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Selecting choices for literature class

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I am a reader. I adore reading. I've been looking forward to my kids being in high school for 8 years, just so we can do literature together.


But now that I need to start planning, I'm suddenly overwhelmed with choices. Part of me wants to jump in and simply read my favorite books with my 9th grader in random order, just because I can't wait to share them.


Another part of me knows that it's often better for kids to have some sort of systematic way to read the books.


If I go with a systematic approach, then I'm thinking of a year of American authors, a year of British authors, a year of World authors, and then a random anything goes year.


Here's where I need help: I can't seem to come up with "world" authors--authors that aren't American or British. Is "world authors" even a thing? I thought I heard it somewhere. If so, what books should I include in world authors? We'll be studying world history next year so I was thinking world authors in literature would dovetail into that nicely.


Suggestions of world authors?

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Yes, "world authors" is a thing!


Just pulling from the list of books I read in high school/college we've got


Things Fall Apart


Cry, The Beloved Country


Rabbit-Proof Fence


One Hundred Years of Solitude


The House of Spirits


Don Quixote (admittedly in Spanish, but....)


The Diary of Anne Frank

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First, there is absolutely nothing wrong with going with Lit. you love and that your student would love for all 4 years, as long as you're getting a decent mix of authors / countries / time periods in there. And as long as you are pulling in some works that are frequently done in high school, referenced in our culture, or are on college-bound lists so your student is prepared Lit.-wise for college/life. :)


That said, if you want some World Lit classics, below are some ideas. PLEASE NOTE -- not personally familiar with all of these works and you will want to PREVIEW  as MANY of these are adult/mature/intense.


General Sources for ideas:

- book lists / authors in The Well Educated Mind

- book lists/ authors and background info in Invitation to the Classics

Norton Anthology of World Literature -- authors and selections to choose from, with sort introductory articles


World Lit. programs -- check the table of contents for ideas:

Oak Meadow: World Literature

Lightning Literature: World Lit I -- Africa & Asia

Lightning Literature: World Lit II -- Latin America, Africa & Asia

Excellence in Literature V: World Lit

SMARR: Survey of World Literature

free: Introduction to World Literature course

Teaching Company: History of World Literature

Reading the World : Contemporary Literature From Around the Globe (gr. 9-12)

(arranged by nation; poetry and short stories; student anthology AND a teacher guide)

A Multi-cultural Reader, vol. 2 (gr. 9-12) -- vol. 1 is for gr. 6-8

(arranged by theme; poetry, short stories, memoir and autobiography excerpts; student anthology AND a teacher guide)



Past threads with ideas:

World Literature

Help! Need World Literature suggestions

World Literature course?

Help! I need a World Literature anthology, high school level


Some specific ideas to get you started thinking:





Denmark - Out of Africa and Babette's Feast (Dinesen)

France - Count of Monte Cristo; or; The Three Musketeers (Dumas)

France -- Madame Bovary (Flaubert)

France - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; Around the World in 80 Days (Verne) -- or other

France - Cyrano Debergerac (Rostand) -- play
France - Les Miserables (Hugo)

France - The Wanderer (Alain-Fournier)

France - Phantom of the Opera (Leroux)

France - The Stranger; The Plague; or other(Camus)

Germany - Metamorphosis (Kafka) -- novella
Germany - All Quiet on the Western Front (Remarque) 

Greece (ancient) - epics: The Iliad, The Odyssey (Homer); The Aeneid (Virgil, a Roman)

Greece (ancient) - plays: Oedipus cycle; The Birds; The Frogs; Medea; others

Greece - My Family and Other Animals (Durrell) -- British author's family living on a Greek island

Hungary/UK - The Scarlet Pimpernel (Orczy) -- set during the French Revolution
Ireland - Dracula (Stoker)
Italy - Inferno (Dante)
Italy - The Name of the Rose (Eco)
Germany/Australia - The Book Thief (Zusak)

Germany - Faust (Goethe)

Germany - The Metamorphosis; The Castle; The Trial; or other  (Kafka)

Norway - A Doll's House; Peer Gynt; Hedda Gabler; or other (Ibsen) -- play

Poland - A Day of Pleasure (Singer)

Poland - Solaris (Lem)

Romania/Germany - Night (Wiesel)

Russia - War and Peace (Tolstoy)

Russia - Crime and Punishment (Dostoyevski)

Russia - The Cherry Orchard; Three Sisters; or other (Chekov) -- play

Russia - The Master and Margarita (Bulgakov)

Scotland - The Lost Traveller (Todd)

Spain - Don Quixote (Cervantes)

USSR - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Solzhenitsyn)



Afghanistan - The Kite Runner; or, A Thousand Splendid Suns, or other (Hosseini)

Algiers - The Swallows of Kabul (Khadra)

Armenia - The Road From Home (Kherdian) -- biography of a victim of the Armenian genocide, by her Americanized son

Iran - Persepolis (Satrapi)

Iran/USA - Reading Lolita in Tehran (Nafisi)


China - The Good Earth (Buck)

China - Red Scarf Girl (Jiang)
Japan - The Samurai (Endu)

Japan/UK - Artist of the Floating World (Ishiguro)

Japan - Hiroshima (Hersey) -- written by an American, but closely from the point of view of survivors of the Hiroshima atomic bomb blast

Japan - choice of classic work of Manga

- Nigeria - Things Fall Apart (Achebe)
- South Africa - Cry the Beloved Country (Paton)

NORTH AMERICA - CANADA / USA (minority viewpoints)

Canada - Life of Pi (Martel)

USA - Their Eyes Were Watching God (Hurston) -- African American woman (U.S., 1930s)
USA - Black Like Me (Griffith) -- African American / Civil Rights & Deep South era (late 1950s)
USA - The Chosen (Potok) -- immigrant Jewish sub-culture within 1940s U.S.
USA - The Joy Luck Club (Tan) -- Chinese immigrant mothers and their first-generation daughters; U.S. 1980s

USA - Ceremony (Silko) -- Native American with PTSD returns from WW2



Chile - House of the Spirits (Allende)

Colombia - One Hundred Years of Solititude, or,  a short story (Marquez)



Denmark -- fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen

Denmark - The Snow Queen (Andersen)

Germany - fairy tales by the brothers Grimm

France - The Necklace (de Maupassant)

France - The Storm (Verne)

France - Fight With a Cannon (Hugo)

Ireland - The Dead (Joyce) -- long short story

Italy - CosmiComics (Calvino) -- short story collection

Greek/Irish/Japanse - Reflections (Hearn)

Poland - The Cinnamon Shops (Shultz) -- short story collection

Russia - How Much Land Does a Man Need (Tolstoy)

Russia - The Candle (Tolstoy)

Russia - The Inspector (Gogol)
Russia - The Nose (Gogol)
Russia - The Overcoat (Gogol)
Russia - The Grand Inquisitor (Dostoyevski) -- stand alone section from his novel Brothers Karamotzov

Russia - The Queen of Spades (Pushkin)

Russia - The Bet (Chekov)



Argentina - a short story by Jorge Borges



Japan -- Rashomon (Akutagawa) -- short story



Nigeria - Say You're One of Them (Akpan) -- short story collection


Edited by Lori D.
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Man, LoriD has some great suggestions as always!


Just as an FYI, Things Fall Apart has a killing scene in it that quite upset my daughter a few months ago.  She's oddly tenderhearted when it comes to people or animals being hurt; it's always a balance between helping her build up some callouses and not wanting to destroy her compassionate side.  You may want to pre-read that one.  (I think I borrowed it from the Free Library of Philadelphia using the Kindle app.)  


Otoh, both of us loved Around the World in 80 Days!


Otherwise, I'm probably not much help; we're going with medieval lit to augment history, so it's largely European-centered.


The Norton anthologies might give you some more ideas too.

Edited by happypamama
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