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S/O: What did YOU read your senior year in high school as assigned reading

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The only things I remember, although I'm sure there were more:


Don Quixote - loved it

Secret Sharer and Heart of Darkness - loved them

Moby Dick - (I actually never read this, not even the Cliff Notes, but still got quite a bit out of the weeks of discussion. :))

Edited by Melissa B
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I can't remember. I don't remember reading anything except in one year we read Susan Moodie and Catherine Parr. I'm not sure if we read a whole book by each of them. But we did read and discuss them.


I know we also read in grade 9 or 10 some coming of age stories that would not be considered a classic in any way.


ETA: I also think we read some parts of various Shakespeare works. I think they were mostly read out loud in class. I know my brother's class read Heart or Darkness. I remember my Mom making a big deal about it.


ETA (again): I remember we did read Great Gatsby at some point in highschool. I hated it.

Edited by Julie Smith
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I remember we had a list of books . We'd do book reports or lit. analysis papers on the books with a certain number required each year. The booklist was the same for 9-12. The only thing I remember reading from the list was Beowulf because it started a life-long, loving relationship with that story. I remember Moby Dick was on the list, but I never read it until a few years ago.


I also remember Canterbury Tales, Hamlet, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, On the Beach, Brave New World, 1984, Lord of the Flies.

Edited by Karen in CO
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I remember tons of books I read in high school but I'm not completely sure which ones were in my senior year. I think that is the year I read "Oedipus Rex", "The Jungle", "The Metamorphosis", among others. I happen to remember those three because I remember certain discussions that happened around them that tie them to my senior year and not another year.

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That was AP English and it was a long time ago.


Summer reading was Hamilton's Greek Mythology and Bible (Genesis, half of Exodus, Job, and our choice of the Gospels).


I know we read J.B. and Heart of Darkness during the year. Oedipus Rex. We must have read a Shakespeare, but I can't remember which one. We also had an anthology we used for plays, poetry, essays, etc. I had to buy the next version of the same anthology when I got to college, so I gave away the one I used in high school.

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I remember high school in general. Not specific years. (I graduated over 20 years ago)


We did a 6-wk period on Willa cather books


We did some Shakespeare


We did Charles Dickens' Tale of Two Cities (which was REALLY slow at the beginning and I would never have finished if it wasn't school work. But I ended up loving.)


Jane Eyre

Wuthering Heights

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Tess of the D'urbevilles

Great Gatsby

Red Badge of Courage (this might have been 8th grade)

the play Our Town

The Scarlet Letter

The Crucible (may have been 8th grade)

The Raven

some Mark Twain

Uncle Tom's Cabin



I know in 9th grade we had to memorize a poem off of her list every 6 week period. One of them was the one about the giant that was all fallen down. Another was the "A trail diverged in the wood and I took the path less travelled by" and another "Miles to go before I sleep"

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I remember the thing we read that I hated the most (Tom Jones), and my favorite book (actually a play)...The Emperor Constantine by Dorothy Sayers. I would have to put a lot of effort into remembering anything we read. I remember what we read junior year really well, though!


I am also ecstatic, because while answering this question, I looked up the long out-of-print and always way-too-expensive-to-buy-a-used-copy The Emperor Constantine, and discovered that it was reprinted a year ago, and I can finally buy my own copy. I am such a nerd! :tongue_smilie:

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I'm not sure what I read which year except I know Science Fiction was my sophomore year.


I think my senior year was British Literature so Macbeth, Canterbury Tales, Beowulf, Othello, Through the Looking Glass, Oliver Twist, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I'm sure there were a lot more but we also used the Norton Anthology of British Literature. I think we also read a lot of short stories.

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I left school before senior year. But, I remember in my junior AP English class, we were assigned to small groups and each small group was reading different books throughout the year that we'd then report on to the class. So, each student would read a book a quarter, but we'd be exposed to 4-5 more each quarter by reading papers and listening to presentations of the other groups.

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Next year will be 40 years since I graduated, so I don't really remember. The ones I do remember, I can't tell you what year of high school I read them. Here are the ones that come to mind:


All Quiet on the Western Front

Les Miserables

Our Town (the play)

1984 (It was eleven years away and still kind of scary.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls

The Scarlet Letter

An Enemy of the People (play)

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Various Edgar Allen Poe

Some, but not much, Shakespeare

The Bell Jar

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I don't recall my senior year specifically because where I went to school the courses (in this case, "English" .. there were no other related classes) covered years 11 and 12 so the two are blurred together. I do remember 1984, Brave New World, Lord of the Flies .. then I'm drawing a blank. If there were more, there weren't many more. Sounds kind of lame compared to others.

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Hmmmm. I still have that reading list around here somewhere, but I remember a good chunk.


Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell

Remains of the Day by Ishiguro

Silence by Shusaku Endo (which remains one my most memorable reads to this day)

House of Mirth by Wharton

Wuthering Heights by Bronte


Oedipus Rex

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by Joyce


I know there was at least one more novel, but I'm blanking. I do remember an extensive study of Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale" that focused on teaching us deep textual analysis, as well as poetical analysis, both helpful for that danged multiple choice exam. (Oh, and, you know, all the lit papers I produced in college!) I'm sure there were more poems/short stories, as well.


This was for AP Lit ~15 years ago.

Edited by HOPE_Academy
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Invisible Man by Ellison and Death of a Salesman by Miller are the only ones I can remember.


ETA: Now that I've been thinking about it and talking with dh (who went to the same school), I don't think I read any other books or plays. It was AP English and the teacher was very concerned about getting a larger percent of his class to pass the AP exam, so we spent a lot of time reading and writing 5 paragraph essays. Total waste of time because those not in the AP class read got assigned great literature all year long, while we used up ALL of our time on those stinking essays. In the end only 2 people in a class of 25 passed ... Not me, I still had to take freshman English in college, which ended up being a blessing because I actually learned how to write in that class!

Edited by BramFam
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I did my junior and senior year as community college. I remember some Twain, Shakespeare, Uncle om's Cabin, The Book of Ruth, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and a Poetry Anthology.


Beowulf, Julius Ceasar, Midsommer Nigh's Dream and Dickens were sophmore year.

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I can only remember having to read Brave New World, Macbeth, and Death of a Salesman. I also remember that I got a 94% mark on the paper I wrote on Brave New World. I was on a secular computer school at the time. I don't remember in of the other readings. Probably because they didn't rub me the wrong way as much as those ones did.

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AP English 20ish years ago:

tons of Shakespeare--I think at least 4 plays (can't remember which ones)

Crime and Punishment


Wuthering Heights

Oedipus Rex

We also went to plays frequently in the city (Philadelphia).

I know there was more but those are the ones I remember. I LOVED the class and teacher. Wish I could have taken it earlier in high school. A relatively large % of the kids in that class got 5s on the AP Exam fwiw.

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This was an honors 12th grade English class in the 1980's, urban public school.


The teacher assigned the class to read:


Tess of the d'Urbervilles (and we watched the movie, too)

Midsummer Night's Dream

Hamlet or Macbeth (I know one was jr year & one was sr year but can't remember which)


selections from Canterbury Tales



I don't recall writing doing any writing for the class, but I know we memorized and recited the prologue to the Canterbury Tales and also the preamble to the Declaration of Independence (why that in a sr English class??).


We read all the plays out loud in class. For one of the books -- which is not on my list because I can't remember which book it was, but it was early in the school year -- we had to share copies between two students because the school didn't have enough books for the class. The faster reader sat on the left, and the slower on the right, just like in Little House on the Prairie. :rolleyes: We also had to share copies of the plays but that worked better as we were all on the same page at the same time.


Also, we had to read five books from a list, one from each of five different categories (nonfiction, novel set in a non-western culture, etc.) and then discuss with the teacher before or after school. I read a book on the stock market crash of 1929, and Things Fall Apart... but don't recall what the other three books were.

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Crime and Punishment and Much Ado About Nothing were the most memorable because we analyzed them for months. Oh, yeah, and The Bible. We also did tons of poetry analysis.


We read some of the others mentioned earlier. For example in 11th grade we read American lit such as The Scarlet Letter, Red Badge of Courage, The Jungle, Walden, Light in August, The Crucible, and Ethan Frome. I can't remember when I read Metamorphosis or Great Gatsby. We read a lot of teenager themed things in 10th grade including Catcher in the Rye and Lord of the Flies.


The school I was at in 7th grade, we were supposed to read Edith Hamilton's Mythology (though I don't remember it) and memorized The Raven, along with other poems.

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I don't recall everything I read but if memory serves me the highlights were:



5th Grade:

Watership Down

Julius Caesar

The Pigman

As I Lay Dying


6th Grade:

The Westing Game

The Red Badge of Courage

Romeo and Juliet

Washington Irving stories complete with a field trip to his home in Tarrytown, NY

This year is fuzzy probably from all of the Judy Blume novels I read out of school!


Middle School (7th and 8th):

Grapes of Wrath

Huckleberry Finn


Animal Farm

Brave New World

Our Town

Heart of Darkness

Farenheight 451

quite a bit of Poe as well


High School (I have a hard time remembering which year was which because I had the same teacher 9th honors English through AP English in 12th):


Pride and Prejudice

Sense and Sensibility

King Lear

The Jungle

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Madame Bovary

Jude the Obscure

Alice in Wonderland

Great Expectations

The Canterbury Tales

quite a bit of Shakepeare

Crime and Punishment

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Vanity Fair

The Odyssey

The Scarlett Letter

I Robot


Those were some of the assigned books. In High School there were projects where I could select my on books and I recall selecting Middlemarch and The Moonstone. There were probably others.

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Senior year? Nothing particularly lofty. I didn't like the AP Lit teacher at all (as mentioned elsethread), so I was taking a creative writing class for English. I decided to take the AP Lit test anyways, and read a few things for that - The Stranger by Albert Camus being the only thing I recall. It ended up fitting the writing prompt perfectly.


Here's what I can recall of my high school lists.


Freshman Honors English (didn't like the teacher, but I think the reading list was decent, and I guess he made things memorable, at least):

The Pearl

Lord of the Flies

A Separate Peace

The Scarlet Letter

To Kill A Mockingbird

Julius Caesar and I think another Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet?)

All Quiet on the Western Front

The Great Gatsby may have been this year

I want to say we did something with Oedipus Rex, too.


Sophomore Honors English:


Canterbury Tales (a few of them, and memorizing the intro in old English)

A book by Jane Austen (our choice - I never finished mine)

I think TKM again (I think this teacher and the Freshman English teacher had a feud)

Can't remember anything else. This was a bit of an odd class - my school had a classroom-based independent study program, and I ended up doing a lot of basically unschooling in there my Sophomore and Senior year.


Junior - AP Language

A House on Mango Street


I know we read more than this, including stuff that older than the 20th century, but looking through high school reading lists is not jogging my memory at all. It's possible that some of what I remember from Freshman year was actually here. We watched the movie of Last of the Mohicans.


Senior - Creative Writing, self-study AP Lit


The Stranger

Their Eyes Were Watching God


The Independent Study class had a reading list with a lot of less traditional books on it. The Once and Future King, Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, and Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card are three that jump to mind. Not the most classical list, but it introduced me to several of my favorite authors.


I also read quite a few books that I'm finding on high school lists just on my own.


I'm glad that no one else seems to remember much, either :)

Edited by ocelotmom
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Just curious. I will have to post mine in a while as I am headed out the door.


Oh, that was so long ago! I remember:


Cannery Row

Glass Menagerie

Silent Snow, Secret Snow

Some work of Poe, but I forget which one

The Scarlet Letter (I think this was in 11th grade)


That's all I remember and frankly, some of those might have been for junior year English - except MacBeth, I remember that one vividly. It was my 7:00 a.m. class :D

Edited by CynthiaOK
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Senior year I took public speaking and essay writing, so no lit class. Freshman thru junior years I remember reading:


Romeo and Juliet


Of Mice and Men

The Old Man and the Sea

To Kill a Mockingbird

The Catcher in the Rye

The Great Gatsby

The Crucible

Death of a Salesman

The Grapes of Wrath

The Red Badge of Courage

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Slaughterhouse Five

Lots of short stories: Gordimer, Updike, Jackson, etc.

Lots of poetry: Edna St. Vincent Millay, Sandburg, Cummings, Whitman, Dickinson, etc.


There was more, but nothing particularly memorable. :tongue_smilie:

Edited by mellifera33
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It's been a while. I had one teacher very into VIrgil and Ovid, but I had to reread them as an adult to understand better. The discussions he lead were very interesting to me. I remember reading Moby Dick and Ethan Frome (hated) in 10th grade. Dante's Inferno was 11th or 12, I don't remember. We read The Odyssey (Pope). There was a lot of Shakespeare; we filmed a part of Macbeth as a project. ;) We had to memorize various passages/monlogues, Sonnet 18 etc. There was Robert Frost and Carl Sandburg. Our Town, Lord of The Flies, Don Quixote, The Scarlet Letter, Animal Farm, Walden, Of Mice and Men, Canterbury Tales, Great Gatsby, Grapes of Wrath-- all of that.


I read Beloved, and Their Eyers Were Watching God etc, but I think that was my first year of college.


I also remember reading Franny and Zoey, as well as Catcher in the Rye, although I don't know if I read them on my own, or as a part of a class. I know we did Rebecca, The Brontes etc. in 9th grade. Anne Frank in 8th grade (which brought me into a dark phase of reading anything about the Holocaust, and then Night, all of Chiam Potak etc. I was morbidly obsessed for about 18 months). To Kill a Mocking bird was in 8th grade. In 6th grade, I did a book report on Helen Keller: The Story of My Life. There was an oral report component, and I was very nervous, but my 6th grade teacher was very comforting, so I remember mostly looking at him. I also did a report that year on On The Beach (depressing). Even my teacher thought it was too soon for that.


I don't remember any pop culture books as part of school. There was no Harry Potter in those days (And I am a fan. It would have been awesome to grow up readng HP). No Artemis Fowl, no Percy Jackson. But wait! We all did read Jaws. ;) And Helter Skelter. And the total hot of mess that is The Other Side of Midnight. ;) We also passed on Valley of The Dolls in secret. Once, my mother begged me not to read Love Story in the orthodontist's office. "I really don't want people thinking badly of me as a mom. That book is trash."

Edited by LibraryLover
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I may be getting my AP and honors classes from my junior and senior year mixed up, and I honestly can't remember most of what we read (well - I remember books - I don't remember what was actually an assignment).


What I can recall:


One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Grapes of Wrath

The book of Ruth (I think?) in the Bible

a Shakespeare play (I think it was MacBeth)

Many other plays - American play-writes

Uncle Tom's Cabin


Pretty sure there were many short stories in there as well....'


As far as the books chosen in each grade - I think that, although we as homeschoolers may introduce higher level literature at an earlier age than the PS's, younger kids don't necessarily get as much out of those books as a seior in HS would. I mean - sure - they can read the words and understand what's going on - but the really deep themes? I think at least some life experience is needed for many of these books. Otherwise it's all on a surface level. They can regurgitate, write papers, answer things correctly.... but real understanding comes with time.

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Senior year was the only year we didn't have "Grade Level" English. We got to choose our classes based on interest. I took Russian Literature and Images of Horror.


Russian Lit:

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Crime & Punishment

One other main one? Don't remember

ETA: After reading down the thread I remembered it was Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.


Images of Horror:

Silence of the Lambs (both the book & the movie)


Lots of Edgar Allan Poe


Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

Edited by beckyjo
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Hmmm....I can remember doing a LOT of reading my senior year for AP English, but I don't remember everything we read. What I remember:


Dostoyevsky: Crime and Punishment

Solzhenitsyn: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Hesse: Siddhartha and Demian

Dante: The Inferno

Machiavelli: The Prince

Kafka:The Metamorphosis


and I think we read Othello and The Tempest, but that could have been junior year. I'm sure there was more, but these are the ones that I can actually remember sitting and reading.


I developed a bitter dislike for Russian authors in this class, but on the positive side, I found that I loved Hesse's writings, and still read The Glass Bead Game every so often.

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I had the same teacher for both 11th & 12th grade English--which was 1976-1978, so they've all run together after all these years--but I know we read Beowulf and Canterbury Tales and a lot of Shakespeare in those two years; we also wrote quite a few essays and a research paper. We read Hamlet, MacBeth, Othello, and King Lear. Apparently, the teacher only liked the tragedies. ;) I did read some of the comedies in college, though.

I'd had another teacher for both 9th and 10th grade English, and we read a lot of short stories and poetry (I remember Rip Van Winkle, The Lottery, and The Rocking Horse Winner and lots of Edgar Allen Poe), and we also read The Pearl (Steinbeck), The Good Earth, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Huckleberry Finn, The Light in the Forest, Tobacco Road, The Crucible, Brave New World, Twelve Angry Men, and Silas Marner. We also did a lot of creative writing, but not essays.


In 8th grade, we read short stories and also a few novels. The only ones I remember are Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Gift of the Magi, and The Ransom of Red Chief.


From 7th grade, I the only things I can remember are August Heat, The Most Dangerous Game, and lots of poetry. I remember Robert Frost in particular.

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Germinal (favorite)

Hamlet (second favorite)


Passage to India


The Education of Henry Adams (remember not getting this one) Oops, this was junior yr - Am. Lit.

Waiting for Godot


This is what I remember reading (there are many more). I have my booknotes from high school in the attic and I'm going to find it and look! FUN!


This was British Lit. year (12) 1979-80.

Edited by MIch elle
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My senior year was British Lit. I know we read Canterbury Tales and Macbeth.


Either we didn't read much, or it didn't leave a lasting impression because I don't remember anything else specifically.



Those are the only two I remember reading in my Sr English Class.

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