Seattle Picks: American Classics
Annotation:Growing up Jewish in a rough part of Depression-era Chicago can be a fearsome plight, but as Augie drifts from one adventure to another, he just might make it.
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: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:Airmen on a World War II base near Italy attempt to maintain their sanity in an insane, no-win situation in this satirical, anti-war novel.
Annotation:Sultry temptress Lady Brett Ashley, her drunken 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 1920s.
Annotation:Janie Crawford, a sassy and self-confident African- American woman of the 1930s, 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 Native American kept in an Oregon mental hospital, tells the story of Randle McMurphy's battle of wills with the sadistic Nurse Ratched, a struggle between two varieties of madness.
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 Pulitzer Prize winner traces the plight of modern Native Americans through the story of a young soldier returning home after World War II, and his difficulty re-absorbing his cultural heritage on the reservation.
Annotation:Ichiro Yamada refuses to fight for America in World War II and is incarcerated both in an internment camp and in prison during the war, returning home to Seattle disgraced and confused about his loyalties.
Annotation:This semi-autobiographical novel of famous poet Sylvia Plath follows the downward spiral of Esther Greenwood’s mental illness, her awkwardly amusing experiences working in New York, and her therapy and rehabilitation.
Annotation:A gifted artist, even as a child, Asher lands in hot water with his Hasidic Brooklyn community when instead of focusing on his Jewish studies, he copies famous nude studies and art works reflecting Christianity.
Annotation:Spend a few days playing hooky in the city with Holden Caulfield, a wry and skeptical 16-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: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 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:Bright, young Eugene Gant is saddled with an alcoholic father and an overbearing mother, though he eventually makes a way for himself, despite the teasing of his schoolmates.
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.