Literary Analysis Research Paper Book List AKA – LARP
The “Rules” • Read over the list of books and choose five you would be interested in reading. On an index card, put your name and these five titles. This is due Thursday 10/16. • If there is something you are interested in reading that is not on the list, you need to run it by me tomorrow, Wed. 10/15 so I can determine whether or not it is acceptable to be added to the list for all to choose from. • Once you are notified about which book you will be reading, you will need to purchase it on your own or obtain it from a library. Either way, the book must be present in class every day starting next Friday 10/24. • You must be done reading your novel by Friday 11/21 (this may be subject to change). We will begin research in the library that week in order for you to complete your LARP.
Section 1: Fiction books (novels)*note: many of these novels integrate true information about the author’s life and historical contexts, and some even border on semi-autobiographical, but are told in a fictional manner
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813) Since its publication in 1813, Pride and Prejudice’s blend of humor, romance, and social satire have delighted readers of all ages. In telling the story of Mr. and Mrs. Bennett and their five daughters, Jane Austen creates a miniature of her world, where social grace and the nuances of behavior predominate in the making of a great love story. At the turn of eighteenth-century England, spirited Elizabeth Bennet copes with the suit of the snobbish Mr. Darcy while trying to sort out the romantic entanglements of two of her sisters, sweet and beautiful Jane and scatterbrained Lydia.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1847) Immediately recognized as a masterpiece when it was first published in 1847, Charlotte Brontë’sJane 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. One of the world’s most beloved novels, Jane Eyre is a startlingly modern blend of passion, romance, mystery, and suspense.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850) This novel takes place in 17th-century Massachusetts in a Puritan village. At the beginning of the novel, a young woman, Hester Prynne, is led from the town prison with her infant daughter in her arms with a scarlet letter “A” embroidered on her clothing. The scarlet letter "A" represents the act of adultery that she has committed and it is a symbol of her sin – a badge of shame – for all to see. The rest of the story follows Hester’s journey as she tries to raise her daughter amid the rumors and gossip, and eventually leads the reader to the man with whom Hester committed adultery.
This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1920) This Side of Paradise is the debut novel of F. Scott Fitzgerald, published five years prior to The Great Gatsby, which we will read in class. Taking its title from a line of the Rupert Brooke poem “Tiare Tahiti”, the book examines the lives and morality of post-World War I youth. Its protagonist, Amory Blaine, is an attractive male Princeton University student who dabbles in literature. The novel explores the theme of love warped by greed and status-seeking.
Siddharthaby Herman Hesse (1922) One of the most widely read novels of the twentieth century, Hermann Hesse’sSiddhartha explores the struggle of the soul to see beyond the illusions of humankind and achieve a deeper wisdom through spirituality. Born into wealth and privilege, Siddhartha renounces his place among India’s nobility to wander the countryside in search of meaning. He learns suffering and self-denial among a group of ascetics before meeting the Buddha and coming to realize that true peace cannot be taught: It must be experienced. Changing his path yet again, Siddhartha reenters human society and earns a great fortune. Yet over time, this life leaves Siddhartha restless and empty. He achieves enlightenment only when he stops searching and surrenders to the oneness of all.
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (1929) A Farewell to Arms is a semi-autobiographical novel written by Ernest Hemingway. Much of the novel was written at the home of Hemingway's in-laws in Piggott, Arkansas. The novel is told through the point of view of Lieutenant Frederic Henry, an American serving as an ambulance driver in the Italian army during World War I. It follows his conflicts with love and warfare. The title is taken from a poem by 16th century English dramatist George Peele.
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (1940) This novel tells the story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to a republican guerrilla unit during the Spanish Civil War. As a dynamiter, he is assigned to blow up a bridge during an attack on the city of Segovia.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937) In this novel, Janie Crawford, an attractive, confident, middle-aged black woman, returns to Eatonville, Florida, after a long absence. The black townspeople gossip about her and speculate about where she has been and what has happened to her young husband, Tea Cake. They take her confidence as aloofness, but Janie’s friend Pheoby Watson sticks up for her. Pheoby visits her to find out what has happened. Their conversation frames the story that Janie relates.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a 1943 novel written by Betty Smith. The story focuses on an impoverished but aspirational third-generation-American adolescent girl and her ethnically-blended family in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York City during the first two decades of the 20th century. The book was an immense success. The main metaphor of the book is the hardy Tree of Heaven, native to China and Taiwan, now considered invasive, and common in the vacant lots of New York City.
Animal Farm by George Orwell (1945) Since its publication fifty years ago, Animal Farm has become one of the most controversial books ever written. It has been translated into seventy languages and sold millions of copies throughout the world. As vital and relevant as it was fifty years ago, Animal Farm is a devastating satire of the Soviet Union by the man dubbed "the conscience of his generation“, George Orwell. A fable about an uprising of farm animals against their human masters, it illustrates how new tyranny replaces old in the wake of revolutions and power corrupts even the noblest of causes.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961) Catch-22 is a satirical novel by the American author Joseph Heller. He began writing it in 1953; the novel was first published in 1961. It is set during World War II from 1942 to 1944. It is frequently cited as one of the greatest literary works of the twentieth century. It uses a distinctive non-chronological third-person omniscient narration, describing events from the points of view of different characters. The separate storylines are out of sequence so that the timeline develops along with the plot. The novel follows Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier. Most of the events in the book occur while the fictional 256th Squadron is based on the island of Pianosa, in the Mediterranean Sea, west of Italy. The novel looks into the experiences of Yossarian and the other airmen in the camp. It focuses on their attempts to keep their sanity in order to fulfill their service requirements so that they may return home. The phrase "Catch-22" has entered the English language, referring to a type of unsolvable logic puzzle.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey (1962) One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962) is a novel written by Ken Kesey. Set in an Oregon psychiatric hospital, the narrative serves as a study of the institutional processes and the human mind as well as a critique of behaviorism and a celebration of humanistic principles.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963) The Bell Jar is American writer and poet Sylvia Plath's only novel, which was originally published under the pseudonym "Victoria Lucas" in 1963. The novel is semi-autobiographical with the names of places and people changed. The book follows the protagonist's descent into mental illness, paralleling Plath's own experiences with what may have been clinical depression. Plath committed suicide a month after its first UK publication.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1970) The Bluest Eye is Morrison's first novel and was written while she was teaching at Howard University and raising her two sons on her own. The story is about a year in the life of a young black girl named Pecola who develops an inferiority complex due to her eye color and skin appearance. It is set in Lorain, Ohio, against the backdrop of America's Midwest during the years following the Great Depression. The point-of-view switches between the perspective of Claudia MacTeer as a child and an adult, and a third-person omniscient viewpoint. Because of the controversial nature of the book, which deals with racism, incest, and child molestation, there have been numerous attempts to ban it from schools and libraries.
Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya (1972) Bless Me Ultima is a novel by Rudolfo Anaya in which his young protagonist, Antonio Márez y Luna, tells the story of his coming-of-age with the guidance of his mentor, and protector, Ultima. It has become the most widely read and critically acclaimed novel in the Chicano literary canon since its first publication in 1972. Teachers across disciplines in middle schools, high schools and universities have adopted it as a way to multi-culturalizetheir classes. The novel reflects Chicano culture of the 1940s in rural New Mexico. Anaya’s use of Spanish, mystical depiction of the New Mexican landscape, use of cultural motifs such as La Llorona, and recounting of curandera folkways such as the gathering of medicinal herbs, gives readers a sense of the influence of indigenous cultural ways that are both authentic and distinct from the mainstream. Bless Me Ultima is Anaya's best known work and was awarded the prestigious PremioQuinto Sol award. In 2008, it was one of 12 classic American novels selected for The Big Read, a community-reading program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 2009, it was on the list of the United States Academic Decathlon. There are many connections between the protagonist and the author.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982) The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel (one framed by letters) by Alice Walker, which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of women of color in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues, including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 at #17 because of the sometimes explicit content, particularly in terms of violence. Alice Walker’s The Color Purple weaves an intricate mosaic of women joined by their love for each other, the men who abuse them, and the children they care for.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (1985) Ender's Game is a 1985 military science fiction novel by American author Orson Scott Card. Set in Earth's future, the novel presents an imperiled mankind after two conflicts with the "Buggers", an insectoidalien species. In preparation for an anticipated third invasion, children, including the novel's protagonist, Ender Wiggin, are trained at a very young age through increasingly difficult games including some in zero gravity, where Ender's tactical genius is revealed.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (1988) Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. What starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (1989) This best-selling novel focuses on four Chinese-American immigrant families in San Francisco, California who start a club known as "the Joy Luck Club," playing the Chinese game of mahjong for money while feasting on a variety of foods. The book is structured somewhat like a mahjong game, with four parts divided into four sections to create sixteen chapters. The three mothers and four daughters (one mother, Suyuan Woo, dies before the novel opens) share stories about their lives in the form of vignettes (short stories). Each part is preceded by a parable (moral) relating to the game.
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien (1990) A classic work of American literature that has not stopped changing minds and lives since it burst onto the literary scene, The Things They Carried is a ground-breaking meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling. The Things They Carried depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and the character Tim O’Brien, who has survived his tour in the Vietnam WAR to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three.Taught everywhere—from high school classrooms to graduate seminars in creative writing—it has become required reading for any American and continues to challenge readers in their perceptions of fact and fiction, war and peace, courage and fear and longing.The Things They Carried won France's prestigious Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize; it was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (1993) The story, which is set in Grosse Pointe, Michigan during the 1970s, centers on the suicides of five sisters. The Lisbon girls' suicides fascinate their community as their neighbors struggle to find an explanation for the acts. The novel is atypical in that it was written in first person plural from the perspective of an anonymous group of teenage boys who became infatuated with the girls, a style mirroring a Greek chorus. The narrator(s) rely on relics and interviews gathered in the two decades after the suicide to construct the tale. The novel is rich in descriptive detail, using observations about the state of the Lisbon house and the contents of the girls’ rooms to advance the plot. The effect is that the reader glimpses the novel’s main characters as if she or he were one of the neighborhood onlookers.
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson (1994) This is a novel that has been widely praised for its eloquent dramatization of themes of love, justice, racism, community, and conscience. These ideas arise from the book's suspenseful story of a murder trial and a lost love. The setting is the fictional island of San Piedro off the coast of Washington, a community of "five thousand damp souls" who support themselves through salmon fishing and berry farming. The story is set in 1954, eight years after the end of World War II, in which some of San Piedro's young men lost their lives and many others were irreparably injured, physically as well as emotionally.
The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle (1995) Topanga Canyon is home to two couples on a collision course. Los Angeles liberals Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher lead an ordered sushi-and-recycling existence in a newly gated hilltop community: he a sensitive nature writer, she an obsessive realtor. Mexican illegals Candido and America Rincon desperately cling to their vision of the American Dream as they fight off starvation in a makeshift camp deep in the ravine. And from the moment a freak accident brings Candido and Delaney into intimate contact, these four and their opposing worlds gradually intersect in what becomes a tragicomedy of error and misunderstanding.
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (1995) The Reader is a novel by German law professor and judge Bernhard Schlink, published in Germany in 1995 and in the United States in 1997. The story is a parable, dealing with the difficulties post-war German generations have had comprehending the Holocaust; Ruth Franklin writes that it was aimed specifically at the generation Berthold Brecht called the Nachgeborenen, those who came after. The Reader explores how the post-war generations should approach the generation that took part in, or witnessed, the atrocities. These are the questions at the heart of Holocaust literature in the late 20th and early 21st century, as the victims and witnesses die and living memory fades.
Memoirs of a Geishaby Arthur Golden (1997) In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. Sayuri's story begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. But as World War II erupts and the geisha houses are forced to close, Sayuri, with little money and even less food, must reinvent herself all over again to find a rare kind of freedom on her own terms. Memoirs of a Geisha is a book of nuance and vivid metaphor, of memorable characters rendered with humor and pathos.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (1999) Speak, published in 1999, is Laurie Halse Anderson's young adult novel that tells the story of high school student Melinda Sordino. After accidentally busting an end-of-summer party due to an unnamed incident, Melinda is ostracized by her peers because she will not say why she called the police. Unable to verbalize what happened, Melinda nearly stops speaking altogether, expressing her voice through the art she produces for Mr. Freeman's class. This expression slowly helps Melinda acknowledge what happened, face her problems, and recreate her identity.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999) Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective…but there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a story about what it’s like to travel that strange course through the uncharted territory of high school in the early 1990s. The world of first dates, family dramas, and new friends. Of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Of those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up. The novel is told in an epistolary structure (through letters).
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2001) The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has killed all but Pi…will he survive?
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (2003) The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father's servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies. A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (2007) Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love. Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever-escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul—they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (2013) Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fanby Lisa See (2005) In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she’s painted a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on fans, compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together, they endure the agony of foot-binding, and reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett (2009) The Help is a 2009 novel by American author Kathryn Stockett. The story is about African-American maids working in white households in Jackson, Mississippi, during the early 1960s. An early review in The New York Times notes Stockett's "affection and intimacy buried beneath even the most seemingly impersonal household connections" and says the book is a "button-pushing, soon to be wildly popular novel". The Help has since been published in 35 countries and three languages. As of August 2011, it has sold five million copies and has spent more than 100 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (2006) This novel takes place in Berlin, 1942. When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance. But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.
Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls (2009) Half Broke Horses is the story of Lily Casey Smith’s life. Author Jeannette Walls (of the memoir The Glass Castle), the granddaughter of Lily Casey Smith, wrote the book from Lily’s point of view. Lily is portrayed as a strong, spirited, and resourceful woman, who overcomes poverty and tragedy with the positive attitude that “When God closes a window, he opens a door. But it’s up to you to find it.” As a child growing up on the frontier in Texas, Lily learns how to break horses. At the age of fifteen, she rides five hundred miles, alone, to get to her job as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. Later in life, Lily runs a vast cattle ranch in Arizona, along with her second husband and their two children. A woman of many talents, Lily earns extra money at various points in her life by playing poker, selling bootleg liquor, and riding in horse races. She also tries to fight injustice and prejudice wherever she finds it, which occasionally lands her in trouble. Half Broke Horses depicts the freedom of rural life, its joys and struggles, and celebrates the courage and spirit of its protagonist. Jeannette Walls says the book is “in the vein of an oral history, a retelling of stories handed down by my family through the years, and undertaken with the storyteller’s traditional liberties.”
The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls (2013) Also by the writer of The Glass Castle, Walls tells the story of two motherless sisters--Bean and Liz—who are shuttled to Virginia, where their Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that's been in their family for generations. When school starts in the fall, Bean easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz becomes increasingly withdrawn. Then something happens to Liz and Bean is left to challenge the injustice of the adult world.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (1969) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is an autobiography about the early years of writer and African American activist Maya Angelou, who recently passed away. The first in a six-volume series, it is a coming-of-age story that illustrates how a strong character and a love of literature can help one overcome racism and trauma. The book begins when three-year-old Maya and her older brother are sent to Stamps, Arkansas to live with their grandmother and ends when Maya becomes a mother at the age of 17. Throughout the course of the autobiography, Maya transforms from a victim of racism with an inferiority complex to a self-possessed young woman who is able to respond to racism with dignity. The book's title is taken from a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar.
The Color of Water by James McBride (1995) The Color of Water is also known as A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother. This memoir contains chapters alternate between James McBride's descriptions of his early life and first-person accounts of his mother Ruth's life, mostly taking place before her son was born. McBride depicts the conflicting emotions that he endured as he struggled to discover who he truly was, as his mother narrates the hardships that she had to overcome as a white, Jewish woman who chose to marry a black man 1942.
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt (1996) Angela's Ashes is a 1996 memoir by the Irish author Frank McCourt. The memoir consists of various anecdotes and stories of Frank McCourt's impoverished childhood and early adulthood in Brooklyn, New York, and in Limerick, Ireland. It also includes McCourt's struggles with poverty, his father's drinking, and his mother's attempts to keep the family alive. Angela's Ashes won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography. A sequel to the book, 'Tis, was published in 1999, and was followed by Teacher Man in 2005.
‘Tisby Frank McCourt (1999) The book begins as McCourt lands at Albany, New York, and quickly makes his way to New York City. Friendless and clueless about American customs, he struggles to integrate himself into American blue-collar society. He is then drafted into the US Army, sent to Europe, and rises to the rank of corporal. On his stay in Germany, he has confrontations with many people who try to show Frank how to get a Russian refugee girl to have sexual intercourse with him by giving her coffee or cigarettes. He is granted leave from the army as compensation for his exceptional service as a clerk-typist and goes back home to Ireland to see his family. He then decides to return to the US, where he attends New York University – despite never having graduated from high school. He falls in love with and eventually marries a middle-class American-born girl, Alberta Small (nicknamed Mike), whom he meets at university. 'Tisexamines Frank's relationship to his family and his wife during this time (all his siblings and his mother move to America over the course of the book). Eventually, Frank's relationship with his wife turns sour, and they stay together as long as they do only because of their daughter, Margaret Ann.
Teacher Man by Frank McCourt (2005) Teacher Man is a 2005 memoir written by Frank McCourt which describes and reflects on his teaching experiences in New York high schools and colleges
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (1997) A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that "suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down." He was wrong. The storm, which claimed five lives and left countless more--including Krakauer's--in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the impetus for Into Thin Air, Krakauer's epic account of the May 1996 disaster. By writing Into Thin Air, Krakauer may have hoped to exorcise some of his own demons and lay to rest some of the painful questions that still surround the event. Clearly, Krakauer remains haunted by the disaster, and although he relates a number of incidents in which he acted selflessly and even heroically, he seems unable to view those instances objectively. This was published a year after Krakauer wrote Into the Wild, which we will read in class.
A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar (1998) A Beautiful Mind (1998) is a biography of Nobel Prize-winning economist and mathematician John Forbes Nash, Jr. by Sylvia Nasar, professor of journalism at Columbia University. An unauthorized work, it won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1998 and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in biography. Starting with his childhood, the book covers Nash's years at Princeton and MIT, his work for the RAND Corporation, his work on game theory, and his family and his struggle with schizophrenia.
Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich (2001) Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America is a book written by Barbara Ehrenreich. Written from her perspective as an undercover journalist, it sets out to investigate the impact of the 1996 welfare reform act on the working poor in the United States. The events related in the book took place between spring 1998 and summer 2000. The book was first published in 2001 by Metropolitan Books. An earlier version appeared as an article in the January 1999 issue of Harper's magazine. Ehrenreich later wrote a companion book, Bait and Switch (published September 2005), which discusses her attempt to find a white-collar job. Ehrenreich investigates many of the difficulties low wage workers face, including the hidden costs involved in such necessities as shelter (the poor often have to spend much more on daily hotel costs than they would pay to rent an apartment if they could afford the security deposit and first-and-last month fees) and food (e.g., the poor have to buy food that is both more expensive and less healthy than they would if they had access to refrigeration and appliances needed to cook).
Of Beetles and Angels by MawiAsgedom (2002) This acclaimed memoir tells the unforgettable story of a young boy's journey from a refugee camp in Sudan to Chicago, where his family survived on welfare. Mawi followed his father's advice to "treat people . . . as though they were angels sent from heaven, " and realized his dream of a full-tuition scholarship to Harvard University.
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (2007) Three Cups of Tea describes Mortenson's transition from a registered nurse and mountain-climber to a humanitarian committed to reducing poverty and promoting education for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Following the beginnings of his humanitarian efforts, Mortenson became co-founder of the Central Asia Institute (CAI), a non-profit group that, as of 2010, reports it has overseen the building of over 171 schools. CAI reports that these schools provide education to over 64,000 children, including 54,000 girls, where few education opportunities existed before in the remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The book's title comes from a Balti proverb: "The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family...