Fiction

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The Alchemist
Paulo Coelho

“To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.”—from The Alchemist

The Alchemist tells the story of Santiago, the young Andalusian shepherd who dreams of buried treasure in Egypt and embarks upon a challenging journey to find it. With all the simplicity and symbolic richness of a fable, Coelho’s novel is both a hunt for buried treasure and a spiritual quest, with a hero who overcomes trials along the way with the help of teachers who guide him.

Paulo Coelho’s books have difficult—and valuable—lessons to impart, but much of their appeal comes from the way Coelho dramatizes these lessons. With exquisite simplicity, the author brings to these stories his own experience of confronting life’s most profound challenges, his broad knowledge of philosophy, psychology, and literature, and a deeply-felt humanity.



Freshman Common Read: Erskine College, Montana State University at Bozeman, Immaculata University

Harper One: 208 pp.
2006 • 978-0-06-112241-5 • pb • $14.99 ($16.99/CAN)
Available in an e-book edition.
Free teaching materials are available here.

About the Author
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Paulo Coelho
Paulo Coelho, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, is one of the bestselling and most influential authors in the world. The Alchemist, The Pilgramage, The Valkyries, Brida, Veronika Decides to Die, Eleven Minutes, The Zahir, The Witch of Portobello, and The Winner Stands Alone, among others, have sold 115 million copies in more than 160 countries. 

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The Round House
A Novel
Louise Erdrich

· Winner of the 2012 National Book Award for Fiction

This exquisitely told story set on the Ojibwe reservation in contemporary North Dakota follows a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family. 

The Round House is “moving, complex, and surprisingly uplifting. . . likely to be dubbed the Native American To Kill a Mockingbird.” (Parade)

“Erdrich skillfully makes Joe’s coming-of-age both universal and specific    . .. the story is also ripe with detail about reservation life.”—Library Journal

Freshman Common Read: University of Minnesota, University of Oregon

Harper Perennial: 368 pp.
2013 • 978-0-06-206525-4 • pb • $15.99 ($17.99/CAN)
Available in an e-book edition.

About the Author
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All Involved
A Novel
Ryan Gattis

At 3:15 p.m. on April 29, 1992, a jury acquitted three white Los Angeles Police Department officers charged with using excessive force to subdue a black man named Rodney King, and failed to reach a verdict on the same charges involving a fourth officer. Less than two hours later, the city exploded in violence that lasted six days. In nearly 121 hours, fifty-three lives were lost. But there were even more deaths unaccounted for: violence that occurred outside of active rioting sites by those who used the chaos to viciously settle old scores. 

A gritty and cinematic work of fiction, All Involved vividly re-creates this turbulent and terrifying time, set in a sliver of Los Angeles largely ignored by the media during the riots. Ryan Gattis tells seventeen interconnected first-person narratives that paint a portrait of modern America itself—laying bare our history, our prejudices, and our complexities. 

“An overwhelming and fully immersive performance from Gattis, who finds the humanity and poetry in the most inhumane of circumstances. A solid addition to all fiction collections, though not for the fainthearted.”—Library Journal

Ecco: 384 pp.
2016 
978-0-06-237880-4  pb $15.99 ($19.99/CAN)

About the Author

Ryan Gattis
Ryan Gattis is the author of the novels Roo Kickkick & the Big Bad Blimp and Kung Fu High School, as well as the novellas The Big Drop: Homecoming and The Big Drop: Impermanence. He lectures at Chapman University and is a member of the urban art group UGLAR. Gattis lives in Los Angeles.

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Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
A Novel
Ben Fountain

· Winner of the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for Fiction and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction, and a National Book Award Finalist

Three minutes and forty-three seconds of intense warfare with Iraqi insurgents—and the video that went viral—transformed the Bravo Squad into America’s most sought-after heroes. Ben Fountain’s novel follows the surviving members of the Bravo Squad through one exhausting stop in their media-intensive "Victory Tour" at Texas Stadium, football mecca of the Dallas Cowboys.

“Fountain’s excellent first novel follows a group of soldiers at a Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving Day . . . Through the eyes of the titular soldier, Fountain creates a minutely observed portrait of a society with woefully misplaced priorities.”—The New Yorker

“[A] masterful gut-punch of a debut novel.”—Washington Post

Freshman Common Read: Brandeis University

Ecco: 320 pp.
2012 • 978-0-06-088561-8 • pb • $14.99 ($16.99/CAN)
Available in an e-book edition.

About the Author
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Ben Fountain
Ben Fountain is the author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara. He has received the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction, a Whiting Writers’ Award, an O. Henry Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, and two Texas Institute of Letters Short Story Awards, among other honors and awards. His fiction has been published in Harper’s, the Paris Review, Zoetrope: All-Story, and Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, and his nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times and the New York Times Sunday Magazine, among other publications. His coverage of post-earthquake Haiti was nationally broadcast on the radio show This American Life. He and his family live in Dallas, Texas.

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Orphan Train
A Novel
Christina Baker Kline

Orphan Train tells the story of the unlikely friendship between Molly Ayers, a foster-kid hoping to avoid juvie, and Vivian Daly, the elderly woman she has been assigned to help. Shared experience serves to unite them as it comes to light that the aged Vivian spent time on “orphan trains,” which ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest from 1854 to 1929, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. The subject matter will grab students' attention because so few people know about this particularly heartbreaking piece of American history and the novel’s message of resilience and unlikely bonds will carry them through.

“A compelling story about loss, adaptability, and courage . . . With compassion and delicacy Kline presents a little-known chapter of American history and draws comparisons with the modern-day foster care system.” —Library Journal

Freshman Common Read: University of Alabama (Honors College)

William Morrow Paperbacks: 304 pp.
2013 • 978-0-06-195072-8 • pb • $14.99 ($16.99/CAN)
Available in an e-book edition.

About the Author
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Christina Baker Kline
Christina Baker Kline is the author of five novels, including Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be. Writer-in-Residence at Fordham University from 2007-2011, Kline is a recent recipient of a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Fellowship and several research fellowships (to Ireland and Minnesota), and has been a Writer-in-Residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She lives with her husband and three sons in Montclair, New Jersey, and spends as much time as possible in northern Minnesota and on the coast of Maine, where she grew up.

Louise Erdrich
Louise Erdrich is the author of fourteen novels as well as volumes of poetry, short stories, childrens’s books, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel Love Medicine won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse was a finalist for the National Book Award, and The Plague of Doves won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. In 2012, her highly praised and bestselling novel, The Round House, won the National Book Award for Fiction. Louise Erdrich lives in Minnesota and is the owner of Birchbark Books, an independent bookstore. 

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About the Author

Nadia Hashimi
Nadia Hashimi’s parents left Afghanistan in the 1970s, before the Soviet invasion that led to decades of war. She was raised in the U.S. and in 2002 made her first trip to Afghanistan with her parents. Hashimi is a pediatrician and lives with her family in the Washington D.C. suburbs.

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell
A Novel
Nadia Hashimi

Afghan-American author Nadia Hashimi’s The Pearl That Broke Its Shell tells the entwined stories of two Afghan women in the same family, separated by a century, who find freedom in the tradition of bacha posh—an ancient custom that allows girls to dress and live as boys . . . until they are of marriageable age. Crisscrossing in time, it is a luminous and unforgettable tale of two women, destiny, and identity in Afghanistan.

“[Hashimi]’s always engaging multigenerational tale is a portrait of Afghanistan in all of its perplexing, enigmatic glory, and a mirror into the still ongoing struggles of Afghan women.”Khaled Hosseini, author of And the Mountains Echoed and The Kite Runner

William Morrow: 464 pp.
2015 • 978-0-06-224476-5 • pb • $15.99 ($19.99/CAN)
Available in an e-book edition.

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Another Brooklyn
A Novel
Jacqueline Woodson

This novel from the National Book Award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming is a look back on four friends’ fifteenth year: the year that changed them all forever.

Against the backdrop of a changing neighborhood and a changing world, four brown teenage girls are figuring out their lives. Their dreams of modeling, lawyering, dancing, and writing feeling very real until “the most beautiful among us” becomes pregnant. Suddenly, the world is different, more dangerous, their vulnerability more evident, and their dreams of success begin to feel like part of “another Brooklyn, a different time.” 

“The novel’s richness defies its slim page count. In her poet’s prose, Woodson not only shows us backward-glancing August attempting to stave off growing up and the pains that betray youth, she also wonders how we dream of a life parallel to the one we’re living.”
   — Booklist (Starred Review)

Amistad: 192 pp.
2016 • 978-0-06-235998-8 • hc • $22.99 ($28.50/CAN)

Paperback available in August 2017:
978-0-06-235999-5 • pb • $16.99 ($21.00/CAN)

Available in e-book and digital audio editions.

About the Author
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Jacqueline Woodson
Bestselling author Jacqueline Woodson is the 2014 National Book Award Winner for her New York Times bestselling memoir BROWN GIRL DREAMING, which was also a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, the NAACP Image Award and the Sibert Honor Award. She is the author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders and children. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York. 

Go Set a Watchman
A Novel
Harper Lee

Go Set a Watchman is Harper Lee’s earliest known novel. Assumed to have been lost, the manuscript was discovered in late 2014,and is now published for the first time. Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman is set during an era of rapid change and significant progress in Civil Rights legislation, and it engages with questions of racial equality and justice that are still at the forefront of our national conversation.

“A significant aspect of this novel is that it asks us to see Atticus now not merely as a hero, a god, but as a flesh-and-blood man with shortcomings and moral failing, enabling us to see ourselves for all our complexities and contradictions.” —Washington Post

Go Set a Watchman comes to us at exactly the right moment. All important works of art do. They come when we don’t know how much we need them. Only in retrospect, only when they’re already here and we’re discussing the issues they raise and the emotions they engender, do we appreciate the beautiful synchronicity that links the historical moment with the individual imagination that so heroically explores it." —Chicago Tribune

Harper: 288 pp.
2016 • 978-0-06-240986-7 • pb • $15.99 ($19.99/CAN)

Available in e-book and digital audio editions.
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About the Author
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Harper Lee
Harper Lee was born in 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama. She is the author of the acclaimed To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman, which became a phenomenal #1 New York Times bestseller when it was published in July 2015. Ms. Lee received the Pulitzer Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and numerous other literary awards and honors. She died on February 19, 2016.
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Their Eyes Were Watching God
A Novel
Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God, a luminous and haunting novel about Janie Crawford, a Southern black woman in the 1930s whose journey from a free-spirited girl to a woman of independence and substance, continues to inspire the next generation of students.

“No book is more important to me than this one.” —Alice Walker

A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don’t know how to live properly.—Zadie Smith

Freshman Common Read: Manchester Community College —among others

Harper Perennial: 256 pp.
2013 • 978-0-06-083867-6 • pb • $14.99 ($18.50/CAN)

Available in e-book and digital audio editions.
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About the Author
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Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston, the author of Their Eyes Were Watching God, was deemed "one of the greatest writers of our time" by Toni Morrison. With the publication of Lies and Other Tall TalesThe Skull Talks Back, and What's the Hurry, Fox? new generations will be introduced to Hurston's legacy. She was born in Notasulga, Alabama, in 1891, and died in 1960.

Commonwealth
A Novel
Ann Patchett

One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating's christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny's mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families. 

When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another. Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories from an award-winning, bestselling author.

Harper: 336 pp.
2016 • 978-0-06-249179-4 • hc • $27.99 ($34.99/CAN)

Paperback available in May 2017:
978-0-06-2491863-1 • pb • $15.99 ($19.99/CAN)

Available in e-book and digital audio editions.

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About the Author
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Ann Patchett
Ann Patchett is the author of six novels, The Patron Saint of LiarsTaftThe Magician’s AssistantBel CantoRun, and State of Wonder. She was the editor of Best American Short Stories, 2006, and has written three books of nonfiction, Truth & Beauty, about her friendship with the writer, Lucy Grealy, What now? an expansion of her graduation address at Sarah Lawrence College, and, most recently, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, a collection of essays. Ann Patchett lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Karl VanDevender, and their dog, Sparky.
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