Seattle Picks: American Classics
Annotation:This deeply poignant yet unsentimental account of what happens to his wife and six-year-old son when Jay Follet fails to return from a late night drive, won the Pulitzer Prize upon its posthumous publication.
Annotation:Antonia, the spirited daughter of a Bohemian immigrant family, is determined to tame the Nebraska farmland in this poignant tale set in the late 19th century.
Annotation:In this sweeping 1826 adventure, Natty Bumpo prefers the honorable code of the Indians to the degraded behavior of his white fellows during the French and Indian War.
Annotation:Young Henry Fleming joins the Union Army to seek glory and fight the rebels, and winds up searching for courage and battling his own rebellious conscience as it recoils at the horrors of war.
Annotation:Ambitious young Midwesterner Clyde Griffiths grabs for the golden ring, but his reach exceeds his grasp and his American dream becomes a nightmare of murder and depravity.
Annotation:This is the intense and lyrical story of Lena Grove, a force of nature looking for the man who got her with child, and Joe Christmas, a lost man seeking the dreaded secret of his own racial identity.
Annotation:At the height of the Jazz Age, Jay Gatsby pulls himself up by the bootstraps to achieve the kind of idyllic life that only money can buy, all for the love of Daisy Buchanan, who is not for sale.
Annotation:The daughter of a Chicago gambler, Selina Peake DeJong struggles to make a living for herself and her only child, "sobig," in this inspiring story of a journey through life.
Annotation:Sultry temptress Lady Brett Ashley, her drunk fiancé, and smitten war veteran Jake Barnes, are among a group of expatriates who leave Paris to see the bullfights of Pamplona, Spain in the 1920's.
Annotation:Janie Crawford, a sassy and self-confident African American woman of the 1930's, lives life on her own terms and goes through three marriages, one murder trial and more joy and pain than many who judge her.
Annotation:In this groundbreaking novel, a group of Ivy League-educated young men break off from the mainstream, hitchhiking across 1950s' America in a mad bohemian adventure of irreverent revelry.
Annotation:Chief Broom, a deaf-mute Indian kept in an Oregon mental hospital, tells the story of Randle McMurphy's battle of wills with the sadistic Big Nurse Ratched, a struggle between two varieties of madness.
Annotation:A 1930's Southern town grapples with issues of race and justice in this story told from the eyes of Scout, a precocious tomboy whose lawyer father is defending a black man accused of rape.
Annotation:A scandal upon publication in 1927, this biting social satire about a freewheeling evangelical preacher who preys upon his own flock was also that year’s bestselling book.
Annotation:In this adventure set in the Klondike Gold Rush, White Fang, a dog-wolf mix, has only experienced great cruelty from man and nature until he meets a master who shows him the great law of men and beasts.
Annotation:Fanatic Captain Ahab forces the whaling vessel Pequod and its crew to join his obsessive and vengeful search for the elusive Moby Dick, a ghastly leviathan that stole his leg and haunts his dreams.
Annotation:This notorious and revolutionary novel is so raw, unabashed and unsparing in its depiction of the bohemian underworld of 1930's Paris that it was banned in the U.S. for 30 years.
Annotation:Thirty-year-old Binx Bolling is a dapper Bourbon Street man who spends his time carousing with secretaries and going to movies in this wry and romantic classic of one man's search for meaning.
Annotation:Poe's dark and twisted tales have quickened the pulse and provoked nightmares for more than a century. Thrill and chill to macabre classics like The Raven, The Pit and the Pendulum, and The Tell-Tale Heart.
Annotation:Spend a few days playing hooky in the City with Holden Caulfield, a wry and skeptical sixteen-year-old who can't quite get used to the crummy fact that growing up means becoming a complete and total phony.
Annotation:The Joads, Oklahoma tenant farmers whose farm has blown away, struggle westward towards the promised land of California on a road freighted with human misery and the imperishable will to survive.
Annotation:This wildly popular novel that helped bring about the Abolition of slavery and the Civil War depicts the plight of Eliza, fleeing North with her son, and Tom, sold down the river to die in shameful fetters.
Annotation:The declining fortunes of the lordly Ambersons are personified in their spoiled and haughty heir Georgie, who squanders away the family fortune while the new lords of industry ascend the social ladder.
Annotation:Float down the Mississippi River with Huck and runaway slave Jim in this free-wheeling odyssey, part coming-of-age adventure and part sly satire of the senselessness of slavery.
Annotation:While on exhibit on the planet of Tralfamadore, Billy Pilgrim, American soldier and witness to the bombing of Dresden, revisits his memories of the past and the horrors of war.
Annotation:When her father dies, Laurel returns to her childhood home and begins an introspective pilgrimage to the source of her identity and grace.
Annotation:In this brilliant short novel, an advice-to-the-lovelorn columnist tragically descends into madness as he empathizes with his readers' suffering.
Annotation:In this sparkling social novel set in the stiff upper crust of 19th-century New York, Newland Archer is distracted from his proper fiancée May by her mysterious and vivacious cousin, the Countess Olenska.
Annotation:Dehumanized by white society, Bigger Thomas, a young black man in 1940s Chicago, accidentally kills the daughter of his white employer and veers into a rebellious, self-destructive spiral.