ISU 4U Novel Recommendations
4U1–Independent Study: A Culminating Thematic Comparison:

Topics & Related Readings

Mr. Robinson (Semester 1/08)

1. Below are the topics with related readings for all components of the Independent Study Assignment in this course (worth _____% of your final mark). Choose one topic and at least two of the related readings. Unless otherwise specified by your teacher, your key fiction sources must be the ones listed below with their respective topic.

2. No more than two students may choose the same topic. If two students have chosen the same topic, they must be reading different texts under the same category (there are four related readings to choose from).

3. Remember, you are also required to read additional critical material, author’s background etc. on the texts you choose and you must cite at least ______ critical sources in your final essay.

TOPICS AND RELATED READINGS FOR THE ISU

1. STRESS AND THE MODERN WOMAN

Margaret Laurence, The Diviners

Wally Lamb, She’s Come Undone

Margaret Atwood, The Edible Woman

Kate Chopin, The Awakening

2. GENERATIONS OF FAMILIAL DYSFUNCTION

Wally Lamb, I Know This Much is True

Annie Proulx, The Shipping News

John Irving, The Hotel New Hampshire

Douglas Coupland, All Families are Psychotic

3. OLD AGE AND THE ELDERLY

Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants

Carol Shields, The Stone Diaries

J.M. Coetzee, Slow Man

4. POVERTY AND OPPRESSION

Charles Dickens, Hard Times

Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes

Gabrielle Roy, The Tin Flute

John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

5. INDISCRETIONS

Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

Tom Perrota, Little Children

Margaret Laurence, The Fire-Dwellers

Richard B. Wright, Adultery

6. FUTILITY OF WAR

Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Joseph Boyden, Three Day Road

Erich Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

Timothy Findley, The Wars

7. THE ARTIST’S TEMPERAMENT

John Irving, The World According to Garp

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye

8. INTERSECTING TRAGIC TALES

Douglas Coupland, Hey Nostradamus

Dennis Bock, The Ash Garden

Carol Shields, Swann

Russell Banks, The Sweet Hereafter

9. THE ABUSIVE PARTNER

Alice Walker, The Colour Purple

Russell Banks, Affliction

Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina

Pete Dexter, Paris Trout

10. ‘FUTURE’ DYSTOPIAN SOCIETIES

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

George Orwell, 1984

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

11. COMING OF AGE–MALE

Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

David Gilmour, Lost Between Houses

J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye

Russell Banks, Rule of the Bone

12. COMING OF AGE-FEMALE

Alice Munro, Lives of Girls and Women

Carol Shields, The Box Garden

Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge Of Time

13. RACIAL CONFLICT

Nella Larsen, Passing

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

David Guterson, Snow Falling on Cedars

14. THE ‘GOTHIC ELEMENTS’ NOVEL

Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Anne Rice, Interview with a Vampire

Bram Stoker, Dracula

15. NARRATIVE AS POLITICAL ALLEGORY

Voltaire, Candide

Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels

George Orwell, Animal Farm

Franz Kafka, The Trial

16. IMPERIALISM

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Jamaica Kincaid, My Brother

Rohinton Mistry, Such a Long Journey

V.S. Naipaul, "The Mimic Men"

17. YOUTH, ANGST AND THE GENERATIONAL DIVIDE

Douglas Coupland, The Gum Thief

Rick Moody, The Ice Storm

Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

Stephen Chbosky, the perks of being a wallflower

18. MATERIALISM EXPOSED

Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt

Tom Wolfe, Bonfire of the Vanities

George Eliot, Silas Marner

Honore de Balzac, Pere Goriot

19. FATE/DESTINY

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

Carol Shields, The Republic of Love

Margaret Laurence, A Jest of God

20. THE UNDERCLASS HERO

John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

John Irving, The Cider House Rules

Henry Fielding, Tom Jones

21. ATTEMPTING TO SURVIVE THE ONSLAUGHT

Rohinton Mistry, A Fine Balance

Anne Marie MacDonald, Fall on Your Knees

Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure

Andrew Pyper, The Lost Girls

22. LOVE IN ALL OF ITS COMPLEXITIES

Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

Thomas Hardy, The Return of the Native

Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome

Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

23. THE JOURNEY MOTIF

John Irving, Until I Find You

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Alexander Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

24. THE PSYCHO

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

Patrick Suskind, Perfume

William Faulkner, Sanctuary

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

25. SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Jay McInerney, Bright Lights, Big City

Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Andre Dupuis, House of Sand and Fog

James Frey, A Million Little Pieces

26. THE DISTURBING CRIME

Truman Capote, In Cold Blood

Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

Caleb Carr, Angel of Darkness

Joyce Carol Oates, Black Girl, White Girl

27. SOUTH AFRICAN INTERRACIAL TENSION

J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace

Nadine Gordimer, Occasion for Loving

Doris Lessing, The Grass is Singing

Alan Paton, Cry the Beloved

28. DARK FAMILIAL RELATIONSHIPS

Mary Lawson, Crow Lake

Russell Banks, Affliction

Richard B. Wright, Clara Callan

Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

29. THE LOSS OF INNOCENCE IS INEVITABLE

Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory

Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

Carol Shields, Unless

Alex Garland, The Beach

30. MAGIC REALISM

Gabriel Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Jose Saramago, Blindness

Isabel Allende, The House of Spirits

Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate

31. THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE

Michael Ondaatje, In the Skin of a Lion

Annie Proulx, Accordian Crimes

Anita Rau Badami, Can You Hear the Nightbird Call?

Jane Urquhart, Away

32. THE SLAVE EXPERIENCE

Lawrence Hill, The Book of Negroes

Lori Lansens, Rush Home Road

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe

Aphra Behn, Oroonoko

33. CONSCIENCE AND CRIMINALITY

Graham Greene, Brighton Rock

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

David Benioff, City of Thieves

Graham Swift, Waterland

34. BEAUTY AND BRUTALITY

Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides

35. LONG-SUPPRESSED LOVE

Thomas Hardy, Far From the Madding Crowd

George Eliot, Middlemarch

Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Gabriel Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

36. SECRETS

Anita Shreve, The Pilot’s Wife

Jodi Picoult, Plain Truth

Nella Larsen, Passing

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

37. POST-CATASTROPHE

Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake

Kurt Vonnegut, Galapagos

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Walter M. Miller, Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz

38. A DOMINICAN & HAITIAN EXPLORATION

Julia Alvarez, In the Time of the Butterflies

Madison Smart Bell, All Soul’s Rising

Loida Maritza Perez, Geographies of Home

Julia Alvarez, How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents

39. RELATIONSHIPS UNDER THE GRIP OF SOCIAL FORCES

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

George Eliot, Middlemarch

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Ismail Kadare, Broken April

40. CROSS-CULTURAL RELATIONSHIPS

E.M Forster, Passage to India

Zadie Smith, White Teeth

Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

Caryl Phillips, A Distant Shore

41. THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR

Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain

Howard Bahr, The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War

Michael Shaara, The Killer Angels

Wilma Dykeman, The Tall Woman

42. THE SEARCH FOR MEANING BEYOND THE MATERIAL

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth

Joseph Conrad, Nostromo

43. COPING IN AN INDIFFERENT WORLD

Russell Banks, The Sweet Hereafter

Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge

John Irving, A Widow for One Year

Douglas Coupland, Hey Nostradamus

44. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, LITERACY AND SOCIAL REFORM

Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran

J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians

Philip Roth, The Human Stain

Richard Powers, Plowing the Dark

45. RELATIONSHIPS AND FUSED IDENTITIES

Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

A.S. Byatt, Possession

Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea

Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

46. EXPLORING LOSS AND DISORIENTATION

J.M Coetzee, The Master of Petersburg

Albert Camus, The Stranger

Graham Swift, Last Orders

Milan Kundera, Immortality

47. THE INTERCONNECTEDNESS OF LOSS AND INJUSTICE

William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

Toni Morrison, Beloved

Nadine Gordimer, My Son’s Story

Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

48. THE INTERCONNECTEDNESS OF REDEMPTION AND HOPE

Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible

Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

Andrew Miller, Oxygen

John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

49. SHAME AND BETRAYALS

Anita Diamante, The Red Tent

Ian McEwen, Atonement

Anita Rau Badami, The Hero’s Walk

William Kennedy, Ironweed

50. OVERCOMING CHILDHOOD TRAUMA

Ann-Marie MacDonald, Fall on Your Knees

Keri Hulme, The Bone People

Ursula Haggi, Stones in the River

Andrew Pyper, Lost Girls

51. THE MISUSE OF POWER

Phillippa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl

Robert Penn Warren, All the King’s Men

Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes

Vladimir Nabakov, Lolita

52. THE QUINTESSENTIAL CANADIAN EXPERIENCE

Margaret Atwood, Surfacing

Alistair Macleod, No Great Mischief

Guy Vanderhaeghe, The Englishman’s Boy

Gabrielle Roy, The Tin Flute

53. MADNESS OR IN FACT SANITY?

Timothy Findley, The Last of the Crazy People

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

54. FACT OR FICTION?

Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels

James Frey, A Million Little Pieces

Caleb Carr, The Alienist

55. ALIENATION

Franz Kafka, America

Richard Wright, Native Son

Jeanette Winterson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club

56. THE SEARCH FOR TRANSCENDENCE AND FAMILIAL INFLUENCE

Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees

William Somerset Maughm, The Razor’s Edge

John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Henry James, The Ambassadors

57. BASEBALL AS A SOCIAL FORCE

W.P. Kinsella, Shoeless Joe

Bernard Malamud, The Natural

David Halberstram, Summer of ‘49

David James Duncan, The Brothers K

58. ABORIGINAL VOICES

Thomas King, Truth & Bright Water

Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine

Kevin Major, Blood Red Ochre

Tony Hillerman, Dance Hall of the Dead

59. MOCKING THE AMERICAN MID-WEST?

Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections

Don DeLillo, White Noise

Sinclair Lewis, Main Street

Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America

60. EXPERIMENTS IN THE POSTMODERN NOVEL

Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Douglas Coupland, J-Pod

Cory Doctorow, Eastern Standard Tribe

J.M. Coetzee, Elizabeth Costello