Suggested Reading for English Students

The Wite Tiger

For One More Day

Alias Grace

The Handmaid’s Tale

By Aravind Adiga

By Mitch Albom

By Margaret Atwood

By Margaret Atwood

The White Tiger is a penetrating piece of social commentary, attuned to the inequalities that persist despite India's new prosperity. It correctly identifies—and deflates—middle-class India's collective euphoria.
—The New York Times

Amoral, irreverent, deeply endearing, and utterly contemporary, this novel is an international publishing sensation—and a startling, provocative debut.
Man Booker Prize Winner!

For One More Day is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one?

Through Albom's inspiring characters and masterful storytelling, readers will newly appreciate those whom they love—and may have thought they'd lost—in their own lives. For One More Day is a book for anyone in a family, and will be cherished by Albom's millions of fans worldwide.

Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, and Nancy Montgomery, his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders.
Dr. Simon Jordan, an up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness, is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories? Is Grace a female fiend? A bloodthirsty femme fatale? Or is she the victim of circumstances?

In a startling departure from her previous novels (Lady Oracle, Surfacing), respected Canadian poet and novelist Atwood presents here a fable of the near future. In the Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States, far-right Schlafly/Falwell-type ideals have been carried to extremes in the monotheocratic government. The resulting society is a feminist's nightmare: women are strictly controlled, unable to have jobs or money and assigned to various classes: the chaste, childless Wives; the housekeeping Marthas; and the reproductive Handmaids, who turn their offspring over to the ``morally fit'' Wives. The tale is told by Offred (read: ``of Fred''), a Handmaid who recalls the past and tells how the chilling society came to be.

 

Affliction

Lost Memory of Skin

A Long Way Gone

City of Thieves

By Russell Banks

By Russell Banks

By Ishmael Beah

By David Benioff

Wade Whitehouse is an improbable protagonist for a tragedy. A well-digger and policeman in a bleak New Hampshire town, he is a former high-school star gone to beer fat, a loner with a mean streak. It is a mark of Russell Banks' artistry and understanding that Wade comes to loom in one's mind as a blue-collar American Everyman afflicted by the dark secret of the macho tradition. Told by his articulate, equally scarred younger brother, Wade's story becomes as spellbinding and inexorable as a fuse burning its way to the dynamite.

After doing time for a liaison with an underage girl, the Kid is forbidden to live within 2,500 feet of anywhere children might gather. With nowhere else to go, the Kid takes up residence under a south Florida causeway. Barely beyond childhood himself, the Kid is in many ways an innocent, trapped by impulses and foolish choices he struggles to comprehend. Enter the Professor, a man who has built his own life on secrets and lies, and who finds in the Kid the perfect subject for his research on homelessness and sex offenders. But when the Professor’s past resurfaces, the balance in the two men’s relationship shifts.
Lost Memory of Skin explores the zeitgeist of a troubled society where zero tolerance has erased any hope of subtlety and compassion—a society where isolating the offender has perhaps created a new kind of victim.

Everyone in the world should read this book. Not just because it contains an amazing story, or because it's our moral, bleeding-heart duty, or because it's clearly written. We should read it to learn about the world and about what it means to be human.
— The Washington Post

During the Nazis' brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter's wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.
City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.

 

The Time In Between

Jamrach’s Menagerie

Three Day Road

Jane Eyre

By David Bergen

By Carol Birch

By Joseph Boyden

By Charlotte Bronte

In search of love, absolution, or forgiveness, Charles Boatman leaves the Fraser Valley of British Columbia and returns mysteriously to Vietnam, the country where he fought twenty-nine years earlier as a young, reluctant soldier. But his new encounters seem irreconcilable with his memories.
Moving between father and daughter, the present and the past, The Time in Between is a luminous, unforgettable novel about one family, two cultures, and a profound emotional journey in search of elusive answers.

Jamrach’s Menagerie tells the story of a nineteenth-century street urchin named Jaffy Brown. Following an incident with an escaped tiger, Jaffy goes to work for Mr. Charles Jamrach, the famed importer of exotic animals, alongside Tim, a good but sometimes spitefully competitive boy. Thus begins a long, close friendship fraught with ambiguity and rivalry.
Masterfully told, wildly atmospheric, and thundering with tension, Jamrach’s Mena­gerie is a truly haunting novel about friendship, sacrifice, and survival.

In this haunting debut novel, two young Cree Indians become infantry snipers in the trenches of World War I.
Set in Canada and the battlefields of France and Belgium, Three-Day Road is a mesmerizing novel told through the eyes of Niska-a Canadian Oji-Cree woman living off the land who is the last of a line of healers and diviners-and her nephew Xavier.
In part inspired by the legend of Francis Pegahmagabow, the great Indian sniper of World War I, Three-Day Road is an impeccably researched and beautifully written story that offers a searing reminder about the cost of war.

 

Jane Eyre is an extraordinary coming-of-age story featuring one of the most independent and strong-willed female protagonists in all of literature. Poor and plain, Jane Eyre begins life as a lonely orphan in the household of her hateful aunt. Despite the oppression she endures at home, and the later torture of boarding school, Jane manages to emerge with her spirit and integrity unbroken. She becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall, where she finds herself falling in love with her employer—the dark, impassioned Mr. Rochester. But an explosive secret tears apart their relationship, forcing Jane to face poverty and isolation once again.

ENG 4U ISU Novel List

Wuthering Heights

Crossers

The Polished Hoe

George & Rue

By Emily Bronte

By Philip Caputo

By Austin Clarke

By George Elliott Clarke

Emily Brontë’s only novel, Wuthering Heights remains one of literature’s most disturbing explorations into the dark side of romantic passion. Heathcliff and Cathy believe they’re destined to love each other forever, but when cruelty and snobbery separate them, their untamed emotions literally consume them.
Set amid the wild and stormy Yorkshire moors, Wuthering Heights, an unpolished and devastating epic of childhood playmates who grow into soul mates, is widely regarded as the most original tale of thwarted desire and heartbreak in the English language.

a blistering new novel about the brutality and beauty of life on the Arizona-Mexico border and about the unyielding power of the past to shape our lives. Taking us from the turn of the twentieth century to our present day, from the impoverished streets of rural Mexico to the manicured lawns of suburban Connecticut, from the hot and dusty air of an isolated ranch to New York City in the wake of 9/11, Caputo gives us an impeccably crafted story about three generations of an Arizona family forced to confront the violence and loss that have become its inheritance.

When Mary-Mathilda, one of the most respected women of the island of Bimshire (also known as Barbados) calls the police to confess to a crime, the result is a shattering all-night vigil that brings together elements of the island's African past and the tragic legacy of colonialism in one epic sweep.
Set in the West Indies in the period following World War II, The Polished Hoe — an Essence bestseller and a Washington Post Book World Most Worthy Book of 2003 — unravels over the course of twenty-four hours but spans the collective experience of a society characterized by slavery.

It was a "slug-ugly" crime. Brothers George and Rufus Hamilton, in a robbery gone wrong, drunkenly bludgeoned a taxi driver to death with a hammer. It was 1949, and the two siblings, part Mi'kmaq and part African, were both hanged for the killing.  Those facts are skeletons in George Elliott Clarke's family closet. Both repelled and intrigued by his ancestral cousins' deeds… Clarke set out to discover just what kind of forces would reduce men to crime, violence and, ultimately, murder…The novel shifts seamlessly back into the killers' pasts, recounting a bleak and sometimes comic tale of victims of violence who became killers, a black community too poor and too shamed to assist its downtrodden members, and a white community bent on condemning all blacks as dangerous outsiders.

 

Little Bee

The Lizard Cage

The Book of Lost Things

Heart of Darkness

By Chris Cleave

By Karen Connelly

By John Connolly

By Joseph Conrad

Sarah Summers is enjoying a holiday on a Nigerian beach when a young girl named Little Bee crashes irrevocably into her life. All it takes is a brief and horrifying moment of crisis — a terrifying scene that no reader will forget. Afterwards, Sarah and Little Bee might expect never to see each other again. But Little Bee finds Sarah’s husband’s wallet in the sand, and smuggles herself on board a cargo vessel with his address in mind. She spends two years in detention in England before making her way to Sarah’s house, with what will prove to be devastating timing.

Set during Burma's military dictatorship of the mid—1990s, Karen Connelly’s exquisitely written and harshly realistic debut novel is a hymn to human resilience and love.
In the sealed-off world of a vast Burmese prison known as the cage, Teza languishes in solitary confinement seven years into a twenty-year sentence. Arrested in 1988 for his involvement in mass protests, he is the nation’s most celebrated songwriter whose resonant words and powerful voice pose an ongoing threat to the state.

High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own — populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.

A masterpiece of twentieth-century writing, Heart of Darkness (1902) exposes the tenuous fabric that holds "civilization" together and the brutal horror at the center of European colonialism. Conrad's crowning achievement recounts Marlow's physical and psychological journey deep into the heart of the Belgian Congo in search of the mysterious trader Kurtz.

 

A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali

The Gargoyle

A Blade of Grass

The Red Tent

By Gil Courtemanche

By Andrew Davidson

By Lewis Desoto

By Anita Diamont

A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali is a moving, passionate love story set amid the turmoil and terror of Rwanda’s genocide.
All manner of Kigali residents pass their time by the pool of the Mille-Collines hotel: aid workers, Rwandan bourgeoisie, expatriates, UN peacekeepers, prostitutes. Keeping a watchful eye is Bernard Valcourt, a jaded foreign journalist, but his closest attention is devoted to Gentille, a hotel waitress with the slender, elegant build of a Tutsi. As they slip into an intense, improbable affair, the delicately balanced world around them–already devastated by AIDS–erupts in a Hutu-led genocide against the Tutsi people.

the mesmerizing story of one man's descent into personal hell and his quest for salvation. On a dark road in the middle of the night, a car plunges into a ravine. The driver survives the crash, but his injuriesconfine him to a hospital burn unit. There the mysterious Marianne Engel, a sculptress of grotesques, enters his life. She insists they were lovers in medieval Germany, when he was a mercenary and she was a scribe in the monastery of Engelthal. As she spins the story of their past lives together, the man's disbelief falters; soon, even the impossible can no longer be dismissed.

A Blade of Grass is a graceful and stunning epic set in 1970s South Africa, on a remote farm owned by a newly married couple. The mistress of the house, Märit, is young, recently orphaned, easily intimidated, and unaccustomed to rural life.
Thrilling to read, A Blade of Grass is a wrenching story of friendship and betrayal and of the trauma of the land that has shaped post-colonial Africa.

Few stories can evoke a time and place as vividly as Anita Diamant's compelling tale sprung from the pages of the Old Testament. The Red Tent is the story of Jacob's daughter, Dinah, and Jacob's four wives, who all served as Dinah's mother at some point in time. Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah all bring their own unique gifts and influences to bear on Dinah's life. As Diamant explores the trials and triumphs of ancient women, she brings a foreign yet beautiful world to life as seen through the emotional filter of Dinah's eyes. This lush, evocative tale transcends time and brings new life to the Old Testament, lending a feminine touch to the mighty word of God.

 

 

House of Sand and Fog

The Disappeared

What Is The What

Peace Like A River

By Andre Dubas III

By Kim Echlin

By Dave Eggers

By Leif Enger

In this riveting novel of almost unbearable suspense, three fragile yet determined people become dangerously entangled in a relentlessly escalating crisis. Colonel Behrani, once a wealthy man in Iran, is now a struggling immigrant willing to bet everything he has to restore his family's dignity. Kathy Nicolo is a troubled young woman whose house is all she has left, and who refuses to let her hard-won stability slip away from her. Sheriff Lester Burdon, a married man who finds himself falling in love with Kathy, becomes obsessed with helping her fight for justice.

A love story set against the background of the Cambodian killing fields, Echlin’s novel is a Romeo and Juliet for our time. Sixteen-year-old Anne, raised by her widowed father, attends a proper young ladies’ school in Montreal. But Anne has a secret – she sneaks into blues clubs with her tutor, and one night, she meets Serey, a sexy Cambodian musician who plays the songs of his people as well as blues and rock.

In a heartrending and astonishing novel, Eggers illuminates the history of the civil war in Sudan through the eyes of Valentino Achak Deng, a refugee now living in the United States. We follow his life as he's driven from his home as a boy and walks, with thousands of orphans, to Ethiopia. Valentino's travels bring him in contact with government soldiers, janjaweed-like militias, liberation rebels, hyenas and lions, disease and starvation-and unexpected romances.

 

Sprinkled with playful nods to Biblical tales, beloved classics such as Huckleberry Finn, the adventure stories of Robert Louis Stevenson, and the westerns of Zane Grey, Peace Like A River is at once a heroic quest, a tragedy, a love story, and a haunting meditation on the possibility of magic in the everyday world.

 

The Wars

The Great Gatsby

Everything Is Illuminated

Cold Mountain

By Timothy Findley

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

By Jonathan Safran Foer

By Charles Frazier

Robert Ross, a sensitive nineteen-year-old Canadian officer, went to war-The War to End All Wars. He found himself in the nightmare world of trench warfare, of mud and smoke, of chlorine gas and rotting corpses. In this world gone mad, Robert Ross performed a last desperate act to declare his commitment to life in the midst of death.

The mysterious Jay Gatsby embodies the American notion that it is possible to redefine oneself and persuade the world to accept that definition. Gatsby's youthful neighbor, Nick Carraway, fascinated with the display of enormous wealth in which Gatsby revels, finds himself swept up in the lavish lifestyle of Long Island society during the Jazz Age. Considered Fitzgerald's best work, The Great Gatsby is a mystical, timeless story of integrity and cruelty, vision and despair.
The timeless story of Jay Gatsby and his love for Daisy Buchanan is widely acknowledged to be the closest thing to the Great American Novel ever written.

With only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man -- also named Jonathan Safran Foer -- sets out to find the woman who may or may not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war; an amorous dog named Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior; and the unforgettable Alex, a young Ukrainian translator who speaks in a sublimely butchered English, Jonathan is led on a quixotic journey over a devastated landscape and into an unexpected past.

Based on local history and family stories passed down by the author's great-great-grandfather, Cold Mountain is the tale of a wounded soldier Inman, who walks away from the ravages of the war and back home to his prewar sweetheart, Ada. Inman's odyssey through the devastated landscape of the soon-to-be-defeated South interweaves with Ada's struggle to revive her father's farm, with the help of an intrepid young drifter named Ruby. As their long-separated lives begin to converge at the close of the war, Inman and Ada confront the vastly transformed world they've been delivered.

 

The Missing

Sweetness In The Belly

Three Junes

The Fault In Our Stars

By Tim Gautreaux

By Camilla Gibb

By Julia Glass

By John Green

The Missing is the story of a man fighting to redeem himself, of parents coping with horrific loss with only a whisper of hope to sustain them, of others for whom kidnapping is either only a job or a dream come true. The suspense—and the complicated web of violence that eventually links Sam to complete strangers—is relentless, urgently engaging and, ultimately, profoundly moving, the finest demonstration yet of Gautreaux’s understanding of landscape, history, human travail, and hope.

Camilla Gibb's widely praised new novel is a poignant and intensely atmospheric look beyond the stereotypes of Islam. After her hippie British parents are murdered, Lilly is raised at a Sufi shrine in Morocco. As a young woman she goes on pilgrimage to Harar, Ethiopia, where she teaches Qur'an to children and falls in love with an idealistic doctor. But even swathed in a traditional headscarf, Lilly can't escape being marked as a foreigner. Forced to flee Ethiopia for England, she must once again confront the riddle of who she is and where she belongs.

Elegantly detailed yet full of emotional suspense, often as comic as it is sad, Three Junes is a glorious triptych about how we learn to live, and live fully, beyond incurable grief and betrayals of the heart—how family ties, both those we’re born into and those we make, can offer us redemption and joy.

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

 

Water For Elephants

Plainsong

Farewell To Arms

The Book of Negroes

By Sara Gruen

By Kent Haruf

By Ernest Hemingway

By Lawrence Hill

Nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski reflects back on his wild and wondrous days with a circus. It’s the Depression Era and Jacob, finding himself parentless and penniless, joins the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. There he meets the freaks, grifters, and misfits that populate this world. He introduces us to Marlena, beautiful star of the equestrian act; to August, her charismatic but twisted husband (and the circus’s animal trainer); and to Rosie, the seemingly untrainable elephant Jacob cares for.
Beautifully written, with a luminous sense of time and place, Water for Elephants tells of love in a world in which love’s a luxury few can afford.

A heartstrong story of family and romance, tribulation and tenacity, set on the High Plains east of Denver.
In the small town of Holt, Colorado, a high school teacher is confronted with raising his two boys alone after their mother retreats first to the bedroom, then altogether. A teenage girl -- her father long since disappeared, her mother unwilling to have her in the house -- is pregnant, alone herself, with nowhere to go. And out in the country, two brothers, elderly bachelors, work the family homestead, the only world they've ever known.

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. Hemingway’s frank portrayal of the love between Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Barkley, caught in the inexorable sweep of war, glows with an intensity unrivaled in modern literature, while his description of the German attack on Caporetto—of lines of fired men marching in the rain, hungry, weary, and demoralized—is one of the greatest moments in literary history. A story of love and pain, of loyalty and desertion, A Farewell to Arms, written when he was thirty years old, represents a new romanticism for Hemingway.

 

Lawrence Hill is a master at transforming the neglected corners of history into brilliant imaginings, as engaging and revealing as only the best historical fiction can be. A sweeping story that transports the reader from a tribal African village to a plantation in the southern United States, from the teeming Halifax docks to the manor houses of London, The Book of Negroes introduces one of the strongest female characters in recent Canadian fiction, one who cuts a swath through a world hostile to her colour and her sex.

 

The Dovekeepers

A Thousand Splendid Suns

The Song of Kahunsha

Never Let Me Go

By Alice Hoffman

By Khalid Hosseini

By Anosh Irani

By Kazuo Ishiguro

In Alice Hoffman's latest, much anticipated novel, four women have come to a historic place of no return. The time is 70 C.E.; the final retreat is Masada, a mountain fortress deep in the Judean desert. With a powerful Roman army encircling them, these fiercely independent women have sought refuge with 900 other Jews to make a tragic last stand against the siege of the conquerors. At first, these women, brought together to tend the dovecote, nurse their differences; gradually they learn to share their pain, their strength, and their dreams.
As events grow ever more ominous, these dovekeepers form bonds under pressure. Five years in the works, Hoffman's The Dovekeepers is an ambitious fiction masterwork woven into real history.

Set like its predecessor in war-torn Afghanistan, A Thousand Splendid Suns uses that tumultuous backdrop to render the heroic plight of two women of different generations married to the same savagely abusive male. Born out of wedlock, Mariam was forced to marry 40-year-old Rasheed when she was only 15. Then, 18 years later, her still childless husband angrily takes an even younger wife. Hosseini renders the story of Mariam and her "sister/daughter," Laila, with persuasive detail and consummate humanity. Their abject situation leaves them no emotional space for idle philosophizing; their resistance is from the very core of their being. Truly must-read fiction.

Ten-year-old Chamdi has rarely ventured outside his orphanage and entertains a fantasy of what Bombay is like beyond its garden walls – a paradise he calls Kahunsha, “the city of no sadness.” He runs away to search for his long-lost father and finds himself thrust into chaos. Moving, poignant, and wonderfully rich in the sights and sounds of Bombay, this novel is the story of Chamdi's struggle for survival on the city's dangerous streets.

From the acclaimed author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, a moving new novel that subtly reimagines our world and time in a haunting story of friendship and love.

Never Let Me Go breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel. It is a gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and also a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society. In exploring the themes of memory and the impact of the past, Ishiguro takes on the idea of a possible future to create his most moving and powerful book to date.

 

The Swallows of Kabul

A Separate Peace

Into Thin Air

Into The Wild

By Yasmina Khadra

By John Knowles

By Jon Krakauer

By Jon Krakauer

The Swallows of Kabul is a dazzling novel written with compassion and exquisite detail by one of the most lucid writers about the mentality of Islamic fundamentalists and the complexities of the Muslim world. Yasmina Khadra brings readers into the hot, dusty streets of Kabul and offers them an unflinching but compassionate insight into a society that violence and hypocrisy have brought to the edge of despair

Set at a boys’ boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.
A bestseller for more than thirty years, A Separate Peace is John Knowles’s crowning achievement and an undisputed American classic.

A powerful, cautionary tale of adventure gone horribly wrong, Into Thin Air became an instant bestseller upon publication. A childhood dream of some day ascending Mt. Everest, a lifelong love of climbing, and an expense account all propelled writer Jon Krakauer to the top of the Himalayas in May 1996. With a guide claiming "We've got the mountain wired," Krakauer found that for 65 grand, you could climb the world's tallest peak. This hubris, and a freak storm, claimed the lives of seven members of his expedition, and narrowly avoided killing Krakauer and many more.

In April 1992, a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. He had given $25,000 in savings to a charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet and invented a life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter. Jon Krakauer brings Chris McCandless's uncompromising pilgrimage out of the shadows and illuminates it with meaning in this mesmerizing and heartbreaking tour de force.

 

Great House

Rush Home Road

Crow Lake

Mystic River

By Nicole Krauss

 

By Mary Lawson

By Dennis Lehane

Great House is a story haunted by questions: What do we pass on to our children and how do they absorb our dreams and losses? How do we respond to disappearance, destruction, and change?
Nicole Krauss has written a soaring, powerful novel about memory struggling to create a meaningful permanence in the face of inevitable loss.

As this first novel opens, 70-year-old Addy Shadd is living a peaceful trailer-park existence in the company of down-and-outers like Collette, who leaves her daughter with Addy and then disappears. Five-year-old Sharla is neither lovely nor lovable, and Addy's habit of solitude is hard to break, but as the two outcasts learn to care for each other, they begin healing from the abuse that they have suffered. Memories of Addy's childhood days in Rusholme, a Canadian border town settled by runaway slaves in the 1800s, come rushing back and carry the reader away.
Though Addy has led a hard life, her beautiful, gentle spirit, her wise and loving way with Sharla, and an ultimate message of hope redeem the book from melancholy.

Here is a gorgeous, slow-burning story set in the rural “badlands” of northern Ontario, where heartbreak and hardship are mirrored in the landscape. For the farming Pye family, life is a Greek tragedy where the sins of the fathers are visited on the sons, and terrible events occur—offstage.
In this universal drama of family love and misunderstandings, of resentments harbored and driven underground, Lawson ratchets up the tension with heartbreaking humor and consummate control, continually overturning one’s expectations right to the very end. Tragic, funny, unforgettable, Crow Lake is a quiet tour de force that will catapult Mary Lawson to the forefront of fiction writers today.

 

When Jimmy Marcus' daughter is found murdered, his childhood friend Sean Devine is assigned to the case. His personal life unraveling, the investigation takes Sean back into a world of violence and pain he thought he'd left behind. It also puts him on a collision course with Jimmy Marcus - a man with his own dark past who is eager to solve the crime with brutal justice. And then there is Dave Boyle, a man who hides monstrous secrets beneath a bland facade - secrets his wife, Celeste, is only beginning to suspect.

 

Chronic City

The Blind Side

Jewel

Fall On Your Knees

By Jonathan Lethem

By Michael Lewis

By Bret Lott

By Ann-Marie MacDonald

Chase Insteadman, former child television star, has a new role in life—permanent guest on the Upper East Side dinner party circuit, where he is consigned to talk about his astronaut fiancée, Janice Trumbull, who is trapped on a circling Space Station. A chance encounter collides Chase with Perkus Tooth, a wily pop culture guru with a vicious conspiratorial streak and the best marijuana in town. Despite their disparate backgrounds and trajectories Chase and Perkus discover they have a lot in common, including a cast of friends from all walks of life in Manhattan.  Together and separately they attempt to define the indefinable, and enter into a quest for the most elusive of things: truth and authenticity in a city where everything has a price. 

The young man at the center of this extraordinary and moving story will one day be among the most highly paid athletes in the National Football League. When we first meet him, he is one of thirteen children by a mother addicted to crack; he does not know his real name, his father, his birthday, or any of the things a child might learn in school such as, say, how to read or write. Nor has he ever touched a football.
What changes? He takes up football, and school, after a rich, Evangelical, Republican family plucks him from the mean streets. Their love is the first great force that alters the world's perception of the boy, whom they adopt.

In the backwoods of Mississippi, a land of honeysuckle and grapevine, Jewel and her husband, Leston, are truly blessed; they have five fine children. When Brenda Kay is born in 1943, Jewel gives thanks for a healthy baby, last-born and most welcome. Jewel is the story of how quickly a life can change; how, like lightning, an unforeseen event can set us on a course without reason or compass.
In this story of a woman's devotion to the child who is both her burden and God's singular way of smiling on her, Bret Lott has created a mother-daughter relationship of matchless intensity and beauty, and one of the finest, most indomitable heroines in contemporary American fiction.

Much-lauded Canadian actress and playwright Ann-Marie MacDonald -- turns her hand to fiction with this remarkable debut novel. The sweeping saga of a deeply troubled Nova Scotia family, Fall on Your Knees is an anguished yet wise and darkly humorous tale that weaves deftly back and forth in time to cover five generations of the Piper clan -- from late-19th-century Nova Scotia to the battlefields of World War I to Manhattan's vibrant 1920s music scene, and back to Nova Scotia. MacDonald gracefully tackles tragic events and disturbing secrets -- rape, incest, death, disease, the stigma of out-of-wedlock pregnancy -- that come to light as family members search for truth, understanding, and redemption.

 

No Great Mischief

Londonstani

The Road

A Fine Balance

By Alistair MacLeod

By G Malkani

By Cormac McCarthy

By Rohinton Mistry

From the moment Alexander MacDonald sets out along Highway 3 in southwestern Ontario to visit his alcoholic brother living in a cheap Toronto lodging house, this sturdily textured debut novel never hesitates or meanders. There are plenty of diverse characters, changing scenes, and gripping incidents to keep it rolling. Four generations of MacDonalds move through the pages of this book--from the first to arrive in Cape Breton from Scotland in 1779 to narrator Alexander, an orthodontist, and his siblings. MacLeod, who has been heralded in his native Canada as a master of the short story, exhibits a remarkable ability to create and handle an intricate plot that goes back and forth between past and present.

Gautam Malkani's electrifying debut reveals young South Asians struggling to distinguish themselves from their parents' generation in the vast urban sprawl that is contemporary London. Chronicling the lives of a gang of four young middle-class men-Hardjit, the violent enforcer; Ravi, the follower; Amit, who's struggling to come to terms with his mother's hypocrisy; and Jas, desperate to win the approval of the others despite lusting after Samira, a Muslim girl-Londonstani, funny, disturbing, and written in the exuberant language of its protagonists, is about tribalism, aggressive masculinity, integration, alienation, bling-bling economics, and "complicated family-related shit."

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, "each the other's world entire," are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

In mid-1970s urban India -- a chaos of wretchedness on the streets and slogans in the offices -- a chain of circumstances tosses four varied individuals together in one small flat. Stubbornly independent Dina, widowed early, takes in Maneck, the college-aged son of a more prosperous childhood friend and, more reluctantly, Ishvar and Om, uncle and nephew tailors fleeing low-caste origins and astonishing hardships. The reader first learns the characters' separate, compelling histories of brief joys and abiding sorrows, then watches as barriers of class, suspicion, and politeness are gradually dissolved. Even more affecting than Mistry's depictions of squalor and grotesque injustice is his study of friendships emerging unexpectedly, naturally. The novel's coda is cruel and heart-wrenching but deeply honest.

 

All Quiet On The Western Front

Wide Sargasso Sea

Mercy Among The Children

between shades of gray

By E.M. Remarque

By Jean Rhys

By David Adams Richards

By Ruta Sepetys

Paul Baumer enlisted with his classmates in the German army of World War I. Youthful, enthusiastic, they become soldiers. But despite what they have learned, they break into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches. And as horrible war plods on year after year, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the principles of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against each other—if only he can come out of the war alive.

Jean Rhys's reputation was made upon the publication of this passionate and heartbreaking novel, in which she brings into the light one of fiction's most mysterious characters: the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre.
A sensual and protected young woman, Antoinette Cosway grows up in the lush natural world of the Caribbean. She is sold into marriage to the coldhearted and prideful Rochester, who succumbs to his need for money and his lust. Yet he will make her pay for her ancestors' sins of slaveholding, excessive drinking, and nihilistic despair by enslaving her as a prisoner in his bleak English home.
In this best-selling novel Rhys portrays a society so driven by hatred, so skewed in its sexual relations, that it can literally drive a woman out of her mind.

At the age of 12, having borne more suffering in his child's body than any adult should endure, Sydney Henderson vows never to harm another human soul. Turning his back on the violent alcoholism of his upbringing, self-educated Sydney wins the honest respect of the beautiful Elly and the children they bear. Honest respect, however, is rarely a match for fear and base human opportunism. Manipulated, attacked, and abused by a small community eager for a scapegoat, Sydney loses his job, the health of his wife, and, most importantly, the respect of his son Lyle. "There is no worse flaw in man's character," Richards knows, "than that of wanting to belong."
The superb, controlled, and unapologetic Mercy Among the Children is nothing less than an inquiry into human strength.

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

 

We Need To Talk About Kevin

Super Sad True Love Story

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Lionel Shriver

By Gary Shteyngart

By Betty Smith

By Muriel Barbery

Eva never really wanted to be a mother—and certainly not the mother of a boy who ends up murdering seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin’s horrific rampage, in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin.

In the near future, America is crushed by a financial crisis and our patient Chinese creditors may just be ready to foreclose on the whole mess. Then Lenny Abramov, son of an Russian immigrant janitor and ardent fan of "printed, bound media artifacts" (aka books), meets Eunice Park, an impossibly cute Korean American woman with a major in Images and a minor in Assertiveness. Could falling in love redeem a planet falling apart

"A profoundly moving novel, and an honest and true one. It cuts right to the heart of life...If you miss A Tree Grows in Brooklyn you will deny yourself a rich experience...It is a poignant and deeply understanding story of childhood and family relationships. The Nolans lived in the Williamsburg slums of Brooklyn from 1902 until 1919...Their daughter Francie and their son Neely knew more than their fair share of the privations and sufferings that are the lot of a great city's poor. Primarily this is Francie's book. She is a superb feat of characterization, an imaginative, alert, resourceful child. And Francie's growing up and beginnings of wisdom are the substance of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn."
New York Times

An enchanting New York Times and international bestseller and award-winner about life, art, literature, philosophy, culture, class, privilege, and power, seen through the eyes of a 54-year old French concierge and a precocious but troubled 12-year-old girl.
Renée Michel is the 54-year-old concierge of a luxury Paris apartment building. Her exterior  and demeanor belie her keen, questing mind and profound erudition. Paloma Josse is a 12-year-old genius who behaves as everyone expects her to behave: a mediocre pre-teen high on adolescent subculture, a good but not outstanding student, an obedient if obstinate daughter. She plans to kill herself on the sixteenth of June, her thirteenth birthday.

ENG 4U ISU Novel List

The Grapes of Wrath

The Help

more than it hurts you

A Confederacy of Dunces

By John Steinbeck

By Kathryn Stockett

By Darin Strauss

By John Kennedy Toole

Although it follows the movement of thousands of men and women and the transformation of an entire nation, The Grapes of Wrath is also the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, who are driven off their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisons against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots, Steinbeck created a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its insistence on human dignity.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women-mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends-view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.

The acclaimed author of Chang and Eng returns with a literary showstopper -- a beautifully realized novel that at its heart is the story of a woman who will risk everything to feel something; a doctor whose diagnosis brings her entire life into question; and a man who suddenly realizes that being a good husband and a good father can no longer comfortably coexist.

A Confederacy of Dunces is nothing short of a publishing phenomenon. Turned down by countless publishers and submitted by the author's mother years after his suicide, the book won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Set in New Orleans, A Confederacy of Dunces outswifts Swift, one of whose essays gives the book its title. As its characters burst into life, they leave the region and literature forever changed by their presences - Ignatius and his mother; Miss Trixie, the octogenarian assistant accountant at Levy Pants; inept, wan Patrolman Mancuso; Darlene, the Bourbon Street stripper with a penchant for poultry; Jones, the jivecat in space-age dark glasses. Satire and farce animate A Confederacy of Dunces; tragic awareness ennobles it."

 

 

The Last Crossing

Cutting For Stone

The Toss of a Lemon

The Quiet Twin

By Guy Vanderhaege

Abraham Verghes

By Padma Viswanathan

By Dan Vyleta

The Last Crossing is a sweeping tale of breathtaking quests, adventurous detours, and hard-won redemption. Englishmen Charles and Addington Gaunt are ordered by their tyrannical industrialist father to find their brother Simon, who has gone missing in the wilds of the American West. Charles, a disillusioned artist, and Addington, a disgraced military captain, set off to remote Fort Benton on the edge of the Montana frontier.

Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.
 
Moving from Addis Ababa to New York City and back again, Cutting for Stone is an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles—and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined.

Spanning the lifetime of one woman, The Toss of a Lemon brings us intimately into a Brahmin household, into an India we’ve never before seen.
Married at ten, widowed at eighteen, left with two children, Sivakami must wear widow’s whites, shave her head, and touch no one from dawn to dusk. She is not allowed to remarry, and in the next sixty years she ventures outside her family compound only three times. She is extremely orthodox in her behavior except for one defiant act: She moves back to her dead husband’s house and village to raise her children. That decision sets the course of her children’s and grandchildren’s lives, twisting their fates in surprising, sometimes heartbreaking ways.

Set in Vienna during the first weeks of WWII, Vyleta’s captivating detective story, told from multiple perspectives, examines the paranoia and mistrust of neighbors during the height of Hitler’s regime. Neighborhood physician Dr. Anton Beer, a specialist in nervous disorders and forensics, is asked by his colleague, Dr. Speckstein, to investigate the death and disembowelment of his beloved pet dog.
Dr. Beer, who has his own reasons for keeping his private life hidden from public scrutiny, reluctantly becomes embroiled in an inquiry that forces him to face the dark realities of Nazi rule. By turns chilling and tender, The Quiet Twin explores a dystopian world of social paranoia, mistrust, and fear-and the danger of staying silent.

The Glass Castle Salvage The Bones Before I Wake The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
By Jeanette Walls By Jesmyn Ward By Robert J. Wiersema By David Wroblewski

What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to MSNBC.com, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.

 

A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch's father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn't show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn't much to save.
As the twelve days that make up the novel's framework yield to their dramatic conclusion, this unforgettable family-motherless children sacrificing for one another as they can, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce-pulls itself up to face another day. A big-hearted novel about familial love and community against all odds, and a wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty, Salvage the Bones is muscled with poetry, revelatory, and real.

They say there are three sides to every story. Yours, mine and the truth. In Before I Wake, debut novelist Robert J. Wiersema cleverly introduces a multitude of voices to tell this astonishing story of loss, redemption and forgiveness. And the truth? Well, when miracles start happening around Sherry Barrett, a three-year-old girl in a coma, explanations of a rational kind no longer seem important.
Before I Wake delicately brings together grandiose leaps of faith with the fragility of every day moments. There's a fly-on-the-wall quality in Wiersema's observations, as his realistically flawed characters struggle with guilt, self-loathing and belief while they go about their daily lives.

 

Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life on his family's farm in remote northern Wisconsin where they raise and train an extraordinary breed of dog. But when tragedy strikes, Edgar is forced to flee into the vast neighboring wilderness, accompanied by only three yearling pups. Struggling for survival, Edgar comes of age in the wild, and must face the choice of leaving forever or revealing the terrible truth behind what has happened.

A riveting family saga as well as a brilliant exploration of the limits of language, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is destined to become a modern classic.