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Classic Books: Fiction

A suggested reading guide to immerse oneself in the classics

Fiction to 1899

The Tale of Genji

Widely considered the world's first novel.

Don Quixote

Call Number: PQ6323 .A1 1991 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0679407588

Robinson Crusoe

Call Number: PR3403 .A1 1994 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0393964523

The Bondwoman's Narrative

Written in the 1850s by a runaway slave, THE BONDS- WOMANS NARRATIVE is both an historically important literary event and a gripping autobiographical novel in its own right.When her master is betrothed to a woman who conceals a tragic secret, Hannah Crafts, a young slave on a wealthy North Carolina plantation, runs away in a bid for her freedom up North. Pursued by slave hunters, imprisoned by a mysterious and cruel captor, held by sympathetic strangers, and forced to serve a demanding new mistress, she finally makes her way to freedom in New Jersey. Her compelling story provides a fascinating view of American life in the mid-1800s and the literary conventions of the time. Quite possibly the only novel written by a runaway slave, THE BONDSWOMANS NARRATIVE is a provocative literary landmark and a significant historical event that will captivate a diverse audience.

Gulliver's Travels

Call Number: PR3724 .G7 1977 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0486292738


Call Number: PQ2082.C3 E5 2005 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0300106556

Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Call Number: PQ1993.L22 L53 1929 v.1 & v.2 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0199536481

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang Von - Collected Works

Call Number: PT2026.A1 C83 1983 v.2 (General Collection)
ISBN: 3518030558

The Count of Monte Cristo

Call Number: PQ2226 .A33 2009 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0307271129

Moby Dick

Call Number: PS2384 .M6 2002 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0393972836

Bulfinch's Mythology

Call Number: BL310 .B76 1934 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0440308453

A Tale of Two Cities

Call Number: PR4571 .A1 1943 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0553211765

Les Miserables

Call Number: PQ2286 .A34 1930x (General Collection)
ISBN: 045141943X

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Call Number: CARROLL (ERC Juvenile Fiction Books--Lower Level)
ISBN: 0688110878

Little Women

Call Number: PS1017 .L5 1962x (General Collection)
ISBN: 0553212753

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Call Number: B3313.A43 E5 1978 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0140047484

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Call Number: PS1305 .A1 1996c (General Collection)
ISBN: 0679448896

Birds Without a Nest

Call Number: PQ8497.M3 A913 1996
ISBN: 0292751958

The Time Machine and the War of the Worlds

Call Number: PR5774 .T54 1977x (General Collection)
ISBN: 0449300439

Fiction from 1900 on

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Call Number: BAUM (ERC Juvenile Fiction Books--Lower Level)
ISBN: 0060293233

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Initially published in 1937, this novel about a proud, independent black woman has, since its reissue in trade paper in 1978, been the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

The Call of the Wild

Call Number: PS3523.O46 C3 2004 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0618300090


Call Number: PS3552.U827 K5 2003 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0807083690

All Quiet on the Western Front

Call Number: PT2635.E68 I625 1996 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0449213943


Call Number: PT2617.E85 S513 2003 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0142437182

The Good Earth

Call Number: PS3503.U198 G6 1949x (General Collection)
ISBN: 0743272935

Brave New World

Call Number: PR6015.U9 B65 2006 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0060850523

The Stranger

Call Number: PQ2605.A3734 S7 1946 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0679720200

The Fountainhead

Call Number: PS3535.A547 F6 2005 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0452286379

Nineteen Eighty-Four

Call Number: PR6029.R8 N49 1992 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0679417397

The Catcher in the Rye

Call Number: PS3537.A426 C3x (General Collection)
ISBN: 0316769533

Fahrenheit 451

Call Number: PS3503.R167 F3 2003 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0345342968


Call Number: PS3558.E476 C3 2004 (General Collection)
ISBN: 9781451626650

The Dutchman and The Slave

Centered squarely on the Negro-white conflict, both Dutchman and The Slave are literally shocking plays--in ideas, in language, in honest anger. They illuminate as with a flash of lightning a deadly serious problem--and they bring an eloquent and exceptionally powerful voice to the American theatre. Dutchman opened in New York City on March 24, 1964, to perhaps the most excited acclaim ever accorded an off-Broadway production and shortly thereafter received the Village Voice's Obie Award. The Slave, which was produced off-Broadway the following fall, continues to be the subject of heated critical controversy.

Atlas Shrugged

Call Number: PS3535.A547 A94 2005b (General Collection)
ISBN: 0452286360
Publication Date: 2004-12-28

Things Fall Apart

Call Number: PR9387.9 .A177 1992 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0679446230

Flowers for Algernon

Call Number: PS3561.E769 F56 1990 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0151001634

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. The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of "the Brotherhood", and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be. The book is a passionate and witty tour de force of style, strongly influenced by T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, Joyce, and Dostoevsky.

A Separate Peace

Call Number: PS3561.N68 S46 1975 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0553280414

One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

Call Number: PS3561.E667 O5 2012 (General Collection)
ISBN: 067002323X

The Bell Jar

Call Number: PS3566.L27 B4 2005 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0060837020

One Hundred Years of Solitude

Call Number: PQ8180.17.A73 C513 1995 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0679444653


Call Number: E185.97.H24 A33 2007 (General Collection)
ISBN: 1593154496

The Color Purple

Call Number: PS3573.A425 C6 1992 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0151191549

The House of the Spirits

Call Number: PQ8098.1.L54 C313 1985 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0394539079

Indian Killer

Call Number: PS3551.L35774 I56 1996 (General Collection)
ISBN: 087113652X


Call Number: PS3554.E44445 W3 1988 (General Collection)
ISBN: 0803265794

A Raisin in the Sun

First Published: 1959
See reviews |
"Never before, the entire history of the American theater, has so much of the truth of black people's lives been seen on the stage," observed James Baldwin shortly before A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway in 1959. Indeed Lorraine Hansberry's award-winning drama about the hopes and aspirations of a struggling, working-class family living on the South Side of Chicago connected profoundly with the psyche of black America--and changed American theater forever. The play's title comes from a line in Langston Hughes's poem "Harlem," which warns that a dream deferred might "dry up/like a raisin in the sun." "The events of every passing year add resonance to A Raisin in the Sun," said The New York Times. "It is as if history is conspiring to make the play a classic." This Modern Library edition presents the fully restored, uncut version of Hansberry's landmark work with an introduction by Robert Nemiroff.


At the center of Toni Morrison's fifth novel, which earned her the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, is an almost unspeakable act of horror and heroism: a woman brutally kills her infant daughter rather than allow her to be enslaved. The woman is Sethe, and the novel traces her journey from slavery to freedom during and immediately following the Civil War. Woven into this circular, mesmerizing narrative are the horrible truths of Sethe's past: the incredible cruelties she endured as a slave, and the hardships she suffered in her journey north to freedom. Just as Sethe finds the past too painful to remember, and the future just "a matter of keeping the past at bay," her story is almost too painful to read. Yet Morrison manages to imbue the wreckage of her characters' lives with compassion, humanity, and humor. Part ghost story, part history lesson, part folk tale, Beloved finds beauty in the unbearable, and lets us all see the enduring promise of hope that lies in anyones future.

Native Son

Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Wright's powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.

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Memorial Library
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