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50 years of Arts and Humanities


  • The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

    Jay Cole says:
    This year marks Dante’s 750th birthday, and the influence of his epic poem is still going strong after more than seven centuries—from countless translations and graphic novels to heavy metal and video games!”

  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

    Recommended by Daniel Brewster. The New York Times says:
    Simultaneously touching and comic.

  • Trout Fishing in America, The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster, and In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan

    Recommended by Linda Baney:
    “Trout Fishing in America” is by turns a hilarious, playful and melancholy novel that wanders from San Francisco through America's rural waterways.”

  • The River of Lost Voices: Stories from Guatemala by Mark Brazaitis

    Recommended by Ryan Claycomb. Elizabeth Graver, author of Unraveling says:
    “Brazaitis has written a powerful collection about displacement, disappointment and corruption but also about courage, humor, playfulness and persistent hope. His stories of marginalized Guatemalans are by turn charming, unsettling and moving -- and they are told in language that sings.”

  • Song of The Lark by Willa Cather

    Ann Claycomb says:
    “This book by a truly great American author is an extraordinary story of what it takes to succeed as an artist (in this case an opera singer)-- the grueling work, the tremendous sacrifice and the development of an artistic sensibility that many would-be artists never achieve."

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

    Recommended by Daniel Brewster.
    “Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up."

  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

    Amy Keesee says:
    “Best book I’ve read this year. And it’s really the best book I’ve read in a long time."

  • The River Why by David James Duncan

    Tricia Chen says:
    “A well-written coming-of-age story that highlights the connection of human life to the natural life, fishing in particular. A humorous and witty first-person narration of a young man’s independence from his family and exploration of his identity and vocation."

  • Peace Like A River by Leif Enger

    Tricia Chen says:
    “A coming-of-age story that weaves exploration of family, relationships and spirituality with a Western twist. The adventurous story is narrated through the often-hilarious lens of a young boy as his family packs up and follows their outlaw brother through the plains in an old Airstream trailer."

  • My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

    Joyce McConnell says:
    “Provides such an intimate picture of women’s lives at a certain period in history."

  • Embellished to Death by Christina Freeburn

    Recommended by Traci Mays. Lois Winston, Award-Winning Author of the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series says:
    “A fast-paced crafting cozy that will keep you turning pages as you try to figure out which one of the attendees is an identity thief and which one is a murderer."

  • Led Astray by Christina Freeburn

    Recommended by Traci Mays. Publishers Weekly says:
    “Filled with romance and supernatural intrigue, this book will surely remind readers of Anne Rice’s sophisticated refurbishings of the vampire story."

  • Lost Then Found by Christina Freeburn

    Recommended by Traci Mays:
    “Skip-tracer Renee Stratford-Knight's life is becoming stable again. Eighteen months prior, the murder of her sister and the soon-to-follow collapse of her marriage left her reeling."

  • Empty Nest by Pam Hanson, Barbara Andrews

    Recommended by Traci Mays. Goodreads says:
    “It's spring in Acorn Hill. Louise has a serious legal matter, Jane has a new hobby and Alice does her best to comfort and encourage them both."

  • Keeping the Faith by Pam Hanson, Barbara Andrews

    Recommended by Traci Mays. Goodreads says:
    “With a new bed-and-breakfast threatening to open in Acorn Hill, the Howard sisters struggle to keep the inn running -- and keep the faith."

  • Never Give Up by Pam Hanson, Barbara Andrews

    Recommended by Traci Mays. Goodreads says:
    “When they adopt an injured fawn, the Howard sisters find themselves appreciating the wonders of spring in new ways."

  • Plainsong by Kent Haruf

    Tricia Chen says:
    “A book that explores human nature and humanity through the lens of a small rural agricultural town in eastern Colorado, a fairly poor and run-down area of the state. The story weaves through several protagonists, their struggles with daily life and their connections with each other."

  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    Recommended by Daniel Brewster. The New York Times says:
    “Skilled, unpretentious and totally ingenuous . . . tough, melodramatic, acute, funny."

  • Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

    Recommended by Dana Wright. Time Magazine says:
    “The success ... lies both in its depiction of Jean Louise reckoning with her father’s beliefs, and in the manner by which it integrates those beliefs into the Atticus we know."

  • The Valley of the Moon by Jack London

    Georgette Plaugher says:
    “I relate to this novel as my dreams are similar to the characters."

  • The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

    Recommended by Edward Etzel. Sunday Times says:
    “An evocative account of a remote and timeless place and its people."

  • Gloria Naylor by Linden Hills

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. Google Books summary:
    “Linden Hills is an exclusive private residential estate in America. Intended as a symbol of black equality, it is in fact an infernal place, and the layers of hypocrisy and self-destruction, which are its foundation, become exposed."

  • The Redbreast by Jo Nesbø

    Katherine Aaslestad says:
    “Nesbø writes a fictional account that addresses Norway’s complex history during the Second World War under German occupation, a topic that only in the last decade or has ceased to be taboo. The main character Harry Hole is a very complex individual and anti-hero in many ways."

  • Roundabout Directions to Lincoln Center by Renée K. Nicholson

    Recommended by Lisa DeFrank-Cole:
    “Roundabout Directions to Lincoln Center unfolds like a ballet's grand adagio, moving across the physical, spiritual and emotional places that make an American life."

  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

    James Lohan says:
    “So prophetic to the current problems we are facing today and why we have them."

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling

    Recommended by Daniel Brewster:
    “As a baby, his mother's love protected him and vanquished villain Voldemort, leaving the child famous as "The Boy who Lived." With friends Hermione and Ron, he has to win over returned "One Who Must Not Be Named." Not all his friends survive massive war."

  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

    Daniel Brewster says:
    “Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with ‘cynical adolescent.’ Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his 16-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists."

  • Mandalay's Child by Prem Sharma

    Anthony Borgia says:
    “Story of an Indian doctor making an epic escape journey with his family from Mandalay, Burma to India after the invasion of the Japanese during WWII. Continues on into the strife created by the separation of Pakistan from India after the British granted India independence. Beautiful prose and extremely well written."

  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck

    Tricia Chen says:
    “A complex and powerful story that talks about ideas of justice, mercy, grace, family, human nature. ... It’s hard to describe this book in a few words, but it ends with the most satisfying and powerful closure I’ve ever seen in a book."

  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett

    Recommended by Daniel Brewster. says:
    “This could be one of the most important pieces of fiction since “To Kill a Mockingbird.” If you read only one book … let this be it."

  • Lady A Novel by Thomas Tryon

    Anthony Borgia says:
    “A novel about 1930s small-town Connecticut, full of mystery, memories and nostalgia. Surprise ending. Tryon was an actor turned author."

  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker

    Recommended by Daniel Brewster. The New York Times says:
    “Intense emotional impact . . . Indelibly affecting . . . Alice Walker is a lavishly gifted writer."

  • Meridian by Alice Walker

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. The New York Times says:
    “In "Meridian," Alice Walker has written a fine, taut novel that accomplishes a remarkable amount. The issues she is concerned with are massive."

  • Night by Elie Wiesel

    Recommended by Daniel Brewster. The New York Times says:
    “A slim volume of terrifying power."

  • Uncle Tom's Children by Richard Wright

    Recommended by Demetrius Greer. Goodreads says:
    “Set in the American Deep South, each of the powerful novellas collected here concerns an aspect of the lives of black people in the post-slavery era, exploring their resistance to white racism and oppression."

  • Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

    Michael Blumenthal says:
    “I just re-read what I think is one of the most marvelous books about middle-class life in suburban America in the l950s ever written."

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

    Recommended by Daniel Brewster. The Wall Street Journal says:
    “One of the most highly anticipated young-adult books in years."