Reading List: non-fiction (autobiography and other non-fiction works)


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NON-FICTION (autobiography and other non-fiction works)
Andrews, Andy. The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success

“David Ponder is at a crossroads. Having lost his job and the will to live, he has been supernaturally selected to travel through time, gathering wisdom for future generations. Visits to historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, King Solomon, and Anne Frank yield the Seven Fundamentals for Success that will impact the entire world”

Andrews, V. C. April shadows

“April had always felt like an outsider. Her older sister Brenda was tall, athletic, competitive, and sure of herself. But April Taylor was short, sensitive, and overweight -- and she couldn't bounce back from their father's cutting criticisms the way Brenda did. April didn't know why their once-loving dad had become a coldhearted monster, but she was sure it had something to do with her. And she could see how his cruel behavior was tearing away at her gentle mother. But a glimmer of happiness returns when Brenda brings home her college roommate: beautiful, bewitching Celia. And April wonders if she might not be so different from Brenda after all....”

Andrews, V. C. Broken Wings

“Three girls from different worlds with one thing in common: They were born to be wild. Robin ... With a mom who's more absorbed in her singing career than in her own daughter, Robin's left to her own devices when the two move to Nashville. That's where her mom hopes to strike gold-and where Robin finds nothing but trouble. Teal ... This rich girl will do anything to get her parents' attention ... even break the law. But after she takes things too far for the guy she adores, Teal loses their trust completely-and is treated like a prisoner in her own home. Now there may be only one way out. Phoebe ... She's the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, trying to make it in a fast new crowd. She moved in with her aunt to make a fresh start. But now her biggest mistake may be to trust a charming rich boy who could ruin her life and destroy her reputation forever.”

BenShea, Noah. Jacob's Ladder: Wisdom for the Heart's Ascent

“One evening, when the humble, sage man Jacob the Baker came home from work, a stranger waited on his doorstep: Jonah, an orphan boy, sent by an old friend for Jacob to raise, to teach, and to love. Now, for the first time, the gentle poet has been given the privilege of fatherhood. As the man and the boy seek to understand one another, Jacob answers profound questions about parenthood and intimacy, love and loss, growing older and becoming young at heart. And when Jacob the Baker speaks, we are wise to listen. . . .”

Budnitz, Judy. If I Told You Once

“In her utterly original novel about mothers, daughters, and love, Judy Budnitz gives the traditional folktale an electrifying twist as she follows four generations of women from an Eastern European village to the tenements of an American city. Elena, born into a family ruled by a formidable mother, embarks on an epic journey to the New World, met along the way by evil, magic, and good fortune. The daughter, grand-daughter, and great-granddaughter who follow each share her special powers of observation and, often, destruction. The result is a family saga unlike any other: a hilarious, heartbreaking story of family ties that bind.”

Carlyle, Thomas. Sartor Resartus: The Life and Opinions of Herr Teufelsdröckh in three books

“1831 and 1841. Scottish-born British historian and essayist who was a leading figure in the Victorian era. Carlyle's Sartor Resartus was a disguised spiritual autobiography, in which he faces the tendencies to intellectual skepticism and dedicates himself to a life of spiritual affirmation. The first half of the book is about the ideas of a self-made philosopher who believes everything can be explained in terms of clothes. Carlyle also undertook several series of lectures, of which the most significant was On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History.”

Cavendish, Margaret. Sociable Letters

"The writings of Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, are remarkable for their vivid depiction of the mores and mentality of seventeenth-century England. All of Cavendish's Sociable Letters (1664), a collection of writings that comments on a wide range of aspects of seventeenth-century society, such as war and peace, science and medicine, English and Classical literatures, and social issues such as choosing a spouse, married life, infidelity, divorce, and the option of women not to marry."

Codrescu, Andrei. Wakefield

“What is the connection between breast enlargement and building renovation, yoga retreats and gourmet restaurants, cell phones and globalization? Wakefield, both the title of Andrei Codrescu's tragi-comic novel and the name of its alienated hero, poses these and other compelling perplexities of the modern age. Just as literary Fausts have done for centuries, Wakefield makes a bargain with Satan, who, as it turns out, is having his own existential crisis, due to bureaucratic headaches and younger upstart demons in the afterworld. The Devil gives him a year to find an alternative life. So Wakefield, a motivational speaker and architecture enthusiast, crisscrosses the country, meeting New Age gurus, billionaire techno-geeks, global pioneers, gambling addicts and models who look like heroine addicts, venture capitalists, art collectors, rainforest protectors, S & M strippers . . . all while anxiously trying to discover his authentic life. Part metaphysical mystery, part travel adventure, part architectural romp, Wakefield explores the late American century and, as his own "inner architecture" shifts, attempts to restore his world through a shocking act that baffles even his jaded Satanic Majesty. Andrei Codrescu gives us a novel of big ideas, hilariously absurd and brilliantly observed.”

Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee. Sister of My Heart

A novel about the extraordinary bond between two women, & the family secrets & romantic jealousies that threaten to tear them apart. Anju is the daughter of an upper-caste Calcutta family of distinction. Her cousin Sudha is the daughter of the black sheep of that same family. Sudha is startlingly beautiful; Anju is not. Despite those differences, since the day on which the two girls were born, the same day their fathers died--mysteriously and violently--Sudha and Anju have been sisters of the heart. Bonded in ways even their mothers cannot comprehend, the two girls grow into womanhood as if their fates as well as their hearts were merged. But, when Sudha learns a dark family secret, that connection is shattered. For the first time in their lives, the girls know what it is to feel suspicion and distrust. Urged into arranged marriages, Sudha and Anju's lives take opposite turns. Sudha becomes the dutiful daughter-in-law of a rigid small-town household. Anju goes to America with her new husband and learns to live her own life of secrets. When tragedy strikes each of them, however, they discover that despite distance and marriage, they have only each other to turn to. Set in the two worlds of San Francisco and India, this exceptionally moving novel tells a story at once familiar and exotic, seducing readers from the first page with the lush prose we have come to expect from Divakaruni. Sister of My Heart is a novel destined to become as widely beloved as it is acclaimed.”
Grimwood, Ken. Replay

“Jeff Winston has many opportunities to relive his life until he gets it right.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Great Stone Face

“Hawthorne's tale of a single man's spiritual journey provides a thought provoking description of what it means to live a good life. The story is illustrated with vintage New Hampshire postcards that take us back to the natural beauty of an earlier time."--BOOK JACKET. Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved (Blackwell)”

Hijuelos, Oscar. Empress of the splendid season

“Oscar Hijuelos vividly brings to life the joys, desires, and disappointment of American life witnessed through the experience of a formerly prosperous Cuban émigré named Lydia Espana--now a cleaning woman in New York. In magnetic prose, he juxtaposes Lydia's tale with the stories of her clients, contrasting her experiences with the secret lives of those for whom she works. No one writes better of love or the pulse of a city, nor has any writer better captured the complexity inherent in the emigration experience; how assimilation is at once the achievement of dreams, yet also a loss of the past. Empress of the Splendid Season is Hijuelos at his masterful best, a novel filled with incantatory, rhythmic prose and rich in heartfelt vision.”

Hongo, Akiyoshi. Digimon Tamers, Vol. 2

“The kids are back: while more and more Digimon start marking their territory on Earth, the technology investigation bureau enforces some big-brotherly rule (and not the brotherly love kind). As more secrets about the real Digimon are revealed, three new players get pulled into the Tamer ring.


Jakes, T.D. Cover Girls: a novel

“Michelle, Tonya, Mrs. Judson, and Miz Ida. African-American, white, rich, poor - they seemingly have nothing in common. Yet every day they face the complex realities of twenty-first-century urban life as they try to balance their needs with their belief in God. A novel about coming to terms with the past, discovering who we truly are, and recognizing the unexpected joys, friendships, and small miracles that reveal God's all-encompassing love, this book shows us the many paths that stretch

before us at every season of life.”

Lione, F.P. The Deuce

“In New York City, the police officers call 42nd Street "the Deuce." It's where all the action happens-the good and the bad, the beautiful and the gritty, the big lights and the dark alleys. But for NYPD cop Tony Cavalucci, the Deuce is turning into a midnight shift of drunken brawls, jewel thieves, and gang wars. Ready to fight the perps roaming the streets, Tony didn't realize he'd also have to fight for his own innocence. Night after night, the vice and violence wear on him. After an injury puts his partner in the hospital, Tony gets a new partner-never good news for a cop. But the shift must go on. Can Tony trust his new partner in these dark nights of urban stress? Or will the streets claim Tony as their next victim? Writing with grit and authenticity, F. P. Lione brings to life the lonely struggle of one rugged cop.”

Maxted, Anna. Behaving Like Adults: a novel

“Meet Holly, the sunny twenty-nine-year-old owner of Girl Meets Boy, a dating service for those who are "beautiful inside and out." Though she's a successful matchmaker, she hasn't quite fulfilled her own relationship dreams (her ex-fiancé, Nick, seems unlikely to progress from his job as Mr. Elephant, children's party entertainer). So when her friends dare her to pick a man off the top of the pile, she's game. But in one awful evening, the seemingly perfect Stuart turns out to be a complete cad, and Holly's belief in the goodness of humanity takes a hit. What does it mean for her business and her romantic future if she can no longer trust her ability to read people? Holly's friends and colleagues are drawn into the complicated drama of her life, while Holly learns her most important lesson: to trust herself. Rueful and hilarious, Behaving Like Adults is a must-read novel of men and women growing up -- in spite of themselves.”

McCauley, Stephen. The Object of My Affection

“George and Nina seem like the perfect couple. They share a cozy, cluttered Brooklyn apartment, a taste for impromptu tuna casserole dinners, and a devotion to ballroom dancing lessons at Arthur Murray. They love each other. There's only one hitch: George is gay. And when Nina announces she's pregnant, things get especially complicated. Howard -- Nina's overbearing boyfriend and the baby's father -- wants marriage. Nina wants independence. George will do anything for a little unqualified affection, but is he ready to become an unwed surrogate dad? A touching and hilarious novel about love, friendship, and the many ways of making a family

Nothomb, Amélie. Loving Sabotage

“I lived everything during these three years: heroism, glory, treachery, love, indifference, suffering, humiliation. It was China, I was seven years old."" "So announces the narrator of Loving Sabotage, Amelie Nothomb's novel about a young girl who seems already stripped of illusions. The daughter of diplomats posted to Peking for three years in the mid-seventies, she charges about the grim confines of the gated government housing ghetto of San Li Tun on her "horse" (bicycle). In a tireless battle against boredom, she concocts a fantasy life as rich as her surroundings are bleak. During one of her tours of duty as a pathfinder in a war that has broken out in the ghetto between the children of various nations - a hilarious microcosm of "adult" world politics - she encounters a young Italian girl, Elena: beautiful, aloof, disdainful of silly games. Our heroine is instantly infatuated, and comes to realize the only fight worthy of her energies is shattering Elena's indifference."--BOOK JACKET. Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved (Blackwell)”

Rich, Lani Diane. Time off for Good Behavior

“Estranged from her family and enduring abusive calls from her former husband, 30-something Wanda Lane suffers a head injury that causes an unidentifiable song to play in her head all the time. When her ex decides to pursue revenge, Wanda decides to sort out her problems once and for all.”

Rylant, Cynthia. A Fine White Dust
“The visit of the traveling Preacher Man to his small North Carolina town gives new impetus to thirteen-year-old Peter's struggle to reconcile his own deeply felt religious belief with the beliefs and non-beliefs of his family and friends.”
Sánchez, Carlos Cuauhtémoc. La Fuerza de Sheccid

“This is an account of a true story of ambitious teenagers, describing their first loves and yearnings and written for the purpose of reinforcing ideals and rediscovering ethical principles.”

Sánchez, Carlos Cuauhtémoc. Los Ojos de mi Princesa
Sánchez, Carlos Cuauhtémoc. Volar sobre el pantano
Steinbeck, John. The Winter of Our Discontent  

“When Ethan Hawley decides to change his moral standards, his family and the small New England town are affected.”

Tyler, Anne. A Patchwork Planet

“A lovable loser tries to get his life in order. He is Barnaby Gaitlin, 30, the black sheep of a rich Baltimore family, ex-juvenile delinquent who specialized in housebreaking for kicks. He works for Rent-a-Back, moving furniture for old

people, and dreams of having a future.”

Tyree, Omar R. Flyy girl

“Tracy Ellison, a young knockout with tall hair and attitude, is living life as fast as she can. Motivated by the material world, she and her friends love and leave the young men who will do anything to get next to them. It's only when the world of gratuitous sex threatens heartbreak that Tracy begins to examine her life, her goals, and her sexuality.”

Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray

“The Picture of Dorian Gray is Wilde’s fable of a fashionable young man who attains eternal youth and beauty while only his portrait grows old, hidden away in a locked room. Despite the young man’s disintegration into a life of crime, his face never reflects the moral decay. Instead, the portrait records every deed by turning his once handsome features into a hideous mask. Written with Wilde’s trademark biting sense of humor and his gift for shrewd observation, the book caused a scandal when it appeared in 1890, and Wilde was accused of having a corrupting influence.”

Yehoshua, Abraham B. A Journey to the End of the Millennium

“In the year 999, when Ben Attar, a Moroccan Jewish merchant, takes a second wife, he commits an act whose unforeseen consequences will forever alter his family, his relationships, his business-his life. In an attempt to forestall conflict and advance his business interests at the same time, Ben Attar undertakes his annual journey to Europe with both his first wife and his new wife. The trip is the beginning of a profound human drama whose moral conflicts of fidelity and desire resonate with those of our time. Yehoshua renders the medieval world of Jewish and Christian culture and trade with astonishing depth and sensuous detail. Through the trials of a medieval merchant, the renowned author explores the deepest questions about the nature of morality, character, codes of human conduct, and matters of the heart.”

Yglesias, Jose. An Orderly Life

“Fusing a story of the lost idealism of youth and the seductive charms of betrayal, Yglesias weaves a tale about a middle-aged, Cuban-American man forced to make a difficult decision between a chaotic past he believed was behind him and the hyper organized life he finds himself leading.”

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