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Boys and Lit...what are your must read classic favs?

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I am trying to put together my ds's literature for next year. He will be in 9th and doing mostly American history...so needless to say we are off of the WTM history cycle.


There are so many boy choices, and I just don't know which would be the most interesting for a 14 yo boy. My older boys didn't read much, and to be honest except for Moby Dick, Huck Finn, and Frankenstein, they didn't care for many of the books they did read in high school.


What would you say are your favorite Literature books for boys?

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Two high school DSs here, and we just did American Lit. last year (grades 10 and 11). Below I've listed works we've done, and how much they enjoyed them (or not!). Enjoy your American Lit year! Warmest regards, Lori D.



Works they really enjoyed:


novels -- loved last year

- Call of the Wild (London)

- Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald) -- a surprise hit!


novels -- loved in previous years

- Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Twain)

- To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee)

- Farenheit 451 (Bradbury)

- A Canticle for Leibowitz (Miller)


short stories -- loved last year

- Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (Bierce)

- Luck of Roaring Camp (Harte)

- Thank You Ma'am (Hughes)

- Catbird Seat (Thurber)

- A Good Man is Hard to Find (O'Connor)

- There Will Come Soft Rains (Bradbury)

- The Lottery (Jackson)

- The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas (LeGuin)

(they really enjoyed compare/contrasting those last 3 stories, all done in the same week)


short stories -- loved in previous years

- Bride Comes to Yellow Sky (Crane)

- Ransom of Red Chief; Gift of the Magi (Henry)

- Most Dangerous Game (Connell)



- The Raven (Poe)



Works they didn't mind:


short stories

- Rip Van Winkle (Irving)

- Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Irving)

- Fall of the House of Usher (Poe)



- Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway)

- The Pearl (Steinbeck)



- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (they REALLY enjoyed doing alongside Huckleberry Finn, the 1980s adolescent fiction book on censoring Huck Finn called "The Day They Arrested the Book")



Works they tolerated:

- The Scarlet Letter (Hawthorne) -- they liked the story, but said the writing made it hard to get into it

- I Heard the Owl Call My Name (Craven) -- I think they might have liked this one more if it hadn't been the last week of school

- poetry -- they just don't care much for poetry (Bradstreet, Wheatley, Dickinson, Whitman, Emerson, Longfellow, Frost, Williams, Hughes, Cummings)



Authors they hated:

- Herman Melville (we did the short story Billy Budd)

- Ralph Waldo Emerson (essay excerpts)

- Henry David Thoreau (essay excerpts)

Edited by Lori D.
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And for non-American classic works, DSs have really enjoyed:




- Lord of the Rings trilogy (done with the Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings full-year program)

- Watership Down

- space trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet; Perelandra; That Hideous Strength




- Gilgamesh

- The Illiad

- The Odyssey (done with the Garlic Press publishers Discovering Literature guide)

- Greek Myths

- Oedipus the King

- Till We Have Faces (Lewis) -- modern work set in ancient times, as a reworking of Cupid & Psyche myth



Medieval to Renasissance:

- Beowulf

- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

- Macbeth

- Hamlet




- Treasure Island

- A Christmas Carol

- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

- Sherlock Holmes mysteries (Doyle) -- short stories

- The Open Window (Saki) -- short story

- The Monkey's Paw (Jacobs) -- short story




- A Day of Pleasure

- My Family and Other Animals

- The Screwtape Letters

- Animal Farm

- Life With Jeeves



An all-time favorite Literature was the year we made our own "Worldviews in Classic Sci-Fi and Gothic Lit.":

- Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (gothic)

- Frankenstein (gothic/romanticism)

- The Time Machine (socialism/evolution)

- Animal Farm (communism)

- The Giver (utopia/dystopia)

- Brave New World (utopia/dystopia)

- Farenheit 451 (loss of literacy/ends with nuclear war)

- A Canticle for Leibowitz (post apocalyptic)

- short stories from Cosmicomics (existentialism)

- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (absurdism)



we haven't done these yet, but I think they will really enjoy:

- 1984

- The Invisible Man

- The Man Who Was Thursday

- Lord of the Flies

- The Importance of Being Earnest

- Picture of Dorian Gray

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