Books Suggested For Grades 10 to 12

Am I Blue? Coming Out from the Silence, Marion Dane Bauer, ed.
Short stories about homosexuality by a cross-section of popular writers such as M.E. Kerr, William Sleator and Jane Yolen.

Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation, Jonathan Kozol A documentary account of human triumph and struggle. Through the author, we the readers see the dangers, injustice and hopelessness of a South Bronx community in the throes of unthinkable poverty.

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath An autobiographical novel about a young woman's nervous breakdown, attempted suicide, hospitalization, and subsequent recovery. Contains both humorous and emotionally disturbing parts.

Briar Rose, Jane Yolen Becca's grandmother repeatedly told this classic fairy tale to her grandchildren when they were young. After her grandmother's death, Becca travels back to Poland to solve the mystery of her grandmother's past during the Holocaust and what it had to do with Briar Rose.

Clan of the Cave Bear, Jean Auel
Set at the dawn of civilization 35,000 years ago this fantasy follows the struggles of Ayla to be true to herself while honoring the traditions of the ancient Clan. This is the first novel in the Earth's Children trilogy.

The Color of Water, James McBride This memoir of a young African-American man and his Jewish mother, told in alternating chapters by mother and son, is an inspiring account of family life that demands to be read by all people of all races and faiths.

Death Be Not Proud, John Gunther Johnny Gunther died of a brain tumor at the age of seventeen, just after he graduated from Deerfield Academy. This memoir, written by his father, tells the story of Johnny's brave battle against cancer and of his courage, wit, friendliness and love of learning. It is a book as much about living as about dying.

Fires in the Mirror, Anna Deavere Smith A play taken from the words of the actual people involved in an explosion of ethnic tensions in 1991 Crown Heights, Brooklyn, when a car driven by a Hasidic Jew struck and killed a young African-American child.

Having Our Say, Sarah Louise and Annie Elizabeth Delany What a ride through the twentieth century you'll be provided when you hear the voices of the Delany sisters (both over 100 years old) as they look back with joy at their astonishing lives "from their childhood in Raleigh's most prominent black family" to their involvement in the Harlem Renaissance. A life-affirming biography of two endearing companions.

Here on Earth, Alice Hoffman A new version of Wuthering Heights set in a remote, modern-day New England village. "Hoffman follows the original plot faithfully, but it is her own lyrical prose that puts a pleasant spin on Bronte's dark tale of obsessive love."

The Hundred Secret Senses, Amy Tan (top) In the spirit of The Joy Luck Club, Tan writes about three generations of Chinese women, weaving together their lives, loves, and the ghosts that haunt them.

Illumination Night, Alice Hoffman A rebellious teenager is forced to move to Martha's Vineyard to care for her dying grandmother. During the year, with the help of dysfunctional neighbors and a magical giant, she finds herself.

Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer Experience both the thrill and horror of mountain climbing as described by one of the survivors of a devastating attempt to scale Mt. Everest.

Jitterbug Perfume, Tom Robbins The search for the best perfume, the dance which produces immortality, colorful settings and mysterious characters all combine to produce this unforgettable novel.

Joy School, Elizabeth Berg In this sequel to Durable Goods, join Katie as she moves with her father to a new town and encounters many challenges: school, friends, and her first love. Katie's spirit and determination are unmatchable.

Jubilee, Margaret Walker The story of Vyry, who escapes slavery and overcomes extraordinary obstacles. Walker parallels Vyry's life with that of her white half-sister.

The Kitchen God's Wife, Amy Tan This novel presents the dynamics of family life in a Chinese-American family by revealing the secrets that a mother and a daughter gradually share with each other.

Landscape Without Gravity: A Memoir of Grief, Barbara Lazear Ascher Barbara Ascher, a Dana Hall alumna, writes about the death of her brother from AIDS in 1989. He was thirty-one years old.

The Last Time I Saw Mother, Arlene J. Chai A grown woman is summoned home to the Philippines by her mother, who feels compelled to reveal the secret she has kept hidden for years.

Marjorie Morningstar, Herman Wouk The coming-of-age of a middle-class Jewish girl in 1950s America.

My Sister's Bones, Cathi Hanauer A poignant story of self-discovery, as a younger sister moves towards freedom, learning to negotiate the changing landscape of family, friendship and love. Her older sister, who has always been her role model, is starving herself.

Sassafras, Cypress and Indigo, Ntozake Shange Charming novel about three talented and loving sisters and their beloved mother. Book includes recipes!

The Scarlet Pimpernel, Emmuscka Orczy The swashbuckling adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel, a romantic figure who heroically saves the lives of French aristocrats during the time of the French Revolution.

Still Life with Rice, Helie Lee In this memoir of her Korean grandmother's life, Lee interprets the complex nature of family relations, the impact of social upheaval on an individual, and the rapidly changing lives of women in this century.

A Stranger in the Kingdom, Howard Frank Mosher A gripping story about racism in rural Vermont. The story is narrated by a thirteen-year-old boy.

Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom When a beloved Brandeis professor is facing death, he meets informally on Tuesdays with a former student, sharing his wisdom about life, love, mortality and courage.

All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy Vast Western landscapes are the backdrop to this story of a boy trying to find himself in a world that's changing.

Amrita, Banana Yoshimoto Follow Sakumi's thoughts as her lost memory returns, her kid brother develops special powers, and her movie star sister's death is remembered.

Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt In this humorous yet deeply touching memoir, Frank McCourt takes you through his childhood spent in Limerick, Ireland. Coping with death, disease, extreme poverty and alcoholism, McCourt magically lets us into his soul and into the depths of love and loss that his family experiences.

Angels in America, Tony Kushner (top) Called "the broadest, deepest, most searching American play of our time," Angels in America is a moving exploration of national themes and human nature woven seamlessly with a compassionate account of the AIDS crisis.

Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy The focus is on the Russian aristocracy, but Tolstoy also provides his readers with a portrait of the peasants. The reader becomes involved in a heart-wrenching love story as well as a battle between the dictates of society and the dictates of the heart.

As You Like It, William Shakespeare Come read about forbidden romance, disguises, a flight to the forest of Arden, a magical world of friendly outlaws and wise fools (required for AP English students).

The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X and Alex Haley A controversial political and social activist of the 1960s, whose influence continues to grow, tells his life story. Spike Lee's recent movie has restored this classic to its best-seller status.

Bastard out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison A portrait of a remarkable young woman named Bone growing up amidst the violence and sensuality of a Southern family.

Blanche on the Lam, Barbara Neely Witty, intelligent, African-American, and feminist, Blanche White, on the run from the law, works as a domestic in a remote, wealthy household. She must solve a murder before the finger of blame is pointed at her.

Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya Ultima, the curandera, introduces the magical secrets of the indigenous world to young Antonio Marez as he struggles to find his place in his New Mexican community.

The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison Eleven-year-old Pecola yearns to have blue eyes like the little white girls she sees. With blue eyes, she thinks, everything in her life would be different. The horror at the heart of her yearning, however, is exceeded only by the evil of its fulfillment. A haunting and beautifully crafted novel.

Bone People, Keri Hulme A woman artist of New Zealand wins the lottery and a shipwrecked boy and a Maori man come into her life. The mysteries of love, relationships, Maori tradition, cancer, and lost pasts engross the reader as she accompanies the three protagonists on their personal journeys.

Cat's Eye, Margaret Atwood By focusing on the relationships among four adolescent girls, Atwood delineates the training of females in North American culture. We see our childhood once again.

Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier In the final weeks of the Civil War, Inman, a wounded Confederate soldier, decides to return home to Ada, the woman he loves.There are parallels here to The Odyssey as Inman has his share of hostile encounters with strangers intent on disrupting his journey.

The Collected Stories of Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker Parker delights in revealing the hypocrisies, vanities and foibles of her characters as she skewers them in a style that is humorous but often sad.

The Commitments, Roddy Doyle

A great comic novel featuring a ragtag group of young men and women from a working class neighborhood in Dublin who try to start a band.

Crooked Little Heart, Anne Lamott Lamott tells the story of a precocious 12-year-old tennis champ, her loving but dysfunctional family, and her struggle to be confident and capable despite all odds.

Days of Grace, Arthur Ashe and Arnold Rampersad (top) The memoir of a tennis player, a man with AIDS, and a social activist. Ashe evaluates himself and his world with intelligence and honor. His courage and grace are present on each page.

Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso Proclaimed the Dalai Lama at the age of five, Tenzin Gyatso watched as Tibet was occupied by China and one sixth of the population died. In his lively autobiography, he recounts his escape to India, leadership of Tibetan Buddhists in exile, and peaceful negotiations with China.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Fannie Flagg In this delightful narrative set in the American South, two women run a restaurant, challenge injustice, and form a strong center in a close-knit community.

Ghost Dance, Carole Maso In her poetic and innovative style of writing, Carole Maso takes readers on an enchanting journey through the tale of a unique relationship between an eccentric poet and her daughter.

The Grass Dancer, Susan Power Dancing, rock and roll music, a mother-daughter struggle, and powerful mythical ancestors all combine to create a magical and exciting Native American novel.

Half the House, Richard Hoffman A boy grows up in blue-collar America; his brothers sicken with muscular dystrophy; his coach abuses him; his family struggles. As an adult, he writes this memoir, a testament to the healing power of truth telling, and a story of love, reconciliation and triumph.

A Handful of Dust, Evelyn Waugh This story of infidelity in 1940s England blends both tragedy and comedy. Tony and Brenda Last seem to have an idyllic marriage until Brenda begins an affair with a young fortune hunter. Their aristocratic life begins to crumble, and Tony flees England, falling into the clutches of a madman in South America.

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Julia Alvarez A story of sisterhood, friendship, and the personal ramifications of political strife by an award-winning novelist and poet.

If Beale Street Could Talk, James Baldwin The love story of Tish and Fonny. She is nineteen years old and pregnant; he is a sculptor in prison on false charges.

Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison One of the great novels of our century. A sequence of events beginning in a Southern town and moving to Harlem convinces the protagonist that he is visible as an African-American man but invisible as a man.

Life and Death in Shanghai, Nien Cheng Inspiring biography of a Chinese woman of intellect and privilege who survived imprisonment during the Cultural Revolution.

Little Big Man, Thomas Berger One-hundred-and-eleven-year-old Jack Crabb, a white boy adopted by Cheyenne people after his father's slaughter, tells his dramatic story of switching back and forth in war-torn America, caught up in battles with and against General Armstrong Custer, searching for identity and finally finding his place.

Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language, Eva Hoffman The autobiography of a young Jewish girl, born after WWII in Poland and later exiled to Vancouver, B.C. She recreates for the reader the lost world of Jewish life in Krakow, Poland.

Mama Day, Gloria Naylor A provocative novel that delineates the importance of family and community relationships as well as one's heritage. This story emphasizes the enduring values of love, loyalty, faith, and sacrifice.

Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden Sold to a geisha house at the age of nine, Chiyo resists her oppression, yet studies the arts of the geisha, reaching for success in the only subculture in prewar Japan in which women rule and gain great strength.

Meridian, Alice Walker "As the old rules of Southern society collapse (the sixties), Meridian fights a lonely battle to reaffirm her own humanity and that of all her people."

Mona in the Promised Land, Gish Jen A delightfully funny novel that, in the words of Amy Tan, "skewers what we think we mean by assimilation, cultural diversity and the uniquely American right to forge a new identity and then patent it. Not only that, now I finally know why Chinese mothers are like Jewish mothers."

The Night of the Hunter, Davis Grubb (top) One of the most frightening tales ever to be spun: a fanatic preacher goes in search of two young children who are carrying with them a treasure that he is determined to have even if it means murdering those who stand in his way. To be read only in daylight.

Of Human Bondage, W. Somerset Maugham A great storyteller relates the adventures of a handicapped boy and his life and loves as an artist. This is a good companion piece to Charles Dickens' Great Expectations.

On the Golden Porch, Tatyana Tolystaya Thirteen stories celebrate courage and the will to endure among the people who "live on the periphery of society but who dream with a redeeming passion." Written by Leo Tolstoy's granddaughter, the first woman in years to rank among Russia's most important writers.

On the Road, Jack Kerouac In this novel of Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise's exuberant search to find meaning and excitement on the open roads of postwar America, Kerouac gave style and voice to the Beat Generation of the 1950s--the Huckleberry Finn for our times.

The Perfect Storm, Sebastian Junger Here's a true story of men against the sea which took place off the coast of Massachusetts in 1991. You will feel the enormous strength of hurricane winds and towering waves as six swordfishermen fight for their lives.

A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving Owen Meany, seen through the eyes of his best friend, consistently challenges the traditional New England community in which he grows up, creating hilarious adventures and heartwarming moments.

The Promise, Chaim Potok Potok provides a sequel to The Chosen as he relates the further relations of Danny and Reuven on their journey towards adulthood.

The Reivers, William Faulkner A wonderfully comic novel and an on-the-road adventure by one of the Unites States' great novelists.

Reviving Ophelia, Mary Pipher This non-fiction book explores the realities faced by adolescent girls in the 1990s: eating disorders, self-mutilation, depression, body-piercing, and contentious parent/daughter relationships. Pipher takes us into the lives of several of the young women with whom she worked so that we can truly appreciate the struggles they face.

Roots, Alex Haley This family narrative spans seven generations of African-Americans from the 1700s to the mid-20th century.

Rubyfruit Jungle, Rita Mae Brown This is a novel of growing up lesbian in America, a triumphant story of Molly Bolt blossoming into an adulthood of her own creation.

The Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx (top) After the death of his two-timing wife, Quoyle, a third-rate newspaperman, retreats with his two daughters to the wild and starkly beautiful shores of Newfoundland in order to confront his heritage and reclaim his life. This novel won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize.

A Small Rain, Madeleine L'Engle L'Engle's first novel, written in the 1940s, tells the story of a young woman struggling to make it as a stage actress in New York City. This is a dramatic, compelling, and surprisingly contemporary book.

So Far from God, Ana Castillo This wacky, wild, funny novel, set in New Mexico, engages the reader in the lives of a Chicano mother and her four daughters, their loves and struggles, their gossip, recipes, miracles, and community activism.

Soul on Ice, Eldridge Cleaver A spiritual and intellectual biography written by one of the most articulate and prophetic young voices of the African American community in the atmosphere of turbulence that characterized the early 1960s. An excellent companion volume to The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

The Street, Ann Petry When this novel was published forty-six years ago, it shocked its readers with "its grim portrayal of life in Harlem." A good companion to Richard Wright's Native Son.

Summer, Edith Wharton Aspects of sexuality are explored in this novel about a young girl, her guardian, and a visiting artist. Will you agree with the protagonist's final choice?

Vanity Fair, William Thackeray The epic adventure of Becky Sharp, a witty, clever, and accomplished young woman who is determined to break into society at any cost.

A Very Long Engagement, Sebastian Japrisot You will find here a mixture of those ingredients that make a great story: part romance, part history, part mystery, part quest. Set in France during World War I, the novel is dominated by a marvelous heroine, Mathilde Donnoy.

Wait Till Next Year, Doris Kearns Goodwin A warm, humorous memoir about a young girl growing up in the suburbs of New York during the 1950s. Doris, her father and her neighborhood are united by a love of baseball, through which she is also exposed to the fears of polio, the paranoia of McCarthyism, and the ugly face of racial prejudice.

Washington Square, Henry James A dashing but penniless bachelor begins courting a plain, socially awkward New York heiress. Be prepared for a surprise ending!

The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins This Victorian bestseller has all the ingredients of a suspenseful mystery: a fragile heroine, an insane asylum, and Count Fosco, the villain you love to hate.

The World of Mr. Mulliner, P.G. Wodehouse British humorist P.G. Wodehouse published over 90 books before his death; the Mr. Mulliner stories are among his most well-known. This collection contains all of the Mulliner stories, hilarious tales about menacing aunts, unwanted engagements, gambling mishaps and more, all described in Wodehouse's inimitable style.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig Wonderful descriptions of nature are presented along with the difficulties of living in a technological society--as well as everything you need to know about motorcycles.