Svetlana Alexievich, from Belarus, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature on October 8, 2015. Alexievich, a journalist, specializes in compiling oral histories of major events in Russian history, including the female experience in World War II, the war with Afghanistan, and the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. The latter collection of interviews is the source of the vivid quotes below. Alexievich draws out details from her interview subjects that were kept hidden from the world at the time of the disaster and also gives her subjects room to express the emotional impact of the tragedy.
A 1953 Pulitzer Prize winner, which contributed to the Nobel committee recognizing Ernest Hemingway for all his literary works the following year, this short novel is focused on the age-old conflict between man and nature. The old man is Santiago, and the sea is just one part of nature that he fights against in order to survive. Fish for more clues in this list. Here is a link to our lists for another novel by the award-winning author: A Farewell to Arms
Most people try to get out of jury duty. A veteran of World War II, Reginald Rose served and found the experience so inspiring that he had to write about it. The script started out as a television drama, before being adapted for the stage and revised into an Oscar-nominated film. Later versions and spoofs of the 1954 play have included women, witches, cartoon characters, Muppets, and an odd couple. Consider the words in this list to come up with your verdict on their power. Here are links to our lists for the play: Act 1, Act 2
Most people can remember a time when they went through a stage of puppy love. For Billy Colman, it started when he was ten years old and turned into a lifelong tenderness towards dogs. Determined to own not just one, but two coonhounds, Billy works odd jobs for two years to save up the money, travels through the hills to pick them up at the station, and cuts down an enormous tree to keep his promise to Old Dan and Little Ann. The meaning of the title might break your heart, at the same time that it soothed Billy's, but if the author Wilson Rawls had his way, he would have kept "The Hounds of Youth." As you learn this list, hunt for words that capture the spirit of the Ozarks. Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1-9, Chapters 10-13, Chapters 14-20
"Seven half-bloods shall answer the call, To storm or fire the world must fall. An oath to keep with a final breath, And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death." Spoken by the Oracle of Delphi in "The Last Olympian" (the last book in the prequel pentalogy by Rick Riordan), this prophecy is developed in the tenth book about the sons and daughters of Greek and Roman gods. No longer on separate quests to retrieve magical objects or rescue gods, the demigods must now unite to defeat the giants and prevent Gaia from rising and destroying the earth. Here are links to our lists for Book 5 of "The Heroes of Olympus" series: Chapters 1-8, Chapters 9-20, Chapters 21-32, Chapters 33-44, Chapters 45-58 Here is a link to our lists for Book 1 of the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series: The Lightning Thief
Published 55 years later, with more of a focus on the voice of twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise than six-year-old Scout, this can be read as a sequel. But that would not be true to the intentions of the author. Struggling to reconcile her Southern background with the civil rights issues that were boiling the 1950s, Harper Lee developed this conflict through a fictional counterpart. However, her editor was more impressed with the flashback scenes and suggested a rewrite. Thus, "Go Set a Watchman" is actually a first draft. As you read this list, be on the watch for images and tones that set up the later characterizations and themes of the Pulitzer Prize-winning "To Kill a Mockingbird." Here are links to our lists for the novel: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7 Click here for our lists for To Kill A Mockingbird
If the title were rearranged to show the order in which each appears, it would be "The Wardrobe, the Witch and the Lion." If readers want to journey in chronological order, they should meet a magician's nephew before the four Pevensie children. But C. S. Lewis did not create the fantastical world of Narnia to follow the same order as mid-twentieth century London. Step into this list to lose track of reality and time. Here are links to our lists for Book 2 of "The Chronicles of Narnia": Chapters 1-4, Chapters 5-8, Chapters 9-12, Chapters 13-17 Here are links to our lists for other books about Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
While writing this biggest of the first four novels about the British wizard, J. K. Rowling struggled with the title. At first, it was "Harry Potter and the Doomspell Tournament." Then the central conflict was renamed to the alliterative "Triwizard Tournament." If the author had her own Goblet of Fire, it might have made the choice for her. But as most students at Hogwarts know, magic does not make life easier. So Muggle, learn this list so that you would not be doomed to misspell. Here are links to our lists for Book 4 of the series: Chapters 1-9, Chapters 10-17, Chapters 18-23, Chapters 24-29, Chapters 30-37 Here is a link to our lists for Book 1 of the series: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Despite nearly flying off the handle in a Quidditch match, battling a troll in the toilet, and waking up in the hospital, Harry can't wait to get back to school. In her second book, J. K. Rowling takes readers through Harry's second year at Hogwarts. Enemies of spoilers, beware. This list reveals secrets that will slither into your soul. Here are links to our lists for Book 2 of the series: Chapters 1-5, Chapters 6-10, Chapters 11-14, Chapters 15-18 Here are links to our lists for other books of the series: The Sorcerer's Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, The Goblet of Fire
"When you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true." This theme is in the hearts of the characters created by the Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, and it has resonated with readers in more than sixty languages around the world. Be transformed by the treasures in this list. Here are links to our lists for the novel: Foreword-Section 4, Sections 5-8, Section 9-Epilogue
Persepolis is the true story of one girl's childhood during the Iranian revolution of the late 1970s and early 1980s. A precocious child tries to come to grips with complex political theory while the brutal consequences of that theory become all-too real right outside her door. Filled with harrowing detail, Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel is also filled with humor and an abiding sense of the love she got from her family, despite or perhaps because of, their struggles. Vocabulary from the chapters "The Veil" through "Moscow" is below. Find vocabulary for the chapters "The Sheep" through "The Wine" here and vocabulary for the chapters "The Cigarette" through "The Dowry" here.
"WICKED is good." This is just one of the strange realities that Thomas faces when he is mysteriously transported to a new life in the Glade. Work your way through this list to make sense of the world created by James Dashner. This list focuses on confusion. Here are links to our lists for Book 1 of the series: Chapters 1-13, Chapters 14-26, Chapters 27-40, Chapters 41-53, Chapter 54-Epilogue
When 12-year-old Hannah symbolically opens the door for Elijah during a Passover Seder in 1980s New York, she is transported back forty years to Poland. Forced into a concentration camp, Hannah struggles to live up to her names, both the palindrome and Chaya, which connects her more closely to her Jewish family and heritage. Whether or not she survives will partly be determined by the devilish arithmetic that the Nazis used to keep track of their prisoners. With the help of Jane Yolen, add this list of words to your vocabulary to fight the evils of indifference and ignorance. Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1-6, Chapters 7-12, Chapter 13-Epilogue
A lonely boy who just wants to fit in, a teenager who is ashamed of his family, and a monkey who wants to be a god—these three characters do not appear to have much in common, but their fates end up being intertwined in a graphic novel that crosses the boundaries of cultures, species, and time. This list can help you visualize some of the images developed by the award-winning writer and artist Gene Luen Yang.
"Frightful" is usually an adjective, but to Jean Craighead George and her character Sam, it is a proper noun. When Sam came up with the name for his peregrine falcon, he was focused on the frightful difficulties in getting the nestling away from its mother. Now, Frightful is on her own in the wilderness. Look out for dangers and traps in this list. Here are links to our lists for the novel: Foreword-Frightful Peregrinates, Frightful Finds the Enemy-There are Eggs and Trouble, The Kids are Heard-A Pal Finds a Pal, Frightful and Oksi Run the Show-Afterword Here are links to our lists for the trilogy: My Side of the Mountain, On the Far Side of the Mountain, Frightful's Mountain
Odessa, Texas is a town in the middle of a desert that Newsweek once nicknamed "Murder Capital U.S.A." It used to be oil-rich, but when that boom ended, energies were pumped into its high school football team. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist H.G. Bissinger spent a season observing how the focus on Friday night games both positively and negatively affected the daily lives and futures of the players, coaches, families, and other residents. Practice this list to boost your score. Here are links to our lists for the nonfiction narrative subtitled "A Town, a Team, and a Dream": Prologue-Preseason, The Season, Push for the Playoffs, Postseason-Epilogue
Her first pet was a turkey vulture. Her children had nearly two hundred pets ranging from owls to tarantulas. This love of nature inspired Jean Craighead George to develop a story about a 12-year-old boy who decides to run away from his overcrowded home in New York City to live in the Catskill Mountains. Practice this list to find out what Sam learned, from books, animals, people, and his own experiences, about surviving in the wilderness. Here are links to our lists for the novel: Preface-I Meet One of My Own Kind, The King's Provider-I Find a Real Live Man, The Autumn Provides Food and Loneliness-I Learn about Birds and People, I Have a Good Look at Winter-The City Comes to Me Here are links to our lists for the trilogy: My Side of the Mountain, On the Far Side of the Mountain, Frightful's Mountain
Jean Craighead George did not intend to write a sequel for "My Side of the Mountain." But thirty years of begging from fans brought Sam Gribley back. Now a teenager, Sam is joined by his younger sister Alice, who lives in a nearby tree house. When she suddenly disappears and his falcon is confiscated, Sam travels to the far side of the mountain. Search this list for clues to what he finds. Here are links to our lists for the novel: A Storm Breaks-A Trade Comes My Way, I Go Backwards in Order to Go Forwards-Zella Makes Sense, I Learn to Think Like a Pig-I Get News of Alice, The Dawn Breaks over Me-A Bird Talks to Me Here are links to our lists for the trilogy: My Side of the Mountain, On the Far Side of the Mountain, Frightful's Mountain
In Orlando, Florida, magical wonders attract families of tourists. But as young children living in a nearby subdivision, Margo and Quentin discover the corpse of a neighbor. As teenagers, Quentin obsesses about a future with Margo, while Margo enlists Quentin's help to get revenge on everyone who has hurt her in the past four years. Step into this list to see how John Green, through his settings and characters, develops the tension between happy dreams and darker realities. Here are links to our lists for the novel: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Her full name is Malala Yousafzai. She was a girl just like any other, until the Taliban took control of her hometown in Pakistan. Then, she became the girl who "stood up for education and changed the world." Learn this list of words that the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate risked her life to share with you. This list focuses on freedoms. Here are links to our lists for the Young Readers Edition of the memoir written with Patricia McCormick: Prologue-Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five-Epilogue
Bestselling True Crime author Ann Rule died on July 26, 2015 at the age of 83. Rule rose to fame with her first book, Stranger Beside Me, which was about infamous serial killer Ted Bundy, whom Rule had gotten to know when they worked together on the late shift at a suicide prevention hotline. Here are ten vocabulary words from the captivating true-life yarns of Ann Rule.
Edgar Lawrence Doctorow, the acclaimed novelist, died on July 21, 2015 at the age of 84. Doctorow is best known as a novelist who played with historical events in books like Ragtime and The Book of Daniel. Doctorow was never afraid to paint on a big canvas or wrestle with big themes, and there's a wonderful sense of risk in his best work—reading it, you feel as if the next step is in doubt for everyone, even the author, even if you know the historical events being referenced. Doctorow enshrined the idea that history was once life, and because of this, that it was just as scary, and potentially hopeful, as tomorrow. Here are 12 quotes from the work of E.L. Doctorow, as well as a few words used to describe him.
Intrigued by a 1959 news article about the seemingly senseless murders of a farmer and his family, Truman Capote set out with his friend and fellow author Harper Lee to investigate. After years of conducting interviews with the Kansan residents, police, and the convicted criminals, Capote developed his findings in a book that became known as the foundation of the true crime genre. Study this list to see how his words inspired others to produce films, a miniseries, and a graphic novel. Here are links to our lists for the nonfiction novel: The Last to See Them Alive, Persons Unknown, The Answer, The Corner
Paul Fleischman coined the term "seedfolks" to describe ordinary people whose lives are connected by a garden they plant. Find out how a diverse cast of thirteen characters transform themselves, each other, and their neighborhood when you grow your vocabulary with this list. Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1-5, Chapters 6-9, Chapters 10-13
The literary world is abuzz over Harper Lee's "Go Set a Watchman," a sequel of sorts to her classic "To Kill a Mockingbird." Lee actually wrote "Go Set a Watchman" first, in 1957, when she was 31 years old. The novel is finally seeing the light of day and will be published on July 14. Here are words from the first chapter.