Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography

By Peter Conn

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This vivid biography of the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Good Earth recounts Buck's life in relation to the course of American and Chinese history and politics in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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The Confessions of Nat Turner

By William Styron

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"In the late summer of 1831, in a remote section of southeastern Virginia, there took place the only effective, sustained revolt in the annals of American Negro slavery...

"The revolt was led by a remarkable Negro preacher named Nat Turner, an educated slave who felt himself divinely ordained to annihilate all the white people in the region.

"The (novel) is narrated by Nat himself as he lingers in jail through the cold autumnal days before his execution. The compelling story ranges over the whole of Nat's Life, reaching its inevitable and shattering climax that bloody day in August."

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By Toni Morrison

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It is the story--set in post-Civil War Ohio--of Sethe, an escaped slave who has risked death in order to wrench herself from a living death; who has lost a husband and buried a child; who has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad: a woman of "iron eyes and backbone to match." Sethe lives in a small house on the edge of town with her daughter, Denver, her mother-in-law, Baby Suggs, and a disturbing, mesmerizing intruder who calls herself Beloved.

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Optimist's Daughter

Eudora Welty

"The Optimist's Daughter is the story of Laurel McKelva Hand, a young woman who has left the South and returns, years later, to New Orleans, where her father is dying. After his death, she and her silly young stepmother go back still farther, to the small Mississippi town where she grew up. Alone in the old house, Laurel finally comes to an understanding of the past, herself, and her parents." (Book Description)


Olive Kitteridge

Elizabeth Strout

"At the edge of the continent, in the small town of Crosby, Maine, lives Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher who deplores the changes in her town and in the world at large but doesn't always recognize the changes in those around her." (Book Description)


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Age of Innocence

Edith Wharton

"Winner of the 1921 Pulitzer Prize, The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton’s masterful portrait of desire and betrayal during the sumptuous Golden Age of Old New York, a time when society people 'dreaded scandal more than disease.'


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If you enjoyed this book, try:
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 
  • The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles 
  • The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough