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The Long and the Short of It...
Books More Than 400 or Less Than 200 Pages


Long Fiction

CASS FIC MICHENER (Book on cassette)
James Michener

400 years of Eastern Shore history is examined through the interrelated lives of three families: the English Catholic Steeds who create a plantation on Devon Island at the mouth of the Choptank River; the Quaker Paxmores, early abolitionists, who become shipbuilders; and the swamp-dwelling Turlocks, who intermarry with the Indians and live on the margins of society.

Edward Rutherfurd

From the last ice age to modern times, five families in what is now Salisbury display recurring physical, psychological, and moral traits. Family fortunes fluctuate throughout episodes depicting important events, such as erecting Stonehenge, Roman rule, building the cathedral, the Reformation, and the World Wars.

James Alexander Thom
The Children of First Man
An old legend, possibly supported by sketchy physical evidence, has it that Welshmen settled in America some 300 years before Columbus. In this telling, Madoc, the illegitimate son of a weak Welsh king, takes 10 boatloads of followers to America and builds a society by having his people marry into native tribes. Over the centuries, their descendants are eventually assimilated and migrate north to the Dakotas.

Helen Hooven Santmyer
“… And the Ladies of the Club”
In 1868, a group of educated women in a small Ohio town forms a literary club that lasts for 64 years. Social and political changes are reflected in the details of the lives of the founding members and their descendants.

Diana Gabaldon

In Scotland on a second honeymoon in 1945, nurse Claire Beauchamp Randall enters a circle of stones and is transported back to the Battle of Culloden 200 years earlier. There she encounters her husband’s evil ancestor “Black Jack” Randall and is forced into a marriage of convenience. When she falls in love with her new husband, she must decide if she wants to return to the 20th century.

Naguib Mahfouz
Cairo Trilogy
Palace Walk— Palace of Desire— Sugar Street

Merchant Al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd al-Jawad rules his middle-class family—wife Amina, marriageable daughters, Khadija and Aisha, and sons, law-student Fahmy, clerk Yasin, and young student Kamal—with an iron hand. At home he is always grave and dignified, and demands adherence to his strict view of Islam. Away from home every night with his friends, he is known as a great singer, drinker, and womanizer. Family dynamics change through love affairs, marriages, and the rise of Egyptian nationalism.

Margaret Atwood
Alias Grace

Young Irish immigrant Grace Marks is accused of helping James McDermott murder their employer and his housekeeper-mistress in 1843 Canada. Grace, who claims to have no memory of the event, is spared the death penalty, but imprisoned. Is she guilty or innocent? Dr. Simon Jordan, a pioneer in the field of mental illness, tries to find out.


Long Biography

Katharine Graham
Personal History

Known now as the publisher of the Washington Post when Woodward and Bernstein were writing about Watergate, Katharine Graham grew up as a self-proclaimed “goody two-shoes” amid great wealth. Trying always to be a dutiful daughter to remote parents and a devoted wife to her depressive husband, she finally grew into a powerful woman in her own right.

Amanda Foreman
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

Georgiana Spencer, Princess Diana’s four-times great aunt, was born at Althorp in 1757. Married at 17 to the Duke of Devonshire, she was not only the most fashionable woman of her time, but one who wielded real, if indirect, political power. Her private life was one of an unhappy marriage, gambling and drinking excesses, and many love affairs.

James Spada
More Than a Woman: An Intimate Biography of Bette Davis

Bette Davis’ emotional difficulties began with her cold father, who forbade the children to be downstairs when he was home. Determined to be “somebody,” and supported—or driven—by her mother, she worked hard at her craft, becoming a major star, but her private life did not reflect the happy image promoted by the studio publicity machine.

Short Fiction

CASS FIC BER (Book on cassette)
Elizabeth Berg
Ordinary Life

Touching, sensitive short stories illuminate the importance of the small, everyday moments of women’s lives. In the title story, 79-year-old Mavis McPherson, to the consternation of her husband, locks herself into the bathroom with a supply of Wheat Thins and Heath bars for a week of reflection.

LP FIC SPARK (Large print)
Muriel Spark
Aiding and Abetting

Paris psychiatrist Hildegard Wolf is intrigued when two patients begin therapy with her—both claiming to be the notorious Lord Lucan, who disappeared in 1974, shortly after murdering his children's nanny in a botched attempt to kill his wife. Soon the Lucans, needing cash, try to blackmail Dr. Wolf about her earlier life.

Anita Brookner
Hotel du Lac

39-year-old romance writer Edith Hope is hustled off to a Swiss hotel by her friends, who consider that she has behaved irrationally by not following the course they had set for her. There she becomes closely involved in the lives of the diverse vacationers and comes to terms with the consequences of allowing others to make decisions for her.

Diane Glancy
Stone Heart

The Journey of Discovery from Sacajawea’s point of view, presented as short journal entries laid out next to excerpts from Lewis and Clark’s journals. A Shoshoni kidnapped as a girl by the Hidatsa, she had been married to a Frenchman. A new mother at 16, she was added to the expedition because Lewis and Clark thought she could convince the Shoshoni to give them the horses needed for the later part of the expedition.

Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart

Hard-working Okonkwo takes seriously his duties as a village leader in Nigeria before the arrival of Europeans. An accidental killing forces him and his family into a seven-year exile. During this period, British missionaries begin settling in the area and making converts, including Okonkwo’s son. Returning to his own village, Okonkwo hopes to rebuild his position, but the establishment of British religion and government have changed his world beyond recognition.

Sandra Cisneros
The House on Mango Street

Esperanza is growing up in Hispanic Chicago, adjusting to both her changing body and to the American culture. Short chapters introduce Esperanza’s family and neighbors, relating their day-to-day experiences, and building up a picture of a young girl determined to become her own woman.

CASS FIC GRISHAM (Book on cassette)
John Grisham
Skipping Christmas

When their only daughter leaves for the Peace Corps in the fall, Luther and Nora Krank decide to skip the fruitcake and Frosty on the roof and take a Caribbean cruise, but they discover that it’s not so easy to avoid the holiday season.

Marion Chesney
Lady Fortescue Steps Out

Lady Fortescue, tired of being poor, but forbidden by her social position in Regency England to work for a living, persuades five other eccentric aristocrats in straightened circumstances to join her in opening a hotel.

Colleen McCullough
The Ladies of Missalonghi

In pre-World War I Australia, thirtyish Missy is resigned to life as a spinster, living in genteel poverty with her mother and aunt, who have been deprived of their rightful income by their male relations. Then two mysterious strangers come to town—Una, who lends Missy romantic novels, and the rough but attractive John Smith, who buys the nearby valley—and Missy suddenly discovers her backbone.


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