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Welcome to Sharon High School's Library: Literature Corner

YA Authors Talk About Libraries

More Recommendations from Dr. Collins!

Cathy's books

Red Queen
Forget Me
The Rest of Us Just Live Here
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings
Another Brooklyn
One Hundred Years of Solitude
The Book Thief
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
The Handmaid's Tale
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers
The Power of One
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Chinese Cinderella
Chekhov: The Cherry Orchard

Cathy Collins's favorite books ยป

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Global Reading Suggestions

Global Issues: Recommended Reading

Darfur Diaries: Stories of Survival - Jen Marlowe - A collection of true stories recounting the history, hopes, fears, and resilience of dozens of Darfurians who survived the violence of the 2003 rebellion against the Sudanese government...

Educating Citizens for Global Awareness - edited by Nel Noddings

The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for our Time - Jeffrey Sachs - Sachs shares his theory about how to enable economic success throughout the world, identifying the different categories into which various nations fall in today's economy while posing solutions to top political, environmental, and social problems that contribute to poverty.

Unbowed: A Memoir - Wangari Maathai - Kenyan environmentalist, feminist, and political activist Wangari Maathai, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, tells her life story.

Oil on the Brain: Petroleum's Long, Strange Trip to your Tank - Lisa Margonelli - An account of the oil industry -- the people, economies, and pipelines that bring us petroleum...

The Global History Reader - Bruce Mazlish

Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail - Paul Polak

America on the World Stage: A Global Approach to U.S. History - Organization of American Historians, Gary Reichard, and Ted Dickson

China's Brave New World: And Other Tales for Global Times - Jeffery N. Wasserstrom

It's All Connected: A Comprehensive Guide to Global Issues and Sustainable Solutions - Benjamin Wheeler - A resource for teaching about global issues and sustainability in today's complex world.

Banker to the Poor: Micro-lending and the Battle Against World Poverty - Muhammad Yunus - Yunus discusses the obstacles he overcame in setting up a bank devoted to providing the poor of Bangladesh with small loans.


Copper Sun - Sharon M. Draper - A Coretta Scott King Award winner about the Slave Trade through the eyes of a Ashanti girl forced into slavery...

Girl in Translation - Jean Kwok - Kimberly and her mother emigrate to Brooklyn in the early 1980s from Hong Kong. A story of resilience, courage, and determination.

Ten Things I Hate About Me - Randa Abdel Fatah - A story about a Lebanese-Australian teenager and her struggle with her identity.

Purple Hibiscus: A Novel - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Inside Out and Back Again - Thanhha Lai - The 2011 National Book Award Young People's Literature winner. About a young Vietnamese refugee and her family, forced to leave the country during the Vietnam War and settled in Alabama. Written in free-verse...

Santa Claus in Baghdad and Other Stories about Teens in the Arab World - Elsa Marston - Also published as Figs and Fate, this collection of short stories explores teen life in Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and a Palestinian refugee camp.

19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East - Naomi Shihab Nye - A collection of poetry about the Middle East. 

The Caliph's House - Tahir Shah - By turns hilarious and harrowing, here is the story of a family’s move from the gray skies of London to the sun-drenched city of Casablanca, where Islamic tradition and African folklore converge–and nothing is as easy as it seems.

Graphic Novels: 

American Born Chinese - Gene Luen Yang - Alternates three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in the popular culture.

Maus: A Survivor's Tale - Art Spiegelman - Pulitzer prize-winning Holocaust survivor story

Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi - An intelligent and outspoken only child, Satrapi--the daughter of radical Marxists and the great-granddaughter of Iran's last emperor--bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

Pride of Baghdad - Brian Vaughan - A pride of lions escapes from the Baghdad Zoo during the Iraq War and question the meaning of freedom...

Vietnamerica: A Family's Journey - A memoir in graphic novel format about the author's experiences as the son of Vietnamese immigrants who fled to America during the fall of Saigon.

The 86 Greatest Travel Books of All Time
Resource: Longitude Books

Travels with Myself and Another, A Memoir - Martha Gellhorn.  The other, of course, being Ernest Hemingway, Gelhorn's husband at the time. A marvelous, incisive writer who covered every important conflict from from the Spanish Civil War to Vietnam and Nicaragua, Martha Gelhorn writes of her time in East Africa with Heminway, a visit with Chiang Kai-Shek, Soviet Moscow and other unforgettable journeys in this collection, first published in 1979. 

Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger. The last of the great British traveler-explorers, Thesiger (1910-2003) journeyed among the nomadic camel-breeding peoples of Southern Arabia in the late 1940s, falling in love with the desert and ways of life of the Bedouin. This eloquent book is his tribute to them. 

A Barbarian in Asia by Henri Michaux. A poet, painter and personality, Michaux (Ecuador) captures the sublime and ridiculous in this satisfying collection of vignettes inspired by his travels in India, China and Japan in the 1930s.

Down the Nile, Alone in a Fisherman's Skiff by Rosemary Mahoney. Mahoney weaves the tale of her quest to row the Nile with deft portraits of the people she meets in this marvelously engaging chronicle. 

Iron and Silk by Mark Salzman. Salzman gets himself to Changsha in the mid-1980s on the pretext of teaching English to Chinese doctors. His real mission, however, is to become a kung fu master. In this wonderfully readable travelogue he conveys a sense of contemporary life. 

The Nomad by Isabelle Eberhardt. The daring adventures of the late 19th-century Swiss journalist who adopted Islam and traveled the Sahara disguised as an Arab man. 

The Pine Barrens by John McPhee. Classic essays on the nature, history and personalities of New Jersey's Pine Barrens by the Pulitzer Prize-winner. McPhee digs deep into tales of the wildfires and the Jersey Devil, the rise and fall of iron towns and efforts to protect this rich, unusual environment from development. 

Sea and Sardinia by D.H. Lawrence. A marvelous account of a trip to Sardinia, evoking both the charms and travails of the then-remote island and the personality of the author. It's a pleasingly exaggerated, accessible portrait of life on the island, circa 1921.

Their Heads Are Green and Their Hands Are Blue: Scenes from the Non-Christian World by Paul Bowles | Edmund White. Bowles' classic collection of essays about place, originally published in the 1950s, including his travels to Morocco, Istanbul, South America and Sri Lanka. 

To a Distant Island by James McConkey. A transporting tale combining exquisite language and insightful commentary on Chekhov and his remarkable journey in 1890 from Moscow to Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East. 

A View of the World, Selected Journalism by Norman Lewis. This enormously pleasurable omnibus from the 1940s to the 1980s includes 20 samples of travels, adventures and encounters to Belize, Liberia, Guatemala, the Amazon, Sardinia and Cuba by the ever insightful Norman Lewis. 

The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard. Cherry-Garrard's epic midwinter jaunt to an emperor penguin rookery is just a warm-up for the main event: Scott's doomed last expedition. 

Endurance, Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing.  Lansing's gripping day-by-day story of Shackleton's legendary perseverance is essential reading for any Antarctic traveler. 

Farthest North by Fridtjof Nansen. The great Norwegian polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen's classic account of the voyage of the Fram, originally published in 1897, interspersed with dozens of original photographs. 

In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin. A masterpiece of travel, history and adventure, this award-winning book captures the spirit of the land, history, wildlife and people of Patagonia. There's no travel writer as engaging, insightful and just plain wonderful as Bruce Chatwin. 

In Trouble Again by Redmond O'Hanlon. As funny as he is insightful, O'Hanlon starts his comic masterpiece of a journey between the Orinoco and the Amazon with a litany of the insects, protozoa, snakes and predators that can do you harm. 

Great Plains by Ian Frazier. A marvelously digressive, wide-ranging account of 25,000 miles worth of travels criss-crossing throughout the Great Plains, combining first-rate reportage and history. 

North American Indians by George Catlin. A painter and naturally acute observer, Catlin traveled in the Native American lands of the Great Plains from 1831 to 1837. These published journals provide a rare window into a civilization on the verge of annihilation. 

Portraits and Observations, The Essays of Truman Capote by Truman Capote. The most complete single-volume collection of Truman Capote's essays, from celebrity profiles to his acclaimed literary nonfiction. This anthology includes a reprint of The Muses Are Heard, Capote's 1956 satirical portrait of an American theater troupe performing Porgy and Bess in Soviet Russia.

I See By My Outfit by Peter S. Beagle. Although better-known for his fantasy writing (The Last Unicorn), Beagle penned a winning travelogue about his journey across a changing America on a motor scooter in 1963. A classic, newly reprinted. 

Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville. An abdridged edition ofToqueville's classic and prescient study of America's evolving democracy. 

Cross Country by Robert Sullivan. Sullivan's marvelously digressive chronicle of a cross-country car trip, the history of the Interstate system, fast-food, variety of to-go coffee cup lids, the marvels of the roadside attraction and many, many other subjects.

The Definitive Journals of Lewis and Clark by Gary Moulton. | Meriwether Lewis | William Clark The seven core volumes of Moulton's authoritative Lewis and Clark journals, in a paper edition. With maps, illustrations and invaluable footnotes.

In the Country of Country, A Journey to the Roots of American Music by Nicholas Dawidoff. A heartfelt account of a journey through the South in search of traditional country music. The author interviews luminaries from the genre's heyday, including George Jones, Earl Scruggs and Bill Monroe. 

The Lewis and Clark Journals by Meriwether Lewis | William Clark | Gary Moulton The definitive one-volume selection of the most significant, noteworthy and historic entries from the journals of Lewis and Clark, with helpful scholarly notes and annotations. (USW428, $19.95)

Blue Highways, A Journey into America by William Least Heat Moon. On the road with Ghost Dancing (his van), William Least Heat-Moon criss-crosses the country on its backroads, discovering some pretty wonderful personalities en route in this portrait of a multi-faceted eccentric America. 

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson. The classic of 1970s gonzo journalism and a dizzying chronicle of a duo's drug-induced misadventures and scrapes with the people of Las Vegas. 

Captain John Smith, Writings With Other Narratives of Roanoke, Jamestown, and the First English Settlement of Virginia by James Horn. John Smith's collected writings on the New World, supplemented with contemporary accounts and illustrations, offers a fascinating look at the beginnings of the United States through the eyes of the legendary adventurer.

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain. Twain returns to the days of his youth spent on the Mississippi in this classic. Full of historical information, anecdotes, character sketches and fond memories, it's at once a romantic history of a mighty river and an autobiographical account of Twain's early steamboat days. 

Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes by Robert Louis Stevenson. Stevenson's sprightly, humorous account of ten days with a stubborn donkey named Modestine in the French Cevennes. 

As They Were by M. F. K. Fisher. This marvelous collection of autobiographical essays by the celebrated, much-adored Fisher covers her life, family, food and adventures from Whittier, California to the south of France. 

Two Towns in Provence by M. F. K. Fisher. Celebrated food writer M.F.K. Fisher contrasts village life in Aix-en-Provence with bustling Marseilles, evoking these two favorite places with anecdote and loving description. 

Journey to Portugal, in Pursuit of Portugal's History and Culture by Jose Saramago. Jose Saramago's richly detailed account of his journey across Portugal in 1979. He combines his vivid impressions of the Portuguese landscape and people with a dose of history, fiction and meditation. 

A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor. Fermor effortlessly interweaves anecdote, history and culture in this exuberant account of a walk from Holland, up the Rhine and down the Danube, through Germany, Prague and Austria in 1933. Written not in the moment, but 40 years later, the accumulation of time and experience gives the book particular poignancy. 

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell. Orwell's first published work, this novel -- based, in part, on true experiences -- is a tale of the underclass in 1930's Paris and London. 

The Rings of Saturn by W. G. Sebald. When the late W.G. Sebald embarked on a solitary tour of Suffolk, England, his encounters with windswept coastlines and lonely eccentrics were woven into beautiful and fragmented ruminations on history, memory, loss and exile. 

Travels Through France and Italy by Tobias Smollett. An irascible, appreciative account of travels -- and the foibles of continentals -- by the 18th-century British novelist. A pleasure. 

The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain. Mark Twain's witty and classic account of his 1867 grand tour of Europe. With his disarming wit, Clemens makes the very best traveling companion in this classic account. The section on his visit to "the land which was the mother of civilization" is a celebrated highlight. 

Pillars of Hercules by Paul Theroux. Theroux seems to have had an exceptionally good time on his tour of the Mediterranean, circling the celebrated sea on foot, horseback, train and boat from Gibraltar to North Africa. 

The Histories by Herodotus. In what may be the first travel book, Herodotus records the heroic struggle between Europe and Asia that culminated in the invasion of Greece by Xerxes. 

Southern Baroque Art by Sacheverell Sitwell. A facsimile edition of Sitwell's 1924 survey of 17th and 18th-century painting, architecture and music in Italy and Spain. 

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia by Rebecca West | Christopher Hitchens. First published in 1941, this monumental work explores the complex history of Yugoslavia, its heroes, politics and culture. It's a big, challenging book -- some call it the best ever written on the Balkans. 

Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux. Setting the tone for his odyssey from Cairo to the Cape, Theroux writes in the opening: "All news out of Africa is bad. It made me want to go there, though not for the horror, the hot spots, the massacre-and-earthquake stories you read in the newspaper; I wanted the pleasure of being in Africa again...I aimed to reinsert myself in the bundu, as we used to call the bush, and to wander the antique hinterland." 

No Mercy, A Journey to the Heart of the Congo by Redmond O'Hanlon. A trek deep into the Congo with Redmond O'Hanlon, the eccentric, courageous, always-entertaining modern adventurer. 

West with the Night by Beryl Markham. Beryl Markham evokes the landscapes, people and wildlife of East Africa in engrossing detail in this classic memoir of amazing adventures as a bush pilot in 1930s Kenya, a favorite. 

Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa by Mungo Park. Park chronicles the culture, society and nature of West Africa before the colonial period in this classic account of a 24-year-old Scotsman exploring, often alone, in uncharted Africa. First published in 1799. 

Exterminate All the Brutes by Sven Lindqvist. Taking his title from Joseph Conrad's famously troubling line in Heart of Darkness, Lindqvist interweaves his account of a Saharan journey with a broad history of European colonial atrocities. 

The Emperor, Downfall of an Autocrat by Ryszard Kapuscinski. In 1975, Kapuscinski traveled throughout Ethiopia and listened to stories about the Supreme Emperor Haile Selassie told by the servants and associates that surrounded him while Ethiopia collapsed around him. Kapuscinski transformed the interviews into a powerful narrative of the high living and unimaginable abuse within the ancient regime 

The River War, An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Sudan by Winston S. Churchill | Mary Soames | James W. Muller. The classic account of the history of the Sudan and its reconquest by Lord Kitchener and an Anglo-Egyptian Army in the 1890s. Churchill served as a lieutenant during the war. 

Travels in Arabia Deserta, Selected Passages by Charles Doughty. Doughty's first-hand observations of Arab life and culture in the 1870s, including his account of two years wandering among the Bedouin nomads and of his attempt to reach Mecca. 

Shah of Shahs by Ryszard Kapuscinski. An impressionistic account of the last Shah of Iran by the peerless Polish travel writer, this brilliant book captures the irony, force and power of the revolution that toppled the Shah. 

Sandstorms, Days and Nights in Arabia by Peter Theroux. As a journalist in Saudi Arabia, Peter Theroux (Paul's brother) learned the language and immersed himself in the realities of day-to-day life. This book is a memoir of his experiences, both a revealing collection of anecdotes and a humorous portrait of a place. 

The Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron. This brilliant portrait of the region mixes the eccentric Byron's droll adventures in the 1930s with asides on history and culture. 

Eothen by Alexander William Kinglake. Originally published in 1844, this sly account of journeys throughout the Middle East and Asia Minor, including Constantinople, Smyrna, Cairo, Damascus and Petra, takes the form and tone of a letter to a good friend: conversational, ironic, hugely funny and personal.

The Places in Between by Rory Stewar. Rory Stewart illuminates the absurdity, plight and peril of war-ravaged Afghanistan in his thrilling, poignant account of a walk across the country from Herat to Kabul in the dead of winter. 

The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, the Fantastic 14th Century Account of a Journey to the East by John Mandeville. The (probably) invented account of medieval travels to Egypt and the Holy Land -- originally published in 1356 and hugely influential. 

Chasing the Sea by Tom Bissell. Self-confessed adventure junkie, Bissell skillfully interweaves anecdote, history and grim reports on ecological disasters in this smart, funny and informative account of travels through Uzbekistan and Central Asia in 2001. 

The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux. Theroux's account of his journeys across Asia by train display the writer's inimitable talent for portraiture, ego and the dismissive aside. He takes every two-bit train he can find from London across Europe, Turkey and the Middle East, India, Japan and China, returning home via the Trans-Siberian Express.

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby.  Newby wrote a string of memorable books about his adventures, often on a bicycle, but sometimes by foot or train, usually with his wife. This classic is a superb example of the misguided lark: a comically ill-prepared jaunt in the Naristan mountains of northeastern Afghanistan. "People like it," he explained, "when things go wrong." 

News from Tartary by Peter Fleming. Fleming's rousing account of a 3,500-mile jaunt from Peking to Sinkiang and on to India, a classic of imperial British wit and style. 

The Long Walk, The True Story of a Trek to Freedom by Slavomir Rawicz This remarkable tale follows the odyssey of cavalry officer Rawicz and six fellow prisoners from their capture in Moscow under Stalin to a prison camp in Yakutsk and escape across Siberia and the Gobi to Tibet and over the Himalayas to India. Originally published in 1956. 

Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches by Nobuyuki Yuasa | Basho Matsuo These marvelous prose-and-poetry sketches by the famous poet wanderer Basho (1644-94) invoke the mysteries of the cosmos manifest in the Japanese landscape. With some of the most perfect 17-syllable haiku ever composed. 

Wrong About Japan by Peter Carey The Booker Prize-winning novelist's amusing encounters with manga artists and other icons of Japanese popular culture in the company of his anime-obsessed 12-year-old son.

The Narrow Road to Oku by Basho Matsuo | Donald Keene. Keene gives a precise and poetic translation, alongside the original Japanese characters, in this edition of the great poet Basho Matsuo's (1644-1694) famous journey to Oku. With illustrations by Masayuki Miyata (1926-1997). 

Riding the Iron Rooster by Paul Theroux. A wry account of utterly exhausting, exasperating travels, mostly by rail, throughout China for an entire year. Theroux gets himself to every corner of the huge country and includes memorable passages on his experiences in Mongolia, Xinjiang, Manchuria and Tibet (where his journey ended). 

Slowly Down the Ganges by Eric Newby. In 1963, the author and his wife set out an 1,200-mile voyage down the Ganges River. The title could apply as easily to the ruminative attitude Newby takes towards his journey as to the many mishaps which bedevil the quest. 

Hindoo Holiday by J.R. Ackerley Ackerley traipses across India as the English tutor to a handsome and extravagantly homosexual maharajah in this comic, beautifully written novel masquerading as a travelogue. 

Along the Ganges by Ilija Trojanow . In this colorful travelogue, Trojanow follows the Ganges from its source in the Himalayas to the cities that it feeds, using the holy river as a means to ponder Hinduism, culture, ecology and the tension between ancient and modern India. 

An Area of Darkness by V.S. Naipaul A reflective, personal account of Naipaul's travels in India in 1962 -- a portrait of a time and place and searing, honest chronicle of the country during transition. 

Maximum City, Bombay Lost and Found by Suketu Mehta The tale of the author who, after a 21-year sojourn in New York, returns to his native Bombay, "the biggest, fastest, richest city in India." 

The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin. Rory Stewart provides the introduction to this 25th anniversary edition of Bruce Chatwin's celebrated travelogue. Chatwin transforms a journey through the Outback into an exhilarating, semi-fictional meditation on our place in the world. 

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson. The intrepid, ever-resourceful Bryson revels in Australia's eccentric characters, dangerous flora and fauna and other oddities in this wildly funny, effortlessly informative travelogue. 

The Bird Man and the Lap Dancer, Close Encounters with Strangers by Eric Hansen A hilarious account of Hansen's offbeat experiences and encounters around the world over the past 25 years. Hansen is a favorite travel writer with a welcome interest in natural history, oddball characters and tales.