1. How Green Was My Valley, Richard Llewellyn. Historical, religious, sentimental. Family is very important as it is being pulled apart by the Industrial Revolution in coal mining Wales. M
*2. Kitty Foyle, Christopher Morely. Modern life, beginnings of feminism, class consciousness in Philadelphia of the 20s and 30s. M
3) Mrs Miniver, Jan Struther. War time in England (WWII) with a traditional view on women, very sentimental, made into an Oscar winning movie. M
*4) For Whom The Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway. Spanish Civil War, issues of freedom, democracy, communism.
5. The Nazarene, Sholem Asch. Life of Jesus and the relation of Christian and Jew.
6. Stars on the Sea, F van Wyck Mason. Revolutionary War and the forming of the first American Navy.
7. Oliver Wiswell, Kenneth Roberts. Revolutionary War again but from the Tory view. They don't teach that in school.
*8. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck. The Dust Bowl story; poverty, oppression of the worker, human greed vs human spirit. Pulitzer Prize M
9. Night in Bombay, Louis Bromfield. Leisure class men and women coming of age vs a man who wants to be of use.
10. The Family, Nina Fedorova. War in China, White Russian immigrants, family, honor, religion.
THE OTHER BOOKS
*1. The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene. Religion suppressed by political change in Mexico, questions of faith.
2. The Hamlet, William Faulkner. Good and evil, stupidity and cupidity in small town southern America.
*3. Native Son, Richard Wright. Racial suppression in Chicago, the Black experience.
*4. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers. Loneliness, social disturbance, Reds, discrimination, coming of age and search for love and connection.
*5. The Morning Is Near Us, Susan Glaspell. Family issues and the healing spirit of a woman and love, not sentimental but real.
*6. The Sword and the Stone, The Queen of Air and Darkness, TH White. The first two books of The Once and Future King, which is the Arthur legend. Dreams of peace and unity, history of the fatal flaw.
*7. World's End, Upton Sinclair. First of a 10 volume series which begins pre WWI. This book introduces Lanny Budd, the hero of the books and follow his young life. War, the truth about war, art and its purpose, coming of age.
8. Farewell My Lovely, Raymond Chandler. Crime in LA, severe societal dysfunction.
*9. The Bird in the Tree, Elizabeth Goudge. (One of my favorite writers.) Family, a strong woman, religion, the ravages of war on personal lives, art.
10. Sapphira and the Slave Girl, Willa Cather. Racial discrimination, the difficulty of women's' lives whether black or white.
11. My Name is Aram, William Saroyan. Immigrant life, rising above poverty and lack of opportunity.
12. Call It Courage, Armstrong Sperry. Polynesian boy has adventures on the sea and overcomes his fears. Newbery Award.
13. They Were Strong and Good, Robert Lawson. A family genealogy of people who built this country. Caldecott Award.
* means I especially liked the book.
M means it was made into a movie.