Kill A Mockingbird or The Things They Carried.
     
  8. Noodleguy
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    Noodleguy Senior Member

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    Amazing book. Easily one of the best I have ever read, probably one of the greatest of the 20th century. Very good. I would recommend that one.

    God I hate that book. Don't read it unless you enjoy child molestation and incest. Ugh. *revulsion* And Maya Angelou just isn't that good of a writer...meh. Not that.
     
  9. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    Well, I picked To Kill a Mockingbird. A bunch of the kids in my class that read it before liked it; and when a bunch of high schoolers actually like a mandatory reading classic, it's got to be good.
     

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