Novels Worth Reading

Jacqueline Mitchard, best-selling author of The Deep End of the Ocean and other novels, polled her friends to create a list of great novels worth finding time to read. Her list appeared on the AARP website. The books are available to borrow from the Lititz Public Library.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Coming-of-age classic tells the story of six-year-old Scout, her brother and their father, a small-town Southern lawyer assigned to defend a falsely accused black man.

True Grit by Charles Portis
A fourteen-year-old girl enlists the help of one-eyed U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn to avenge the death of her father, a journey that leads them into Indian Territory.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn [75th Anniversary Ed]A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
An idealistic young girl grows up amid the poverty of a Brooklyn tenement in the early twentieth century.

Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
Based on actual prisoners’ memoirs, this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel blends fact and fiction to present the story of the Andersonville Fortress and its use as a prison by the South during the Civil War.

The Maltese FalconThe Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
A femme fatal in distress visits private investigator Sam Spade with a story of a kidnapped sister and a shady older man.

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
A cattle drive from Texas to Montana encapsulates the history of the American West giving life to standard characters like the scarlet lady with a heart of gold, friendly and unfriendly Indians, pioneers and cowboys.

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
Poor, plain and alone, a young woman marries a rich widower and moves to his great English country house where she is haunted by the memory of his dazzling first wife, Rebecca.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
Barely escaping Earth’s destruction, Arthur Dent travels through space in search of a place to eat, accompanied by his rescuer, the two-headed ex-president of the galaxy and a fellow Earth refugee.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
After the Civil War sweeps away her genteel way of life, spirited Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara struggles to salvage her plantation home.

The MagusThe Magus by John Fowles
A young Englishman accepts a teaching assignment on a remote Greek island where his friendship with a local millionaire evolves into a deadly game.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
An investigator of the supernatural rents an eighty-year-old mansion hoping to find scientific evidence that ghosts exist.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Anna rejects a passionless marriage for a doomed love affair with a dashing military officer and is forced to endure the hypocrisies of society.

The Killer AngelsThe Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
The events immediately before and during the battle of Gettysburg are seen through the eyes of the leading generals.

Crossing to SafetyCrossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
This story offers insight into friendship and marriage through the intertwined lives of two couples.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A newly rich young man tries to recapture the past and win back his former love despite the fact that she has married.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Wilbur the pig is saved by a girl who can hear animals talk and a spider who weaves messages.

Originally published on November 29, 2013 in the Lititz Record Express. (Perhaps the most uneventful date of the year!)