The giver book cover

The giver

Lois Lowry

Dystopian, Classics, Kids, Fiction, Science Fiction

Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.

Anne W's picture

A dystopian classic about a haunting world of total conformity, in which a 12-year-old boy begins slowly to uncover the secrets of the society with no discontent but also no choice or feelings. -Anne W

Snow Pony and the Seven Miniature Ponies book cover

Snow Pony and the Seven Miniature Ponies

Christian Trimmer

jE Trimmer
Picture Books, Fantasy, Humor, Classics, Animals

In this twist on the story of Snow White, pretty and sweet Snow Pony--beloved by children for her talent in braiding hair and dancing--follows a trail of delicious apples into the woods, where she meets seven miniature ponies.

Casey's picture

An enchantingly hilarious retelling of Snow White that stars, you guessed it, ponies!! What's not to love? -Casey

Anna Karenina : a novel in eight parts book cover

Anna Karenina : a novel in eight parts

Leo Tolstoy

FICTION Tolstoy, Leo
Fiction, Classics

Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and must endure the hypocrisies of society. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, the novel's seven major characters create a dynamic imbalance, playing out the contrasts of city and country life and all the variations on love and family happiness. While previous versions have softened the robust, and sometimes shocking, quality of Tolstoy's writing, Pevear and Volokhonsky have produced a translation true to his powerful voice. This award-winning team's authoritative edition also includes an illuminating introduction and explanatory notes. Beautiful, vigorous, and eminently readable, this Anna Karenina will be the definitive text for generations to come.

Heidi L's picture

A long, long novel that you can get lost in. Depressing, bleak, but so rich in description and story. I wish I had read this for a class, as I am sure I missed some vital lessons that the book contains. -Heidi L

Far from the madding crowd. book cover

Far from the madding crowd.

Thomas Hardy

FICTION Hardy, Thomas
Fiction, Classics

Heidi L's picture

Here's a 19th century novel where the woman seemingly has a little more control over her life--though it is shaped by not one, not two, but three men who want to marry her. One of several of Hardy's novels set in the fictional southern English county of Wessex, it conveys much about the farming life and business of the era, as well as the hazards of a woman who tries to live independently. -Heidi L

Middlemarch book cover


George Eliot

FICTION Eliot, George
Fiction, Classics

Heidi L's picture

There are many layers to this novel--love and marriage and mistakes, politics, class issues, how shallow some people can be. The heroine, if that is not too strong a word for her, is Dorothea, whose idealism and earnest quest for meaning in life often result in heartache and disappointment. But not always. -Heidi L

A tale of two cities book cover

A tale of two cities

Charles Dickens

FICTION Dickens, Charles
Historical Fiction, Classics

Heidi L's picture

One of Dickens's shorter novels, but perhaps the most quoted: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...." The French Revolution comes to grim life in these pages, and unfortunately, at times it doesn't seem very different than the societal battles we still fight. I love Charles Dickens's long sentences and humorous use of words and names. This one made me cry too. -Heidi L

The moonstone book cover

The moonstone

Wilkie Collins

FICTION Collins, Wilkie
Mystery, Classics

Heidi L's picture

"Moonstone" by Wilkie Collins (friend of Charles Dickens) is often named as the first detective novel. It's a good mystery, with international intrigue and some romance too. Another title by Collins, "Woman in White," is also on the 1897 list and in our current collection, and is another favorite of mine. -Heidi L

Wuthering Heights book cover

Wuthering Heights

Emily Brontë

FICTION Bronte, Emily
Fiction, Classics

Heidi L's picture

Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" is one of the harder reads on this list, but I respect it for its moody atmosphere, the depiction of the wild Yorkshire moors, and the passionate characters the author created. A favorite memory is visiting the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth, walking into the fields behind the house, all the while wanting to shout into the wind: "I *am* Heathcliff!". But I didn't. -Heidi L

Sense and sensibility book cover

Sense and sensibility

Jane Austen

FICTION Austen, Jane
Fiction, Classics

Heidi L's picture

Another Jane Austen favorite, a book about sisters and how different they can be, a lesson about the dangers of excess and the benefits of moderation. And hidden beneath the surface is the message about women and money in the eighteenth century: women don't have it and their well-being is dependent upon how generous the men in their lives will be. -Heidi L

Pride and prejudice book cover

Pride and prejudice

Jane Austen

FICTION Austen, Jane
Fiction, Classics

Heidi L's picture

What can I say about "Pride and Prejudice" that hasn't already been said? Jane Austen is funny, and can be a bit snarky, and she excels at describing the relationships that define our everyday life. It's a great story, and if you have seen one of the many movie adaptations, or read the knockoffs or continuations, may I suggest returning to the original? -Heidi L