Popular Study Guides

The Popular Study Guides Collection brings together a selection of our most-visited Guides in one convenient place. Featuring titles ranging from classic literature with enduring appeal to popular book club picks, this Collection represents a diverse array of literature readers can't get enough of.

Publication year 2007Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Fantasy, Children's Literature

100 Cupboards is the first novel in a series of young adult fantasy books following main character Henry York, a boy who moves to Henry, Kansas with his aunt and uncle after his parents are kidnapped during a bike expedition in South America. One night, Henry and his adventurous cousin, Henrietta, discover a key to their deceased grandfather's locked bedroom; inside, they uncover a network of cupboards that each open into a different, fantastical world... Read 100 Cupboards Summary

Publication year 2016Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: New AgeTags Self Help, Philosophy, Psychology

Publication year 2011Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Historical Fiction, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, History: U.S., Cold War

Publication year 2011Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Society: Globalization, Natural World: Environment, Society: ColonialismTags History: World, Science / Nature, Anthropology

Publication year 2004Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Relationships: SiblingsTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Action / Adventure

Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Identity: Femininity, Relationships: Friendship, Society: Colonialism, Society: WarTags Historical Fiction, Vietnam War

Publication year 1891Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Classic Fiction

“A Case of Identity,” published in September 1891, is the fifth episode in the series of four novels and 56 short stories in the Sherlock Holmes canon, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It follows the first two novel-length Holmes tales, A Study in Scarlet (1887) and The Sign of Four (1890), as well as the shorter stories “A Scandal in Bohemia” and “The Red-Headed League,” both of which appeared earlier that same year in... Read A Case Of Identity Summary

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Relationships: FriendshipTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, LGBTQ, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Climate, Natural World: Environment, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Climate Change, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

Publication year 1843Genre Novella, FictionThemes Relationships: Fathers, Society: Class, Life/Time: BirthTags Victorian Period, Classic Fiction, Fantasy, Holidays & Occasions

Originally published in 1843, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol defined and popularized quintessential Christmas tropes while condemning Victorian England’s harsh social division between the rich and poor. The Poor Laws (referenced by Scrooge in Stave 1) were England’s response to pervasive poverty; the workhouses associated with these laws subjected the desperate and destitute to demeaning conditions, and people who could not pay debts were sent to debtors’ prison—a circumstance that Dickens deals with in detail... Read A Christmas Carol Summary

Publication year 1964Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: War, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, American Civil War

Across Five Aprils (1964) is a young adult (YA) historical novel written by the American children’s book author Irene Hunt. A coming-of-age story, the novel follows young Jethro Creighton through four years of his life from the beginning to the end of the American Civil War. Irene Hunt based the novel largely on the experiences of her own grandfather who, like Jethro, was only nine years old when the Civil War began.The book was Hunt’s... Read Across Five Aprils Summary

Publication year 1938Genre Novella, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: RevengeTags Historical Fiction, Classic Fiction, WWII / World War II, Holocaust, Relationships

Address Unknown (1938) by American writer Kathrine Taylor details the rise of Nazi Germany through the correspondence of two men, one of whom is Jewish and one of whom is not. The short novel explores themes such as Radicalization, The Impact of Paranoia and Fascism, and The Loss of Friendship and Family.Chapter 1 Summary: “November 12, 1932”A Jewish German man named Max writes to his business partner, a German gentile, or individual who isn’t Jewish... Read Address Unknown Summary

Publication year 2023Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags History: U.S., Crime / Legal, Race / Racism, Social Justice

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Society: Community, Natural World: Environment, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Realistic Fiction, Race / Racism, Class

Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Win & LoseTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

A Great Reckoning (2016) is the 12th novel in the Inspector Gamache series. The series consists of contemporary mysteries written by the Canadian author Louise Penny. Like the other novels in the series, A Great Reckoning revolves around the small village of Three Pines, Quebec, and its inhabitants. The novel includes a standalone murder mystery plot and references to events in other novels within the series; Penny explores themes of parenthood, loss, and betrayal. This... Read A Great Reckoning Summary

Publication year 1816Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Lyric Poem, Philosophy, Mythology

Publication year 2020Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Teams, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Action / Adventure, Sports, History: Asian, Leadership/Organization/Management, Science / Nature, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Romance, Grief / Death, Depression / Suicide

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Relationships: Marriage, Relationships: MothersTags Romance, Drama / Tragedy

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Won-pyung Sohn, Transl. Joosun Lee
Guide cover image
Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Relationships: Friendship, Identity: Disability, Self Discovery, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Relationships: FamilyTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Korean Literature

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Megan E. Freeman
Guide cover image
Publication year 2021Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Self Discovery, Natural World: Place, Emotions/Behavior: LonelinessTags Action / Adventure, Survival Fiction, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Realistic Fiction

Publication year 1960Genre Play, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: Class, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Play: Drama, Play: Historical

A Man for All Seasons is a 1960 play by English playwright Robert Bolt. Though it was published in its completed form in 1960, it was originally written for radio in 1954. It was then adapted for television in 1957 before finally being rewritten for the stage. The original runs of the show in London and later New York attained critical and commercial success. In 1966, the play was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film... Read A Man For All Seasons Summary

Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Identity: Sexuality, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, LGBTQ

A Map of Home is a 2008 coming-of-age novel by Randa Jarrar. The novel follows the life of Nidali, a girl of Palestinian, Greek, and Egyptian descent who grows up between Kuwait, Egypt, and the United States. The novel contains three parts, each of which correspond to Nidali’s time in these three different countries. During her childhood, Nidali navigates extreme circumstances, grappling with violence, family conflict, and the backdrop of war, all while exploring her... Read A Map of Home Summary

Publication year 2019Genre Play, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Literature

Publication year 2016Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & Government, Society: WarTags History: U.S., Politics / Government, American Revolution

Publication year 1595Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Lyric Poem, Elizabethan Era

Publication year 1985Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Education, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Sociology, Philosophy, Technology, Information Age, Education

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business is a nonfiction book by Neil Postman, published in 1985. Postman was a professor of education and communication at New York University with a special interest in the role of technology and media in society. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York in Fredonia and a master’s degree and doctorate from the Teachers College of Columbia University. In... Read Amusing Ourselves to Death Summary

Publication year 1939Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Life/Time: The Past, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Identity: Gender, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Femininity, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Society: ColonialismTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Modernism

Published in 1939, And Then There Were None is a mystery novel by Agatha Christie, best-selling novelist of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. With over 100 million copies sold, And Then There Were None is the world’s best-selling crime novel as well as one of the best-selling books of all time. It has had more adaptations than any other work by Agatha Christie, including television programs, films, radio broadcasts, and most... Read And Then There Were None Summary

Publication year 2020Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Lyric Poem

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: War, Relationships: MothersTags Historical Fiction, Animals, WWII / World War II

Publication year 1908Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: FriendshipTags Classic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Anne of Green Gables is a world-renowned classic children’s novel first published in 1908 by Canadian author L. M. Montgomery. Set in the latter part of the 19th century in fictional Avonlea, a small town on Prince Edward Island, Canada, the story follows the accidental arrival of a precocious 11-year-old orphan girl, Anne Shirley, at Green Gables, the family homestead of middle-aged siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. Many mishaps, adventures, and ultimate successes follow Anne... Read Anne Of Green Gables Summary

Publication year 1868Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: AnimalsTags Lyric Poem, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 1962Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Identity: Sexuality, Identity: Race, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags LGBTQ, Race / Racism, Love / Sexuality, Depression / Suicide, Relationships, Grief / Death, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Social Justice

Publication year 2012Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Society: NationTags Philosophy, Business / Economics, Psychology, Science / Nature, Finance / Money / Wealth, Leadership/Organization/Management

Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: Sexuality, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, LGBTQ, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Poetry: Dramatic Poem

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Fantasy, Romance, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Action / Adventure

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, History: Asian

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Equality, Self Discovery, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: courageTags Fantasy, Mythology, Magical Realism, Race / Racism

Publication year 1887Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Natural World: Place, Relationships: Teams, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Classic Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet (1887) is a detective novel about a mysterious murder in a vacant house, one man’s lifelong hunt for justice, and the powers of deduction and reason. It marks the introduction of the famed detective character Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick John Watson, along with several other characters and locations that would become important to the 56 short stories and three other novels about Holmes that followed. The... Read A Study in Scarlet Summary

Publication year 1997Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Self Discovery, Society: Community, Society: Education, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Humor, Philosophy, Post Modernism, American Literature

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again is a 1997 essay collection by David Foster Wallace. The seven essays explore 1990s US social issues through subjects such as television, tennis, and (in the most famous essay) a Caribbean cruise. The essays have been referenced many times in popular culture, particularly the title essay, which recounts Wallace’s experiences on a cruise.This guide references the 1998 Abacus edition of the collection.SummaryIn the first essay, “Derivative Sport... Read A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again Summary

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Identity: Race, Identity: Language, Relationships: FriendshipTags Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Colonialism / Postcolonialism, Race / Racism, Gender / Feminism

Publication year 2012Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Identity: Indigenous, Society: Colonialism, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Self Discovery, Society: Nation, Society: CommunityTags History: U.S., Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Addiction / Substance Abuse, Depression / Suicide, Education, History: The Americas, Race / Racism, Social Justice, Women's Studies (Nonfiction)

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Relationships: Friendship, Society: Community, Relationships: Siblings, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Relationships: Family, Society: Education, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Society: Politics & Government, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Realistic Fiction, Children's Literature

Publication year 1853Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: LonelinessTags American Literature, Classic Fiction

Herman Melville’s short story “Bartleby, the Scrivener” was published anonymously in 1853 to little recognition. Today it is considered a masterpiece. Some critics view “Bartleby” as a precursor to absurdist literature like Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis,” highlighting the incredibly modern nature of this mid-19th-century short story. Others read “Bartleby” as commentary on poverty and the harsh nature of menial work on Wall Street, or as an allegory for Melville’s own frustrations with writing. This guide... Read Bartleby, the Scrivener Summary

Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Fame, Life/Time: The PastTags Romance, Historical Fiction

Publication year 1978Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Relationships: FamilyTags Fairy Tale / Folklore, Fantasy, Romance

Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast (1978) is author Robin McKinley’s debut novel. It’s an adaptation of the original Beauty and the Beast fairy tale written in 1740 by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, with genre elements of fantasy and romance and marketed for a middle grade readership. McKinley’s version of the story maintains an 18th-century setting while modernizing thematic explorations of outer versus inner beauty, ideals of faithfulness and selflessness... Read Beauty Summary

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Relationships: Marriage, Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: Mothers, Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: Joy, Life/Time: MidlifeTags Historical Fiction, Romance, Auto/Biographical Fiction, British Literature

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Robert M. Sapolsky
Guide cover image
Publication year 2017Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Science / Nature, Psychology

Publication year 1943Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Philosophy, Existentialism, French Literature, Absurdism

Being and Nothingness: An Essay in Phenomenological Ontology (1943) by Jean-Paul Sartre is a foundational text for the philosophical movement of existentialism. Sartre, a 20th-century writer and philosopher, wrote Being and Nothingness while in a prisoner of war camp during World War II. Being and Nothingness addresses theories of consciousness, nothingness, self-identity, essences, and freedom. Sartre’s work builds upon a legacy of existentialist theories while defining and shaping them into a comprehensive ideology. He challenges... Read Being and Nothingness Summary

Publication year 2020Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: Community, Society: Education, Society: Politics & Government, Identity: DisabilityTags Disability, Social Justice, History: U.S., Politics / Government