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lewelma

Literature from 1850 to present

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Would someone please point me to a good list of literature for a 9th grader to read from the period of 1850 to present. He is a good reader, currently reading Moby Dick, but is still young, so I still need to limit some adult themes. American, British, and World Literature are all good. He has already read all the younger kid books like Tom Sawyer, Call of the Wild, Count of Monte Cristo etc, so I am definitely looking for the Great Books. Also, it would be very handy if the list is linked to historical topics so I could place them within our history study. I am sure that a list like this exists, I just can't find it.

 

Thanks,

 

Ruth in NZ

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Thanks Kfamily. I will take a good look.

 

I am also looking for some lists from this board. I have seen them, but now with the poor search feature, I cannot find them.

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Would someone please point me to a good list of literature for a 9th grader to read from the period of 1850 to present. He is a good reader, currently reading Moby Dick, but is still young, so I still need to limit some adult themes. American, British, and World Literature are all good. He has already read all the younger kid books like Tom Sawyer, Call of the Wild, Count of Monte Cristo etc, so I am definitely looking for the Great Books. Also, it would be very handy if the list is linked to historical topics so I could place them within our history study. I am sure that a list like this exists, I just can't find it.

 

Thanks,

 

Ruth in NZ

 

Ruth,

I found a couple old threads that might get you started.

Modern Era must reads

Modern Literature list - help me pare it down

 

This is off the main WTM site:

Academic excellence 5-8 history and great books recommendations Even though it's listed as 5-8 I think there are some nice ideas for older readers if the works are new to them.

 

And this might be what you're looking for at a high school level.

Great Books A Defense and the (inevitable) list

 

How about throwing a couple tags on the thread. Maybe: Great books, modern era literature

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I guess what I am really looking for is 1 or 2 books on each of the historical topics and subtopics that we will be studying. I have posted my history reading list below (augmented with the library where required). My dh reads out loud to both children, so this list is set for mostly middle school range. I would like to extend my older ds who will be in either 8th or 9th grade next year (tbd), by using literature about these eras/issues. I have bolded the books I have already chosen for my older to read, but I would love about 10 more.

 

Open to suggestions,

 

Ruth in NZ

 

 

 

Life in the Victorian era / Industralization

Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850 by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Flesh and Blood so Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy by Albert Marrin 10+

Shutting out the Sky: Life in the Tenements of New York (1880-1920) by Deborah Hopkinson 11+

Oliver Twist by Dickens

Around the World in 80 Days by Verne

Beyond the 100th Meridian by Wallace Stegner

 

Exploration

Books about Livingstone and Stanley from the library

Lost Photographs of Captain Scott

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming ChBIOEar

The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure by Martin Sandler 10+

Reaching the Summit: Sir Edmund Hillary's Story by Alexa Johnston

Trapped: how the world rescues 33 miners from 2,000 feet below the Chilean Desert by Marc Aronson 10+

 

WW1

The War to End all Wars: World War I by Russell Freedman 12+

 

Between the Wars

Bootleg: Murder Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition by Karen Blumenthal 12+

Six Days in October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929 by Karen Blumenthal 12+

Years of Dust: The Story of the Dust Bowl by Albert Marrin 9+

Growing Up by Russel Baker

Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald

Babbit by Sinclair Lewis

 

WW2

Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration by Joanne Oppenheim 11+

Bomb: The Race to Build – and Steal-- the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin 10+

Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust, Doreen Rappaport ordered 10+

The Good Fight: How WW2 was Won by Stephen Ambros11+

Frontier of Dreams: The Weight of the World Wars

Diary of a Kiwi Soldier in WW2 by Cecil Coughlan

Secret Armies: Spies, Counterspies

Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hitler's Shadow 12+

 

Asia

Young Fu of Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Lewis

The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin 8+

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle Graphic Novel

Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle GFloor-Graphic Novel

Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China by Guy Delisle Graphic Novel

 

Environmentalism

Black Gold: The Story of Oil in our lives by Albert Marin 12+

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

 

Civil Rights

After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Non-violent Resistance Perry O'Brien 11+

They Call themselves the KKK: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti 12+

Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom by Sue Macy 10+

 

Cold War

When the Wall Came Down: The Berlin Wall and the Fall of Soviet Communism by Schmemann 11+

Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin 9+

Mao's Last Dancer by Chuxin Li

 

Technology

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal

Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Thimmesh

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North and South is fabulous for industrialisation and discussion about the various classes, including the beginnings of the labour movement. Gaskell corresponded with Dickens and their novels make for a nice compare and contrast.

D

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Below is a list based on Tapestry of Grace's list, but I've changed things around a bit. They are all literature of the time period and mostly in order chronologically. The first book may overlap into a bit earlier, but it is a work of influence on writing after it.

 

I've also marked anything that might be too mature for him with a *: mostly those include violence but a few have other adult themes.

 

Great Expectations

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Poets: Arnold, Tennyson, Whitman, Dickinson, Hopkins

 

Crime and Punishment (Dostoevsky)*

A Doll's House (Ibsen)

Heart of Darkness (Conrad)

The Death of Ivan Ilyich (Tolstoy)*

An Ideal Husband

Poets: Yeats, Frost, Eliot

 

The Cherry Orchard (Chekhov)

All Quiet on the Western Front (Remarque)*

Animal Farm (Orwell)

Metamorphosis (Kafka)

Our Town

 

The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)

A Brave New World*

The Pearl (Steinbeck)*

The Glass Menagerie (Williams)

Poets: Cummings, Robinson, Williams

The Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway)

The Chosen (Potok)

Waiting for Godot

1984*

To Kill a Mockingbird

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I have been teaching this era to a group of high schoolers this year. I have one freshman, four sophomores and five seniors. Here is what we did:

 

North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell

Walden, by Henry David Thoreau (selections)

O Pioneers, by Willa Cather

Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque

short stories by Tolstoy and GK Chesterton

poetry by Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson

 

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston

Animal Farm, by George Orwell

The Stranger, by Albert Camus

The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams

Cry, the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton

The Old Man and the Sea, by Earnest Hemingway

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Perelandra, by C.S. Lewis

Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare (not from the era, but I do a Shakespeare every year)

"Leaf, by Niggle," by J. R. R. Tolkein

Flannery O'Connor--short stories

poetry by Audre Lorde and Robert Frost

 

Recommended (see commentary below):

 

All Rivers Run to the Sea, by Elie Wiesel

 

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

 

 

One word on C. S. Lewis--His Space Trilogy is one of the earlier works in the science fiction genre, and more specifically within that, the space fiction genre. I chose the second in the trilogy, Perelandra, to study because I consider it to be the finest in the trilogy both in terms of literary merit and theological/philosophical discussion. You can read the books of the trilogy out of order. However, I strongly recommended that my students go ahead and read the first of the trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, over Christmas break. It has action and adventure and is not a difficult book. (It does wax philosophical in parts, but this is not overdone, and the story is quite compelling). Those that read it will have a better context for enjoying Perelandra.

 

There are three other books that I have chosen not to include in this class, but that deserve mention:

 

The Lord of the Flies and Fahrenheit 451 are both books that are considered American classics, and most high school students in this country do study them. While Lord of the Flies is readable, it is still a journey into darkness that I am reluctant to explore at length. Fahrenheit 451 is also a dark, unhappy, dystopian novel, plus it's NOT well written. I find its literary merit quite limited, and so prefer not to give precious class time over to it. That said, however, both ARE novels that students are likely to encounter in test settings (AP, etc.), and elements of both novels are compared to other literature and history in college classes. A working familiarity with both novels is a good idea. My recommendation for these two novels is to either read some sort of study notes summary (Cliff Notes or some such) OR to have your student read them over the summer, quickly, just for the purpose of cultural literacy. Personally, my daughter read a summary of Lord of the Flies, but was required to read the actual text of Fahrenheit 451.

 

The other book I want to comment on is All Rivers Run to the Sea, by Elie Wiesel. I have read a fair amount of Holocaust literature, but this book has really impressed me. The author writes with an absolutely lyrical, haunting quality. His perspective is that of a traditional, conservative Jew who experienced the Nazi camps as a young teen. He does not give detailed descriptions of the brutality, but rather conveys the emotions and the sense of those times with scattered, evocative images. The reader feels his horror as well as his joys without blow-by-blow descriptions. The book covers WW2 as well as the decades after the war, with a fair amount of focus on the creation of Israel. I highly recommend this book and will be requiring my daughter to read it at some point. I chose not to include it in the class because it is long and there is not time to do all the great literature we would like.

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Thanks for these lists! Do either of you read any more recent books, say 1950 to present. I am thinking about books of the literary quality of Toni Morrison, but something more appropriate for a 13 year old.

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One word on C. S. Lewis--His Space Trilogy is one of the earlier works in the science fiction genre, and more specifically within that, the space fiction genre. I chose the second in the trilogy, Perelandra, to study because I consider it to be the finest in the trilogy both in terms of literary merit and theological/philosophical discussion. You can read the books of the trilogy out of order. However, I strongly recommended that my students go ahead and read the first of the trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, over Christmas break. It has action and adventure and is not a difficult book. (It does wax philosophical in parts, but this is not overdone, and the story is quite compelling). Those that read it will have a better context for enjoying Perelandra.

 

 

Actually Out of the Silent Planet is not evenly remotely an early work of science fiction. It was published in 1938. You can read the history of science fiction here: http://en.wikipedia....science_fiction Some people find bits of science fiction dating back to Gilgamesh but I think that is stretching it. Early works in English include Frankenstein written in 1818, but I generally agree with the article that Wells and Verne mark the beginning of science fiction as a separate genre beginning around 1860. The real key event for science fiction multiplying hugely was the birth of pulp magazines int the 1920s. All the famous early writers wrote for the pulps.

 

 

There are three other books that I have chosen not to include in this class, but that deserve mention:

 

The Lord of the Flies and Fahrenheit 451 are both books that are considered American classics, and most high school students in this country do study them. While Lord of the Flies is readable, it is still a journey into darkness that I am reluctant to explore at length. Fahrenheit 451 is also a dark, unhappy, dystopian novel, plus it's NOT well written. I find its literary merit quite limited, and so prefer not to give precious class time over to it. That said, however, both ARE novels that students are likely to encounter in test settings (AP, etc.), and elements of both novels are compared to other literature and history in college classes. A working familiarity with both novels is a good idea. My recommendation for these two novels is to either read some sort of study notes summary (Cliff Notes or some such) OR to have your student read them over the summer, quickly, just for the purpose of cultural literacy. Personally, my daughter read a summary of Lord of the Flies, but was required to read the actual text of Fahrenheit 451.

 

 

Here's a place I agree with you whole heartedly, Fahrenheit 451 is in my opinion a dreadful novel. We do a disservice to Bradbury, who's Martian Chronicles are worth a read, in giving this novel to students first. The only thing good I can say about it is that is certainly an good example of pulp science fiction novels.

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We have done a very comprehensive unit this year on both classic Sci Fi and distopian lit including all listed above. It was a great year! However, this year I want to link literature to the history we are studying because he is more likely to read some of these classics if they have to be 'timed' with the other reading. Fewer excuses.

 

Thanks for the ideas

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Actually Out of the Silent Planet is not evenly remotely an early work of science fiction. It was published in 1938. You can read the history of science fiction here: http://en.wikipedia....science_fiction Some people find bits of science fiction dating back to Gilgamesh but I think that is stretching it. Early works in English include Frankenstein written in 1818, but I generally agree with the article that Wells and Verne mark the beginning of science fiction as a separate genre beginning around 1860. The real key event for science fiction multiplying hugely was the birth of pulp magazines int the 1920s. All the famous early writers wrote for the pulps.

 

 

 

 

Here's a place I agree with you whole heartedly, Fahrenheit 451 is in my opinion a dreadful novel. We do a disservice to Bradbury, who's Martian Chronicles are worth a read, in giving this novel to students first. The only thing good I can say about it is that is certainly an good example of pulp science fiction novels.

 

 

The Wiki article you linked contains this statement:

 

Science fiction developed and boomed in the 20th century, as the deep penetration of science and inventions into society created an interest in literature that explored technology's influence on people and society. Today, science fiction has significant influence on world culture and thought.

 

As such, the Lewis Space Trilogy stands out to me as part of that development, that early boom in science fiction that helped shape the genre into what it is today. Some of the other writers in that movement included Wells, Asimov, Bradbury, Orwell, etc. To say that it is "not even remotely" a work of early science fiction is a strong statement that is not supported, even by the article you yourself linked.

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The Wiki article you linked contains this statement:

 

Science fiction developed and boomed in the 20th century, as the deep penetration of science and inventions into society created an interest in literature that explored technology's influence on people and society. Today, science fiction has significant influence on world culture and thought.

 

As such, the Lewis Space Trilogy stands out to me as part of that development, that early boom in science fiction that helped shape the genre into what it is today. Some of the other writers in that movement included Wells, Asimov, Bradbury, Orwell, etc. To say that it is "not even remotely" a work of early science fiction is a strong statement that is not supported, even by the article you yourself linked.

 

 

I'm not sure the statement from Wikipedia indicates in any way that I can see that Lewis is an early writer of science fiction. Just that science fiction boomed in the 20th century.

 

Early can be taken two ways: first, my point was early as in first on a timeline. No way does Lewis meet that standard.

 

But your second statement above seems to be link Lewis to an early boom science fiction writing and as such influential in further science fiction writing. I'm afraid I don't agree with this either. I've read a lot of science fiction over the years, even took a college course in it. Lewis is not considered influential in any way in science fiction (he doesn't even come up). I can't think of any works after his that were influenced by him that are purely science fiction. It is possible there are works influenced by the space trilogy but I suspect they will also be Christian. There is no main stream "Christian science fiction" (as compared to other side areas found in and around science fiction such as fantasy) that I am aware of. Further even later religious works in science fiction such as the more recent The Sparrow owe nothing to Lewis.

 

Compare this to Asimov, Heinlein, Pohl, Bradbury, Dick, all writing in the 1930s. They have tremendous influence on science fiction after their time. You can pick up works from the 50s, 60s, 70s and on and find motifs from their work.

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