The Help by Kathryn Stockett (HF STO)
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step. Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken. Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own. Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines (HF GAI)
Tells the story of a young African-American man sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit, and a teacher who tries to impart to him his learning and pride before the execution.
Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns (HF BUR)
The unforgettable characters of Cold Sassy, Georgia, are presented in this heartwarming story of modern times coming to a small Southern town. Grandpa Blakeslee marries a young milliner just three weeks after Granny Blakeslee has gone to her reward. Young Will is boggled by this act but becomes the newlyweds' conspirator and confidant; meanwhile he does some growing up on his own.
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (F ENG)
In the 1960s, a spiritual man named Jeremiah Land sets out from his Minnesota home with his young son and daughter to find his elder son, Davy, after he escapes jail on the morning of his sentencing for murder.
A Time to Kill by John Grisham (MYS GRI)
In Clanton, Mississippi, the life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young men. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime, until her black father acquires an assault rifle and takes justice into his own outraged hands.
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson (HF GUT)
When a newspaper journalist covers the trial of a Japanese American accused of murder, he must come to terms with his own past.
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton (HF PAT)
Accused of murdering a white man, a young black South African turns to his minister father and a white attorney for help, but the racial problems of the country prevent justice from being served.
Let the Circle Be Unbroken by Mildred Taylor (HF TAY)
Four black children growing up in rural Mississippi during the Depression experience racial antagonisms and hard times, but learn from their parents the pride and self-respect they need to survive.
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (HF MCC)
A deaf-mute who has lost his only friend to a hospital for the insane becomes the recipient of the confidences of several other town residents.
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (F IRV)
Tells the story of Owen Meany who believes he is God's instrument and his friendship with John Wheelwright; beginning at age eleven when Owen hits a foul ball that kills John's mother during a Little League game in 1953.
The Burying Field by Kenneth Abel (F ABE)
Attorney Danny Chiasson becomes caught up in a web of violence and murder when he is hired by a powerful New Orleans real estate developer to look into a racially explosive situation set off by the discovery of an old slave burial ground at the site of a proposed shopping mall and housing complex.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis (HF CUR)
The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African-American family living in Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963.