Modern British Literature 



The hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy. Douglas Adams.
A comedic tour de force for sci-fi fans. A group of interstellar misfits careen through outer space commenting on everything they encounter and some things they don't. It's the first in a series that includes The restaurant at the end of the universe and Life, the universe, and everything.

Watership down. Richard Adams.
Fiver and a small group of rabbits, forewarned by a premonition, escapes the death that befalls the rest of their warren and set off to find a safer place to live. Along the way, the rabbits encounter many dangers.

Lucky Jim. Kingsley Amis.
Jim Dixon, a junior lecturer at a British college, is thoroughly disgusted with the presence of nitwits in the school.

The Rachel papers. Martin Amis.
Charles Highway is nearly twenty and on his way to Oxford. As a pit stop along the way, he thinks he'd like to seduce a girl named Rachel.

The handmaid's tale. Margaret Atwood.
Offred is a woman living in the Republic of Gilead, where women are only of value when they are able to reproduce. This futuristic tale is a satirical commentary on population problems.

Empire of the sun. J. G. Ballard.
A young boy named Jamie is separated from his parents when they leave Shanghai at the beginning of the second world war. Jamie ends up in a Japanese Civilian Assembly Center along with other displaced people.

The death of the heart. Elizabeth Bowen.
Portia, a young orphan, moves in with her brother Thomas in London. Portia's naivete leads her to a relationship with Eddie, a man of questionable character.

A clockwork orange. Anthony Burgess.
Alex is a young man with no sense of right or wrong. After Alex is nabbed by the coppers, an attempt is made to rehabilitate him--with disastrous results. Burgess invented a language to suit this authoritarian fairytale.

Farenheit 451. Ray Bradbury.
Guy Montag is a fireman in the future -- a future where firemen burn books. He loves his job until he meets a young woman who tells him about a time when people read books instead of destroying them. Suddenly, he's intent on saving books, but that's a dangerous job!

Manservant and maidservant. Ivy Compton-Burnett.
Horace Lamb undergoes a transformation from mean-spirited tyrant to general nice guy. But can others overlook their memories of his former self?

Heart of darkness. Joseph Conrad.
Marlowe sets out to find Kurtz, a legendary ivory trader, in the wilds of Africa. As he journeys through the interior of the continent, Marlowe comes face to face with the brutality of colonialism. Be on the lookout for shrunken heads.

Bridget Jones's diary. Helen Fielding
Bridget records the vital statistics of her life including all important info like men salivated over, cigarettes inhaled, calories consumed, weight gained, and embarrassment suffered. Hillarious!

A passage to India. E. M. Forster.
Miss Adela Quested, Mrs. Moore, and Cyril Fielding are newcomers to India who all encounter Dr. Aziz, an educated, wealthy Indian man. In a time when friendship between English and Indian people was frowned upon, these four become unlikely friends until an allegation of misconduct is raised.

A room with a view. E. M. Forster
Lucy Honeychurch is in Italy with her aunt when she meets George Emerson, to whom she is attracted against her better judgement--he is beneath her socially. Lucy must choose between George and a more "suitable" suitor when she returns to England. An engaging romantic comedy. (The movie is great, too! Matthew Modine was so cute back then...)

The yellow wallpaper. Charlotte Perkins Gillman.
Sentenced to bed-rest, an unnamed woman robbed of her rights as a patient and a human begins a descent into insanity that starts with the contemplation of her room▓s annoying, dirty wallpaper.

The lord of the flies. William Golding.
Stranded on a desert island after their plane crashes, a group of boys must try to survive without any adult supervision.

Blindness. Henry Green.
As John Hayes loses his vision, his failure to understand the people around him becomes more and more apparent

The heart of the matter. Graham Greene.
Pity has replaced passion in Scobie's marriage and when another woman needs him at least as much as his own wife does, his loyalties are torn.

High Fidelity Nick Hornby.
Rob Fleming's life is falling apart. His girlfriend has moved out, he's not employed in one of his all-time-top-five jobs, and he feels like his life is going nowhere. Rob's solution: to figure out where his dating life fell apart by bugging ex-girlfriends. A music-lover's paradise, this funny novel is even better than the movie.

A brave new world. Aldous Huxley.
In this futuristic world, babies are born in test tubes, sex is only permitted for breeders, and people are tracked for their roles in society from the day they're conceived. So when Bernard Marx falls in love, there are bound to be problems.

The remains of the day. Kazuo Ishiguro.
Stevens, an English butler who strives for perfection, has difficulty reconciling his idea that he worked for a great man with the popular reaction against his former employer, whose connections to Nazis in the World War II era are dubious.

D. H. Lawrence. Lady Chatterley's lover.
Connie, a bored upper class woman, becomes involved with Mellor, the game keeper hired by her husband.

The fifth child. Doris Lessing.
Harriet and David Lovatt, a young middle class couple, buy a big house and have child after child. But with the birth of their fifth child, who's abnormally ugly, mean, strong, and hungry, the Lovatt's get more than they bargained for.

Therapy. David Lodge.
Television writer Lawrence Passmore seeks therapy in any of its many forms (from aroma- to pyscho-) in this wry novel.

Of human bondage Somerset Maugham.
Philip Carey was raised by his ultra-religious aunt and uncle. After studying art in Paris, Philip returns to England where he meets a young woman who changes his life.

Wide Sargasso Sea. Jean Rhys.
After marrying an Englishman, Antoinette Cosway moves from her family home in the West Indies and begins a rapid descent into madness. The story is told from both Antoinette's and her husbands perspective.

Brideshead revisited Evelyn Waugh.
While stationed at Brideshead, Charles Ryder reminisces about his relationships with the Marchmain family before the first world war.

The war of the worlds. H. G. Wells.
Aliens descend on the planet, wreaking havoc and scaring everyone!

The time machine. H. G. Wells.
The Time Traveler goes forward to the year 802,700 to find a strangely different planet with two types of creatures, the Eloi and the Morlocks. The Eloi consume things made by the Morlocks and the Morlocks hunt the Eloi.

Trainspotting. Irvine Welsh.
Renton, a twenty-something heroin addict in Scotland, is an incredible slacker with a sarcastic sense of humor and a bleak look on life.

Ordinary people. Judith Guest.
A family struggles to regain normalcy after the accidental boating death of a son and brother, Buck. Relationships between mother, Judith and father, Cal are especially strained after their other son, Conrad, attempts to commit suicide.

The picture of Dorian Grey. Oscar Wilde.
Like Peter Pan, Dorian Gray wishes to never grow old or ugly. He gets his heart's desire, but is burdened with a painting of himself that ages instead.

The Code of the Woosters. P. G. Wodehouse.
Wacky Bertie Wooster is rescued from countless dilemmas by his trusty manservant, Jeeves, in this hilarious book.

The house of seven gables. Nathaniel Hawthorne.
A curse on their mansion has plagued the Pyncheon family for generations. A suspenseful, dark tale that calls guilt and redemption into question.

To the lighthouse. Virginia Woolfe.
The Ramsay family's summer visits to the Isle of Skye are reflected on in this novel written with a stream-of-consciousness style.