National Book Awards Winners & Finalists

Celebrating excellence in American literature, the first National Book Award for Fiction was presented to Nelson Algren for The Man with the Golden Arm in 1950. Since 1989, the National Book Foundation -- a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding the reach of great American literature -- has overseen the awards. Award categories include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature, and young people’s literature. This collection of study guides highlights an assortment of fiction and nonfiction titles for adults, both past award winners and finalists.

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Climate, Natural World: Environment, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Climate Change, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

Publication year 1979Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Joy, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Relationships: Daughters & SonsTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal, 1830-1832 is the best-known book by children’s author and educator Joan W. Blos. The novel is presented as the fictional journal of Catherine Hall, a young girl living in New Hampshire before the Civil War. Through Catherine’s journal entries, the novel portrays the daily life, challenges, and changes in a young girl’s world over two years, including personal loss, the complexities of friendship, and an encounter... Read A Gathering of Days Summary

Publication year 1996Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Identity: Femininity, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Place, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Survival Fiction

A Girl Named Disaster (1996) is a novel by Nancy Farmer. At the start of the novel, 11-year-old Nhamo lives in her remote Mozambique village with her late mother’s family. When the local doctor, or muvuki, decides that Nhamo is to blame for her family’s recent misfortune, her aunt and uncle decide to marry her off in an arranged marriage. Desperate to avoid this fate, Nhamo flees the village and sets out in a boat... Read A Girl Named Disaster Summary

Publication year 1981Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Society: Politics & Government, Identity: Gender, Identity: Femininity, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags Race / Racism, Gender / Feminism, Social Justice, Politics / Government

Publication year 2021Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Music, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Society: NationTags Arts / Culture, History: U.S., African American Literature, Creative Nonfiction, Gender / Feminism, Music, Race / Racism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Relationships: Friendship, Society: Immigration, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Historical Fiction, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2021Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags History: U.S., Race / Racism, Social Justice

Publication year 1992Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Natural World: AnimalsTags Historical Fiction, Western, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

All the Pretty Horses (1992) is a novel by Cormac McCarthy and a winner of the National Book Award. The book follows a young man, John Grady Cole, and his best friend Lacey Rawlins as they run away to Mexico in the late 1940s. A bestseller and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, All the Pretty Horses is the first novel in McCarthy’s Border Trilogy and helped increase the American novelist’s popularity and... Read All The Pretty Horses Summary

Publication year 1998Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Grandparents, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: NostalgiaTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Great Depression

Written by Richard Peck in 1998 and told as a series of related short stories, A Long Way From Chicago is a novel about two siblings and their adventures with their grandmother over the span of six summers from 1929 to 1935. The work was a Newbery Honor book in 1999, and its sequel, A Year Down Yonder, won the Newbery Medal for children’s literature in 2001. Richard Peck (1934-2018) was the award-winning American novelist... Read A Long Way from Chicago Summary

Publication year 2014Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Health / Medicine, History: U.S., Politics / Government, Race / Racism, American Revolution

Published in 2003, Jim Murphy’s An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 is a historical nonfiction book for young adults that provides a detailed look into Philadelphia’s yellow fever epidemic of 1793. As Murphy documents how yellow fever emerged and spread throughout the city, he demonstrates how society operated in what was then the nation’s capital and largest city in the late 1700s. He focuses on urban... Read An American Plague Summary

Publication year 1974Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Society: Class, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Philosophy, Politics / Government, Sociology, History: World

Publication year 1980Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Society: Class, Society: Immigration, Society: Community, Society: Economics, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags History: U.S., Politics / Government, Social Justice, Race / Racism

Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States is one of the most famous American history books published in recent decades. It has sold over two million copies. First published in 1980, the book was nominated for the American Book Award and has gone through at least six major revisions. Although controversial when first published, the book has become comfortably mainstream. It is mentioned by name in the film Good Will Hunting and the... Read A People’s History of the United States Summary

Publication year 2020Genre Memoir in Verse, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: Colonialism, Society: Community, Identity: IndigenousTags Race / Racism, Social Justice, LGBTQ

Publication year 2004Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S., Civil Rights / Jim Crow, Crime / Legal, Jazz Age

Kevin Boyle's Arc of Justice depicts the racial turmoil in Detroit in 1925 through the story of Dr. Ossian Sweet, an African-American physician who faces murder charges after trying to defend his home in an all-white neighborhood from mob violence. The grandson of a slave, Ossian moves northward during the Great Migration to get his education at Wilberforce and Howard Universities. After graduating Howard's medical school, Ossian sets up practice and residence in Black Bottom... Read Arc of Justice Summary

Publication year 1977Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Marriage, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature, Grief / Death

Sheldon Vanauken’s celebrated memoir A Severe Mercy is a moving portrait of deep love confronted with suffering and death. Published in 1977, A Severe Mercy was written by Vanauken from the compilation of many years’ worth of journal entries, hand-written letters, and firsthand accounts of the people and events that the narrative relates. As a Yale- and Oxford-trained scholar and professor of English and an accomplished poet and author, Vanauken brings his literary expertise to... Read A Severe Mercy Summary

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Natural World: Climate, Identity: Language, Identity: IndigenousTags Fantasy

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Self Discovery, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Fantasy, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Magical Realism

Publication year 1957Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Economics, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Classic Fiction, Philosophy

The novel Atlas Shrugged (1957) was written by Russian American author Ayn Rand. Widely considered to be the author’s magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged is a divisive text that has remained popular in the public consciousness despite harsh criticism from academics and philosophers across the political spectrum. Set in a dystopian US wherein the collectivist government bureaucracy has a stranglehold on industry, the narrative follows protagonist Dagny Taggart as she fights to defend her family’s transcontinental... Read Atlas Shrugged Summary

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Relationships: FriendshipTags Auto/Biographical Fiction, Race / Racism, September 11 Attacks

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi is a 2018 semi-autobiographical young adult novel set in America one year after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Sixteen-year-old Shirin, a Muslim girl born in America to Persian immigrant parents from Iran, experiences intolerance and hatred in her school and the outside world. Shirin tries to maintain emotional distance from peers to protect herself, but the hesitant romance that develops between Shirin and Ocean... Read A Very Large Expanse of Sea Summary

Publication year 1992Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Southern Literature, LGBTQ, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Bastard out of Carolina is a 1992 semi-autobiographical novel by American writer Dorothy Allison. It was a finalist for the National Book Award and was adapted for film in 1996. Set in Greenville County, South Carolina, where the author herself grew up in the 1950s, it chronicles the childhood and adolescence of Ruth Anne “Bone” Boatwright against the backdrop of poverty, class-based discrimination, and both physical and sexual abuse. Like much of Allison’s work, Bastard... Read Bastard Out Of Carolina Summary

Publication year 2012Genre Book, NonfictionTags Sociology, Poverty

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (2012) is a nonfiction book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Katherine Boo. The book follows residents of a Mumbai slum called Annawadi. Boo, an American investigative journalist, was inspired to write the book by frequent visits to Mumbai with her husband, who is from the area. She spent several years among Annawadi’s residents, from 2007 to 2011, and the book recounts their struggles and... Read Behind the Beautiful Forevers Summary

Publication year 2015Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Race / Racism, African American Literature, Black Lives Matter

Ta-Nehisi Coates’s nonfiction book Between the World and Me was published in 2015 by One World, an imprint of Random House. It was met with critical acclaim and won the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction, the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in the Biography/Autobiography genre, and the 2016 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. It is a New York Times best-seller and was heralded by iconic literary figure Toni... Read Between the World and Me Summary

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Natural World: EnvironmentTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Allegory / Fable / Parable, Climate Change, Grief / Death, Mental Illness, Science / Nature, American Literature

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags LGBTQ, Afro-Caribbean Literature

Marlon James’s Black Leopard, Red Wolf (2019) is a dark fantasy novel. It’s the first title in his Dark Star Trilogy, and a fusion of conventional epic storytelling, oral tradition, and creative folklore. A finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction, as well as one of Washington Post’s Top Ten Books of 2019, this novel had its film rights purchased only weeks after publication.Plot SummaryAn interrogation frames the story: Tracker, a mercenary, recounts his... Read Black Leopard, Red Wolf Summary

Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Sexuality, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Identity: Gender, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Mental Health, Identity: Race, Relationships: Friendship, Society: CommunityTags LGBTQ

Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Magical Realism, Fantasy, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Romance, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

Bone Gap is a young adult novel by Laura Ruby. It features magical realism, meaning that the setting is realistic with fantastical elements. There are also mystery and crime elements. The novel is set in rural Bone Gap, Illinois, and is told from the third-person omniscient perspective. The narrator is all-seeing, knowing everything about the characters and events.The story follows Finn, an 18-year-old man. He is the only witness to the abduction of a beautiful... Read Bone Gap Summary

Publication year 2014Genre Novel/Book in Verse, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Race / Racism, Narrative / Epic Poem, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Children's Literature

Brown Girl Dreaming (2014) is a memoir in verse by Jacqueline Woodson, a children’s and young adult fiction writer. Published by Nancy Paulsen Books, a division of the Penguin Group, the memoir won the National Book Award, the Newberry Honor Book Award, and the Coretta Scott King Award.Plot SummaryBrown Girl Dreaming covers Woodson’s childhood, detailing her family history and her beginnings as a writer. Woodson was born in Columbus, Ohio, on February 12, 1963, the... Read Brown Girl Dreaming Summary

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Identity: Sexuality, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Identity: GenderTags LGBTQ, Fantasy, Grief / Death, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Diversity, Religion / Spirituality, Gender / Feminism, Love / Sexuality

Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Fame, Society: Community, Relationships: Teams, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: The Future, Identity: Race, Identity: Gender, Identity: Mental HealthTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Satire, LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter, Business / Economics, Grief / Death, History: U.S., Incarceration, Race / Racism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Social Justice

Publication year 1987Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Space & The Universe, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Science / Nature, Philosophy, Business / Economics, Animals, Health / Medicine, Technology

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Historical Fiction

Publication year 1980Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Space & The Universe, Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Place, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Society: Education, Society: Globalization, Society: WarTags Science / Nature, History: World, Philosophy

Publication year 1970Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Identity: Masculinity, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: EnvironmentTags Action / Adventure, Survival Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Southern Literature

James Dickey’s 1970 novel Deliverance explores themes of masculinity, the relationship between images and reality, and ideas about civilization and nature through the experience of four urban men on a canoe trip gone awry. Dickey, an influential American poet and novelist, was born in 1923 in Atlanta, Georgia. His poetry is known for its vivid imagery and exploration of nature and the human condition. Before turning to writing full time, Dickey served in World War... Read Deliverance Summary

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

Disappearing Earth (2019) is a debut novel by Julia Phillips published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, a division of Penguin Random House. This cross-genre novel combines elements of Mystery, Thriller, Women’s Fiction, and Literary Fiction. In 2019, it was a National Book Award finalist for fiction, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, and a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. New York Times Book Review named... Read Disappearing Earth Summary

Publication year 1990Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Class, Identity: Gender, Society: Colonialism, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Historical Fiction, Asian Literature

Dogeaters, first published in 1990 by Jessica Hagedorn, is a literary and historical fiction novel set in the 1950s Manila, Philippines. Hagedorn, a Filipino American playwright and writer, uses her background to explore the complexities of Filipino society influenced by Spanish imperialism, class struggles, and American cultural dominance. The novel, known for its ensemble cast of characters like Rio Gonzaga, intertwines various narratives that gradually connect, reflecting the diverse social fabric of the Philippines. Dogeaters... Read Dogeaters Summary

Publication year 1992Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Society: Politics & Government, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Identity: Race, Relationships: Mothers, Society: ImmigrationTags Historical Fiction, Latin American Literature, Magical Realism

Dreaming in Cuban is Cuban American author Cristina García’s first novel. It was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1992 and garnered positive reviews from readers and critics alike. A multi-generational family saga that shifts back and forth between the experiences and eras of multiple narrators, Dreaming in Cuban explores themes of immigration and exile, family dynamics, political ideology, religion, and the impact of the Cuban Revolution on Cubans and Cuban Americans. Known... Read Dreaming in Cuban Summary

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Environment, Emotions/Behavior: RevengeTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Fairy Tale / Folklore, Satire

Olga Tokarczuk is among Poland’s most famous and critically acclaimed contemporary authors. She has received multiple national and international literary awards, including the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature. Her most well-known novels and their translation dates into English are House of Day, House of Night (2003), Primeval and Other Times (2010), Flights (2018), and The Books of Jacob (2021).Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead was published in Poland in 2009 but didn’t... Read Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead Summary

Publication year 1999Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Society: War, Society: ColonialismTags History: Asian, WWII / World War II, Politics / Government, Military / War

Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: War, Relationships: Mothers, Self Discovery, Natural World: AnimalsTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Action / Adventure, Survival Fiction, Animals

IntroductionEliot Schrefer’s coming-of-age novel Endangered was published by Scholastic in 2012 and is the first book in The Ape Quartet. Set the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the story is written for a young adult audience and is a 2012 National Book Award finalist in Young People’s Literature. The novel follows Sophie Biyoya-Ciardulli’s journey as she navigates the perils of war-torn Congo in search of her mother, protecting a young, orphaned bonobo throughout her journey... Read Endangered Summary

Publication year 1965Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags Race / Racism, Southern Gothic, American Literature

First published in New World Writing magazine in 1961, “Everything That Rises Must Converge” is the title story from Flannery O’Connor’s final collection of short stories. Hailed as one of the United States’ greatest writers, O’Connor is best known for her award-winning short fiction and her contributions to the genre of Southern Gothic literature. The collection Everything That Rises Must Converge was published posthumously in 1965. It contains nine stories, seven of which appeared previously... Read Everything That Rises Must Converge Summary

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: SiblingsTags Realistic Fiction, LGBTQ, Parenting, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2002Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: EnvironmentTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Satire, Technology, Grief / Death, Social Justice, Class

Feed by M.T. Anderson, published in 2002, is a young adult dystopian cyberpunk novel set in a future in which excessive consumerism is at the center of human identity and technology-driven artificiality serves as a distraction for a world that is in the final stages of complete ecological destruction. The feed is a brain-implanted device that integrates computer and network capabilities into the user’s consciousness and biological functions.For most, the feed is implanted at birth... Read Feed Summary

Publication year 2011Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Identity: Femininity, Identity: Language, Identity: Race, Relationships: Teams, Society: Class, Society: Community, Society: Economics, Society: Immigration, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Natural World: PlaceTags History: U.S., Immigration / Refugee, Social Justice

Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy (2011) is a historical nonfiction book intended for an audience of young readers. It was written by Albert Marrin, a former history professor and author of dozens of historical nonfiction books.Marrin, whose academic focus was on liberty under the law, wrote often about times of suffering and movements for liberation, including The War for Independence: The Story of the American Revolution (1988), Years of... Read Flesh and Blood So Cheap Summary

Publication year 2007Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: Immigration, Natural World: Place, Values/Ideas: LiteratureTags Travel Literature

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: FriendshipTags Humor, Children's Literature, Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Animals

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures is a middle-grade magical realism novel written by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K. G. Campbell, and originally published in 2013. DiCamillo is a renowned middle-grade author who also wrote Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux, among other books. Flora and Ulysses was the recipient of the John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children in 2014. It was also adapted into a... Read Flora And Ulysses Summary

Publication year 1961Genre Short Story Collection, FictionThemes Relationships: Siblings, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Classic Fiction, American Literature

Franny and Zooey is a 1961 book by J. D. Salinger. The book contains the 1955 short story Franny and the 1957 novella Zooey, both works that Salinger published separately in The New Yorker before he published them as a single book. J. D. Salinger is an American author most famous for his novel The Catcher in the Rye. The short story Franny follows Franny Glass as she visits her boyfriend Lane Coutell at school... Read Franny and Zooey Summary

Publication year 1955Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Marriage, Life/Time: Midlife, Identity: FemininityTags Inspirational, Philosophy, Women's Studies (Nonfiction), Gender / Feminism

Gift from the Sea is a 1955 work of inspirational nonfiction literature by American author Anne Morrow Lindbergh. While vacationing on Captiva Island, Florida, Lindbergh explores the questions of how to find a new, more natural rhythm of life and how to gain a deeper relationship with herself and others. To gain inspiration for this, she discusses various shells that she finds on the beach. The first two shells she finds symbolize the importance of... Read Gift From The Sea Summary

Publication year 1956Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Sexuality, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Gender, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Emotions/Behavior: FearTags LGBTQ, Classic Fiction

Giovanni’s Room, originally published in 1956, is a romantic tragedy written by author and activist James Baldwin. The book follows American protagonist David’s life and relationships in France during the 1950s. David tries to come to terms with his sexuality after falling in love with Giovanni, an Italian barman, but he also seeks the safety of his heterosexual relationship with another American expatriate, Hella. Due to the story’s depiction of diverse sexual orientations, the novel... Read Giovanni's Room Summary

Publication year 2007Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Religion / Spirituality, Philosophy, Sociology

God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (2007) is a polemical text by English writer Christopher Hitchens. The author argues that religion is a cultural construct that represses people more than it liberates them. He examines religion’s role in sexuality, science, and human dignity and posits that organized religion rarely (if ever) benefits humanity at large. Hitchens was a noted columnist and contributing editor to Vanity Fair magazine.Its themes include mass delusions, the misogyny... Read God Is Not Great Summary

Publication year 1978Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: War, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: GuiltTags Military / War, American Literature

Going After Cacciato, by Tim O’Brien, is a novel about a young soldier’s experiences in the Vietnam War. However, as the New York Times noted in its initial review of the novel upon its publication in 1978, “call[ing] Going After Cacciato a novel about war is like calling Moby Dick a novel about whales.” The novel does not simply recount the events of the war; it dives into the inner life of its protagonist, Paul... Read Going After Cacciato Summary