Ap english Novels and Plays 1984 – George Orwell (British) 304 pages / 1090 Lexile Description

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AP English Novels and Plays

1984 – George Orwell (British) 304 pages / 1090 Lexile

Description George Orwell's celebrated 1948 vision of a world subsumed in tyranny and war. It describes the sequence of events by which Winston Smith, a London clerk at the Ministry of Truth, comes to understand the true nature and aims of the government he serves, and portrays his doomed efforts to create a private life for himself and his lover Julia. One of the bleakest political novels ever written, "1984" illustrates Orwell's despair that democracy could ever summon the will to overcome communism in his lifetime.

Absalom, Absalom! – William Faulkner (American) # pages / # Lexile

Description "Absalom, Absalom!" is often considered to be Faulkner's greatest book, and one of his most compelling explorations of race, gender, and the burdens of the past. The plot revolves around the character of Thomas Sutpen, son of poor whites in Faulkner's fictional Yoknapatawpha County. Densely written and notoriously "difficult," the novel explores the question of why Sutpen's son, Henry, killed Charles Bon, his friend and classmate, and the suitor of his sister, Judith. The action shifts from the early 19th century, when this event took place, to the "present" (1909-1910), when Quentin Compson, a student at Harvard, becomes obsessed with discovering the truth about his ancestor Sutpen--and hence about his family's past--and the relevance of that truth to the present.

Adam Bede – George Eliot (British) 528 pages / 1260 Lexile

Description:  It tells of a young carpenter and his love for the pretty and superficial Hetty Sorrel who murders her illegitimate child by Arthur Donnithorne, a young country squire, and is sentenced to deportation, and his eventual marriage to Dinah Morris, a Methodist preacher.

The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn – Mark Twain (American) 320 pages / 980 Lexile

Description: The story of Huck's and Jim's quest for freedom on a raft on the Mississippi provides a panoramic view of Southern society, which Twain saw as beset by greed, violence, and coldhearted brutality. At the end, Huck definitively abandons the conventional cant which he has been raised to believe in when he makes the decision to go to hell rather than betray his friend Jim and send him back to slavery. The book has been banned from time to time, beginning with its publication when it was deemed too subversive for children, until in the late 20th century when, despite its sympathetic attitude toward blacks and is violent denunciation of slavery, it has been branded racist largely because Twain's use of dialect and "offensive" language.

The Aeneid – Virgil (Greek/Latin) # pages / # Lexile

Description: Book XI of the Aeneid covers four crucial days in Aeneas struggle against the Latins. In it, Virgil gives us the funeral of Pallas, the great Latin war-council, Turnus plan to ambush Aeneas, and the aristeia and death of Camilla. K. W. Gransden sees the second half of the Roman national epic as Virgils Iliad. In his introduction and commentary, he relates the themes and structure of Book XI not only to the rest of the Aeneid but also to relevant passages in the Iliad. Gransden shows how, despite his adoption of the epic form, Virgil's style is influenced by Alexandrian miniaturism, Callimachean theory, and the poetry of the neoteroi

The Age Of Innocence – Edith Wharton (American) 400 pages / 1170 Lexile

Description: This is Edith Wharton's insider's look, and subtle critique, of New York society at a time when an address above 12th Street was considered the wild frontier. THE AGE OF INNOCENCE plays out the delicacies of a love triangle between May Welland, born and bred to marry Newland Archer, a thoughtful barrister, who in turn loves the infamous, unconventional, and attractive, Countess Ellen Olenska. The brazen Countess has left her Count behind in Europe and has returned to New York for a reprieve from a bad marriage. Not only does Wharton paint a deliciously detailed portrait of old New York and the rules that governed upper-class society, she has also provided readers with an entertainment of high order.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll (British) 196 pages / 980 Lexile

Description: As he escorted the three young daughters of a colleague on a trip up the river Isis, Lewis Carroll invented "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," the story of a little girl who tumbles down a rabbit hole. Full of such wonderfully eccentric characters as the Queen of Hearts, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Cheshire Cat, the Mock Turtle, and the Mad Hatter. The book is simultaneously a political allegory, a parody of Victorian children's literature, a fairy tale, a dream, and a child's chronicle of growing up.

All the Pretty Horses – Cormac McCarthy (American) 320 pages / 940 Lexile

Description: This National Book Award winner tells the story of John Grady Cole who, at 16, finds himself at the dying end of a long line of Texas ranchers, cut off from the only life he has ever imagined for himself. "A true American original."--Newsweek.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay – Michael Chabon (American) 656 pages / 1170 Lexile

Description:  It would make a nice comic book series--the cousins square-jawed and ham-fisted--but the depth of Chabon's thought, his sharp language, his inventiveness and his ambition make this a novel of towering achievement.

Amelia – Henry Fielding (British) # pages / # Lexile

Description:  Amelia is tried to the utmost by the vagaries of her wilful, reckless husband, Captain Booth, but remains both lovable and loving under the severest tests.

America is in the Heart – Carlos Bulosan (Filipino) # pages / # Lexile

Description: First published in 1946, this autobiography of the well-known Filipino poet describes his boyhood in the Philippines, his voyage to America, and his years of hardship and despair as an itinerant laborer following the harvest trail in the rural West. Bulosan does not spare the reader any of the horrors that accompanied the migrant's life; but his quiet, stoic voice is the most convincing witness to the terrible events he saw.

American Pastoral – Philip Roth # pages / # Lexile

Description:  Set for the most part in New Jersey and spanning the period from the Second World War to the mid-1970s, this novel is narrated by Nathan Zuckerman.As the book opens, Zuckerman "recalls an innocent time when golden boy Seymour 'the Swede' Levov was the pride of his Jewish neighborhood. . . . {He then goes on to relate} how the Swede's life . . . {was} devastated by a child's violent act. When Merry Levov blew up her quaint little town's post office to protest the Viet Nam war, she didn't just kill passing physician Fred Conlon, she shattered the ties that bound her to her worshipful father. Merry disappears, then eventually reappears as a stick-thin Jain living in sacred poverty in Newark, having killed three more people for the cause." (Libr J)

Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt (British) 368 pages / 1110 Lexile

Description:  Sometimes it's worth the wait. Having waited 40 years to tell his story, Frank McCourt doesn't pull any punches in his story of growing up dirt poor in Limerick, Ireland. Having emigrated to America, McCourt's family returns to Ireland after his sister dies in Brooklyn. It is there that things turn from bad to worse

Angles of Repose – Wallace Stegner # pages / # Lexile

Description:  Stegner's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel--the magnificent story of four generations in the life of an American family. A wheelchair-bound retired historian embarks on a monumental quest: to come to know his grandparents, now long dead. The unfolding drama of the story of the American West sets the tone for Stegner's masterpiece.

Animal Farm – George Orwell (British) 144 pages / 1170 Lexile

Description: A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned--a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.

Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy (Russian) 808 pages / 1080 Lexile

Description: Anna Karenina is the wife of a prominent Russian government official. She leads a correct but confining upper-middle-class existence. She seems content with her life as a proper companion to her dignified, unaffectionate husband and an adoring mother to her young son, until she meets Count Vronsky, a young officer of the guards. He pursues her and she falls madly in love with him. Her husband refuses to divorce her, so she gives up everything, including her beloved son, to be with Vronsky. After a short time, Vronsky becomes bored and unhappy with their life as social outcasts. He abandons her, returns to the military and is immediately accepted back into society. Anna, a fallen woman, shunned by respectable society, throws herself under a train.

Another Country – James Baldwin (American) # pages / # Lexile

Description Rufus, a black artist, falls in love with a white woman, but becomes enraged by the world's response to their affair, eventually driving his beloved mad and committing suicide himself. The title refers to exile, racism, and sexual love.

Antic Hay – Aldous Huxley (British) # pages / # Lexile

Description:  Theodore, a young man nauseated by the facile piety and hollow curriculum of the school where he teaches, gives up his job to return to his father’s house, to the literary and artistic London-which is not much better than the academic world.

Atonement – Ian McEwan # pages / # Lexile

Description:  Atonement is Ian McEwan’s finest achievement. Brilliant and utterly enthralling in its depiction of childhood, love and war, England and class, the novel is at its center a profound–and profoundly moving–exploration of shame and forgiveness and the difficulty of absolution.

Antony and Cleopatra – William Shakespeare (British) # pages / # Lexile

Description The queen of the Nile meets her match in Marc Antony, and the lovers destroy each other--yet triumph in ruin--in this great romantic tragedy.

Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz – Mordecai Richler (Canadian) # pages / # Lexile

Description:  Duddy--the third generation of a Jewish immigrant family in Montreal--is combative, amoral, scheming, a liar, and totally hilarious. From his street days tormenting teachers at the Jewish academy to his time hustling four jobs at once in a grand plan to "be somebody," Duddy learns about living--and the lesson is an outrageous roller-coaster ride through the human comedy. As Richler turns his blistering commentary on love, money, and politics, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz becomes a lesson for us all...in laughter and in life.

As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner (American) 288 pages / 870 Lexile

Description: "As I Lay Dying", a stream-of-consciousness novel narrated from 15 different points of view, depicts the Bundren family, a clan of poor whites who travel to Jefferson, Mississippi, to bury their dead matriarch, Addie. This bleakly comic novel explores the nature of grief, community, and family.

As You Like It – William Shakespeare (British) # pages / # Lexile

Description This virtuoso performance of Shakespeare's idyllic romance contains an optimistic philosophy of simple goodness.

Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand (American) 1088 pages / 1070 Lexile

Description: The story of a man who said he would stop the motor of the world--and did. This novel is the setting for the author's philosophy of Objectivism.

The Awakening – Kate Chopin (American) 128 pages / 960 Lexile

Description: Here is the story of Edna Pontellier, a young wife and mother. Edna experiences the first pangs of passion and desire--an awakening so intense that Edna compromises herself--changing her life forever. Chopin's portrayal of a woman's quest for freedom is considered a landmark in American fiction.

Babbit – Sinclair Lewis (American) # pages / # Lexile

Description: Sinclair Lewis created one of the most compelling and disturbing characters of American fiction in this portrait of a hardened, conniving, social-climbing real-estate man in his classic work "Babbit". Through detailed depictions of the protagonist's home, work, and social life, a meticulous landscape is created, representing the beliefs, aspirations, and failures of the American middle class.

Barchester Towers – Anthony Trollope (British) 576 pages / 1090 Lexile

Description The second novel in the Chronicles of Barsetshire continues the story of the conflict between High and Low Church begun in "The Warden". Trollope introduces Mrs. Proudie, the bishop's wife, one of his most famously despicable characters. The plot revolves around the power struggle between her and Mr. Slope, the bishop's chaplain, for control of diocesan politics.

Being Dead – Jim Crace # pages / # Lexile

Description: The story is the least likely page-turner I've ever come across, and one of the most gripping. Its present action takes us from the moment just after their death through their gradual decomposition, their corporeal transition from zoology to botany, until they are discovered days later, and the earth upon which their corpses had been sprawled gradually erases any evidence that they were there: The sea grasses unbend themselves; the flies and crabs and gulls that ate their fluids and flesh are hungry again; the sea wind blows; the indentations their bodies made on the sand dune drift over. Along the way, Crace tells three other stories: the story of their lives together, the story (in reverse chronological order) of their morning together, and the story of their colleagues and relatives' search for the missing couple.

Bel Canto – Anne Patchett # pages / # Lexile

Description:  Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening -- until a band of gun-wielding terrorists breaks in through the air-conditioning vents and takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different countries and continents become compatriots.

Beloved – Toni Morrison (American) 288 pages / 870 Lexile

Description: Set in rural Ohio several years after the Civil War, this profoundly affecting chronicle of slavery and its aftermath is Toni Morrison's greatest novel, a dazzling achievement, and the most spellbinding reading experience of the decade.

Billy Budd – Herman Melville (American) 48 pages / 1450 Lexile

Description:  Billy Budd, a handsome, angelic, and beloved young sailor, is wrongly accused of inciting mutiny. He lashes out in a rage and accidentally kills his accuser, the demonic Claggart, with one blow. The ship's commander, Captain Vere, a conflicted man of principle, cries, "Struck dead by an angel of God! Yet the angel must hang." And a court martial does indeed condemn the saintly Billy to death. His last words are, "God bless Captain Vere." Billy Budd is widely interpreted as a Christ figure, the victim of a kind of ritual sacrifice, after which order is restored. He is also seen as an innocent, Adam-like character who is destroyed by the evil that is inescapable in the world.

Bleak House – Charles Dickens (British) 1032 pages / 1180 Lexile

Description: Dickens's classic tale of greed, duplicity, and corruption. The story revolves around an inheritance case, Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce, that has been contested in the British courts for decades. Esther Summerson, the illegitimate daughter of Lady Dedlock and Captain Hawdon, lives at Bleak House as John Jarndyce's ward. She does not know the truth of her origins, and when the lawyer Tulkinghorn begins to suspect her actual relation to Lady Dedlock, he is soon found murdered. Two of the heirs in the case, Richard Carston and Ada Claire, marry and move into Bleak House with Jarndyce and Esther. The overwhelming irony in the novel is that, by the time the case is finally settled, nothing remains of the estate.

Bless Me, Ultima – Rudolfo A. Anaya (Hispanic) 272 pages / 840 Lexile

Description A bildungsroman about a young Mexican-American boy, Antonio, in a New Mexican village during the 1940s. He faces a choice that will determine the course of his entire life: to follow his father's family's nomadic lifestyle, or to settle down to agriculture as his mother's family has done. Anaya draws on the Spanish-American folklore with which he grew up in this unique depiction of childhood Hispanic in the Southwest.

The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood (American) # pages / # Lexile

Description:  The Blind Assassin has enough mysteries to keep even a casual reader engaged, and with respect to solutions, it is less scrupulously committed to ambiguity than Ms. Atwood's 1997 novel, Alias Grace. As with all of Ms. Atwood's recent fiction, The Blind Assassin, despite what sounds like a romantic plot, has been scoured free of any trace of sentimentality. There is a steely quality to Ms. Atwood's writing that's a bit scary but also exhilarating; no one gets away with anything, especially not her female narrators--and they know better than to try.

Blindness – Jose Saramago (Portuguese) # pages / # Lexile

Blindness has a real plot, inspires real terror, and -- although we never learn their names -- is about believable, sympathetic characters. A man driving down the street in an unnamed city is suddenly struck blind, setting off a highly contagious plague of "white sickness." The authorities take immediate but ultimately futile action by quarantining victims and potential victims in an ill-equipped abandoned mental hospital. Things rapidly deteriorate as food is hoarded, factions develop, and anarchy reigns. The one true hero is referred to as the "doctor's wife," who willingly accompanies her blind husband, as she can still see, and acts as a liaison between the blind and the rest of the world.

The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison (American) 224 pages / 920 Lexile

Description: From the 1993 Nobel Prize-winner comes a novel "so charged with pain and wonder that it becomes poetry" (The New York Times). First published in 1965, The Bluest Eye is the story of a black girl who prays--with unforeseen consequences--for her eyes to turn blue so she will be accepted.

Brave New World – Alduous Huxley (British) 288 pages / 870 Lexile

Description: A satirical novel depicting a scientific and industrialized utopia in which Ford and Freud are worshipped, eugenics policies have eliminated class conflicts (while strengthening the division of the classes), and personal unhappiness is assuaged through drugs and pornography.

Breathing Lessons – Anne Tyler 336 pages / 830 Lexile

Description:  The author of the bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning The Accidental Tourist pens another delightful tale of an ordinary couple. The Morans are just average — she is scatterbrained and he whistles. Just when they think they've learned all there is to know about each other, they find out how extraordinary they really are.

Bridge Over San Luis Rey – Thorton Wilder # pages / # Lexile

Description:  Wilder's most famous novel ponders the significance of a random disaster.  An inexplicable tragedy, a monk's quest for meaning: the story that earned Wilder the first of his three Pulitzer Prizes.

Brothers Karamozov – Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Russian) # pages / # Lexile

Description: The passionate Karamozov brothers spring to life, led by their roue of a father, who entertains himself by drinking, womanizing & pitting his three sons against each other. The men have plenty ot fight over, including the alluring Grushenka. In the Idiot, meet the kindly, childlike Prince Myshkin, as he returns to the decandent social whirl of 1860's St. Petersburg. Soon, the two most beautiful, sought after women in town are competing for his affections - in a duel that grows increasingly dangerous

Candide – Voltaire 128 pages / 1110 Lexile

Description: Candide is the story of a gentle man who, though pummeled and slapped in every direction by fate, clings desperately to the belief that he lives in "the best of all possible worlds." On the surface a witty, bantering tale, this eighteenth-century classic is actually a savage, satiric thrust at the philosophical optimism that proclaims that all disaster and human suffering is part of a benevolent cosmic plan. Fast, funny, often outrageous, the French philosopher’s immortal narrative takes Candide around the world to discover that -- contrary to the teachings of his distinguished tutor Dr. Pangloss- all is not always for the best. Alive with wit, brilliance, and graceful storytelling, Candide has become Voltaire's most celebrated work.

Captains Courageous – Rudyard Kipling (British) 209 pages / 850 Lexile

Description:  The boy hero is an American millionaire’s son, Harvey Cheyne.  This spoiled youngster falls overboard, is picked up by a fishing dory and against his will is hired by Disko Troop, the skipper, at ten dollars a month.  By the time the fishing season is over, he has a different and much more health attitude toward life.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – Tennessee Williams (American) # pages / # Lexile

Description:  The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama of seething passions that beset a Southern family in a shattering moment of revelation.

Catch-22 – Joseph Heller (American) 304 pages / 1090 Lexile

Description Joseph Heller's manic, bleak, blackly humorous, and brilliant novel has become a classic of American literature, and "Catch-22" has entered the language as a term describing a no-win situation. Set during the last months of World War II, Heller's novel tells the story of a bombardier, the hapless Yossarian, who is convinced--quite rightly, of course--that people are trying to kill him.

The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger (American) 304 pages / 1090 Lexile

Description: J. D. Salinger's famous and enduring chronicle of Holden Caulfield's journey from innocence to experience is the quintessential coming-of-age novel. Holden runs away to New York City from his vulgar and stifling prep school full of "phonies." After a series of illuminating failures and disasters, he goes home to see his beloved sister Phoebe, and finally--through Phoebe--is able to accept his existence in an imperfect world.

Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood (American) 304 pages / 1090 Lexile

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