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Name 5 books that you think every high schooler should read.


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I'm trying to design a literature course for ds for 10th grade. Right now the books I'm thinking of are:

 

Uncle Tom's Cabin

The Great Gatsby

All Quiet on the Western Front

Never Give In

Nineteen Eighty-Four

Catch 22

The Grapes of Wrath

Of Mice and Men

 

He'll also be reading for his worldview course:

 

Frankenstein

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Deadliest Monster

 

This year he is reading War and Peace.

In the plan for 11th and 12th grades are:

 

Tale of Two Cities

Pride and Prejudice

The Hiding Place

Silas Marner

Julius Caesar

Beowulf

The Pilgrim's Progress

Epic of Gilgamesh

Iliad

Odyssey

Animal Farm

The Old Man and the Sea

Sense and Sensibility

 

So, keeping in mind what he's read and what he will read, what would you add for next year?

 

 

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I would add in some non-fiction works: Mere Christianity (C.S.Lewis), The Law (Bastiat), and The Prince (Machiavelli) are 3 that I require my boys to read in high school. I had the boys read a Holocaust work every year when they were older even if it wasn't in the history cycle. If you are interested in adding in another Holocaust work, I would suggest All But My Life by Gerda Weissman Klein.

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Over on the 52 books thread several of us just finished 1984. For me it was a reread. I know I read it and wrote a paper on in before 1984. Apparently I remembered none of it! I would love to read what I wrote. I am so curious what the teenage me found to say. The topic I remember writing on was such a small part of the book. I plan to go on and read Bradbury when I have a chance because they were part of the same course and see if the paper came from one of those.

 

That being said it is a harder book then I was giving it credit for. Also a bit boring. Pages of very repetitive politics. Fascinating now but I have removed it from dd's list of must reads for high school. I no longer consider it vital and doubt she would enjoy it. On the other hand ds might really like it.

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I would hope for a Shakespeare tragedy and a comedy as well as Julius Caesar. Maybe another more mainstream history play too: there are very good video versions of Henry V available.

 

I might go for a more mainstream Dickens too. Calvin was very affected by Nicholas Nickleby; I loved Our Mutual Friend when I studied it in Sixth Form.

 

Laura

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Over on the 52 books thread several of us just finished 1984. For me it was a reread. I know I read it and wrote a paper on in before 1984. Apparently I remembered none of it! I would love to read what I wrote. I am so curious what the teenage me found to say. The topic I remember writing on was such a small part of the book. I plan to go on and read Bradbury when I have a chance because they were part of the same course and see if the paper came from one of those.

 

That being said it is a harder book then I was giving it credit for. Also a bit boring. Pages of very repetitive politics. Fascinating now but I have removed it from dd's list of must reads for high school. I no longer consider it vital and doubt she would enjoy it. On the other hand ds might really like it.

 

 

My boys are reading 1984 this year and they, too, find it a little verbose :) However, I have allowed them to listen to the audio which is free online. It's probably not the best way to do literature (a book read in parts and listened to in parts) but it is working and they are discussing well.

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I would add in some non-fiction works:

 

I agree with the non-fiction, and would add:

 

"How to Read A Book"

"From Dawn to Decadence"

"The Making of the Atomic Bomb"

"Godel, Escher, Bach"

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Thanks for the links. I can't wait to peruse them. And for the heads up about 1984; I'll strike that off the list. Great ideas, Laura. I'll look into some other Shakespeare and Dickens to add in.

 

 

 

I'd vote for keeping it on the list. This was one of the memorable books DS read this year (sophomore). He continues to bring up ideas from it, particularly doublethink.

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I would hope for a Shakespeare tragedy and a comedy as well as Julius Caesar. Maybe another more mainstream history play too: there are very good video versions of Henry V available.

 

I might go for a more mainstream Dickens too. Calvin was very affected by Nicholas Nickleby; I loved Our Mutual Friend when I studied it in Sixth Form.

 

Laura

 

 

:iagree:

 

And some serious poetry! College intro courses in lit are hugely poetry dominated. High school students need to read poetry and begin grappling with it.

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No see, my youngest could not stop talking about 1984, but what he was fascinated by was the manipulation of language to manipulate people. We didn't find the book to be irrelevant at all.

 

That said, when I think of must-read books I think in terms of engagement and that they build a foundation for other works. So the Iliad, the Odyssey, and Dante's Inferno would be at the top of the list along with Shakespeare, probably Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet.

 

On a side note: it was kind of thrilling this morning to read two poems from the ancient Chinese text, The Book of Songs, and to recognize strong similarities to Romeo and Juliet, Act 3, Scene 5.

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No see, my youngest could not stop talking about 1984, but what he was fascinated by was the manipulation of language to manipulate people. We didn't find the book to be irrelevant at all.

 

:iagree:

My boys are excited (no, 'excited' is probably too much to ask for) when they recognize current references to the book. They had no idea where "thought police" "newspeak" etc came from. There are so many references today to this particular work that I think it is one I would put high on any high school list.

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I would throw in some philosophy, too. My son's English classes at school have included quite a few selections by philosophers. Usually they read just the pertinent parts that tie in with the literature.

 

Fourth quarter for freshmen and sophs is Shakespeare. All English classes read and put on a play at the end of the year, but they also study the sonnets and perform parts of other Shakespeare play in small groups.

 

All freshman at his school read The Odyssey. The school even offers free night courses for parents who want to study it along with their kids. I think that's cool.

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No see, my youngest could not stop talking about 1984, but what he was fascinated by was the manipulation of language to manipulate people. We didn't find the book to be irrelevant at all.

 

:iagree:

My boys are excited (no, 'excited' is probably too much to ask for) when they recognize current references to the book. They had no idea where "thought police" "newspeak" etc came from. There are so many references today to this particular work that I think it is one I would put high on any high school list.

 

 

I read Finding George Orwell in Burma, and highly recommend it. The popularity of Orwell's work there is fascinating! I highly recommend it. I think 1984 is an amazing work.

I would add in some non-fiction works: Mere Christianity (C.S.Lewis), The Law (Bastiat), and The Prince (Machiavelli) are 3 that I require my boys to read in high school. I had the boys read a Holocaust work every year when they were older even if it wasn't in the history cycle. If you are interested in adding in another Holocaust work, I would suggest All But My Life by Gerda Weissman Klein.

 

I agree that the Holocaust is a very significant world event, and I agree with your recommendation of Gerda Weissman Klein, but I would not focus on it to this degree. There are plenty of other horrors that have been perpetrated, and the "Never again!" line that tends to accompany Holocaust studies doesn't ring true with the multiple incidents of genocide and "ethnic cleansing" that have occurred since then, with minimal intervention from the outside world.

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Fahrenheit 451

Flowers for Algernon

 

For poetry:

The Raven - Edgar Allan Poe

The Road Not Taken and Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening - Robert Frost

Oh, Captain! My Captain! - Whitman

To An Athlete Dying Young - Housman

Death Be Not Proud - Donne

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I'm trying to design a literature course for ds for 10th grade. Right now the books I'm thinking of are:

 

Uncle Tom's Cabin

The Great Gatsby

All Quiet on the Western Front

Never Give In

Nineteen Eighty-Four

Catch 22

The Grapes of Wrath

Of Mice and Men

 

He'll also be reading for his worldview course:

 

Frankenstein

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Deadliest Monster

 

This year he is reading War and Peace.

In the plan for 11th and 12th grades are:

 

Tale of Two Cities

Pride and Prejudice

The Hiding Place

Silas Marner

Julius Caesar

Beowulf

The Pilgrim's Progress

Epic of Gilgamesh

Iliad

Odyssey

Animal Farm

The Old Man and the Sea

Sense and Sensibility

 

So, keeping in mind what he's read and what he will read, what would you add for next year?

 

 

Do you have a unifying theme each year or a tie to history? You have easier works in the senior year and some more difficult ones early on, so I am curious. That would also help with recommendations.

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The Lord of the Rings

by J.R.R. Tolkien

 

Starship Troopers

by Robert Heinlein

 

Parable of the Sower

by Octavia Butler

 

The Bible

 

The Qur'an

 

(Both those last regardless of their own religious beliefs).

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Thanks for all the poetry recommendations as well as the others. I'll add them all to my list of books to consider. Swimmermom, the reason for the odd sequence is because he's working through American School courses which have no literature in 9th and 10th grade and only a little, from what I can tell, in 11th and 12th. There's no required history in 11th and 12th, so I'm hoping to add MFW AHL and WHL in 11th and 12th. This year he chose to read War and Peace which is taking all year. So I want to fit in as many important books next year as I can.

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I agree with the non-fiction, and would add:

 

"How to Read A Book"

"From Dawn to Decadence"

"The Making of the Atomic Bomb"

"Godel, Escher, Bach"

 

 

If you add

Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

to these four, you'd have 5 nonfiction that greatly enrich a person's perspective. Though I would give precedence to Guns, Germs and Steel over everything on GGardner's list except, perhaps, How to Read a Book. :)

 

This is before the end of high school, though. I am not sure a tenth grader would be ready for Better Angels, which gives lucid examples of violence esp. in the middle ages. On the other hand, the analysis of historical violence adds dimension, and brings moral and historical clarity, to the Iliad.

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The Bible

 

The Qur'an

 

(Both those last regardless of their own religious beliefs).

 

 

Ravin, can you suggest a guide for the Qur'an?

 

For the Bible, I like The Teaching Company's Old/Hebrew and New Testament courses, and Asimov's Guide to the Bible (the latter much more thorough, though less current and less accessible -- it's a tome!) These provide an excellent and insightful historical/cultural/moral/academic overview of the text, and are good for liberally-minded Christians or for non-Christians.

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Mazakaal,

Did you want recommendations of books from any genre (a one reading the title of this thread would think), or did you want only recommendations of literature texts? You've received several recommendations of non-fiction books, which is logical given the title of the thread. But it seems from your original post that you are looking only for books that one would use literature courses. Can you clarify?

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Some I remember studying at that age: Down and Out in Paris and London, Orwell, The Art of Rhetoric, Aristotle and As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, Laurie Lee.

 

How about comparing something by Chinua Achebe (maybe Things Fall Apart?) with Conrad's Heart of Darkness?

 

Emma x

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I haven't seen any Agatha Christie mentioned and while they aren't great works of literature I think they are such a cultural icon that at least one should be required reading. Not to mention that the books are fun and a light read so it wouldn't need to replace anything on the list.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hmmm... lots of great ones mentioned already!

 

Ones we've really liked are:

 

Tale of Two Cities

David Copperfield

Cry The Beloved Country

Grapes of Wrath

The Last of the Mohicans

A book by Alexandre Dumas

 

to name a few.

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Not usually included on the list of classics, I think every high schooler should read--

 

Lord of the Flies

 

As well as Catcher in the Rye and Huck Finn

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