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Recommended Reading List – World Literature

Unit 1    Unit 2    Unit 3    Unit 4    Unit 5    Unit 6


Unit 1

Things Fall Apart
by Chinua Achebe
In his first novel, Achebe tells the story of a thriving traditional Ibo community and the problems that develop with the arrival of British missionaries.

Cry, the Beloved Country
by Alan Paton
Paton narrates the moving story of two families in South Africa, one black and one white, that are brought together by the loss of their sons and the injustice of apartheid.

Coming of Age with Elephants: A Memoir
by Joyce Poole
Poole lives among the endangered African elephants of Kenya's Amboseli National Park, where she discovers and explores the intricacies of elephant life, while suffering the loneliness and discrimination of an ambitious white woman living in Kenya.

Waiting for the Rain
by Sheila Gordon
Frikkie, a white boy destined to inherit his uncle's land, and Tengo, who works the land Frikkie will one day own, develop a close friendship as children. The boys meet again when they are grown and apartheid is crumbling, revealing new obstacles in their relationship.

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Unit 2

The Ides of March
by Thornton Wilder
In the form of letters exchanged by Julius Caesar and friends, including Cleopatra and Catallus, Wilder reveals the escalating drama of the months leading up to the assassination of ancient Rome's leader.

Mythology
by Edith Hamilton
In an engaging introduction to the myths and legends of Ancient Greece and Rome, Hamilton narrates stories of gods and heroes.

The Frogs
by Aristophanes
In one of Aristophanes' funniest comedies, the god Dionysus must decide who is the greatest poet, Aeschylus or Euripedes, both of whom dwell in Hades. The lucky winner will return from the depths of hell to guide Athens to its former glory.

Inside the Walls of Troy
by Clemence McLaren
In a refreshing twist, McLaren describes the Trojan wars from the viewpoint of two extraordinary women, the breathtakingly beautiful Helen and the doomed prophetess Cassandra.

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Unit 3

Clear Light of Day
by Anita Desai
Desai explores the dynamics of the family life in contemporary India, a country torn by religious division and political manipulation. Two sisters struggle to confront and heal old wounds by sharing the pains and joys of the different paths they have taken.

Siddhartha
by Herman Hesse
Giving up everything he knows, a young Indian mystic sets off on a quest for the true meaning of life.

Malgudi Days
by R. K. Narayan
Narayan narrates humorous tales, set in the mythical town of Malgudi, that span from the ordinary—a young student tries to skip school—to the extraordinary—a boy learns to charm snakes.

Nectar in a Sieve
by Kamala Markandaya
With strength and dignity, an Indian peasant woman survives many hardships in life, including monsoons, drought and famine, as India embarks upon modernization at the second half of the twentieth century.

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Unit 4

Kon-Tiki
by Thor Heyerdahl
According to the author, sailors on reed rafts from South America found and populated Polynesia. Six men risked their lives in their own handmade raft to prove this theory, in a true tale of adventure.

A Healing Family
by Kenzaburo Oe
Although doctors urge Oe and his wife to let their baby die when he is born disabled, Oe refuses. In this inspiring story, the Nobel prize-winning novelist explores his life raising a special needs child.

Talking to High Monks in the Snow: An Asian-American Odyssey
by Lydia Yuri Minatoya
In her memoirs, a Japanese American professor tries to reconcile her American childhood with her Asian heritage. Struggling with cultural differences, including the role of women in society, the author travels to Asia and back again to search for answers.

Fire in the Sea: An Anthology of Poetry and Art
edited by Sue Cowing
Cowing has gathered writers and artists form New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Hawaii and other Pacific islands in this highly visual celebration of poetry.

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Unit 5

The Metamorphosis
by Franz Kafka
A young man wakes one morning to find himself transformed in to a wriggling insect. He must deal with alienation from family, friends, and society, who are repulsed by his metamorphosis.

Cyrano de Bergerac
by Edmond Rostand
His is a courageous soldier, an astonishing wit, and a romantic poet; however, he has a huge nose. Can any woman ever love him? This is the story of Cyrano's search for a true love based on feelings and not appearances.

Chekhov: Four Plays
translated by Carol Rocamora
In four of his best plays, Chekhov explores the reality of Russian life in the late nineteenth century with humor, compassion and a profound understanding of human nature.

The Ramsay Scallop
by Frances Temple
In 1299, a young couple, reluctantly betrothed to each other, make a pilgrimage to Spain from England. On the way, they share stories and songs with other travelers while learning to love and trust one another.

The Tempest
by William Shakespeare
A duke and his daughter are exiled to an island occupied only by the spirit Ariel and the beast Caliban. Using magic, the duke regains his dukedom and wins his daughter a princely husband.

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Unit 6

The Book of Medicines
by Linda Hogan
Hogan writes forceful poems exploring the relationships between her Native American people, the land and animals.

Bless Me, Ultima
by Rudolfo A. Anaya
In New Mexico, a magical healer befriends a socially isolated boy and helps him confront the past while facing the future.

The Heights of Macchu Picchu
by Pablo Neruda, translated by Nathaniel Tarn
Considered one of Neruda's greatest poetic works, The Heights of Macchu Picchu recounts twelve phases of a man's spiritual and physical journey, arriving ultimately at the lost Inca city of Macchu Picchu in Peru.

Selected Poems
by Gabriela Mistral
These poems of love, pain, and hope, by the first Latin American writer to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, are translated by the American Poet Doris Dana, who was awarded Chile's Order of Merit (that country's highest honor) for her work.

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