SuperSummary Staff Picks

Browse our Staff Picks Collection to find your next reading recommendation, courtesy of our own team of book lovers. With selections ranging from nonfiction titles to plays, poetry, and novels, this diverse Collection has something to offer every literature lover.

Publication year 2002Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Identity: DisabilityTags Realistic Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Historical Fiction, Grief / Death, Depression / Suicide, Health / Medicine, Mental Illness, American Literature

Hattie Owen’s life changes the summer she turns 12 and meets the young uncle she never knew existed in Ann M. Martin’s middle-grade novel, A Corner of the Universe (2002). Uncle Adam has been kept a secret because of his mental problems. Adults have trouble handling his emotional extremes, but shy Hattie finds a true friend in her exuberant uncle. Adam teaches Hattie to explore life beyond the safety of her front porch. As Hattie... Read A Corner of the Universe Summary

Publication year 1945Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality, Politics / Government, History: European

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Society: Immigration, Values/Ideas: FateTags Historical Fiction, Gender / Feminism, Class, Immigration / Refugee, Latin American Literature

Publication year 2006Genre Graphic Novel/Book, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: ImmigrationTags Allegory / Fable / Parable, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Bullying, Race / Racism, History: Asian, Immigration / Refugee, Chinese Literature

American Born Chinese is a graphic novel published in 2006 by the American author and illustrator Gene Luen Yang. Through three interweaving stories that span from the 16th century to the present, the novel explores issues of Chinese American identity, anti-Asian racism, and assimilation. American Born Chinese is the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award. The novel also won both the Printz Award from the American Library Association and the... Read American Born Chinese Summary

Publication year 2021Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Politics & Government, Society: CommunityTags History: U.S., Politics / Government, Race / Racism, Social Justice, Civil Rights / Jim Crow

Publication year 1945Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: CommunityTags Satire, History: European, Politics / Government, Philosophy, Animals, Post-War Era, Allegory / Fable / Parable, British Literature

Published in 1945, Animal Farm by George Orwell (1903-1950) achieved immediate success and remains one of Orwell’s most popular works. A political satire in the guise of a moving and whimsical animal fable, the novella is about a group of farm animals who overthrow their owner, Mr. Jones, and establish animal rule. Although the animals start out with high hopes for Animal Farm as a harmonious and just utopia where “all animals are equal” (19)... Read Animal Farm Summary

Publication year 2001Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Emotions/Behavior: FearTags Historical Fiction, Children's Literature, Asian Literature, Realistic Fiction, Arts / Culture, History: Asian, Poverty, American Literature

A Single Shard (2001) is an award-winning, middle-grade historical novel by Korean American author Linda Sue Park. Park has written multiple children’s books, picture books, and volumes of poetry. Some of her better-known titles include A Long Walk to Water (2010), The Thirty-Nine Clues series in nine volumes (2010), and Prairie Lotus (2020). Much of her historical fiction is based on Korean history. A Single Shard is intended for readers in grades 5 to 7... Read A Single Shard Summary

Publication year 2021Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Identity: Language, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Society: EducationTags Realistic Fiction, Arts / Culture, Education, Russian Literature

Publication year 2018Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Society: Education

James Clear’s Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones is a guide to adopting good behaviors through incremental changes to your everyday routines. Avery first published the book in 2018, and this guide refers to the ebook edition. The book has unique pagination, with the page numbers beginning again at the start of each new chapter. Clear likely numbered his book this way because of his emphasis... Read Atomic Habits Summary

Publication year 1863Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: Class, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Animals, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags British Literature, Romanticism / Romantic Period

Publication year 2008Genre Book, NonfictionTags Business / Economics, Psychology, Science / Nature, Self Help, Education

Publication year 2013Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags Business / Economics, Politics / Government

Publication year 1994Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Femininity, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Religion / Spirituality, Class, Gender / Feminism, History: European, British Literature, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages

American author Karen Cushman’s middle grade novel, Catherine, Called Birdy, explores the life of a young woman in 13th-century England. Published in 1994, the book won the Newbery Honor the following year. It is currently being adapted for the screen by actor, writer, and director Lena Dunham. This detailed work of historical fiction immerses the reader in the very different world of medieval England, with its emphasis on religion as the organizing force behind daily... Read Catherine, Called Birdy Summary

Publication year 1878Genre Novella, FictionThemes Identity: Femininity, Society: Class, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Society: CommunityTags Classic Fiction, Romance, Victorian Period

Daisy Miller is a novella by Henry James, first published in Cornhill Magazine in 1878 and in book form a year later. This short piece of fiction explores the differences in class and social expectations in America and Europe, especially for young women just before the turn of the 20th century. James was a member of a prominent and wealthy American family; his education and travels to England and continental Europe allowed him to gain... Read Daisy Miller Summary

Publication year 1988Genre Novel, FictionTags American Civil War

Dances with Wolves, a historical-romance novel by Michael Blake, was published in 1988. It tells the story of a Civil War soldier posted to the frontier who meets the buffalo-hunting Comanche people, learns their ways, and becomes one of them, fighting alongside them against the many threats they face. The book became the basis for a blockbuster film that won seven Academy Awards. The 2002 edition contains a Foreword by the author; the e-book version... Read Dances with Wolves Summary

Publication year 1975Genre Play, FictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Daughters & SonsTags Play: Tragedy, Play: Drama, African Literature, Colonialism / Postcolonialism, WWII / World War II

Premiering in 1975, Death and the King’s Horseman is a play written by Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka. The play is set in Oyo, Nigeria, during World War II and tells the story of Elesin Oba, the titular king’s horseman who must die by ritual suicide after the Yoruba king dies. The colonial government stops Elesin’s suicide, but the text also suggests that Elesin, a robust man full of life, might not have fulfilled his duty even... Read Death and the King's Horseman Summary

Publication year 2020Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Flora/plants, Natural World: Place, Natural World: Climate, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Science / Nature, Creative Nonfiction, Climate Change, Agriculture, History: World

Publication year 1972Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: GlobalizationTags Philosophy, Politics / Government, Social Justice, Finance / Money / Wealth

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 2002Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Society: Globalization, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Business / Economics, Politics / Government, History: World, Poverty

Globalization and Its Discontents (2002) is American economist John E. Stiglitz’s second major work, published shortly after he became a Nobel laureate. It explores and critiques the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) policies between the 1970s and the early 2000s. Since Stiglitz was a senior vice president of the World Bank between 1993 and 1997, he uses insider knowledge to explain certain structural and functional aspects of the IMF that remain opaque to the public. His... Read Globalization and Its Discontents Summary

Publication year 1991Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Life/Time: Aging, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Publication year 1970Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Society: Class, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Identity: Race, Emotions/Behavior: LonelinessTags History: U.S., Great Depression, Poverty, Depression / Suicide

Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Fantasy, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

Publication year 1792Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Natural World: PlaceTags Lyric Poem, Relationships, Grief / Death, Love / Sexuality, British Literature, Romanticism / Romantic Period, Age of Enlightenment

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Relationships: Family, Identity: Gender, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Fairy Tale / Folklore, Romance, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Relationships: FriendshipTags Gender / Feminism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2015Genre Play, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Language, Identity: Race, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Relationships: Teams, Society: Immigration, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: LiteratureTags Play: Drama, Historical Fiction, LGBTQ, Jewish Literature, Gender / Feminism

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Disability, Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: FamilyTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Diversity, Disability, Bullying

Publication year 1978Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Community, Society: ColonialismTags Race / Racism, History: African , Politics / Government, Social Justice

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: SexualityTags LGBTQ

Written by Andrew Sean Greer and published in 2017, Less is a satirical comedy novel. It portrays the journey of Arthur Less, who after a difficult breakup plots a round-the-world trip to better understand himself. It won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.Plot SummaryApproaching 50, Arthur Less sits in a hotel lobby waiting to be picked up for a literary event. He is a writer and will be interviewing another writer, albeit a sci-fi author... Read Less Summary

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Identity: Race, Self Discovery, Society: Immigration, Relationships: FriendshipTags Historical Fiction, WWII / World War II, Latin American Literature, Jewish Literature, Race / Racism, Holocaust

Publication year 1900Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Values/Ideas: Equality, Emotions/Behavior: Joy, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Nation, Life/Time: The Past, Life/Time: The Future, Identity: Race, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Lyric Poem, Inspirational, African American Literature, American Literature, Race / Racism, Religion / Spirituality, Civil Rights / Jim Crow, History: U.S.

Publication year 1604Genre Play, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Identity: Sexuality, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Classic Fiction, Play: Comedy / Satire, Jacobean Era

Measure for Measure is a play written by William Shakespeare. It was first performed in 1604 and is considered one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays” because of its ambiguous tone that shifts between tragedy and comedy. Shakespeare was a prolific poet and playwright during the Elizabethan and Jacobean era. While his earlier works were primarily comedies and histories, Measure for Measure was written during the period in which Shakespeare began to write many of his most... Read Measure For Measure Summary

Publication year 180Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Philosophy, Ancient Rome

Meditations is a collection of prose philosophical reflections and exercises composed in Koine Greek by Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who lived from 121-180 and ruled from 161-180. Though the precise dating of his compositions is unknown and they are not believed to be presented in chronological order, at least some of the books were written while he was on military campaign in the north of Europe during his reign. Scholars are generally in consensus that... Read Meditations Summary

Publication year 1818Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Life/Time: Aging, Identity: FemininityTags Lyric Poem, British Literature, Science / Nature

“Meg Merrilies” (sometimes titled “Old Meg she was a gipsy” or simply “old Meg”) is a short, playful ballad by the English Romantic poet John Keats. It was written on Keats’s walking tour of northern England and Scotland in 1818. At the time, Keats was worried about the health of his brother, Tom, and about his own health; the tuberculosis that would soon kill Tom had already begun to manifest in Keats. While his doctor... Read Meg Merrilies Summary

Publication year 1880Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Society: Class, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Identity: Femininity, Identity: MasculinityTags Classic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Love / Sexuality, Realism, Realistic Fiction, Naturalism, Class, History: European, French Literature

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery / Crime Fiction

Publication year 1686Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Place, Emotions/Behavior: NostalgiaTags Asian Literature, Lyric Poem, Japanese Literature, Animals

Many scholars agree that “Old Pond” (1686) by Matsuo Bashō is one of the most—if not the most—famous haiku of all time. The term “haiku” translates as “play verse,” and though “Old Pond” appears whimsical and simple—a frog jumping into water and the subsequent splash—Bashō utilizes various literary devices such as key words and onomatopoeia to ensure this three-line poem is both didactic and enjoyable. “Old Pond” is instructional, especially for its use of common... Read Old Pond Summary

Publication year 2010Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Space & The Universe, Values/Ideas: Equality, Relationships: Teams, Natural World: Place, Identity: Gender, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Science / Nature, Humor, History: U.S., Technology

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void is one of several bestselling nonfiction works by science writer and humorist Mary Roach. Published in 2010, the work focuses on the human side of space travel and offers behind-the-scenes accounts of peculiar and taboo topics such as sex, vomit, and toilets in space. Roach writes from a candid, outsider’s point of view and demystifies some of the grandeur of space travel by reporting... Read Packing for Mars Summary

Publication year 1928Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Identity: Gender, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Harlem Renaissance, Classic Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Race / Racism, Gender / Feminism, Arts / Culture, African American Literature

Jessie Redmon Fauset’s Plum Bun: A Novel Without a Moral recounts the story of a young Black woman in the 1920s who decides to pass as white. Ostensibly a coming-of-age story, the novel features a complex treatment of racial barriers and gender inequalities. While the trajectory of the novel is straightforward and relatively typical for the bildungsroman—young woman leaves home, discovers herself through a series of obstacles she must overcome, and finally learns how to... Read Plum Bun Summary

Publication year 2012Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Relationships: Teams, Self Discovery, Society: Community, Society: Education, Values/Ideas: Win & LoseTags Self Help, Psychology, Sociology, Education, Leadership/Organization/Management, Parenting

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking is a nonfiction book by Susan Cain, published in 2012. It is considered part of the psychology and self-help genres. The book made several bestseller lists, including those of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and National Public Radio. It also was voted the best nonfiction book of 2012 by the Goodreads Choice Awards and has been translated... Read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking Summary

Publication year 1597Genre Play, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Relationships: FamilyTags Classic Fiction, Play: Historical, British Literature

Richard III is a history play by William Shakespeare written between 1592 and 1594. It is one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays and his second longest. The play depicts the rise of King Richard III of England, also known as Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Shakespeare portrays Richard as a Machiavellian tyrant who uses lies and violence to unjustly seize the throne during a politically turbulent period of England’s history known as the Wars of the Roses... Read Richard III Summary

Publication year 2022Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Relationships: Siblings, Natural World: Place, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Crime / Legal, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Journalism, Business / Economics, Class, Finance / Money / Wealth, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Leadership/Organization/Management

Publication year 2011Genre Novel, FictionTags Historical Fiction

Published in 2011, Rules of Civility is American author Amor Towles’ acclaimed debut novel. Set at the end of the 1930s during The Great Depression, the narrative follows spunky roommates Katey Kontent and Evelyn Ross as they make their way up the social ladder in New York society. Though much of the narrative takes place at the end of the 1930s, the preface and epilogue are set in 1966 and provide a bookended point of... Read Rules of Civility Summary

Publication year 1773Genre Play, FictionThemes Society: Class, Relationships: Marriage, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Win & LoseTags Humor, Classic Fiction, Play: Comedy / Satire

She Stoops to Conquer is a play by British writer Oliver Goldsmith, first performed in 1773. The play is a comedy of manners and a romance set in 18th-century England. Goldsmith was an Anglo-Irish poet and dramatist and this play is his most popular and well-known work, with performances still regularly occurring in the 21st century. In 1778, John O'Keeffe wrote a successful sequel to the play, entitled Tony Lumpkin in Town. She Stoops to... Read She Stoops to Conquer Summary

Publication year 1962Genre Book, NonfictionTags Science / Nature

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring is widely regarded as a foundational text of the 20th century environmental movement. Originally published as a series in The New Yorker, Carson’s essays carefully articulate the impacts of widespread chemical use for insect and plant control. Throughout the text, Carson emphasizes the ways that humans disregard the interrelation of species on earth, and argues that as a result, humans are at a pivotal moment. If methods of insect control are... Read Silent Spring Summary

Publication year 2007Genre Collection of Letters, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Identity: Femininity, Self Discovery, Society: Education, Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: Community, Society: Politics & Government, Society: ColonialismTags Race / Racism, Education, Gender / Feminism, Politics / Government, Leadership/Organization/Management

Publication year 2023Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Arts / Culture, Crime / Legal

Publication year 1896Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Relationships: Teams, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Emotions/Behavior: ForgivenessTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Incarceration, Grief / Death, History: European, LGBTQ, Religion / Spirituality, British Literature, Victorian Period

Publication year 2023Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Relationships: FriendshipTags Crime / Legal, Psychology