Ken's Take Ten

Ken taught high school students and at NCSU. He is a book pusher! You may have encountered his “Psst, hey you! C'mere. I've got a book you're going to love,” while perusing the stacks. He loves dogs, most of all his standard poodles, Amelie and Auberon.

Little, Big Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061120053
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - October 17th, 2006

Absolutely the best book I've ever read. Crowley is a master of the English language; his prose is elegant, eloquent, and lyrical. The story of the Drinkwater and Barnable families is a tale laced with humor, sorrow, and legend—a feast of many flavors.

All Quiet on the Western Front Cover Image
ISBN: 9780449911495
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - September 29th, 1996

The most visceral and authentic account of war, bar none. Remarque captures the horror, the pity and the despair of WWI, an exercise in attrition from which we have apparently learned nothing.

Brave New World Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060850524
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - October 17th, 2006

Published in 1930, Brave New World is a prescient and satirical look at today's culture, which is immersed and hungry for virtual reality entertainment, awash in consumerism, and stratified. 

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307408853
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - May 1st, 2012

This is an account of German ambassador William Dodd's family's experience in pre-WWII Berlin (1933-1937). With growing horror, in the worst job imaginable in the diplomatic corps, Dodd watches the rise of the Nazis and their nihilistic philosophy.

A Confederacy of Dunces (Evergreen Book) Cover Image
By John Kennedy Toole, Walker Percy (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780802130204
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - January 21st, 1994

Here is the the most lovably obnoxious protagonist one could hope to meet. Ignatius Riley's journey through New Orleans’ French quarter is the most hilarious ride I've ever taken.

Things Fall Apart Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385474542
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - September 1st, 1994

If anyone wants to find the root of many problems in Africa, read this intimate account of the destruction of a tribal society in Nigeria at the hands of British colonialists. Achebe gives insight into the tribal culture of the Ibo, and the devastating effect the British incursion had on that people.

1984 (Signet Classics) Cover Image
By George Orwell, Erich Fromm (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9780451524935
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Signet Book -

This satire of totalitarian societies will never lose its relevance. In this darkly humorous cautionary tale, Orwell shows himself to be a master of understatement, irony, and symbolism through rich but economical descriptive writing.

One Hundred Years of Solitude Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060883287
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - February 1st, 2006

Garcia's novel stands at the head of magical realist writing. Follow the fortunes of the Buendia family in the town of Macando, which they found and inhabit until its final decrepitude, in this narrative rich with metaphor, symbol, and allusion. Garcia tells how the past haunts us as individuals and as members of a national identity.

The Humans Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476730592
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 12th, 2014

If you've ever wondered how an extraterrestrial would handle transplantation into our human society, this is your book—funny, touching, and tragic.

King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa Cover Image
ISBN: 9780618001903
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - September 3rd, 1999

Between 1885 and 1908, six to ten million Congolese died from disease, mutilation, and murder, a direct result of the depredations visited on the Congo by King Leopold II of Belgium. Hochschild has received high praise for his examination of this little known tragic genocide of the modern age.