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Please select ONE novel from the list that follows. The questions in the box are meant to guide thematic ideas (big
ideas) to think about as you read. Please note: I have not read all of these titles, so I cannot speak to the
appropriateness of every book. Mature content is sure to be in many of these books; choose carefully! Please do not
choose a book you have already read, and if you are concurrently enrolled in 11th or 12th English, do not choose a
book that is part of that class curriculum.
Who and what gives us our identity?
What happens when identities collide?
What is the corollary between multiple critical lenses and ourselves?
If language shapes identity, how does it do so?
Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto
Nella Larsen, Quicksand
Fistfight in Heaven
Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
Isabel Allende, Daughter of Fortune
Toni Morrison, Sula; Song of Solomon
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Gloria Naylor, The Women of Brewster Place
Russell Banks, Rule of the Bone
Joyce Carol Oates, Wonderland; We Were the
Willa Cather, My Antonia
Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventure of Kavalier
Kenzaburo Oe, The Silent Cry
and Clay
John Okada, No-No Boy
Michael Dorris, A Yellow Raft in Blue Water
Richard Powers, Galatea 2.2
Ralph Ellison, Juneteenth
Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
Richard Ford, The Sportswriter
Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day
Edmund Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac
Henry James, Portrait of a Lady
Frances Sherwood, Vindication
Gish Jen, Typical American
Agnes Smedley, Daughter of the Earth
Charles Johnson, Middle Passage
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an ExHenri-Beyle Stendahl, The Red and the Black
Colored Man
Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club; Bonesetters Daughter
Joy Kogawa, Obasan
Virginia Woolf, Orlando
What is truth? Is it absolute or relative?
What is the relationship between language and truth?
How willing are we to embrace truth?
What if a truth impels us to violate an essential element of our self-concept?
Do texts present truths or undermine them?
Martin Amis, Times Arrow
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace
D.H. Lawrence, The Fox
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
Jonathan Lethem, As She Climbed Across the Table
Louis DeBernieres, Corellis Mandolin
Bobbie Ann Mason, In Country
Don DeLillo, Libra
Toni Morrison, Jazz
E.L. Doctorow, Ragtime
Joyce Carol Oates, Expensive People
John Fowles, The French Lietenants Woman; The
Tim OBrien, Going After Cacciato; In the Lake of the
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of
Iain Pears, An Instance of the Fingerpost
Richard Powers, The Gold Bug Variations
Myla Goldberg, Bee Season
Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front
Robert Grudin, Book: A Novel
Mark Salzman, Lying Awake
Jane Hamilton, A Map of the World; The Book of
D.M. Thomas, The White Hotel
Jean Tommer, Cane
Henrik Ibsen, The Wild Duck
John Updike, Gertrude and Claudius
Ha Jin, Waiting
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five

Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

What are good and evil? Is evil an intrinsic element of human nature?
What happens when moral systems collide?
What is the difference between sin and crime?
How does narrative point of view affect the presentation of good and evil?
Charles Baxter, Shadow Play
Archibald Macleish, JB
Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons
Brian Moore, No Other Life
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
Alton Paton, Cry, the Beloved Country
J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace
Richard Powers, Gain
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground
Mary Dora Russell, The Sparrow; The Children of
Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie
Gustav Flaubert, Madame Bovary
Bernhardt Schlink, The Reader
E.M. Forester, A Passage to India
Donna Tartt, The Secret History
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
Voltaire, Candide
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the DUbervilles
Nathanael West, The Day of the Locust
Joseph Heller, God Knows
Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth
Earnest Hemingway, The Sun AlsoRises
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
William Dean Howells, The Rise of Silas Lapham
Tom Wolfe, Bonfire of the Vanitites; A Man in Full
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Richard Wright, Native Son
Henry James, The Aspern Papers
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road


What is a good life? What gives life meaning?
What is existentialism? Is it an optimistic or pessimistic philosophy, or both?
What does your generation see as its mission, and what do you see as yours?
Margaret Atwood, Surfacing
Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
Bernard Malamud, The Fixer
Russell Banks, Cloudsplitter
W. Somerset Maugham, The Razors Edge
Italo Calvine, The Baron in the Trees
Gloria Naylor, Baileys Caf
Albert Camus, The Stranger
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Michael Cunningham, The Hours
Reynolds Price, Kate Vaiden; The Promise of Rest
Annie Dillard, The Living
Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead
Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
David James Duncan, The Brothers K
Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping
Kent Haruf, Plainsong
Jose Saramago, Blindness
John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany
Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit
Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Jonathan Swift, Gullivers Travels
Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible; Prodigal
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Evelyn Waugh, The Loved One