September 20, 2006

Recommended Book Reading List - High School Fiction

Checklist

Richard Adams, Watership Down: A Novel
Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy
Anonymous, Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place
Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Willa Cather, My Antonia
Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans
Thomas B. Costain, The Silver Chalice
Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage
Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers
Baroness Orczy Emmuska, The Scarlet Pimpernel:
C.S. Forester, Lieutenant Hornblower
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
Seamus Heaney, Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and The Sea
O. Henry, The Ransom of Red Chief
G. A. Henty, The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt
James Herriot, All Creatures Great and Small
Thor Heyerdahl, Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft
James Hilton, Good-Bye, Mr. Chips
Homer, The Iliad
Homer, The Odyssey
Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
Washington Irving, The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow
Brian Jacques, Redwall
Rudyard Kipling, Captains Courageous
Jean Lee Latham, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet
C.S. Lewis, Perelandra
C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength
C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce
Jack London, The Call Of The Wild
Alistair MacLean, The Guns of Navarone.
Catherine Marshall, Christy
John Milton, Paradise Lost
George Orwell, Animal Farm
Chaim Potok, The Chosen
Howard Pyle, Men of Iron
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, The Yearling
James Reeves, Exploits of Don Quixote
Conrad Richter, The Light in the Forest
William Shakespeare, The Riverside Shakespeare
Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
Gene Stratton-Porter, A Girl of the Limberlost
H.G. Wells, The Invisible Man
Source: http://writing-edu.com/literature/booklistC.php

Summaries

Watership Down: A Novel [mvpl] [amzn]
Richard Adams
A phenomenal worldwide bestseller for over thirty years, Richard Adams's Watership Down is a timeless classic and one of the most beloved novels of all time. Set in England's Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage and survival follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society.
The Divine Comedy [mvpl] [amzn]
Dante Alighieri
Dante Alighieri's poetic masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, is a moving human drama, an unforgettable visionary journey through the infinite torment of Hell, up the arduous slopes of Purgatory, and on to the glorious realm of Paradise-the sphere of universal harmony and eternal salvation.
Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight [mvpl] [amzn]
Anonymous
The classic old English tale of King Arthur's kinsman
Pride and Prejudice [mvpl] [amzn]
Jane Austen
Elizabeth Bennet is the perfect Austen heroine: intelligent, generous, sensible, incapable of jealousy or any other major sin. That makes her sound like an insufferable goody-goody, but the truth is she's a completely hip character, who if provoked is not above skewering her antagonist with a piece of her exceptionally sharp -- but always polite -- 18th century wit. The point is, you spend the whole book absolutely fixated on the critical question: will Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy hook up?
The Hiding Place [mvpl] [amzn]
Corrie Ten Boom
Corrie Ten Boom stood naked with her older sister Betsie, watching a concentration camp matron beating a prisoner."Oh, the poor woman," Corrie cried."Yes. May God forgive her," Betsie replied. And, once again, Corrie realized that it was for the souls of the brutal Nazi guards that her sister prayed.

Here is a book aglow with the glory of God and the courage of a quiet Christian spinster whose life was transformed by it. A story of Christ's message and the courageous woman who listened and lived to pass it along -- with joy and triumph!
The Martian Chronicles [mvpl] [amzn]
Ray Bradbury
From "Rocket Summer" to "The Million-Year Picnic," Ray Bradbury's stories of the colonization of Mars form an eerie mesh of past and future. Written in the 1940s, the chronicles drip with nostalgic atmosphere--shady porches with tinkling pitchers of lemonade, grandfather clocks, chintz-covered sofas. But longing for this comfortable past proves dangerous in every way to Bradbury's characters--the golden-eyed Martians as well as the humans. Starting in the far-flung future of 1999, expedition after expedition leaves Earth to investigate Mars. The Martians guard their mysteries well, but they are decimated by the diseases that arrive with the rockets. Colonists appear, most with ideas no more lofty than starting a hot-dog stand, and with no respect for the culture they've displaced.

Bradbury's quiet exploration of a future that looks so much like the past is sprinkled with lighter material. In "The Silent Towns," the last man on Mars hears the phone ring and ends up on a comical blind date. But in most of these stories, Bradbury holds up a mirror to humanity that reflects a shameful treatment of "the other," yielding, time after time, a harvest of loneliness and isolation. Yet the collection ends with hope for renewal, as a colonist family turns away from the demise of the Earth towards a new future on Mars. Bradbury is a master fantasist and The Martian Chronicles are an unforgettable work of art. --Blaise Selby

Jane Eyre [mvpl] [amzn]
Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë characterized the eponymous heroine of her 1847 novel as being "as poor and plain as myself." Presenting a heroine with neither great beauty nor entrancing charm was an unprecendented maneuver, but Brontë's instincts proved correct, for readers of her era and ever after have taken Jane Eyre into their hearts. The author drew upon her own experience to depict Jane's struggles at Lowood, an oppressive boarding school, and her troubled career as a governess. Unlike Jane, Brontë had the advantage of a warm family circle that shared and encouraged her literary pursuits. She found immediate success with this saga of an orphan girl forced to make her way alone in the world, from Lowood School to Thornfield, the estate of the majestically moody Mr. Rochester, and beyond. Unabridged republication of a standard edition.
My Antonia [mvpl] [amzn]
Willa Cather

ENDURING LITERATURE ILLUMINATED
BY PRACTICAL SCHOLARSHIP


The moving portrait of an orphan boy and immigrant girl who find hardship -- and love -- on the American prairie.


EACH ENRICHED CLASSIC EDITION INCLUDES:

• A concise introduction that gives readers important background information

• A chronology of the author's life and work

• A timeline of significant events that provides the book's historical context

• An outline of key themes and plot points to help readers form their own interpretations

• Detailed explanatory notes

• Critical analysis, including contemporary and modern perspectives on the work

• Discussion questions to promote lively classroom and book group interaction

• A list of recommended related books and films to broaden the reader's experience


Enriched Classics offer readers affordable editions of great works of literature enhanced by helpful notes and insightful commentary. The scholarship provided in Enriched Classics enables readers to appreciate, understand, and enjoy the world's finest books to their full potential.

SERIES EDITED BY CYNTHIA BRANTLEY JOHNSON

The Canterbury Tales [mvpl] [amzn]
Geoffrey Chaucer
On a spring day in April--sometime in the waning years of the 14th century--29 travelers set out for Canterbury on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Thomas Beckett. Among them is a knight, a monk, a prioress, a plowman, a miller, a merchant, a clerk, and an oft-widowed wife from Bath. Travel is arduous and wearing; to maintain their spirits, this band of pilgrims entertains each other with a series of tall tales that span the spectrum of literary genres. Five hundred years later, people are still reading Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. If you haven't yet made the acquaintance of the Franklin, the Pardoner, or the Squire because you never learned Middle English, take heart: this edition of the Tales has been translated into modern idiom.

From the heroic romance of "The Knight's Tale" to the low farce embodied in the stories of the Miller, the Reeve, and the Merchant, Chaucer treated such universal subjects as love, sex, and death in poetry that is simultaneously witty, insightful, and poignant. The Canterbury Tales is a grand tour of 14th-century English mores and morals--one that modern-day readers will enjoy.

Heart of Darkness [mvpl] [amzn]
Joseph Conrad
Dark allegory describes the narrator’s journey up the Congo River and his meeting with, and fascination by, Mr. Kurtz, a mysterious personage who dominates the unruly inhabitants of the region. Masterly blend of adventure, character development, psychological penetration. Considered by many Conrad’s finest, most enigmatic story.
The Last of the Mohicans [mvpl] [amzn]
James Fenimore Cooper
The wild rush of action in this classic frontier adventure story has made The Last of the Mohicans the most popular of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales. Deep in the forests of upper New York State, the brave woodsman Hawkeye (Natty Bumppo) and his loyal Mohican fiends Cingachgook and Uncas become embroiled in the bloody battles of the French and Indian War. The abduction of the beautiful Munro sisters by hostile savages, the treachery of the renegade brave Magua, the ambush of innocent settlers, and the thrilling events that lead to the final tragic confrontation between rival war parties create an unforgettable, spine-tingling picture of life on the frontier. And as the idyllic wilderness gives way to the forces of civilization, the novel presents a moving portrayal of a vanishing race and the end of its way of life in the great American forests.
The Silver Chalice [mvpl] [amzn]
Thomas B. Costain
The Silver Chalice recounts the story of Basil, a young silversmith, who is commissioned by the apostle Luke to fashion a holder for the cup Jesus used at the Last Supper. The Silver Chalice was the best-selling fiction title of 1953 in the United States and was made into a film starring Paul Newman.
The Red Badge of Courage [mvpl] [amzn]
Stephen Crane
Tor Classics are affordably-priced editions designed to attract the young reader. Original dynamic cover art enthusiastically represents the excitement of each story. Appropriate "reader friendly" type sizes have been chosen for each title--offering clear, accurate, and readable text. All editions are complete and unabridged, and feature Introductions and Afterwords.This edition of The Red Badge of Courage includes an Introduction, Biographical Note, and Afterword by Joe Haldeman.Henry Fleming had no idea how horrible war really was. Attacks come from all sides, bullets fly, bombs crash. Men everywhere are wounded, bleeding, and dying. Now, Henry's fighting for his life and he's scared.He must make a decision, perhaps the most difficult decision he will ever make in his life: save himself-run from the enemy and desert his friends-or fight, be brave, and risk his life.If he stays to fight, he may die with his regiment. If he runs, he'll have to live with knowing he was a coward. Can Henry find the strength within himself to earn his red badge of courage?
Robinson Crusoe [mvpl] [amzn]
Daniel Defoe

Who has not dreamed of life on an exotic isle, far away from civilization? Here is the novel which has inspired countless imitations by lesser writers, none of which equal the power and originality of Defoe's famous book. Robinson Crusoe, set ashore on an island after a terrible storm at sea, is forced to make do with only a knife, some tobacco, and a pipe. He learns how to build a canoe, make bread, and endure endless solitude. That is, until, twenty-four years later, when he confronts another human being. First published in 1719, Robinson Crusoe has been praised by such writers as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Johnson as one of the greatest novels in the English

language.

Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) trained for the ministry, became a political journalist, and finally, to many, became "the father of the English novel." He is also the author of Moll Flanders.

Great Expectations [mvpl] [amzn]
Charles Dickens
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek [mvpl] [amzn]
Annie Dillard
An exhilarating meditation on nature and its seasons-a personal narrative highlighting one year's exploration on foot in the author's own neighborhood in Tinker Creek, Virginia. In the summer, Dillard stalks muskrats in the creek and contemplates wave mechanics; in the fall she watches a monarch butterfly migration and dreams of Arctic caribou. She tries to con a coot; she collects pond water and examines it under a microscope. She unties a snake skin, witnesses a flood, and plays -King of the Meadow' with a field of grasshoppers.
The Three Musketeers [mvpl] [amzn]
Alexandre Dumas
This swashbuckling tale, beloved around the world, follows the fortunes of d'Artagnan, a country boy who travels to Paris to join the Musketeers, save his Queen from scandal, and outwit the devious Cardinal Richelieu.
The Scarlet Pimpernel: [mvpl] [amzn]
Baroness Orczy Emmuska
During the French Revolution's reign of terror, the mysterious Scarlet Pimpernel rescues helpless men, women, and children from their doom in this unique, wonderfully colorful adventure classic.
Lieutenant Hornblower [mvpl] [amzn]
C.S. Forester
Read by Ioan Gruffudd Two cassettes Running time: 2 hours
The Scarlet Letter [mvpl] [amzn]
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Hailed by Henry James as "the finest piece of imaginative writing yet put forth in the country," Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter reaches to our nation's historical and moral roots for the material of great tragedy. Set in an early New England colony, the novel shows the terrible impact a single, passionate act has on the lives of three members of the community: the defiant Hester Prynne; the fiery, tortured Reverend Dimmesdale; and the obsessed, vengeful Chillingworth.

With The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne became the first American novelist to forge from our Puritan heritage a universal classic, a masterful exploration of humanity's unending struggle with sin, guilt and pride.
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation [mvpl] [amzn]
Seamus Heaney
In Beowulf warriors must back up their mead-hall boasts with instant action, monsters abound, and fights are always to the death. The Anglo-Saxon epic, composed between the 7th and 10th centuries, has long been accorded its place in literature, though its hold on our imagination has been less secure. In the introduction to his translation, Seamus Heaney argues that Beowulf's role as a required text for many English students obscured its mysteries and "mythic potency." Now, thanks to the Irish poet's marvelous recreation (in both senses of the word) under Alfred David's watch, this dark, doom-ridden work gets its day in the sun.

There are endless pleasures in Heaney's analysis, but readers should head straight for the poem and then to the prose. (Some will also take advantage of the dual-language edition and do some linguistic teasing out of their own.) The epic's outlines seem simple, depicting Beowulf's three key battles with the scaliest brutes in all of art: Grendel, Grendel's mother (who's in a suitably monstrous snit after her son's dismemberment and death), and then, 50 years later, a gold-hoarding dragon "threatening the night sky / with streamers of fire." Along the way, however, we are treated to flashes back and forward and to a world view in which a thane's allegiance to his lord and to God is absolute. In the first fight, the man from Geatland must travel to Denmark to take on the "shadow-stalker" terrorizing Heorot Hall. Here Beowulf and company set sail:

Men climbed eagerly up the gangplank,
sand churned in the surf, warriors loaded
a cargo of weapons, shining war-gear
in the vessel's hold, then heaved out,
away with a will in their wood-wreathed ship.
Over the waves, with the wind behind her
and foam at her neck, she flew like a bird...
After a fearsome night victory over march-haunting and heath-marauding Grendel, our high-born hero is suitably strewn with gold and praise, the queen declaring: "Your sway is wide as the wind's home, / as the sea around cliffs." Few will disagree. And remember, Beowulf has two more trials to undergo.

Heaney claims that when he began his translation it all too often seemed "like trying to bring down a megalith with a toy hammer." The poem's challenges are many: its strong four-stress line, heavy alliteration, and profusion of kennings could have been daunting. (The sea is, among other things, "the whale-road," the sun is "the world's candle," and Beowulf's third opponent is a "vile sky-winger." When it came to over-the-top compound phrases, the temptations must have been endless, but for the most part, Heaney smiles, he "called a sword a sword.") Yet there are few signs of effort in the poet's Englishing. Heaney varies his lines with ease, offering up stirring dialogue, action, and description while not stinting on the epic's mix of fate and fear. After Grendel's misbegotten mother comes to call, the king's evocation of her haunted home may strike dread into the hearts of men and beasts, but it's a gift to the reader:

A few miles from here
a frost-stiffened wood waits and keeps watch
above a mere; the overhanging bank
is a maze of tree-roots mirrored in its surface.
At night there, something uncanny happens:
the water burns. And the mere bottom
has never been sounded by the sons of men.
On its bank, the heather-stepper halts:
the hart in flight from pursuing hounds
will turn to face them with firm-set horns
and die in the wood rather than dive
beneath its surface. That is no good place.
In Heaney's hands, the poem's apparent archaisms and Anglo-Saxon attitudes--its formality, blood-feuds, and insane courage--turn the art of an ancient island nation into world literature. --Kerry Fried
The Old Man and The Sea [mvpl] [amzn]
Ernest Hemingway
Here, for a change, is a fish tale that actually does honor to the author. In fact The Old Man and the Sea revived Ernest Hemingway's career, which was foundering under the weight of such postwar stinkers as Across the River and into the Trees. It also led directly to his receipt of the Nobel Prize in 1954 (an award Hemingway gladly accepted, despite his earlier observation that "no son of a bitch that ever won the Nobel Prize ever wrote anything worth reading afterwards"). A half century later, it's still easy to see why. This tale of an aged Cuban fisherman going head-to-head (or hand-to-fin) with a magnificent marlin encapsulates Hemingway's favorite motifs of physical and moral challenge. Yet Santiago is too old and infirm to partake of the gun-toting machismo that disfigured much of the author's later work: "The brown blotches of the benevolent skin cancer the sun brings from its reflection on the tropic sea were on his cheeks. The blotches ran well down the sides of his face and his hands had the deep-creased scars from handling heavy fish on the cords." Hemingway's style, too, reverts to those superb snapshots of perception that won him his initial fame:
Just before it was dark, as they passed a great island of Sargasso weed that heaved and swung in the light sea as though the ocean were making love with something under a yellow blanket, his small line was taken by a dolphin. He saw it first when it jumped in the air, true gold in the last of the sun and bending and flapping wildly in the air.
If a younger Hemingway had written this novella, Santiago most likely would have towed the enormous fish back to port and posed for a triumphal photograph--just as the author delighted in doing, circa 1935. Instead his prize gets devoured by a school of sharks. Returning with little more than a skeleton, he takes to his bed and, in the very last line, cements his identification with his creator: "The old man was dreaming about the lions." Perhaps there's some allegory of art and experience floating around in there somewhere--but The Old Man and the Sea was, in any case, the last great catch of Hemingway's career. --James Marcus
The Ransom of Red Chief [mvpl] [amzn]
O. Henry
Sam and Bill, a couple of down-on-their-luck con men, decide to kidnap the young son of a prosperous banker, by the name of Ebenezer Dorset, in Summit, a small Alabama town, to finance one of their crooked land deals in Illinois. They kidnap the boy and hide him in a cave a few miles from Summit. At the cave they finalize their scheme to write a ransom letter to the boy's parent. The boy, an eight-year old freckle-faced red-headed hellion loves living in the cave. He treats the kidnaping as a wonderful adventure. Calling himself Red Chief, he makes believe his kidnappers are really his captives. He plans to burn Sam at the stake and scalp Bill at daybreak. Sure enough, at the rising of the sun and using Bill's sharp kitchen knife, Red Chief really attempts to scalp Bill.

When they write the ransom note, Bill convinces Sam that $2000 is too much for a kid like Red Chief, and they lower the ransom to $1500. The strain on Bill continues to worsen. Red Chief puts a hot baked potato down Bill's back and smashes it with his foot; then Bill is made to play the horse in Red Chief's Black Scout game and is ridden ninety miles to the stockade and forced to eat sand for oats. When the reply from the boy's father arrives, it is not what the kidnapers expect. Dorset answers the kidnappers' demands with a counter-proposal. He'll accept his son back only if they pay him. So when the kidnappers should have been collecting the ransom, they gladly hand over Red Chief and $250 to Dorset and flee town, two poorer but wiser men

READ-ALONG RADIO DRAMA KITS are literature units for the reading/ language arts classroom. The kit includes: A CD recording of the radio play with full cast and sound effects; A word-for-word read-along script; Duplication rights for word-for-word script and student activity sheets; Ready-to-use student activity sheets (Cloze Activity, Sequence Activity, Vocabulary Activities, Literal Comprehension Activity, Listening Skills Activity, Crossword Puzzles, A list of Writing/Discussion Questions); A literary terms study packet; Teaching suggestions w/answer keys; Strategies for teaching read-along in the secondary classroom; An annotated script of the original story; A sample lesson plan; Using Read-Along Radio Dramas. (Ransom of Red Chief Read-Along Radio Drama is recommended for grades 5 through adult. CD recording length 28 min.)

The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt [mvpl] [amzn]
G. A. Henty
Enslaved by a conquering army, the young prince Amuba finds friendship in the house of an Egyptian high priest, where he acts as a companion to the priest's son Chebron. The entire household plunges into peril when Chebron accidentally kills the sacred cat of the great temple at Bubastes--a riot ensues, and the boys are forced to flee. Set in 1250 b.c., the time of Moses, this thrilling adventure story offers an evocative look at the ancient Egyptian world. Skillfully interwoven in the narrative thread are fascinating, accurate details about Egyptian religion and geography, the methods by which the Nile was used for irrigation, and how the Egyptians made war and were prepared for burial.
All Creatures Great and Small [mvpl] [amzn]
James Herriot
Take an unforgettable journey through the English countryside and into the homes of its inhabitants-- four-legged and otherwise-- with the world's best-loved animal doctor.

For over 25 years-- since All Creatures Great and Small was first published-- readers have delighted to the storytelling genius of James Herriot, the Yorkshire veterinarian whose fascinating vignettes brim with the wonder of life, animal and human.

Whether struggling mightily to position a calf for birthing, or comforting a lonely old man whose beloved dog and only companion has died, Herriot's heartwarming and often hilarious stories of his first years as a country vet perfectly depict the wonderful relationship between man and animal-- and they intimately portray a man whose humor, compassion , and love of life are truly inspiring.
Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft [mvpl] [amzn]
Thor Heyerdahl

Kon-Tiki is the record of an astonishing adventure -- a journey of 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean by raft. Intrigued by Polynesian folklore, biologist Thor Heyerdahl suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by an ancient race from thousands of miles to the east, led by a mythical hero, Kon-Tiki. He decided to prove his theory by duplicating the legendary voyage.

On April 28, 1947, Heyerdahl and five other adventurers sailed from Peru on a balsa log raft. After three months on the open sea, encountering raging storms, whales, and sharks, they sighted land -- the Polynesian island of Puka Puka.

Translated into sixty-five languages, Kon-Tiki is a classic, inspiring tale of daring and courage -- a magnificent saga of men against the sea.

Washington Square Press' Enriched Classics present the great works of world literature enhanced for the contemporary reader. This edition of Kon-Tiki has been prepared by an editorial committee headed by Harry Shefter, professor of English at New York University. It includes a foreword by the author, a selection of critical excerpts, notes, an index, and a unique visual essay of the voyage.

Good-Bye, Mr. Chips [mvpl] [amzn]
James Hilton
The Iliad [mvpl] [amzn]
Homer
One of the foremost achievements in Western literature, Homer's Iliad tells the story of the darkest episode of the Trojan War. At its center is Achilles, the greatest warrior-champion of the Greeks, and his conflict with his leader Agamemnon. Interwoven in the tragic sequence of events are powerfully moving descriptions of the ebb and flow of battle, the besieged city of Ilium, the feud between the gods, and the fate of mortals.
The Odyssey [mvpl] [amzn]
Homer
Les Miserables [mvpl] [amzn]
Victor Hugo
Sensational, dramatic, packed with rich excitement and filled with the sweep and violence of human passions, LES MISERABLES is not only superb adventure but a powerful social document. The story of how the convict Jean-Valjean struggled to escape his past and reaffirm his humanity, in a world brutalized by poverty and ignorance, became the gospel of the poor and the oppressed.
The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow [mvpl] [amzn]
Washington Irving
Redwall [mvpl] [amzn]
Brian Jacques
As the inhabitants of Redwall Abbey bask in the glorious Summer of the Late Rose, all is quiet and peaceful. But things are not as they seem. Cluny the Scourge, the evil one-eyed rat warlord, is hell-bent on destroying the tranquility as he prepares to fight a bloody battle for the ownership of Redwall. This dazzling story in the Redwall series is packed with all the wit, wisdom, humor, and blood-curdling adventure of the other books in the collection, but has the added bonus of taking the reader right back to the heart and soul of Redwall Abbey and the characters who live there.

Magical, mystical, and the stuff of legends, this stunning tale of good battling with--and ultimately triumphing over--evil takes the reader on a roller-coaster adventure that barely draws breath from the first page to the very last. Brian Jacques is a true master of his craft. --Susan Harrison

Captains Courageous [mvpl] [amzn]
Rudyard Kipling
The only one of Kipling's novels to be cast in an American setting, Captains Courageous endures as one of literature's most cherished and memorable sea adventures. Harvey Cheyne, spoiled millionaire's son, tumbles overboard from a luxury liner--only to be rescued by the crew of a Gloucester schooner. Thus begins the boy's second voyage into the rugged rites and ways of sailors. Like all Kipling's masterworks, Captains Courageous is an interweaving of art and moral purpose. Angus Wilson has said that it shows "delicacy of craft and violence of feeling, exactitude and wile impressionism, subtlety and true innocence." A popular favorite since its first publication in 1897, the novel remains a classic story of youthful initiation--and a lively tribute to the author's famous code of bravery, loyalty, and honor among men.
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch [mvpl] [amzn]
Jean Lee Latham
Readers today are still fascinated by "Nat," an eighteenth-century nautical wonder and mathematical wizard. Nathaniel Bowditch grew up in a sailor's worldSalem in the early days, when tall-masted ships from foreign ports crowded the wharves. But Nat didn't promise to have the makings of a sailor; he was too physically small. Nat may have been slight of build, but no one guessed that he had the persistence and determination to master sea navigation in the days when men sailed only by "log, lead, and lookout." Nat's long hours of study and observation, collected in his famous work, The American Practical Navigator (also known as the "Sailors" Bible"), stunned the sailing community and made him a New England hero.
To Kill a Mockingbird [mvpl] [amzn]
Harper Lee
"When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.... When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out."

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.

Like the slow-moving occupants of her fictional town, Lee takes her time getting to the heart of her tale; we first meet the Finches the summer before Scout's first year at school. She, her brother, and Dill Harris, a boy who spends the summers with his aunt in Maycomb, while away the hours reenacting scenes from Dracula and plotting ways to get a peek at the town bogeyman, Boo Radley. At first the circumstances surrounding the alleged rape of Mayella Ewell, the daughter of a drunk and violent white farmer, barely penetrate the children's consciousness. Then Atticus is called on to defend the accused, Tom Robinson, and soon Scout and Jem find themselves caught up in events beyond their understanding. During the trial, the town exhibits its ugly side, but Lee offers plenty of counterbalance as well--in the struggle of an elderly woman to overcome her morphine habit before she dies; in the heroism of Atticus Finch, standing up for what he knows is right; and finally in Scout's hard-won understanding that most people are essentially kind "when you really see them." By turns funny, wise, and heartbreaking, To Kill a Mockingbird is one classic that continues to speak to new generations, and deserves to be reread often. --Alix Wilber

Out of the Silent Planet [mvpl] [amzn]
C.S. Lewis

The first book in C. S. Lewis's acclaimed Space Trilogy, which continues with Perelandra and That Hideous Strength, Out of the Silent Planet begins the adventures of the remarkable Dr. Ransom. Here, that estimable man is abducted by a megalomaniacal physicist and his accomplice and taken via spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra. The two men are in need of a human sacrifice, and Dr. Ransom would seem to fit the bill. Once on the planet, however, Ransom eludes his captors, risking his life and his chances of returning to Earth, becoming a stranger in a land that is enchanting in its difference from Earth and instructive in its similarity. First published in 1943, Out of the Silent Planet remains a mysterious and suspenseful tour de force.

Perelandra [mvpl] [amzn]
C.S. Lewis

The second book in C. S. Lewis's acclaimed Space Trilogy, which also includes Out of the Silent Planet and That Hideous Strength, Perelandra continues the adventures of the extraordinary Dr. Ransom. Pitted against the most destructive of human weaknesses, temptation, the great man must battle evil on a new planet -- Perelandra -- when it is invaded by a dark force. Will Perelandra succumb to this malevolent being, who strives to create a new world order and who must destroy an old and beautiful civilization to do so? Or will it throw off the yoke of corruption and achieve a spiritual perfection as yet unknown to man? The outcome of Dr. Ransom's mighty struggle alone will determine the fate of this peace-loving planet.

That Hideous Strength [mvpl] [amzn]
C.S. Lewis
The final book in C. S. Lewis's acclaimed Space Trilogy, which includes Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra, That Hideous Strength concludes the adventures of the matchless Dr. Ransom. The dark forces that were repulsed in Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra are massed for an assault on the planet Earth itself. Word is on the wind that the mighty wizard Merlin has come back to the land of the living after many centuries, holding the key to ultimate power for that force which can find him and bend him to its will. A sinister technocratic organization is gaining power throughout Europe with a plan to "recondition" society, and it is up to Ransom and his friends to squelch this threat by applying age-old wisdom to a new universe dominated by science. The two groups struggle to a climactic resolution that brings the Space Trilogy to a magnificent, crashing close.
The Great Divorce [mvpl] [amzn]
C. S. Lewis
The Great Divorce is C.S. Lewis's Divine Comedy: the narrator bears strong resemblance to Lewis (by way of Dante); his Virgil is the fantasy writer George MacDonald; and upon boarding a bus in a nondescript neighborhood, the narrator is taken to Heaven and Hell. The book's primary message is presented with almost oblique tidiness--"There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.'" However, the narrator's descriptions of sin and temptation will hit quite close to home for many readers. Lewis has a genius for describing the intricacies of vanity and self-deception, and this book is tremendously persistent in forcing its reader to consider the ultimate consequences of everyday pettiness. --Michael Joseph Gross
The Call Of The Wild [mvpl] [amzn]
Jack London
Stolen from his family, a dog named Buck must quickly learn the harsh law of survival among the men and dogs of the goldcrazed North. With an introduction by award-winning author, Avi.
The Guns of Navarone. [mvpl] [amzn]
Alistair MacLean
An entire navy had tried to silence the guns of Navarone and failed. Full-scale attacks had been driven back. Now they were sending in just five men, each one a specialist in dealing death.
Christy [mvpl] [amzn]
Catherine Marshall
When Christy Huddleston leaves a life of privilege and ease to teach in the impoverished Smokey Mountains, her faith is severely tested by her pupils, the love of two men, and the curious customs of the mountain people in her community. Yet she grows to love these people and the simple, fulfilling lifestyle to be found in the heart of God's country. First released in 1967, Christy is based on the life of author Catherine Marshall's mother and was the inspiration for the recent television series of the same name. Beautifully told, this is a charming, timeless tale of love and faith that will appeal to romance readers of all ages. --Maudeen Wachsmith
Paradise Lost [mvpl] [amzn]
John Milton
Edited with an introduction and notes by John Leonard.
Animal Farm [mvpl] [amzn]
George Orwell
Since its publication in 1946, George Orwell's fable of a workers' revolution gone wrong has rivaled Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea as the Shortest Serious Novel It's OK to Write a Book Report About. (The latter is three pages longer and less fun to read.) Fueled by Orwell's intense disillusionment with Soviet Communism, Animal Farm is a nearly perfect piece of writing, both an engaging story and an allegory that actually works. When the downtrodden beasts of Manor Farm oust their drunken human master and take over management of the land, all are awash in collectivist zeal. Everyone willingly works overtime, productivity soars, and for one brief, glorious season, every belly is full. The animals' Seven Commandment credo is painted in big white letters on the barn. All animals are equal. No animal shall drink alcohol, wear clothes, sleep in a bed, or kill a fellow four-footed creature. Those that go upon four legs or wings are friends and the two-legged are, by definition, the enemy. Too soon, however, the pigs, who have styled themselves leaders by virtue of their intelligence, succumb to the temptations of privilege and power. "We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of the farm depend on us. Day and night, we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples." While this swinish brotherhood sells out the revolution, cynically editing the Seven Commandments to excuse their violence and greed, the common animals are once again left hungry and exhausted, no better off than in the days when humans ran the farm. Satire Animal Farm may be, but it's a stony reader who remains unmoved when the stalwart workhorse, Boxer, having given his all to his comrades, is sold to the glue factory to buy booze for the pigs. Orwell's view of Communism is bleak indeed, but given the history of the Russian people since 1917, his pessimism has an air of prophecy. --Joyce Thompson
The Chosen [mvpl] [amzn]
Chaim Potok
Few stories offer more warmth, wisdom, or generosity than this tale of two boys, their fathers, their friendship, and the chaotic times in which they live. Though on the surface it explores religious faith--the intellectually committed as well as the passionately observant--the struggles addressed in The Chosen are familiar to families of all faiths and in all nations.

In 1940s Brooklyn, New York, an accident throws Reuven Malther and Danny Saunders together. Despite their differences (Reuven is a Modern Orthodox Jew with an intellectual, Zionist father; Danny is the brilliant son and rightful heir to a Hasidic rebbe), the young men form a deep, if unlikely, friendship. Together they negotiate adolescence, family conflicts, the crisis of faith engendered when Holocaust stories begin to emerge in the U.S., loss, love, and the journey to adulthood. The intellectual and spiritual clashes between fathers, between each son and his own father, and between the two young men, provide a unique backdrop for this exploration of fathers, sons, faith, loyalty, and, ultimately, the power of love. (This is not a conventional children's book, although it will move any wise child age 12 or older, and often appears on summer reading lists for high school students.)

Men of Iron [mvpl] [amzn]
Howard Pyle
Master storyteller Howard Pyle at his best, incorporating fascinating historical information about life in a medieval castle, knighthood, and chivalry into the fast-moving and entertaining story of young Myles Falworth's fight to restore his family's rights and good name. This classic story remains a great favorite not only among young readers but also among educators because of the author's effortless way of teaching great virtues such as courage, loyalty, steadfastness, and generosity. Unabridged republication of the edition originally published by Harper & Brothers, New York, 1892.
The Yearling [mvpl] [amzn]
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
RELIVE THE WONDER OF A CHILDHOOD FAVORITE THAT HAS BEEN CAPTURING THE HEARTS OF READERS FOR MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY.

An instant bestseller when it was released in 1938, this Pulitzer Prize winner has been read and loved by school-age children across the nation for more than fifty years. In this classic story of the Baxter family and their wild, hard, and satisfying life in remote central Florida, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings has written one of the great novels of our times. A rich and varied tale -- tender in its understanding of boyhood, crowded with the excitement of the backwoods hunt, with vivid descriptions of the primitive, beautiful hammock country, written with humor and earthy philosophy -- The Yearling is a novel for readers of all ages. Its glowing picture of a life refreshingly removed from modern patterns of living is universal in its revelation of simple courageous people and the beliefs they must live by.

This edition, complete with a new introduction by author Ivan Doig, will be cherished for years to come and will make a welcome addition to any booklover's shelf.

Exploits of Don Quixote [mvpl] [amzn]
James Reeves
The Light in the Forest [mvpl] [amzn]
Conrad Richter
When John Cameron Butler was a child, he was captured in a raid on the Pennsylvania frontier and adopted by the great warrrior Cuyloga. Renamed True Son, he came to think of himself as fully Indian. But eleven years later his tribe, the Lenni Lenape, has signed a treaty with the white men and agreed to return their captives, including fifteen-year-old True Son. Now he must go back to the family he has forgotten, whose language is no longer his, and whose ways of dress and behavior are as strange to him as the ways of the forest are to them. A beautifully written, sensitively told story of a white boy brought up by Indians, The Light in the Forest is a beloved American classic.
The Riverside Shakespeare [mvpl] [amzn]
William Shakespeare

The Second Edition of this complete collection of Shakespeare's plays and poems features two essays on recent criticism and productions, fully updated textual notes, a photographic insert of recent productions, and two works recently attributed to Shakespeare. The authors of the essays on recent criticism and productions are Heather DuBrow, University of Wisconsin at Madison, and William Liston, Ball State University, respectively.

Treasure Island [mvpl] [amzn]
Robert Louis Stevenson
Climb aboard for the swashbuckling adventure of a lifetime. Treasure Islandhas enthralled (and caused slight seasickness) for decades. The names Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins are destined to remain pieces of folklore for as long as children want to read Robert Louis Stevenson's most famous book. With it's dastardly plot and motley crew of rogues and villains, it seems unlikely that children will ever say no to this timeless classic. --Naomi Gesinger
A Girl of the Limberlost [mvpl] [amzn]
Gene Stratton-Porter
The Invisible Man [mvpl] [amzn]
H.G. Wells
This masterpiece of science fiction is the fascinating story of Griffin, a scientist who creates a serum to render himself invisible, and his descent into madness that follows.
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