Recommended Reading: 600 Classics Reviewed Review

“This excellent reference houses 600 compact and current reviews of literary classics. Chosen at the discretion of Salem Press editors, selected works are those that presently and continuously draw the praise and study of both general readers and literary experts. The volume presents alphabetical (by title) entries which all include essential bibliographic information and a brief statement noting the work’s content and influence. The review itself trades off between a succinct description of the basic plot and an overall assessment of the work’s deeper contemplations. While clearly not intended to be comprehensive, the selection is nonetheless well-curated. The entries include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama with many diverse “subgenres” and forms represented, such as mystery, parody, diary, scientific, epic, and so on. Users of this reference will recognize writers such as William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, George Bernard Shaw, or W.B. Yeats, as well as titles like The Importance of Being Earnest, Main Street, Paradise Lost, or War and Peace. Readers will be further impressed by the inclusion of such ancient texts as Sophocles’ Antigone, Beowulf, or the Bible. And of further note is the inclusion of a number of “young adult” titles such as Anne of Green Gables, Charlotte’s Web, or The Giver in recognition of the growing influence of this literary category. Several helpful indexes round out this resource—an author index, literary genre index, and a publication year index.”

“This revised edition of a 1995 reference designed to be a quick guide to works on high-school and college reading lists has added 100 new books and two new indexes. It now covers 600 works of fiction, nonfiction, drama, poetry, and young adult literature alphabetically by title. Each entry includes the title, author, original publication date, type of work, and an excellent review of the plot and important themes. Indexes are by author, publication date, and literary genre. Covering literature from 2000 BCE to 2012, this is a fast way to read about the plot or find a book for discussion groups. Public and school libraries should purchase this for students and book-discussion groups that are looking for recommended-reading lists.”