Tag Archives: The Great American Read

Friday Reads: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Set during the Civil War and following years, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women tells the story of four remarkable sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. When we first meet them, they, and their mother, struggle to make ends meet while their father serves as a minster in the Union army. Despite their lack of material wealth, the Marches share what little they have with their poorer neighbors. This charitable act catches the eye of their wealthy neighbor James Laurence and his grandson, Laurie. Over the course of the novel, Laurie grows close to the sisters, particularly Jo.

In writing Little Women, Alcott drew heavily from her childhood in Concord, Massachusetts, the book’s principal setting. Like the Marches, the Alcott family struggled financially at times. The Alcott family also followed American transcendentalism or the belief that people and nature are inherently good. On numerous occasions, Alcott’s characters express a belief in transcendentalism. Even when they’re at their lowest, they choose to see the good in others. Additionally, the character of Jo is said to be drawn from Alcott. They not only shared numerous personality traits, but both chose to pursue literary careers at a time when middle class women did not work outside of the home.

While Little Women takes place during the late-nineteenth century, the story continues to strike a chord with today’s readers. Like modern girls, the March sisters fall in love, encounter envy, struggle to fit in with wealthy friends, fight with siblings, and find their way in the world. We rejoice at Meg’s marriage, laugh at Jo’s antics, and weep when they lose loved ones because these are universal experiences we all go through at some point. In other words, we see ourselves in the Marches.

Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women. New York: Signet Classics, 2004. Originally published 1868.

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“The Great American Read” Books available to Talking Book and Braille Service readers

The Great American Read LogoThis reading list, curated by PBS, shows the diversity of America’s 100 most beloved fiction books. Voting for America’s greatest novel began May 22nd and will end in October 2018. Learn more about The Great American Read and how to vote at http://www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/about/show/

For library patrons who can’t use regular print, all but four of the Great American Read titles are available in the talking book format. If you know readers who would love to be involved, but their vision is making it hard to use regular print, they can’t hold a book, or turn pages, the Nebraska Library Commission Talking Book and Braille Service is here to help! You can use the 5-digit numbers beside the book titles below to order these and many other wonderful books and magazines. Simply give us a call anywhere in Nebraska by dialing 1-800-742-7691, or visit our section of the NLC website.

DB Title and Author
73474 1984 by George Orwell
50482 A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
29012 A Prayer for Owen Meany: A Novel by John Irving
24697 A Separate Peace by John Knowles
44769 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
53084 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
65599 The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Alex Cross Series by James Patterson
50842 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
77188 Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
11077 And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
(also within DB 53999)
56114 Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
(also within DB 50475)
51074 Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
26026 Beloved by Toni Morrison
62431 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
65402 The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
49486 The Call of the Wild by Jack London
48063 Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
47480 Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
74950 Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
50083 Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
52680 Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
57412 Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah
58842 The Color Purple by Alice Walker
56946 Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas
50147 Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
56893 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
55735 The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
24290 Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
26423 Doña Bárbára by Rómulo Gallegos
44126 Dune by Frank Herbert
74504 Fifty Shades of Grey series by E.L. James
36176 Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
80139 Foundation series by Isaac Asimov
book 1 10365, book 2 80139, book 3 10610
25835 Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
45742 Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin
Prequel Companion  80183, Prequel Anthology  80183
book 1 45742, book 2 49913, book 3 51406,
book 4 62348, book 5 73557
85921 Ghost by Jason Reynolds
59561 Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
37689 The Giver by Lois Lowry
25677 The Godfather by Mario Puzo
74888 Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
33082 Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
68308 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
53991 Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
16147 The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
23150 Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
24695 The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
book 1 47260, book 2 48437, book 3 48772, book 4 50228,
book 5 56062,  book 6 60262, book 7 64495
30535 Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
12613 Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
68889 The Help by Kathryn Stockett
18339 Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
book 1 68384, book 2 69689,  book 3, 71734
21513 The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
56346 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
47868 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
29021 The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
32018 Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
47462 Left Behind by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
44071 The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
18128 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Lonesome Dove series by Larry McMurtry
book 1 43928, book 2 45001, book 3 22959, book 4 37323
61873 Looking for Alaska by John Green
The Lord of the Rings (series) by J.R.R. Tolkien
prequel 48978, book 1 47486,  book 2 47487, book 3 47488
54698 The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
78389 The Martian by Andy Weir
45008 Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
34184 Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
43180 The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
25181 One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
book 1 36535,  book 2 36536, book 3 38591, book 4 43320
book 5 53366,  book 6 61201, book 7 70073,  book 8 79331
22433 The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
56794 The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
59950 The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
30999 The Pillars of The Earth by Ken Follett
50549 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
73772 Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
11106 Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
67237 The Shack by William P. Young
52190 Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
15759 The Sirens Of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
12942 The Stand by Stephen King
34114 The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
26498 Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon
Tales of The City series by Armistead Maupin
book 1 39531, book 2 39602, book 3 39603,  book 4 39604,
book 5  39605, book 6 39606, book 7 65336, book 8 72107,
book 9 78276
35745 Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
47510 Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
29252 This Present Darkness by Frank. E. Peretti
36414 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Twilight Saga series by Stephanie Meyer
book 1 82750, book 2 64367, book 3 65812,  book 4 67238
67136 War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
25982 Watchers by Dean Koontz
The Wheel of Time series by  Robert Jordan and Brandon
prequel 57628, book 1 57628, book 2 34701,  book 3 34702,
book 4 36984, book 5 37569, book 6 39661,  book 7 43043,
book 8 47082, book 9 51203, book 10 55506, book 11 62078,
book 12 70020, book 13 71926, book 14 76085
32449 Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
50261 White Teeth by Zadie Smith
25178 Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
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