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Hello!  I am looking for suggestions for reading material for a 9th grader who is studying Year 4, Modern Times.  I am looking at the book lists in TWTM and would like to choose eight of these titles for him to cover over the remainder of this school-year (9th) and the summer months.  It feels quite awkward for him to be covering Year 4 at the beginning of High School and I'm not sure which titles are most appropriate for a younger High Schooler.  He has covered a lot of modern history this year.  He has also read a lot of literature but only a few titles that I would consider to be a "great book".  So far, I am thinking he will read Democracy in America, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Walden, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, The Red Badge of Course, and Mere Christianity because I already have copies of those.  He has already read Great Expectations, the Gettysburg Address, Huckleberry Finn, and Animal Farm.  Thanks for any suggestions! 

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… Isuggestions for reading material for a 9th grader who is studying Year 4, Modern Times...

… I am looking at the book lists in TWTM and would like to choose eight of these titles...

… Democracy in America

… Uncle Tom's Cabin

… Walden

… The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass

… The Red Badge of Course

… and Mere Christianity


Quick questions:


- Will you be doing a separate year of American History/Lit?

I ask, as all your selections (except Mere Christianity) are very commonly done as part of an American History/Lit year. If you will be doing a year of American History/Lit, then you might want to save those works on your list for an American focus year.


- Did you want your Modern History / Literature year to include the 20th century?

Other than Mere Christianity, all of the works in your list are 1800s.


- Also, did you want works from other nations for a World Literature representation? Or just American/British works?



And JMO:

Of the works listed, only 2 (U. Tom's Cabin, Red Badge) are what I would say are the typical types of works read/analyzed for Literature -- that's usually fiction, poetry, plays. The other selections on the list are non-fiction, essay, autobiography, and apologetics, which are typically read as primary sources for History, or as part of Religion or Worldview (the apologetics).


My suggestion would be to count those selections on your list as part of your History credit and go for a list of selections of a variety of types of works (novels, novellas, short stories, poetry, plays), or even consider doing a Literature program.



… which titles are most appropriate for a younger High Schooler.


Here are some ideas:


1. Literature program = Windows to the World

A 1-semester program that focuses on 6 short stories from several different nations, in the Modern time period:

- "Gift of the Magi" (Henry) -- American, early 1900s

- "Most Dangerous Game" (Connell) -- American, 1920s

- "The Necklace" (Maupaussant) -- French, late 1880s

- "Fight With a Cannon" (Hugo) -- French, 1880s

- "Jury of Her Peers" -- American, 1910s

- "The Open Window" (Saki) -- British, 1910s


A terrific foundation for future Literature studies: WttW teaches

1.) annotation

2.) how to write a literary analysis essay, and how how to use your annotations as your supporting examples

3.) and then goes over 8-10 literary elements.



2. Literature program = Lightning Lit & Comp 8

For 8th grade, BUT, if your young 9th grader has never done any formal Literature program, this is a gentle intro into beginning literary analysis, and the selection of works would fit in well with Modern World History. Also, the program covers a variety of types of works: 3 poetry units; 3 short stories; 4 novels, 1 novella, 1 biography.



3. Pick 1 work from each of these 7 Modern time frames, plus a bonus book to make 8.

All of these are appropriate for a young 9th grader, and would give you something to "chew on" -- note: I listed the titles by when they were set, not when written (although many are set at the time of writing):



- "How Much Land Does a Man Need" (Tolstoy) -- short story; Russian

- Silas Marner (Eliot) -- British

- choice: something by Charles Dickens -- British (Tale of Two Cities is set in 1790s)

- Around the World in 80 Days (Verne) -- French



- "The Necklace" (de Maupassant) -- short story; French

- The Time Machine (Wells) -- British

- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Stevenson) -- British

- The Picture of Dorian Gray (Wilde) -- British



- A Day of Pleasure (Singer) -- Polish

- A Farewell to Arms (Hemingway) -- may want to preview first; American

- Call of the Wild (London) -- American



- My Family and Other Animals (Durrell) -- British; set on a Greek island

- The Good Earth (Buck) -- American; set in China

- To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee)  -- American



- The Hiding Place (tenBoom) -- Danish

- Animal Farm (Orwell) -- British

- Farenheit 451 -- OR -- The Martian Chronicles (Bradbury) -- American

- Lord of the Rings trilogy (Tolkien) -- British

- Our Man in Havana (Greene) -- British; set in Cuba



- Wizard of Earthsea (or, the Earthsea trilogy) (L'Engle) -- American

- I Heard the Owl Call My Name (Craven) -- American; setting with Canadian Native Peoples

- Watership Down (Adams) -- British

- I Am David (Holm) -- YA fiction; British

- God's Smuggler (Andrew) -- biography; Norweigan



- The Giver (Lowry) -- YA fiction; American

- Sophie's World (Gaarder) -- Norweigan -- fiction, but traces Philosophy movements -- a good Worldview companion book

- The Pushcart War (Merrill) -- YA fiction; American


JMO: I WOULD WAIT on these classics due to intense, mature, or older students will get more out of it:

- Lord of the Flies

- All Quiet on the Western Front

- Cry, The Beloved Country

- A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

- Things Fall Apart

- Life of Pi

- The Metamorphosis



4. Christian Classics (or Christian themes)


1. 1870s = short stories by George MacDonald:

- "The Light Princess" (MacDonald) -- short story; essay by Bob Trexler

- The Golden Key (MacDonald) -- short story; ENotes; Bookrags


2. 1910 = The Man Who Was Thursday (Chesterton)

Kolbe Academy study guideENotes essay


3, 4, 5. 1940s-1950s = Lord of the Rings trilogy (Tolkien)

Progeny Press; Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings; Peter Kreet audio lectures: 10 Uncommon Insights into Evil in Lord of the Rings and Language of Beauty in Lord of the Rings


6, 7 = 1940s = Out of the Silent Planet; Perelandra (Lewis)

Progeny Press; free on line background info and essay ideas  -- first 2 of his "space trilogy" -- book 3 is great, but very dense and for more mature readers


8. = pick from other Christian classics:

- Screwtape Letters (Lewis) -- 1st of 6 YouTube lectures by Jerry Root; free online discussion questions

- The Great Divorce (Lewis) -- free online study guide by Pastor Jonathon Dinger; more free online resources

- Tombs of Atuan (LeGuin) -- not Christian author, but powerful Christian images/theme

- The Hiding Place (tenBoom) -- biography

- I Heard the Owl Call My Name (Craven)

- The Man Born to Be King (Sayers) -- play

- Father Brown short mysteries (Chesterton) -- short stories

- "Leaf by Niggle", "Smith of Wooten Major"," Farmer Giles of Ham" (Tolkien) -- short stories



BEST of luck in deciding what works best for Modern World Literature to compliment your Modern SOTW studies! :) Warmest regards, Lori D.

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