Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin Boyle. Follows the 1925 murder trial of African-American doctor Ossian Sweet, who was accused of murdering a white person during a mob attack on his home, and includes a history of the Sweet family and a portrait of his attorney, Clarence Darrow.
Battle For God by Karen Armstrong. Reveals how the fundamentalist movements in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam were born out of a dread of modernity.
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell. How do we think without thinking, seem to make choices in an instant--in the blink of an eye--that actually aren't as simple as they seem? Drawing on cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology, the author reveals that great decision makers aren't those who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating, but those who have perfected the art of filtering the very few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of variables.
Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War by Barbara Ehrenreich. Traces the evolution of war from ancient symbolic sacrifices to contemporary total war.
A Clearing in the Distance: Frederick Law Olmstead and America in the Nineteenth Century by Witold Rybczynski. Chronicles the life and career of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, and the effect his ideas had on American culture.
Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson. An account of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 relates the stories of two men who shaped the history of the event--architect Daniel H. Burnham, who coordinated its construction, and serial killer Herman Mudgett.
A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel. The author offers a chronicle of growing up in a small town in America's heartland, offering portraits of her family and her encounters with the complexities of the adult world, romance, and small-town life during the 1960s and 1970s.
Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls. The child of an alcoholic father and an eccentric artist mother discusses her family's nomadic upbringing, during which she and her siblings fended for themselves while their parents outmaneuvered billcollectors and the authorities.
Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom by Catherine Clinton. A biography of the fugitive slave turned "conductor" on the Underground Railroad describes Tubman's youth in the South, her escape to Philadelphia, her efforts to liberate slaves, and her work for the Union Army.
Lost in America: A Journey With MyFather by Sherwin Nuland. The author offers an account of his father's life, from the turn-of-the-century arrival of a young immigrant from Russia to his struggle against poverty, tragedy, and illness, and explores how his father's life influenced his own.
Manhattan Memoir by Mary Cantwell. A memoir of Cantwell's journey from a small New England town to her days in Manhattan in the 1950s trying to break into the magazine business, complete with tales of her family life, her divorce and struggles to find happiness.
The Mapmaker's Wife: A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the Amazon by Robert Whitaker. When a tangled web of international politics in the eighteenth centuryl eaves Isabel Grameson and her husband Jean Godin stranded at opposite ends of the Amazon River, Isabel makes a treacherous solo journey to reunite with her husband after twenty years of separation.
Paris to the Moon by AdamGopnik. Revisiting a recurring American obsession with the French capital, the author takes a look at Paris and what it means to Americans as he describes his own relationship with the city.
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoirin Books by Azar Nafisi. The author describes growing up in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the group of young women who came together at her home in secret every Thursday to read and discuss great books of Western literature.
River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze by Peter Hessler. Records the author's experiences as a Peace Corps English teacher in the small Chinese city of Fuling, during which time he witnessed such events as the death of Deng Xiaoping, the return of Hong Kong to the mainland, and the construction of the Three Gorges Dam.
Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand. The author retraces the journey of Seabiscuit, a horse with crooked legs and a pathetic tail that made racing history in 1938, thanks to the efforts of a trainer, owner, and jockey who transformed a bottom-level racehorse into a legend.
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. Discusses the reckless annihilation of fish and birds by the use of pesticides and warns of the possible genetic effects on humans.
The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary S. Lovell. A portrait of the Mitford sistersfollows Jessica, a communist; Debo, the Duchess of Devonshire; Nancy, a best-selling novelist; Diana, who was the most hated woman in England; and Unity, who was obsessed with Adolf Hitler.
Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Tale of Survival by Dean King. Chronicles the hardships encountered by twelve American sailors who, in 1815, were shipwrecked on the coast of North Africa, captured, sold into slavery, and sent on a difficult odyssey through the perilous heart of the Sahara.
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman. Addresses the story of a sick child of Laotian immigrants whose beliefs conflict with Western medicine.
Atonement by Ian McEwan. Three children lost their innocence--as the sweltering summer heat bears down on the hottest day in 1935--and their lives are changed forever.
Away by Amy Bloom. Arriving in America alone after her family is destroyed in a Russian pogrom, Lillian Leyb receives word that her daughter Sophie might still bealive and embarks on a risky odyssey that takes her from New York's Lower East Side to Siberia to find the missing girl.
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai, Sijie. During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, two boys are sent to the country for reeducation, where their lives take an unexpected turn when they meet the beautiful daughter of a local tailor and stumble upon a forbidden stash of Western literature.
The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King. When Mary Russell meets famous detective Sherlock Holmes, she discovers that he is also a beekeeper. Soon she finds herself on the trail of kidnappers and discovers a plot to kill both Holmes and herself.
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. When terrorists seize hostages at anembassy party, an unlikely assortment of people is thrown together, including American opera star Roxanne Coss, and Mr. Hosokawa, a Japanese CEO and her biggest fan.
Blue Angel by Francine Prose. An ironic look at modern academia offers the chronicle of the trials and tribulations of Swenson, a frustrated college professor who finds that Angela Argo, a post-punk, oft-pierced student, has a brilliant writing talent.
The Curious Incident of the Dog inthe Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor's dog and uncovers secret information about his mother.
Daniel Deronda by George Eliot. Raised among the British upper classes,Daniel Deronda discovers his Jewish ancestry and, while struggling tochoose between his upbringing and heredity, falls in love with awell-bred woman trapped in an unhappy marriage.
Desperate Characters by Paula Fox. First published in 1970 to wide acclaim, this harrowing novel digs deep into the lives of Otto and Sophie Bentwood, whose seemingly perfect marriage begins to crack much as post-war society is cracking around them.
Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee. In a novel set in post-apartheid South Africa, a fifty-two-year-old college professor who has lost his job for sleeping with a student tries to relate to his daughter, Lucy, who works with an ambitious African farmer.
Empire Falls by Richard Russo. Milo Roby tries to hold his family together while working at the Empire Grill in the once-successful logging town of Empire Falls, Maine, with his partner, Mrs. Whiting, who is the heir to a faded logging and textile legacy.
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. This debut novel follows a young writer as he travels to the farmlands of Eastern Europe, where he embarks on a quest to find Augustine, the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis, and, guided by his young Ukrainian translator, he discovers an unexpected past that will resonate far into the future.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. A totalitarian regime has ordered all books to be destroyed, but one of the bookburners suddenly realizes their merit.
Fire Sale by Sara Paretsky. Coaching the basketball team at her former South Chicago high school, V.I.Warshawski investigates sabotage at the site of the area's largest employer, where an explosion has killed the facility's owner and launched a dangerous family rivalry.
Foreigner by Nahid Rachlin. A woman in her thirties visits her father's house in Iran, finds her mother living in an ancient, tradition-bound town, encounters a young doctor, and experiences a contentment absent for her colorless American marriage.
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian immigrant lured by appealing advertisements, comes to Chicago to make money in the stockyards, but the reality is different from what he expects.The kit contains the uncensored edition of this classic book.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Traces the unlikely friendship of a wealthy Afghan youth and a servant's son, in a tale that spans the final days of Afghanistan's monarchy through the atrocities of the present day.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Possessing encyclopedia-like intelligence, unusual zookeeper's son Pi Patel sets sail for America, but when the ship sinks, he escapes on a life boat and is lost at sea with a dwindling number of animals until only he and a hungry Bengal tiger remain.
The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich. Returning to his quiet German village home after World War I, trained killer Fidelis Waldvogel, accompanied by his wife, leaves to start a new life in America and finds his life irrevocably changed by a new relationship.
My Life in France by Julia Child. Notable chef Child's memoir is one of the books that inspired the 2009 film Julie & Julia. The memoir details her days in France, where she arrived in 1948 and quickly fell in love with the food and the culture. The classes she took at the Cordon Bleu changed her life forever.
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. The quiet 1960s mid western life of the Land family--father Jeremiah, and children, Reuben, Davy and Swede--is upended when Davy kills two teenage boys who have come to harm the family. On the morning of his sentencing, Davy escapes from his cell and the Lands set out in search of him. Their search is at once a heroic quest, atragedy, a love story, and a haunting meditation on the possibility of magic in the everyday world.
The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason. In 1886, piano tuner Edgar Drake leaves London for the jungles of Burma, where he has been asked to repair a grandpiano belonging to a British army officer who uses the piano and music to help keep the peace among warring local Burmese princes.
The Plot Against America by Philip Roth. In a novel of alternative history, aviation hero Charles A. Lindbergh defeats Franklin Roosevelt in the1940 presidential election, negotiating an accord with Adolf Hitler and accepting his conquest of Europe and anti-Semitic policies.
Remains of the Day by KazuoIshiguro. Stevens, an elderly butler, hopes to rise to the top of hisprofession, and he remains stoic and unemotional at his father's death and neglects theopportunity to pursue a relationship with a former housekeeper.
Remembering Babylon by David Malouf. Thirteen-year-old Gemmy Fairley is cast ashore in northern Australia and adopted by Australian aborigines during the mid-1840s.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Ina novel set in an indefinite, futuristic, post-apocalyptic world, a father and his young son make their way through the ruins of a devastated American landscape, struggling to survive and preserve the last remnants of their own humanity.
S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton. Thirty-four years after Violet Sullivan's unexplained disappearance, Daisy--the not-quite-seven-year-old daughter she left behind--enlists the assistance of private detective Kinsey Millhone to help her find the truth.
Snow by Orhan Pamuk. After years of lonely political exile, Turkish poet Ka returns to Istanbul to attend his mother's funeral and learns about a series of suicides among pious girls forbidden to wear headscarves.
Small Island by Andrea Levy. At the end of World War II the Joseph family arrives in London from Jamaica and Queenie, their white landlady, befriends them, until her racist husband, Bernard, arrives home from the front.
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. The sole survivor of a crew sent to explore a new planet, Jesuit priest Emilio Sandoz discovers an alien civilization that raises questions about the very essence of humanity, an encounter that leads Sandoz to a public inquisition and the destruction of his faith.
Three Junes by Julia Glass. Reveals the interconnected lives, loves, and relationships of different generations of the McLeod family over the course ofthree crucial summers.
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Uncle Tom's master sells him, separating him from his wife, and he becomes attached to the gentle daughter of his new owner, but after her death, he is sold to the evil Simon Legree.
Waiting by Ha Jin. An ambitious and dedicated Chinese doctor, Lin Kong finds himself torn between two very different women--the educated and dynamic nurse with whom he has fallen in love and the traditional, meek, and humble woman to whom his family married him when they were both very young.
White Teeth by Zadie Smith. Set in post-war London, this novel of the racial, political, and social upheaval of the last half-century follows two families--the Joneses and the Iqbals, both outsiders from within the former British empire--as they make their way in modern England.