Books about New England

July 30, 2016

Books about New England

New England has a great literary tradition.  Check out this list of book that either take place in the region and/or written by prominent New England authors.  They are grouped for adults, teenagers/young adults and children, and can be borrowed from the Roslindale Library.

Adults

The Bell Jar
By Sylvia Platt

This novel–echoing Plath’s own experiences as a rising writer/editor in the early 1950s–chronicles the nervous breakdown of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, successful, but slowly going under, and maybe for the last time.

Self-Reliance and Other Essays (e-book)
By Ralph Waldo Emerson

Essayist, poet, and philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) propounded a transcendental idealism emphasizing self-reliance, self-culture, and individual expression. The six essays and one address included in this volume, selected from Essays, First Series (1841) and Essays, Second Series (1844), offer a representative sampling of his views outlining that moral idealism as well as a hint of the later skepticism that colored his thought. In addition to the celebrated title essay, the others included here are “History,” “Friendship,” “The Over-Soul,” “The Poet,” and “Experience,” plus the well-known and frequently read Harvard Divinity School Address.

Unaccustomed Earth (Audiobook CD)
By Jhumpa Lahiri

From the internationally bestselling, Pulitzer Prize–winning author, a superbly crafted new work of fiction: eight stories that take us from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand. In the stunning title story, Ruma, a young mother in a new city, is visited by her father, who carefully tends the earth of her garden, where he and his grandson form a special bond. But he’s harboring a secret from his daughter, a love affair he’s keeping all to himself. In “A Choice of Accommodations,” a husband’s attempt to turn an old friend’s wedding into a romantic getaway weekend with his wife takes a dark, revealing turn as the party lasts deep into the night. In “Only Goodness,” a sister eager to give her younger brother the perfect childhood she never had is overwhelmed by guilt, anguish, and anger when his alcoholism threatens her family. And in “Hema and Kaushik,” a trio of linked stories-a luminous, intensely compelling elegy of life, death, love, and fate-we follow the lives of a girl and boy who, one winter, share a house in Massachusetts. They travel from innocence to experience on separate, sometimes painful paths, until destiny brings them together again years later in Rome.

Boston Noir
By Dennis Lehane

Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, The Given Day) has proven himself to be a master of both crime fiction and literary fiction. Here, he extends his literary prowess to that of master curator. In keeping with the Akashic Noir series tradition, each story in Boston Noir is set in a different neighborhood of the city — the impressively diverse collection extends from Roxbury to Cambridge, from Southie to the Boston Harbor, and all stops in between. Lehane’s own contribution — the longest story in the volume — is set in his beloved home neighborhood of Dorchester and showcases his phenomenal ability to grip the heart, soul, and throat of the reader.

The Guardian of Boston: William Monroe Trotter
By Stephen Fox

Born on April 7, 1872, in Chillicothe, Ohio, William Monroe Trotter went on to become the first Phi Betta Kappa graduate from Harvard, and a staunch opponent of the more conciliatory race-based ideas of Booker T. Washington. Trotter founded the black paper The Boston Guardian and helped W.E.B. Du Bois organize the Niagara Movement of 1905. He also opposed President Woodrow Wilson’s segregationist policies.

Science and Health with a Key to the Scriptures (e-book)
By Mary Baker Eddy

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is the central text of the Christian Science religion. It was written by Mary Baker Eddy, inspired by studies of the Bible she undertook in 1867 following a healing experience. Science and Health posits a wholly metaphysical view of Christianity in which sin, disease, and death are not of God, and are therefore not real. Further, it suggests that by striving toward a spiritual understanding of the world as God’s perfect creation, these “false beliefs” are shed from one’s experience.

Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families
By J. Anthony Lukas

The climax of this humane account of 10 years in Boston that began with news of Martin Luther King’s assassination, is a watershed moment in the city’s modern history–the 1974 racist riots that followed the court-ordered busing of kids to integrate the schools. To bring understanding to that moment, Lukas, a former New York Times journalist, focuses on two working-class families, headed by an Irish-American widow and an African-American mother, and on the middle-class family of a white liberal couple. Lukas goes beyond stereotypes, carefully grounding each perspective in its historical roots, whether in the antebellum South, or famine-era Ireland. In the background is the cast of public figures–including Judge Garrity, Mayor White, and Cardinal Cushing–with cameo roles in this disturbing history that won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction.

Teens/Young Adults

Moby-Dick
By Herman Melville

Herman Melville’s peerless allegorical masterpiece is the epic saga of the fanatical Captain Ahab, who swears vengeance on the mammoth white whale that has crippled him. Often considered to be the Great American Novel, Moby-Dick is at once a starkly realistic story of whaling, a romance of unusual adventure, and a searing drama of heroic courage, moral conflict, and mad obsession. It is world-renowned as the greatest sea story ever told. Moby-Dick, widely misunderstood in its own time, has since become an indubitable classic of American literature.

Little Women
By Louisa May Alcott

Chronicles the joys and sorrows of the four March sisters as they grow into young ladies in nineteenth-century New England.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X (e-book)
By Malcolm X

Raised in Lansing, Michigan, Malcolm Little journeyed on a road to fame as astonishing as it was unpredictable. Drifting from childhood poverty to petty crime in Boston, Malcolm found himself in jail. It was there that he came into contact with the teachings of a little-known Black Muslim leader renamed Elijah Muhammad. The newly renamed Malcolm X devoted himself body and soul to the teachings of Elijah Muhammad and the world of Islam, becoming the Nation’s foremost spokesman. When his conscience forced him to break with Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity to reach African Americans across the country with an inspiring message of pride, power, and self-determination. The Autobiography of Malcolm X stands as the definitive statement of a movement and a man whose work was never completed but whose message is timeless. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand America.

Carrie
By Stephen King

A modern classic, Carrie introduced a distinctive new voice in American fiction — Stephen King. The story of misunderstood high school girl Carrie White, her extraordinary telekinetic powers, and her violent rampage of revenge, remains one of the most barrier-breaking and shocking novels of all time. Make a date with terror and live the nightmare that is – Carrie.

Profiles in Courage
By John F. Kennedy

Written in 1955 by the then junior senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage has served as a clarion call to every American. A collection of eight inspiring, unsung, and heroic acts by American patriots at different junctures in our nation’s history, Kennedy’s book became required reading and an instant classic and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Now, a half-century later, it remains a moving, powerful, and relevant testament to the indomitable national spirit and an unparalleled celebration of that most noble of human virtues.

Nineteen Minutes
By Jodi Picoult

Sterling is a small, ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens — until the day its complacency is shattered by a shocking act of violence. In the aftermath, the town’s residents must not only seek justice in order to begin healing but also come to terms with the role they played in the tragedy. For them, the lines between truth and fiction, right and wrong, insider and outsider have been obscured forever. Josie Cormier, the teenage daughter of the judge sitting on the case, could be the state’s best witness, but she can’t remember what happened in front of her own eyes. And as the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show, destroying the closest of friendships and families.

Girl, Interrupted
By Susanna Kaysen

In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she’d never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years in the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele–Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles–as for its progressive methods of treating those who could afford its sanctuary. Kaysen’s memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers.

Children

Make Way For Ducklings
By Robert McCloskey

Tells story of what happens when Mama duck takes her brood from the river to the public gardens.

The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The famous narrative poem recreating Paul Revere’s midnight ride in 1775 to warn the people of the Boston countryside that the British were coming.

Charlotte’s Web
By E.B. White

Wilbur, the pig, is desolate when he discovers that he is destined to be the farmer’s Christmas dinner until his spider friend, Charlotte, decides to help him.

Mother Goose
By Will Moses

Folk art paintings accompany this compilation of over sixty of the best-loved Mother Goose rhymes.

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things
By Lenore Look

A young boy in Concord, Massachusetts, who loves superheroes and comes from a long line of brave Chinese farmer-warriors, wants to make friends, but first he must overcome his fear of everything.

Vanished
By Sheela Chari

Eleven-year-old Neela dreams of being a famous musician, performing for admiring crowds on her traditional Indian stringed instrument. Her particular instrument was a gift from her grandmother, intricately carved with a mysterious-looking dragon. When this special family heirloom vanishes from a local church, strange clues surface: a tea kettle ornamented with a familiar pointy-faced dragon, a threatening note, a connection to a famous dead musician, and even a legendary curse.

Johnny Tremain
By Esther Forbes

Follows a young apprentice from a tragic accident in a silversmith’s shop to his dramatic involvement as a patriot in the days just before the American Revolution.

The Time Garden
By Edward Eager

Four cousins spending a summer in a house by the sea discover a magic thyme garden from which they embark on a number of adventures in time, some of them perilous, all of them exciting.

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