Full booklist

This is a full booklist of all titles read by Literary Giants. You can also view only their upcoming meetings or, if you really like their taste in books, a printable list of authors and titles to use as a reading list.

Literary Giants: I am Malala : the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban by  Malala Yousafzai

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Literary Giants: The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

As a young Florentine envoy to the courts of France and the Italian principalities, Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) was able to observe firsthand the lives of people strongly united under one powerful ruler.

Literary Giants: King Lear by William Shakespeare

One of Shakespeare's finest tragedies, the work displays a pessimism and nihilism that make it a 20th-century favorite. The aging King Lear decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters, allotting each a portion in proportion to the eloquence of her declaration of love. The hypocritical Goneril and Regan make grand pronouncements and are rewarded; Cordelia, the youngest daughter, who truly loves Lear, refuses to make an insincere speech to prove her love and is disinherited. The two older sisters mock Lear and renege on their promise to support him.

Literary Giants:  Nineteen Eighty-Four

Portrays a terrifying vision of life in the future when a totalitarian government, considered a "Negative Utopia," watches over all citizens and directs all activities, becoming more powerful as time goes by..

Literary Giants: A Good Man Is Hard To Find And Other Stories

In 1955, with this short story collection, Flannery O'Connor firmly laid claim to her place as one of the most original and provocative writers of her generation. Steeped in a Southern Gothic tradition that would become synonymous with her name, these stories show O'Connor's unique, grotesque view of life-- infused with religious symbolism, haunted by apocalyptic possibility, sustained by the tragic comedy of human behavior, confronted by the necessity of salvation.

Literary Giants: The Secret Keeper

During a party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the road and sees her mother speak to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy. Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London.

Literary Giants:  Unbroken

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War. The lieutenant's name was Louis Zamperini.

Literary Giants:  Great House

For twenty-five years, a reclusive American novelist has been writing at the desk she inherited from a young Chilean poet who disappeared at the hands of Pinochet's secret police; one day a girl claiming to be the poet's daughter arrives to take it away, sending the writer's life reeling. Across the ocean, in the leafy suburbs of London, a man caring for his dying wife discovers, among her papers, a lock of hair that unravels a terrible secret. In Jerusalem, an antiques dealer slowly reassembles his father's study, plundered by the Nazis in Budapest in 1944.

Literary Giants:  Reading Lolita in Tehran

We all have dreams--things we fantasize about doing and generally never get around to. This is the story of Azar Nafisi's dream and of the nightmare that made it come true. For two years before she left Iran in 1997, Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. They were all former students whom she had taught at university. Some came from conservative and religious families, others were progressive and secular; several had spent time in jail.

Literary Giants:  Midnight's Children

The life of a man born at the moment of India's independence becomes inextricably linked to that of his nation and is a whirlwind of disasters and triumphs that mirror modern India's course, in a twenty-fifth anniversary edition of the Booker Prize-winning novel.

Literary Giants:  Gone With the Wind

After the Civil War sweeps away the genteel life to which she has been accustomed, Scarlett O'Hara sets about to salvage her plantation home.

Literary Giants:  The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is the mastermind detective of the ages. Here, in one volume, are three of Sherlock's most celebrated cases -The Red Headed League, The Copper Beeches, The Speckled Band.

Literary Giants:  The Night Circus

A fierce competition is underway--a duel between two young circus magicians who have been trained since childhood for this purpose. This is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

Literary Giants:  The Swerve

Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction Winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Non-Fiction One of the world's most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it.

Literary Giants:  The Forgotten Garden

In 1913 London, a little girl plays hide-and-seek on the deck of a ship while waiting for the woman who left her there to return. But as darkness comes, the girl is still alone when the ship pulls out from the dock and steams away on a long, grueling journey to Australia. There, the dock master and his wife take in the small castaway who is carrying nothing but a child's white suitcase containing a few clothes and a book of fairytales. They name her Nell and raise her as their own. It's not until her twenty-first birthday that they tell her the truth.

Literary Giants: The Emperor of All Maladies

The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane "biography" of cancer--from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence. Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist's precision, a historian's perspective, and a biographer's passion.

Literary Giants: The Dovekeepers

Over five years in the writing, Alice Hoffman's most ambitious and mesmerizing novel ever, a triumph of imagination and research set in ancient Israel. The author of such iconic bestsellers as Illumination Night, Practical Magic, Fortune's Daughter, and Oprah's Book Club selection Here on Earth, Alice Hoffman is one of the most popular and memorable writers of her generation. Now, in The Dovekeepers, Hoffman delivers her most masterful work yet--one that draws on her passion for mythology, magic, and archaeology and her inimitable understanding of women.

Literary Giants: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde's story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author's most popular work.

Literary Giants: Year of Wonders

This gripping historical novel is based on the true story of Eyam, the "Plague Village", in the rugged mountain spine of England. In 1666, a tainted bolt of cloth from London carries bubonic infection to this isolated settlement of shepherds and lead miners. A visionary young preacher convinces the villagers to seal themselves off in a deadly quarantine to prevent the spread of disease.

Literary Giants: The Thirteenth Tale

Sometimes, when you open the door to the past, what you confront is your destiny. Reclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long. Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good.

Literary Giants: The Greater Journey

From two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough comes the inspiring, enthralling--and until now, untold--story of the American painters, writers, sculptors, and doctors who journeyed to Paris between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work, fell in love with the city, and changed America with what they achieved. After risking the hazardous journey across the Atlantic, these Americans embarked on a greater journey in the City of Light. That they achieved so much for themselves and their country profoundly altered American history.

Literary Giants: In the Garden of Beasts

In this readable narrative, author Larson (The Devil in the White City, Thunderstruck) offers a real-life, eyewitness perspective inside the Nazi hierarchy as Hitler came to power. William E. Dodd, a mild-mannered professor from Chicago, became the first US ambassador to Hitler's Germany in 1933. Dodd, his wife, their son, and their 24-year-old daughter Martha lived in Germany for about five years.

Literary Giants: South of Broad

Leopold Bloom King has been raised in a family shattered-and shadowed-by tragedy. Lonely and adrift, he searches for something to sustain him and finds it among a tightly knit group of high school outsiders. Surviving marriages happy and troubled, unrequited loves and unspoken longings, hard-won successes and devastating breakdowns, as well as Charleston, South Carolina's dark legacy of racism and class divisions, these friends will endure until a final test forces them to face something none of them are prepared for.

Literary Giants: A Visit from the Goon Squad

Working side-by-side for a record label, former punk rocker Bennie Salazar and the passionate Sasha hide illicit secrets from one another while interacting with a motley assortment of equally troubled people from 1970s San Francisco to the post-war future.

Literary Giants: The Warmth of Other Suns

Presents an epic history that covers the period from the end of World War I through the 1970s, chronicling the decades-long migration of African Americans from the South to the North and West through the stories of three individuals and their families.

Literary Giants: The Imperfectionists

Preoccupied by personal challenges while running a struggling newspaper in Rome, an obituary writer confronts mortality, an eccentric publisher obsesses over his dog, and other staff members uncover the paper's founding by an impulsive millionaire.

Literary Giants: Packing for Mars

Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? have sex? smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a spacewalk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout from space? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations.

Literary Giants: Wuthering Heights

Emily Brontë’s only novel, Wuthering Heights remains one of literature’s most disturbing explorations into the dark side of romantic passion.

Literary Giants: In the Sanctuary of Outcasts

Following conviction for bank fraud, White spent a year in a minimum-security prison in Carville, La., housed in the last leper colony in mainland America. His fascinating memoir reflects on the sizable group of lepers living alongside the prisoners, social outcasts among the motley inmate crew of drug dealers, mob types and killers. Narrating in colorful, entertaining snapshots, White introduces the reader to an excellent supporting cast in his imprisonment: Father Reynolds, the peerless spiritual monk; Mr.

Literary Giants: American Pastoral

A former athletic star, devoted family man, and owner of a thriving glove factory, Seymour "Swede" Levov finds his life coming apart during the social disorder of the 1960s, when his beloved daughter turns revolutionary terrorist out to destroy her father's world.

Literary Giants: Into the Wild

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of INTO THE WILD.

Literary Giants: The Lost City of Z

A masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, this blockbuster adventure takes listeners on a gripping journey into the Amazon.

Literary Giants: Wicked City

In 1955, Look magazine called Phenix City, Alabama, “The Wickedest City in America,” but even that may have been an understatement. It was a stew of organized crime and corruption, run by a machine that dealt with complaints forcefully and with dispatch. No one dared cross them - no one even tried. And then the machine killed the wrong man.

Literary Giants: Wolf Hall

In Putney, England, in the year 1500, a young man is beaten, almost to death, by his drunken father. "Felled, dazed, silent, he has fallen" in a yard that "smells of beer and blood." It is not the first beating, but it will be the last -- of this kind at least. The youth is Thomas Cromwell (1485?-1540), the central character in Hilary Mantel's astonishing Wolf Hall. He will become Cromwell, Earl of Essex, Master Secretary and "Viceregent of Spirituals" to King Henry VIII, and the chief architect of the Protestant Reformation.

Literary Giants: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they'd weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings.

Literary Giants: All the Living

"She wondered if all men could sleep this soundly under duress But she did not know any other men, had not seen the way they slept, and she wondered how it would feel to have someone else sleep beside her." 

Literary Giants: Infidel

Infidel is the eagerly awaited story of the coming of age of this elegant, distinguished -- and sometimes reviled -- political superstar and champion of free speech. With a gimlet eye and measured, often ironic, voice, Hirsi Ali recounts the evolution of her beliefs, her ironclad will, and her extraordinary resolve to fight injustice done in the name of religion.

Literary Giants: Boy's Life

In 1964, 12-year-old Cory Mackenson lives with his parents in Zephyr, Alabama. It is a sleepy, comfortable town. Cory is helping with his father's milk route one morning when a car plunges into the lake before their eyes. His father dives in after the car and finds a dead man handcuffed to the steering wheel. Their world no longer seems so innocent: a vicious killer hides among apparently friendly neighbors.

Literary Giants: The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story

When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka bombers devastated Warsaw—and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital.

Literary Giants: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Perhaps the best-loved nineteenth-century American novel, Mark Twain's tale of boyhood adventure overflows with comedy, warmth, and slapstick energy. It brings to life and array of irresistible characters—the awesomely self-confident Tom, his best buddy Huck Finn, indulgent Aunt Polly, and the lovely, beguiling Becky—as well as such unforgettable incidents as whitewashing a fence, swearing an oath in blood, and getting lost in a dark and labyrinthine cave. This novel is the 2010 selection for Alabama's state-wide The Big Read.

Literary Giants: Mr. Vertigo

Walter Claireborne Rawley, now an octogenarian, recounts his extraordinary vaudevillian adventures as "Walt the Wonder Boy" in 1924.

Literary Giants: The Glass Castle

In The Glass Castle, Walls chronicles her upbringing at the hands of eccentric, nomadic parents--Rose Mary, her frustrated-artist mother, and Rex, her brilliant, alcoholic father. To call the elder Walls's childrearing style laissez faire would be putting it mildly. As Rose Mary and Rex, motivated by whims and paranoia, uprooted their kids time and again, the youngsters (Walls, her brother and two sisters) were left largely to their own devices.

Literary Giants - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met. As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into his world, his island, his friends' taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives.

Literary Giants - Mr. Vertigo

Walter Claireborne Rawley is renowned nationwide as "Walt the Wonder Boy." It is the late 1920's, and Walt is a Saint Louis orphan rescued from the streets by the mysterious Hungarian Master Yehudi, who teaches Walt to walk on air. The vaudeville act that results from Walt's marvelous new ability takes them across a vast and vibrant country, where they meet and fall prey to sinners, thieves, and villains, from the Kansas Ku Klux Klan to the Chicago mob.

Literary Giants - Lonesome Dove

A love story and an epic of the frontier, Lonesome Dove is the grandest novel ever written about the last, defiant wilderness of America. Richly authentic, beautifully written, Lonesome Dove is a book to make readers laugh, weep, dream and remember.

Literary Giants - Slaughterhouse-Five

Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes 'unstuck in time' after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

Literary Giants - Run

Boston lawyer and ex-politician Bernard Doyle has nurtured his three sons -- Sullivan and adopted brothers Tip and Teddy -- since the death of his wife 15 years ago. Then, one snowy evening, Tip is pushed out of the way of an oncoming vehicle by a woman, herself hit and badly injured, who turns out to be the boys' birth mother and who's been watching the boys for years, along with her 11-year-old daughter, Kenya. The drama of a single day is given an unreal quality by the snow that curtails normal activity, as these vividly portrayed characters struggle with their circumstances.

Literary Giants - Cannery Row

Unburdened by the material necessities of the more fortunate, the denizens of Cannery Row discover rewards unknown in more traditional society. Cannery Row is just a few blocks long, but the story it harbors is suffused with warmth, understanding, and a great fund of human values. First published in 1945, Cannery Row focuses on the acceptance of life as it is-both the exuberance of community and the loneliness of the individual.

Literary Giants - Three Cups of Tea

One day in 1993, high up in the world's most inhospitable mountains, Greg Mortenson wandered lost and alone, broken in body and spirit, after a failed attempt to climb K2, the world's deadliest peak. When the people of an impoverished village in Pakistan took him in and nursed him back to health, Mortenson made an impulsive promise: He would return one day and build them a school.

Literary Giants: The Thief and the Dogs

After four years in prison, the skilled young thief Said Mahran emerges bent on revenge in a changed world. His wife has married a trusted friend; his native Egypt has undergone a revolution; and his mentor, who encouraged his Robin Hood-style crimes, has abandoned him. As Said's wild attempts to achieve his idea of justice badly misfire, he becomes a hunted man so driven by hatred that he can only recognize too late his last chance at redemption. This event is part of The Big Read.

Literary Giants: The Stone Diaries

This fictionalized autobiography of Daisy Goodwill Flett is a subtle but affecting portrait of an everywoman reflecting on an unconventional life. What transforms this seemingly ordinary tale is the richness of Daisy's vividly described inner life from her earliest memories of her adoptive mother to her awareness of impending death.

Literary Giants: Manhunt

The murder of Abraham Lincoln set off the greatest manhunt in American history - the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth. From April 14 to April 26, 1865, the assassin led Union cavalry and detectives on a wild twelve-day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia, while the nation, still reeling from the just-ended Civil War, watched in horror and sadness.

Literary Giants: Suite Française

Beginning in Paris on the eve of the Nazi occupation in 1940. Suite Française tells the remarkable story of men and women thrown together in circumstances beyond their control. As Parisians flee the city, human folly surfaces in every imaginable way: a wealthy mother searches for sweets in a town without food; a couple is terrified at the thought of losing their jobs, even as their world begins to fall apart.

Literary Giants: Magic Time

After a terrorist bombing, New York Examiner columnist Carter Ransom returns to his Mississippi hometown. Carter's father has just retired there; his most famous case was presiding over Troy's national disgrace: the Shiloh Church bombing, in which four civil rights activists died in 1965, including a woman Carter loved. One man was convicted, but the instigator, KKK wizard Samuel Bohanon, went free.

Literary Giants: Fahrenheit 451

In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury's classic, frightening vision of the future, firemen don't put out fires--they start them in order to burn books. Bradbury's vividly painted society holds up the appearance of happiness as the highest goal--a place where trivial information is good, and knowledge and ideas are bad.

Literary Giants: Magic Time

After a terrorist bombing, New York Examiner columnist Carter Ransom returns to his Mississippi hometown. Carter's father has just retired there; his most famous case was presiding over Troy's national disgrace: the Shiloh Church bombing, in which four civil rights activists died in 1965, including a woman Carter loved. One man was convicted, but the instigator, KKK wizard Samuel Bohanon, went free.

Literary Giants: The Tortilla Curtain

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.

Literary Giants: The Wife

Joan Castelman is en route to Finland to watch her husband win the Helsinki Prize when she decides to leave him. What follows is Joan's recollection of their marriage, his career, and her fading dreams. Starting with the beginning of the couple's professor-student relationships she continues through to the present, stacking up the unspoken regrets that lead to Helsinki. The story of what Joan sacrifices to support her husband and his illustrious career is just as astounding. Complete with a staggering twist ending, this is not one to miss.

Literary Giants: Early Bird

Rothman has been a head writer for David Letterman and, at the age of 25, a retiree. Burned out after a few hectic years of work, he decided to quit and move into a retirement village in Florida. This exploration of the world of retirement forty years early provides a glimpse of a lifestyle known popularly only through stereotypes. Rothman becomes king of the shuffleboard court, arranges an uneasy détente with his condo mate's cats, and infiltrates the Pool Group. Rothman applies his reading on retirement to his personal situation with humorous and poignant results.

Literary Giants: What Was She Thinking

When Sheba Hart arrives to be the new art teacher at the school where Barbara teaches history, solitary Barbara is immediately taken with her. Soon, she invites Barbara over to her house to have meals with her family. Barbara is shocked to learn that Sheba is being pursued by a 15-year-old student and scandalized to find that Sheba has given in to his romantic overtures. The novel's ending ultimately reveals Barbara's true character as much as it shows the depths to which Sheba has fallen. Both a penetrating character study and a sharp examination of voyeurism.

Literary Giants: Snobbery

This readable but serious work examines the nature and place of snobbery and its various manifestations in America. Epstein defines snobbery as the practice of making oneself feel superior at the expense of others. He writes of snobbery in the workplace, and of its presence in evaluating education, taste, dress, wealth, and race as factors in determining "class" inclusion. He compares his own snobberies with those he discerns in others, and overviews Americans' interactions with the cultures of England and the European continent.

Literary Giants: The Polished Hoe

A tragic, complex story of postcolonial Barbadian life following World War II. Oppression still flourishes on Bimshire, an island controlled by "the Plantation." Mary, the kept woman of Mr. Bellfeels, the powerful plantation manager, is not accepted into the island's upper echelon nor accepted among her childhood friends. Her status isolates her from common folk like Sgt. Percy Stuart, her childhood friend. The story begins after Mary has murdered Mr. Bellfeels and Percy must record her all-night confession, an obligation complicated by his lifelong love for Mary.

Literary Giants: We Need To Talk About Kevin

Eva never really wanted to be a mother, and certainly not the mother of the boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his 16th birthday. Two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with Kevin's horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklyn. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for his actions.

Literary Giants: A Good Man Is Hard To Find

The collection that established O'Connor's reputation as one of the American masters of the short story. The volume contains the celebrated title story, a tale of the murderous fugitive The Misfit, as well as The Displaced Person and eight other stories.

Literary Giants: The Children's Blizzard

The morning of January 12, 1888, dawned so unseasonably mild that many children in the Midwest walked to school without heavy coats or gloves. That afternoon, the quiet skies broke suddenly into a raging chaos of hurricane-force winds and blinding snows. Thousands of people, many of them schoolchildren returning home from class, were stranded in this bone-numbing blizzard. By the next morning, more than 500 people lay dead, many of them children caught just a few yards from shelter.

Literary Giants: The Voice at the Back Door

In the mid-1950s, the town of Lacey in the Mississippi hill country is a place where the lives of blacks and whites, though seemingly separate, are in fact historically and inevitably intertwined. When Lacey's fair-haired boy, Duncan Harper, is appointed interim sheriff, he makes public his private convictions about the equality of blacks before the law, and the combined threat and promise he represents to the understood order of things in Lacey affects almost every member of the community.

Literary Giants: God of Small Things

Set in Kerala, India, in 1969, The God Of Small Things is the story of seven-year-old twins Rahel and Estha, born of a wealthy family and literally joined at the soul. Rahel and Estha are cared for by a host of compelling characters: their beautiful mother, Ammu, who has left a violent husband; their Marxist uncle, Chacko, still pining for his English wife and daughter who left him; their prickly grandaunt, Baby Kochamma, pickling in her virginity; and the volatile Veluth, a member of the Untouchable caste.

Literary Giants: Flyboys

Over the remote Pacific island of Chichi Jima, nine American flyers -- Navy and Marine airmen sent to bomb Japanese communications towers there -- were shot down. One of those nine was miraculously rescued by a U.S. Navy submarine. The others were captured by Japanese soldiers on Chichi Jima and held prisoner. Then they disappeared. When the war was over, the American government, along with the Japanese, covered up everything that had happened on Chichi Jima.

Literary Giants: To Kill a Mockingbird

Set in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus--three years punctuated by the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman. Though her story explores big themes, Harper Lee chooses to tell it through the eyes of a child. The result is a tough and tender novel of race, class, justice, and the pain of growing up.

Literary Giants: The Kite Runner

"Taking us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the present, The Kite Runner is the unforgettable, beautifully told story of the friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul. Raised in the same household and sharing the same wet nurse, Amir and Hassan nonetheless grow up in different worlds; Amir is the son of a prominent and wealthy man, while Hassan, the son of Amir's father's servant, is a Hazara, member of a shunned ethnic minority. Their intertwined lives, and their fates, reflect the eventual tragedy of the world around them.

Literary Giants: The March

Sherman's march through Georgia and the Carolinas produced hundreds of thousands of deaths and untold collateral damage. In this powerful novel, Doctorow gets deep inside the pillage, cruelty and destruction as well as the care and burgeoning love that sprung up in their wake. William Tecumseh Sherman ("Uncle Billy" to his troops) is depicted as a man of complex moods and varying abilities, whose need for glory sometimes obscures his military acumen.

Literary Giants: All Over But The Shoutin'

This haunting, harrowing, and gloriously moving recollection of a life on the American margin tells the story of Rick Bragg, who grew up dirt poor in Alabama, and who became a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for "The New York Times".

Literary Giants: The Last Picture Show

The Last Picture Show is one of Larry McMurtry's most powerful, memorable novels. Set in a small, dusty, Texas town, The Last Picture Show introduced the characters of Jacy, Duane, and Sonny: teenagers stumbling toward adulthood, discovering the beguiling mysteries of sex and the even more baffling mysteries of love. Populated by a wonderful cast of eccentrics and animated by McMurtry's wry and raucous humor, The Last Picture Show is wild, heartbreaking, and poignant -- a coming-of-age novel that resonates with the magical passion of youth.

Literary Giants: The Red Tent

A minor character from the book of Genesis tells her life story in this vivid evocation of the world of Old Testament women. The only surviving daughter of Jacob and Leah, Dinah occupies a far different world from the flocks and business deals of her brothers. She learns from her Aunt Rachel the mysteries of midwifery and from her other aunts the art of homemaking. Most important, Dinah learns and preserves the stories and traditions of her family, which she shares with the reader in touchingly intimate detail.

Literary Giants: The Great Santini

Step into the powerhouse life of Bull Meecham. He's all Marine --- fighter pilot, king of the clouds, and absolute ruler of his family. Lillian is his wife -- beautiful, southern-bred, with a core of velvet steel. Without her cool head, her kids would be in real trouble. Ben is the oldest, a born athlete whose best never satisfies the big man. Ben's got to stand up, even fight back, against a father who doesn't give in -- not to his men, not to his wife, and certainly not to his son.

Literary Giants: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

When three-month-old Lia Lee arrived at the county hospital emergency room in Merced, California, a chain of events was set in motion from which neither she nor her parents nor her doctors would ever recover. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down moves from hospital corridors to healing ceremonies, and from the hill country of Laos to the living rooms of Merced, uncovering in its path the complex sources and implications of two dramatically clashing worldviews.

Literary Giants: Housekeeping

This modern classic is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their grandmother, then of two comically bumbling aunts, and finally of Sylvie, their eccentric and remote aunt. Their struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival.

Literary Giants: The Remains of the Day

This Booker Prize-winning novel is a compelling portrait of the perfect English butler, who, at the end of his career in postwar England, reviews his life and secretly questions the "greatness" of the nobleman he served.

Literary Giants: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty, early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction.

Literary Giants: The Great Gatsby

The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan has been acclaimed by generations of readers. Many consider The Great Gatsby the closest thing to the Great American Novel ever written. First published in 1925, it is the timeless story of Jay Gatsby and his love for Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby seeks to keep his illusion of Daisy as perfect alive. He uses his money, gained through illegal means, to do so, and uses his neighbor, Nick Carroway, to try to reach Daisy. The love of money as the root of evil is a pervading theme.

Literary Giants: The Color Purple

Winner of the American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, this unforgettable portrait of a young black girl, her friends, family, and lovers is rich with passion, pain, inspiration, and an indomitable love of life. Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to "Mister," a brutal man who terrorizes her.

Literary Giants: The Time Traveler's Wife

This clever and inventive tale works on three levels: as an intriguing science fiction concept, a realistic character study and a touching love story. Henry De Tamble is a Chicago librarian with "Chrono Displacement" disorder; at random times, he suddenly disappears without warning and finds himself in the past or future, usually at a time or place of importance in his life. This leads to some wonderful paradoxes. From his point of view, he first met his wife, Clare, when he was 28 and she was 20. She ran up to him exclaiming that she'd known him all her life.

Literary Giants: Fast Food Nation

Schlosser's incisive history of the development of American fast food indicts the industry for some shocking crimes against humanity, including systematically destroying the American diet and landscape, and undermining our values and our economy. The first part of the book details the postwar ascendance of fast food from Southern California, assessing the impact on people in the West in general.

Literary Giants: Andersonville

Kantor's classic title is credited as the best Civil War novel ever written. This magnificent work is about a prison in Georgia - a facility that actually existed - where Confederate soldiers consigned Union prisoners, and what grimness took place there is established in graphic detail by the author's circling through and among a wide range of characters, from the jailer to those who are jailed, from inside the prison and from without. 1956 Pulitzer Prize/Literature

Literary Giants: One True Thing

This novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist follows the psychological travails of Ellen Gulden, who against all personal inclinations returns home to care for her dying mother, Kate, and eventually finds herself accused of mercy-killing. Ellen, an intelligent though not particularly warm person, has spent her life earning her professor father's approval. After achieving high school valedictorian and Harvard honors, she aspires to advance her New York career. At her father's insistence, however, she leaves her job and takes on the role of nurse and homemaker.

Literary Giants: Shadow Divers

This superlative journalistic narrative tells of John Chatterton and Rich Kohler, two deep-sea wreck divers who in 1991 dove to a mysterious wreck lying at the perilous depth of 230 feet, off the coast of New Jersey. Along the way, Chatterton's diving cost him a marriage, and Kohler's love for his German heritage helped turn him into a serious U-boat scholar. The two lost three of their diving companions on the wreck and their mentor, Bill Nagle, to alcoholism.

Literary Giants: My Sister's Keeper

Imagine that you were conceived to be the donor of bone marrow and platelets for your older sister, who has a rare form of cancer. Imagine what it would be like to grow up in a family where everyone is constantly aware of one child's deadly illness, so that all decisions must be filtered through what will work for her treatment or her most recent medical emergency. How can a 12-year-old decide against donating a kidney to her older sister?

Literary Giants: My Brilliant Career

In this ironically titled and riotous first novel by Miles Franklin, originally published in 1901, Sybylla tells the story of growing up passionate and rebellious in rural NSW. where the most that girls could hope for was to marry or to teach. Sybylla will do neither, but that doesn't stop her from falling in love, and it doesn't make the choices any easier.

Literary Giants: Excellent Women

An unqualifiedly great novel from the writer most likely to be compared to Jane Austen, this is a very funny, perfectly written book that can rival any other in its ability to capture the essence of its characters on the page. Mildred Lathbury, the narrator of Pym's excellent book is a never-married woman in her 30s--which in 1950s England makes her a nearly-confirmed spinster. Hers is a pretty unexciting life, centered around her small church, and part-time job.

Literary Giants: The Devil in the White City

Not long after Jack the Ripper haunted theill-lit streets of 1888 London, H.H. Holmes (born Herman Webster Mudgett) dispatched somewhere between 27 and 200 people, mostly single young women, in the churning new metropolis of Chicago; many of the murders occurred during (and exploited) the city's finest moment, the World's Fair of 1893. Larson's breathtaking new history is a novelistic yet wholly factual account of the fair and the mass murderer who lurked within it.

Literary Giants: Invisible Man

Invisible Man is a milestone in American literature, a book that has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952. A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century.

Literary Giants: The Handmaid's Tale

Highly respected Canadian poet and novelist Atwood presents here a fable of the near future. In the Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States, far-right Schlafly/Falwell-type ideals have been carried to extremes in the monotheocratic government. The resulting society is a feminist's nightmare: women are strictly controlled, unable to have jobs or money and assigned to various classes: the chaste, childless Wives; the housekeeping Marthas; and the reproductive Handmaids, who turn their offspring over to the "morally fit" Wives.

Literary Giants: Crossing to Safety

Beginning in the 1930s and finishing in the 1980s, this is a tale of a friendship of enormous beauty and power between two couples of widely different backgrounds. Called a "magnificently crafted story...brimming with wisdom" (Howard Frank Mosher in The Washington Post Book World), Crossing to Safety has, since its publication in 1987, established itself as one of the greatest and most cherished American novels of the twentieth century.

Literary Giants: A Prayer for Owen Meany

In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys - best friends - are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen, after that 1953 foul ball, is extraordinary and terrifying.

Literary Giants: Age of Innocence

Old New York was a society of ironclad traditions, but for Newland Archer, they were too restricting to simply accept. Here is Wharton's story of human passion and satiric observation, as compelling today as when it was first published This 1921 Pulitzer Prize winner is a comic, profoundly moving story of thwarted love in Old New York. As Newland Archer prepares to marry docile May Welland, the mysterious Countess Olenska enters the picture and Archer's world is never again the same. (W.W. Norton & Co.)

Literary Giants: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

"Uproariously funny" doesn't seem a likely description for a book on cadavers. However, Roach, a Salon and Reader's Digest columnist, has done the nearly impossible and written a book as informative and respectful as it is irreverent and witty. In her droll, intimate voice, Roach conducts an oddly compelling, often hilarious forensic exploration of the strange lives of bodies postmortem.

Literary Giants: The Emperor of Ocean Park

In his triumphant fictional debut, Stephen Carter combines a large-scale, riveting novel of suspense with the saga of a unique family. The Emperor of Ocean Park is set in two privileged worlds: the upper crust African American society of the Eastern seaboard -- families who summer at Martha's Vineyard -- and the inner circle of an Ivy League law school.

Literary Giants: The Hornet's Nest

With this intricately detailed novel of the American South and the Revolutionary War, President Carter becomes our first chief executive, past or present, to publish a work of fiction. By concentrating on Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas from 1763 to 1783, Carter takes a fresh look at this crucial historical period, giving life and originality to a story usually told from the viewpoint of the northern colonies. (Publishers Weekly)

Literary Giants: Profiles in Courage

In 1954-55 a freshman U.S. Senator from Massachusetts wrote a book profiling eight of his historical Senatorial colleagues, such men as John Quincy Adams, Sam Houston, and Robert A. Taft. Instead of focusing on their storied careers, John F. Kennedy chose to illustrate their acts of integrity, when they stood alone against tremendous political and social pressure for what they felt was right.

Literary Giants: Saving Grace

Florida Grace Shepard, named for the state in which she was born and for the grace of God, is the daughter of a charismatic serpent-handling preacher. She is content with her early life in Scrabble Creek, North Carolina -- no easy task when her family moves whenever her father is arrested for conducting services with live snakes. With Southern style, Smith takes Grace from a young girl struggling with her own identity, though marriage, motherhood, and an adulterous affair that changes her very way of life.

Literary Giants: A Bend in the River

V.S. Naipaul takes us deeply into the life of one man -- an Indian who, uprooted by the bloody tides of Third World history, has come to live in an isolated town at the bend of a great river in a newly independent African nation. Naipaul gives us the most convincing and disturbing vision yet of what happens in a place caught between the dangerously alluring modern world and its own tenacious past and traditions.

Literary Giants: The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove -- a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others -- who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning and the tragedy of its fulfillment.

Literary Giants: When Good Men Do Nothing

During the 1940s and '50s, Phenix City, located in Alabama just across the state line from Columbus, Georgia, was considered to be "the most corrupt city in America." Known as "Sin City," the town's economy was based on prostitution, gambling, and bootlegging. In June of 1954, a time of great change in the state, Albert Patterson, the Democratic Party's Nominee for state attorney general, was assassinated as he was leaving his law office in Phenix City. Making the cleaning up of Phenix City his primary campaign promise had not endeared him to locals.

Literary Giants: Hell at the Breech

In 1897, in the rural southwestern area of Alabama known as Mitcham Beat, an aspiring politician is mysteiously murdered. Seeking retribution, his outraged friends - mostly poor cotton farmers - form a secret society, Hell-at-the-Breech, to punish the townspeople they believe are responsible. The hooded members of this gang wage a bloody year-long campaign of terror that culminates in a massacre, where the innocent suffer alongside the guilty.

Literary Giants: Bel Canto

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.

Literary Giants: Empire Falls

"Elijah Whiting...had not succeeded in killing his wife with a shovel, nor had he recovered from the disappointment." These lines from the prolog of Russo's (Straight Man) latest novel prove prototypical. A keen observer of human nature, Russo explores the tragicomic realities of life in a small mill town in central Maine whose best days are behind. Miles Roby is a basically decent guy who runs the Empire Grill for the widow of the last Whiting male (who shot himself when he, too, couldn't recover from his failure to dispatch his wife).

Literary Giants: Nickel and Dimed

Millions of Americans work for poverty-level wages, and one day Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that any job equals a better life. But how can anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 to $7 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich moved from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, taking the cheapest lodgings available and accepting work as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart salesperson.

Literary Giants: All the King's Men

The rise and fall of Willie Stark, a southern political boss, graphically told by his right-hand man, Jack Burden, an idealist and a cynic. Willie rises from a decoy candidate, who sincerely wants to help the people of the state, to a successful governor who admits that a little graft is necessary to make the wheels go round and that every man has his price, until he is shot down by the outraged brother of his mistress..... a vital, compelling narrative. (Club Rating: 6.7)

Literary Giants: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency tells the story of Precious Ramotswe, a delightfully cunning and a profoundly moral woman who is drawn to her profession to "help people with problems in their lives." Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by evil witchdoctors. (Club Rating: 6.4)

Literary Giants: Seabiscuit

One of the greatest legends of the 20th century, Seabiscuit was a discarded, bottom-level runner who became a champion with the help of three men: a trainer, an owner, and a jockey. This is the spellbinding tale of how they did it. (Club Rating: 7.9)

Literary Giants: Angle of Repose

Confined to a wheelchair, retired historian Lyman Ward sets out to write his grandparents' remarkable story, chronicling their days spent carving civilization into the surface of America's western frontier. Through the prism of one family, this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel illuminates the American present against the fascinating background of its past.

Literary Giants: The Lovely Bones

On her way home from school on a snowy December day in 1973, 14-year-old Susie Salmon ("like the fish") is lured into a makeshift underground den in a cornfield and brutally raped and murdered, the latest victim of a serial killer--the man she knew as her neighbor, Mr. Harvey. (Club Rating: 6.5)

Literary Giants: House of Sand and Fog

In this page-turning, breathtaking novel, the characters will walk off the page and into your life. House of Sand and Fog is a narrative triumph in which a traditional immigrant success story and a modern love story are turned upside down with brutal, heartrending consequences. It is an American tragedy, and a shockingly true picture of the country we live in today. (Club Rating: 8)

Literary Giants: A Lesson Before Dying

A young black named Jefferson is a reluctant party in a shoot-out in a liquor store in which the three other men involved are all killed, including the white store owner. Jefferson, the only survivor, is accused of murder. At the trial, the essence of the defense is that the accused, a lowly form of existence lacking even a modicum of intelligence, is incapable of premeditated murder. His lawyer argues: "Why, I would just as soon put a hog in the electric chair as this." But Jefferson is condemned to death.