Adult Book Lists
Finding the next great book to read can be as easy as scanning a bestsellers list. But sometimes, it pays to dig a little deeper. If you are searching for books in a specific genre, on a topic of interest or would like to find a hidden gem to add to your own personal favorites list, TCPL can help. We offer multiple resources to help you find the perfect book for your next reading adventure.
Please check back for updates and try our Online Catalogs and BookClique Blog for suggestions. Some books may be only available as ebooks. Drop by the information desk on help using them, or to request and interlibrary loan.
Looking for a classic? Check out these American novels.
The Adventures of Augie March – Saul Bellow
Born out of wedlock, brought up in the poverty of Chicago, Augie takes life as it comes and wherever he can get it.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
A Missouri boy tells of adventure on the Mississippi.
An American Tragedy – Theodore Dreiser
Ambitious Clyde Griffiths has an affair with Roberta. But Roberta’s pregnancy does not fit into Clyde’s plan for success, so he murders her.
The Awakening – Kate Chopin
Edna Pontellier, an unhappy wife and mother, discovers new qualities in herself when she visits Grand Isle, a resort for the Creole elite of New Orleans.
Beloved – Toni Morrison
Preferring death over slavery for her children, Sethe murders her infant daughter who later mysteriously returns and almost destroys the lives of her mother and sister.
Bless Me, Ultima – Rudolfo Anaya
Ultima, a wise old mystic, helps a young Hispanic boy resolve personal dilemmas caused by the differing backgrounds and aspirations of his parents and society.
The Bridge of San Luis Rey – Thornton Wilder
The story of five travelers who are victims of the collapse of a bridge built over a deep chasm in Peru.
Call of the Wild – Jack London
Stolen from his life as a beloved pet, Buck must learn to adapt to abuse as a Klondike sled dog, to life with a loving master, and then as leader of the pack in the wild.
Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
In this satirical novel, Captain Yossarian confronts the hypocrisy of war and bureaucracy as he frantically attempts to survive.
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
A ribald, hilarious, and touching tale of a sixteen-year-old’s wanderings in New York for three days after he is dropped from his school.
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
In a series of letters to God and her sister, Celie reveals her struggle to overcome the violence and brutality of her life.
The Complete Tales & Poems – Edgar Allan Poe
Outstanding tales of mystery and suspense rise from the pen of one of the greatest mystery writers of all time. These chilling tales are not for the nervous.
Death Comes for the Archbishop – Willa Cather
Bishop Latour and his friend Father Vaillant a dispatched to New Mexico to convert the denizens to Catholicism. But a death is what leaves their mark on the landscape forever.
Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
In a world decimated by alien attacks, the government trains young geniuses like Ender Wiggin in military strategy with increasingly complex computer games.
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
Books are for burning in this future society in which thinking and reading are crimes.
A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway
World War I is the setting for this love story of an English nurse and a wounded American ambulance officer.
Go Tell It On the Mountain – James Baldwin
Fourteen- year-old John struggles against the sins of his forefathers and the sensuous evils of Harlem to attain a religious conversion that reflects man’s battle for inner peace.
Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
Scheming, beautiful Scarlett O’Hara and unscrupulous Rhett Butler make this story of the Civil War adventurous and absorbing.
The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
An Oklahoma farmer and his family leave the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression to go to the promised land of California.
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Lives of wealthy persons in the New York are during the “roaring twenties” are carefully portrayed.
Grendel – John Gardner
In this interpretation of the Beowulf legend, the monster Grendel relates his struggle to understand the ugliness in himself and mankind in the brutal world of fourteenth century Denmark.
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
In Gilead, a Christian fundamentalist dystopia, fertile lower-class women serve as birthmothers for the upper class.
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers
The deaf-mute John Singer becomes the talisman for the dreams and yearnings of four people in a small Southern town.
In the Time of the Butterflies – Juila Alverez
Dede, the only survivor of the four Mirabel sisters, code named Mariposas or butterflies, reveals their role in the liberation of the Dominican Republic from the dictator Trujillo.
The Jungle – Upton Sinclair
This gritty description of urban life at the turn of the century shows the moral and physical degradation of a “jungle” in which humans barely live better than animals.
The Magnificent Ambersons – Booth Tarkington
The declining fortunes of the Ambersons is traced through three generations in a Midwestern town.
The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammet
Sam Spade, a shopworn private eye stumbles on a mystery of a treasure worth dying for, and falls for a woman who begs for his help, and later betrays him.
Native Son – Richard Wright
For Bigger Thomas, an African American man accused of a crime in the white man’s world, there can be no extenuating circumstances, no explanations, and only death.
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
When he accidentally kills a woman, Lennie, a mentally challenged migrant worker, is protected by his friend George.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
An irrepressible rebel leads fellow inmates of a mental hospital in a struggle with tyrannical Head Nurse Ratched.
On the Road – Jack Kerouac
Sal Paradise hitchhikes across the United States in a cross-country adventure that helped define the Beat Generation.
A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
Summer 1953, two eleven-year-old best friends are playing in a Little League baseball. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy’s mother. Now, Owen Meany believes he is God’s instrument.
The Postman Always Rings Twice – James M. Cain
An amoral young tramp. A beautiful, sullen woman with an inconvenient husband. A problem that has only one grisly solution–a solution that only creates other problems that no one can ever solve.
The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
Hester Prynne and her lover feel the effects of sin in Puritan New England.
Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut
Billy Pilgrim, an optometrist from Ilium, New York, shuttles between the cellars of Dresden smoldering from Allied bombardment and a luxurious zoo on the planet Tralfamadore.
The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
The tragic life of the Compsons, a degenerate Southern family, is described by Benjy, a thirty-three-year-old mentally challenged man.
To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
A young girl tells of life in a small Alabama town in the 1930s and her father’s defense in court of an African American accused of raping a white woman.
Winesburg, Ohio – Sherwood Anderson
Everyday life of this small Ohio town is captured during its period of transition from agrarianism to modern industrialization. The denizens of Winesburg struggle to find their place in this microcosm of modern society.
Looking for a classic? Enjoy some of these titles from the U.K.
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The brilliant, analytical detective Sherlock Holmes and his friend, Dr. Watson, put Scotland Yard to shame as they outwit the villainous Moriarty.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland –
Weary of her storybook, the young and imaginative Alice follows a hasty hare underground, and comes face-to-face with some of the strangest adventures.
Animal Farm – George Orwell
A satire on communism and totalitarianism
Brave New World* – Aldous Huxley
In a chilling vision of the future, babies are produced in bottles and exist in a mechanized world without soul.
Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
This novel looks back to the golden age before the Second World War. It tells the story of Charles Ryder’s infatuation with the Marchmains and the rapidly-disappearing world of privilege they inhabit.
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
In a frightening fable of good and evil, a nightmarish vision of the future is presented, where criminals take over after dark. Told by the central character, Alex, in a brutal invented slang, his friends’ social pathology rises.
Dracula – Bram Stoker
Count Dracula’s practice of drinking the blood of his victim is finally ended by a group of stalwart English.
Dubliners – James Joyce
This work of art reflects life in Ireland at the turn of the last century, and by rejecting euphemism, reveals to the Irish their unromantic reality.
Frankenstein* – Mary Shelley
A Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, committed science student Victor Frankenstein bestows life upon lifeless matter with disastrous results.
Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
Adventures among the miniature inhabitants of Lilliput, the giants of Brobdingnag, and more strange creatures form a masterful satire on man and human institutions.
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
Dark allegory describes the narrator’s journey up the Congo River and his meeting with, and fascination by, Mr. Kurtz, a mysterious personage who dominates the unruly inhabitants of the region.
Ivanhoe – Sir Walter Scott
The days of Robin Hood and of Saxon and Norman feuds come alive in this story of Medieval England.
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
An unassuming English orphan becomes a governess and falls in love with her employer.
Kidnapped* – Robert Louis Stevenson
Scotland after the rising of Prince Charlie is the background for this adventure story.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D.H. Lawrence
Constance Chatterley is trapped in a loveless marriage, and when she meets the new gamekeeper at her husband’s estate, she finds herself experiencing true love for the first time.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
When Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy took their first steps into the world behind the magic wardrobe, little do they realize what adventures are about to unfold.
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Innocence ends and savagery begins when English school boys are marooned on an ocean island and they attempt to set up a society of their own.
1984 – George Orwell
In a society of the future, individual privacy is invaded as the Thought Police persuade the people that “War is Peace – Freedom is Slavery – Ignorance is Strength.”
Of Human Bondage – William Somerset Maugham
A young man struggling for self-realization, Philip Carey becomes caught in a destructive love affair with a waitress, in a novel about sexual obsession, self-discovery, and the complexities of human relationships.
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
An orphan living on the streets of London falls into a street gang to try and flee poverty. He tries to escape the gang but they will not let him go.
The Once and Future King – T.H. White
King Arthur learns his lessons from Merlin the Magician, creates Camelot, and the Knights of the Round Table, and loves and loses Guinevere.
Passage to India – E.M. Forster
East and West clash in India when an English woman accuses an Indian man of attacking her.
Picture of Dorian Gray* – Oscar Wilde
A handsome young man’s portrait becomes a mirror, increasingly grotesque, of his true inner self.
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The romances of the Bennett girls and the ardent desire of their mother to have them all well married.
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
A ten-year-old orphan comes to live in a lonely house on the Yorkshire moors where she discovers an invalid cousin and the mysteries of a locked garden.
Silas Marner – George Eliot
A young orphan transforms the life of a lonely, embittered man in this novel about faith and society set in nineteenth-century rural England.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde* – Robert Louis Stevenson
Dr. Jekyll discovers a drug that will create a separate personality that will absorb all of his evil characteristics. He calls him Mr. Hyde.
A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
The lives of Alexander Manette and his daughter Lucie and those of Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton become entangled during the French Revolution.
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
The chance discovery by a young peasant woman that she is a descendant of the noble family of d’Urbervilles is to change the course of her life.
The Time Machine – H.G. Wells
The Time Traveler journeys 800,000 years into the future and discovers two bizarre races at war on the Earth, the ethereal Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks.
To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
The Ramsay family and guests travel to Scotland for their vacation on the Isle of Skye. They are faced with loss, conflict, and tension.
The Turn of the Screw* – Henry James
A governess tries to break the spell she believes evil spirits have cast over the two innocent children in her care.
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
No one is better equipped in the struggle for wealth and worldly success than the alluring and ruthless Becky Sharp, who defies her impoverished background to clamber up the class ladder.
Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
Creole heiress Antoinette Cosway meets a young Englishman who is drawn to her innocent sensuality and beauty. But soon after their marriage, rumors of madness in her family poison his mind against her.
Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
A story of intense and frustrated love, of hate and revenge, takes place in the wild moors of England.
Travel around the globe with world literature.
The Kite Runner
A father-son story with themes of guilt and redemption, set against the backdrop of tumultuous events in Afghanistan, from the fall of the country’s monarchy to the rise of the Taliban regime.
A Town Like Alice
Post World-War II, a young English woman emigrates to Australia to join the man she loves and generate economic prosperity.
The Dream of the Red Chamber
Xueqin, Cao [ebook] One of China’s “Four Great Classical Novels,” it chronicles the rise and fall of the Jia family.
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Garcia Marquez, Gabriel
This classic of magical realism tells the story of the Buendia family whose patriarch founds the town of Macondo.
An ordinary man living quietly in Algiers commits a pointless murder.
The Count of Monte Cristo
A thriller set in post-Bonaparte France. Edmond Dantes seeks revenge against those who wrongfully engineered his imprisonment years before.
This story, considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century, explores the themes of law and grace through the story of ex-convict Jean Valjean who becomes a force for good but cannot escape his criminal past.
A country doctor’s wife lives beyond her means and engages in extramarital affairs to escape the banality and boredom of provincial life.
The Little Prince
Saint-Exupery, Antoine d’. [YA] A boy leaves the safety of his home planet to travel the universe in this combination of moral allegory and spiritual autobiography.
Hesse, Hermann [ebook] In this parable of worldliness and renunciation, a young prince of ancient India rejects his luxurious station to search for the path of enlightenment.
All Quiet on the Western Front
Remarque, Erich M. [ebook] The physical and mental stress experienced by German soldiers during WWI, and their difficulty in fitting into society after the war.
A modernist novel that chronicles an ordinary day in the life of Leopold Bloom in Dublin, the book parallels Homer’s Odyssey in structure and through its characters.
The Name of the Rose
A historical murder mystery set in an Italian monastery in the year 1327.
Like Water for Chocolate
Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit.
Things Fall Apart
Pre-and post-colonial late-19th century Nigeria through the life of an Igbo leader and local wrestling champion.
A Nobel-Prize winning trilogy chronicling the life of a woman living in Christian 14th-century Norway.
Crime and Punishment
Dostoevsky, Fyodor [ebook] This masterful psychological novel shows the horror and remorse of a student after he has killed an old woman for her money.
The tragic story of a married socialite and the decline of her life and status after her affair with a nobleman.
Cry, The Beloved Country
A social protest against the structures of South African society, this novel shows many of its problems, such as the degrading of native lands, the decline of tribal communities, and the flight to urban areas.
Alonso Quixano has read so many chivalric romances that he loses his sanity and sets out to right all the wrongs of the world, under the name: “Don Quixote de la Mancha.”
Looking for something close to home? Check out something from this list of author who are from Indiana or have written novels set here.
Ramona K. Cecil
Jeanne M. Dams
Lloyd Cassel Douglas
Sherri Wood Emmons
Sara Hoskinson Frommer
A. B. Gurthrie
K. B. Laugheed
David A. Lottes
George Barr McCutcheon
John T. McCutcheon
Edward Kelsey Moore
Robert Dale Owen
William J. Palmer
David Graham Phillips
James Whitcomb Riley
Brenda Robertson Stewart
Larry D. Sweazy
James Alexander Thom
Michael Z. Williamson
Books Set In Indiana
Wanda E. Brunstetter
Ramona K. Cecil
Jeanne M. Dams
David A. Lottes
Edward Kelsey Moore
Brenda Robertson Stewart
James Alexander Thom
You can also find Indiana-related materials using these search terms in TIPCAT:
Indiana – Fiction
Indiana – In Literature
Indiana – Poetry
American Literature – Indiana
De Leon, Aya
Dickey, Eric Jerome
Johnson, Carrie H.
Johnson, Lisa Renee
Rosnay, Tatiana de
Meyers, Walter Dean
Gray, Erick S.
McCall, Amaleka G.
Stringer, Vickie M.