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How many literature books?

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I don't think that it is possible to come up with the magic number given that some books are dense, others move quickly. We have read some things (Aeneid, Inferno) more slowly while watching Teaching Company lectures. Will there be conversational analysis or a paper? Are some of your selections plays? I think these are easier to read than philosophical treatises.


My suggestion is to come up with what appears to be a reasonable list and then be prepared for rabbit trails. Also, have something in the wings in case there is a selection that just does not work for your kid.

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It absolutely depends on many, many factors.


In TWTM, I believe the standard is that eight books is minimal, 12 is better and 18 is "stellar." I tend to use those numbers as a rough rule of thumb.


This year, my 9th grader focused on Greek mythology and drama. He read six full works that could be considered "Great Books," and excerpts of two more, along with eight more retellings and adaptations, for a total of 14 books and a few excerpts.


Next year, he'll be delving into dystopian literature. The currently planned reading list includes eight works that probably qualify as "Great Books," plus another six more contemporary Very Good Books, four books of his choice, six short stories and excerpts of another few classics, for a total of 18 full works and some shorter stuff.


Keep in mind, too, that how many books you can comfortably cover in a year depends in part on how much you really dig into each one.

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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The only constant for us has been four classics that are used for writing a literary analysis essay. Those who read good books for fun are only assigned another four classics for literature and would normally read good lit. for history too. Our children who didn't like to read were assigned a book every two weeks and they alternated between age level classics, lower level "good books" like The Iron Ring, and historical fiction.

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Would you share your list? We are probably going to do something similar. I have never studied dystopian lit, and am planning to study this summer to prep for the fall.


Sure. Here's the current list (with years of publication):


1516 – Utopia

1726 - Gulliver’s Travels, Part 4

1854 – Walden (excerpts)

1895 - The Time Machine

1932 - Brave New World

1938 - Anthem

1945 - Animal Farm

1947 - Short Story: The Machine Stops

1948 – Short Story: The Lottery

1949 - 1984

1953 - Fahrenheit 451

1954 - Lord of the Flies

1954 - Short Story: All Summer in a Day

1961 - Short Story: Harrison Bergeron

1968 - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

1971 - The Lathe of Heaven

1973 - Short Story: The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

2002 - Feed

2010 - Hunger Games trilogy

I also have four places in my plans where he will be allowed to choose a book to read, as long as it has a dystopian theme.

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We do about 16. Some are more in depth and some we just write a quick essay. Here is the list for this year We use Excellence in Literature for the base and expand from there



20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Around the World in Eighty Days Verne

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Twain

Jane Eyre Bronte


The Prince and the Pauper

Shirley or Villette by Charlotte Brontë --maybe not sure yet


Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson


1984 by George Orwell

The Tempest Shakespeare

Animal Farm Orwell

Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson

Pygmalion Shaw


A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare


Gullivers Travels Jonathon Swift

The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury

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For 9th grade American lit my son read:


8 novels

3 plays

19 short stories

MCT's Jefferson's Truths, Lincoln's Ten Sentences, and Free at Last

and a bunch of poems


Contrast this with what many of the online schools require: 1-2 novels and some short stories and poems. Even my son's supposedly "rigorous" private school only required 4 longer works and essentially *no* shorter works. Grrr.

Edited by EKS
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DD14 is starting 9th grade this fall. I didn't feel like he had a strong basis for writing, grammar, and vocab so we're focusing on those with a more general background of lit analysis this year.


We're reading:

10 short stories

1 play

3 novels (2 historical classics and 1 epic)

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