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Advanced/Proficiency level - adults


Novels that deal with American or International History

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee—deals with racism in America; a great book

  2. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger—the quintessential coming-of age novel

  3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak—Death is the narrator of this story of German family in WWII.

  4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald—deals with wealth and status

  5. The Color Purple by Alice Walkerempowering story of a poor black girl in the US South

  6. The narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass—memoir and treatise on abolition written by famous orator and former slave Frederick Douglass during his time in Massachusetts.

  7. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald—a 1925 Jazz age novel about the impossibility of recapturing the past.

Science Fiction/Fantasy novels

  1. 20,000 Leagues under the Sea by Jules Verne—Captain Nemo takes on a monster

  2. Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks—humorous instructions on how to survive a zombie attack

  3. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury's—studies the role of books/knowledge in society

  4. 1984 by George Orwell—a scary vision of the future, invented the term “Big Brother”

Detective/Mystery novels

  1. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie—a classic murder mystery on a train

  2. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler—a crime novel featuring Philip Marlow set in Los Angeles, CA

“Other” novels

  1. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom—an old man teaches us how to die; a true story

  2. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel—a boy and a tiger on a boat in the middle of the ocean

  3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott—the story of four sisters

Short Stories

  1. The Best American Short Stories edited by Katrina Kenison—an annual series featuring different writers

  2. The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami—a famous Japanese author writes about loss and loneliness

  3. Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe—scary poems and stories by an American master

  4. The Umbrella Man and Other Stories by Roald Dahl—twisted short stories, very dark humor

  5. Hills like White Elephants & The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemmingway—America’s master

Graphic Novels

  1. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi—a story of a young girl growing up during the Iranian revolution

  2. Pyongyang: A Journey into North Korea by Guy Delisle—a Canadian author spends a year in N. Korea

  3. The Watchmen by Alan Moore-when superheroes go bad…

  4. Maus by Art Spiegelman—a story about Nazis and Jews in WWII; Pulitzer Prize winner

  5. Blankets by Craig Thompson—a tale of growing up, romance, brotherly love, and the origins of faith

  6. Habibi by Craig Thompson—a story of love and the common heritage of Christianity and Islam

  7. Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine—a couple’s relationship is put to the test with unexpected consequences

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