High School Reading Material

If you read the blog last night, I bet you saw today’s lunch coming from a mile away.

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BBQ chicken salad!

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Such a delicious and easy salad to make.

White nectarine slices added sweetness to the meal.

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Sadie had negative interest in the fruit. She was all about the chicken and even managed to create a ring of drool while watching me eat.

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It’s a gift.

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High School Reading Material

Late this morning, I read an interesting article on MSNBC.com about the “10 books you really should have read in high school.”

The article admits to omitting “a lot of astonishing books,”  but the list of books included (in no particular order):

  1. Frankenstein
  2. The Scarlet Letter
  3. The Catcher in the Rye
  4. The Great Gatsby
  5. Pride and Prejudice
  6. Siddhartha
  7. Lord of the Flies
  8. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  9. To Kill a Mockingbird
  10. The Fountainhead

I was only assigned to read three of the books on this list. I read The Great Gatsby (loved it), The Catcher in the Rye (liked it a lot) and The Scarlet Letter (take it or leave it).

                    great gatsby

I read a lot of books not on the list and  remember absolutely loving Of Mice and Men (I sobbed like a baby) and absolutely hating Fahrenheit 451 in high school. I started reading Pride and Prejudice as an adult and then the movie was on television as I was about halfway through reading it, so I watched the movie… and then never picked up the book again. Oops.

Question of the Afternoon

  • What was the best book you were assigned to read in high school?
  • What book – classic or not – do you think high school students should be assigned to read? (Maybe we’ll make it the next PBF Book Club book!)


  1. Mallory @ It's Only Life says

    that sandwich looks great! yep, definitely could see that lunch coming 😉

    i was assigned 7 of those 10 books. while not on the list, Catch-22 was my favorite i think! Either that or great gatsby. loved them both!


    • says

      i think i might pick up that book, too. it was the one on the list that i always wanted to read but never got around to actually reading. have you seen the movie a time to kill? the description of the book reminds me of that movie a lot.


      • says

        hmm, no never saw that movie. but i would definitely recommend that book. from what i remember it was amazing.

        ugh, i remember having to read the scarlet letter. i couldn’t get through it at the time. it was just terrible. if i read it now, it would probably be okay. but to a high schooler with better things to do, reading that was not a top priority.


    • Molly says

      Yes! Loved To Kill A Mockingbird! Also loved Gatsby. One that I had to read in high school that I disliked was Brave New World. Not my thing.


  2. Lindsay says

    I saw the movie Pride and Prejudice first and then read it. The language is too lofty for me so the movie helped a lot. But I LOVE both. I think I like Elizabeth Bennet more in the book and Mr. Darcy (SWOON!) more in the movie.


  3. says

    I read Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, and I read Of Mice and Men too. I’m sure I read others but I can’t remember now off the top of my head. I know I read this much earlier than high school but I think The Diary of Anne Frank should be a required reading.

    Love that sandwich! 🙂


  4. says

    That ring o’ drool is impressive! Funny stuff!

    The best book I was ever assigned in high school was “Jubilee” by Margaret Walker. It is phenomenal! It’s about the Civil War and the South and slavery and food. I love that book!

    I think Diary of Anne Frank should be required as well as Uncle Tom’s Cabin.


  5. says

    Wow, I actually read 6 of the 10 books in high school! My teachers must have consulted that list. I think my favorite books I read in high school were Catcher in the Rye and the Shining by Steven King. I hated Lord of the Flies when I read it. But now everyone compares it to the Hunger Games which I love. Maybe it deserves a reread.


  6. says

    I only read two of those in high school, but I’ve read five by now. The Great Gatsby is still my all-time favorite classic novel. There’s a company that makes t-shirts with the gatsby cover emblazoned onto it – I want one so badly!


  7. says

    I think I actually read this when I was in Grade 7 (or around there) but Holes by Louis Sachar was awesome! I think they made it into a movie too. I’ve never read The Great Gatsby… I’ll blame it on the fact that I was in a British international school in the Middle East and in English all we got to read was Shakespeare and other really old books! Pride and Prejudice and To Kill a Mockingbird were included though, so I guess I’m not that naive!


  8. Kelly says

    My all time favorite book I read in high school was Night by Elie Wiesel. I cried while reading this book many times. I have not read a book since that has affected me as much as this one.


  9. Rosa - Fitness, Food, Fulfilled says

    I’ve read all these books except Siddhartha (never even heard of it). We had to read a book a month in my English AP class and some of these were on that list. One that I really enjoyed was 1984 because it was so insane to me then, but has so many parallels to the modern day.

    I love the classics! They’re ignored too often!


  10. says

    Frankenstein was one of those books I dreaded reading, but absolutely loved. Mary Shelley was a gifted writer! And The Great Gatsby is still one of my favorites.

    I also really enjoyed The Hobbit, A Brave New World, and Wurthering Heights. I probably wouldn’t have read any of those on my own!

    One book I didn’t read in high school, but I wish was recommended is One Hundred Years of Solitude. It’s amazing book.


  11. says

    I read the Great Gatsby which I loved, and To Kill a Mocking Bird. I read atlas shrugged too but honestly forgot if I liked it or not. I know a movie came out about it though.(or is coming out).


  12. says

    I haven’t read it yet, but my fiance tells me that Invisible Man is a book everyone should read. He says its one of those books that’s still applicable today.

    And I agree with so many others in that To Kill a Mockingbird was AMAZING!


  13. says

    YAY, the publisher in me was so excited for a post about books. 🙂

    I read seven of the ten in high school (all except Siddhartha, Huckleberry Finn, and The Fountainhead)…and I’m a huge nerd, so I loved them all. 🙂 The best book I ever read in high school, though, has to be a tie between The Awakening (Kate Chopin) and A Doll’s House (Henrik Ibsen). My AP Lit class senior year did a lot of work with gender studies, and I eventually wound up writing my thesis on issues of gender in college, so I guess it was in the cards!


  14. Lexie @ This Aussie Eats says

    Of that list, I only read To Kill A Mockingbird in highschool. Wowza, maybe I need to do some catch-up reading?! Maybe Australia has a different list out that our students read?

    I loved the book and the activities the teacher had us do while reading, it is still my favorite book that I read in highschool.


  15. says

    I love this post!

    That is a pretty good list, Catcher in the Rye is one of my favorites that I read again and again.

    I also found it funny that you talk about Pride and Prejudice, every time I watch the movie “You’ve Got Mail” (which is a lot), I always make a mental note to read that book. Meg Ryan’s character makes it seem like a must read.
    I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

    As for suggestions, I think that Flowers for Algernon is definitely missing from the list. It raises a lot of interesting questions that people in high school could gain from discussing.
    I also think that non-fiction is missing from required reading. It’s such an important genre. Especially for teenagers, they could gain a lot from learning from trial and triumphs of real people. It’s so inspiring.


  16. says

    I was assigned Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, and To Kill A Mockingbird. I really hated Lord of the Flies, but love love LOVE Gatsby to this day (I collect different printings of it that I see and like).

    I was never assigned Catcher In The Rye but I read it on my own in 9th grade, which I feel is the time in life where one would feel a lot like Holden Caulfield, and ABSOLUTELY love it. It is probably my favourite one book, besides Margaret Atwood’s The Edible Woman (which I chose to read for an essay in high school, but loved sooooo much).

    I don’t get much time to read anymore, sadly!


  17. Anne @strawberryjampackedlife.com says

    Ugh, they recommend the Fountainhead? It was a good book in that it made me think in very different ways, but it took me 9 months to make it through!

    I wish we had been assigned to read Pride and Prejudice. And then we would have watched the BBC miniseries. Colin Firth . . . . drool (much like Sadie!)


  18. says

    I was only assigned two of the books: To Kill a Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies. I absolutely hated To Kill a Mockingbird but LOVED Lord of the Flies. I thought TKAM moved way to slow and I found myself skimming the pages just to get through the book. Lord of the Flies was awesome – that reminds me, I should read it again. And I LOVED Of Mice and Men – also cried like a baby.

    I think students should read The Help. Great book and such a great message.


  19. says

    I’ve read all but the top four (Frankenstein, The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye and The Scarlett Letter) and most of them I read on my own for fun.
    Siddhartha is amazing – it is a book that I re-read and always learn something new about the characters and myself.
    Pride and Prejudice is wonderful to read and the BBC movie version is the best adaptation of it.
    Fountainhead was a challenge to get through, but so interesting.
    Lord of the Flies and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are both good.
    But to Kill a Mockingbird. Oh goodness. So amazing. Harper Lee is a brilliant author. That is definitely a must-read for any high school student.

    Other books that I think are must reads: Jane Eyre, Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, The Alchemist, and, my all-time favourite, Anne of Green Gables.


  20. says

    I only read 4 of those on that list. For some reason A Separate Peace sticks out in my head from having to read that in 9th grade English class. We dissected that book to shreds. It was the first critical essay I had to write and I just remember hating every inch of the book after many revisions of that essay!


  21. Traci says

    I read 4 of the 10 in high school and have never read the rest! I think the Great Gatsby has to be my favorite of the high school bunch. I took all AP or honors English classes (dork), so I did a huge share of reading. Other standouts included Life of Pi and Fried Green Tomatoes.


  22. says

    The Great Gatsby & Catcher in the Rye are both such classics! Another must-read is The Diary of Anne Frank! I remember reading it when I was quite young but I absolutely loved it. A similar book about the Holocaust which I remember reading is Number the Stars. if you have read/enjoyed Anne Frank, definitely give this one a read!

    Question–> have you ever listened to an audio book? I am really enjoying Bossypants and am looking to download my next one…any suggestions?


  23. Lauren says

    I read most of them, I think I had a pretty “classic” focused english teacher in high school. But the one NOT CLASSIC book that we read in high school was “Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chobsky. It was the first and only book that every single person finished in about 2-3 days. It really pulled the reader in right away, and was a quick read as well. It was also way more edgy and therefore, interesting and relatable to 11th graders, than any of the classics. Next year it’s coming out as a movie starring Kate Walsh and Emma Watson!


  24. kate says

    The Fountainhead. Amazing.

    Must reads: Atlas Shrugged and Brave New World. Maybe not for high schoolers, but in your lifetime, must reads for sure.


  25. says

    I hated The Great Gatsby and Lord of the Flies but I’m a HUGE Jane Austen fan. My fav of her books is called Persuasion…a def. must-read. I think The Count of Monte Cristo is also a book high schoolers should read. It was long, but still remains one of my all-time favs to this day. There are lots of important themes, ideals; situations for GREAT discussion/dialogue.

    Oh golly. I love to read.


  26. says

    We read several on the list but To Kill a Mockingbird is still one of my favorite books of all time. I have read it a few more times since then. I actually didn’t like The Great Gatsby in high school (Gasp…I know). But, I think it was the way the book was taught and it totally turned me off. My sister loves it and gave me her copy but I’ve been putting off reading it. I think I need to give it another chance. I’m intrigued by the movie so I should probably do it before that is released!


    • Katie says

      I bet it IS the way Gatsby was taught to you. When I read that statement I thought Oh My Goodness! I LOVE the way Mrs. Gibbons taught it–that’s why I love it!


  27. says

    I read all of those in high school except Siddhartha and The Fountainhead. Another one that I read in high school that I think everyone should read is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. It’s tough to read at times but SO wonderful.


  28. Dyanna says

    Worst book I had to read in high school was I’m ok You’r ok. I am an avid reader, always have been, and I couldnt even make it through the 1st chapter! The day of the test I was like, oww no I am soooo gonna fail this test.” One of the girls who sat near me was helping her boyfriend who sat in front of me that day pass this class, soooo the test was multiple choice, she sat there calling out 1 a 2 c 3 b. I have NEVER even thought about cheating before, but I did use most of her answers–changing a few for good measure– and ended up making an A on that test! 1st and last time I EVER cheated on school work lol. The stress and guilt about getting caught juse was not worth it!!!!


  29. says

    From that list I was assigned The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice. I have been meaning to read To Kill a Mockingbird for the longest time now and I finally got it in the library. Even if I didn’t enjoy reading all of the books I was assigned, most of the times I thought they were good.


  30. says

    Between being a senior English major and my high school classes, I’ve been assigned to read five of those books and have read all but three of them in their entirety (I never finished The Fountainhead…wowza is that book a doozy!)

    My two favorite books from high school (which actually continue to be two of my favorite books, period) were Alas, Babylon and 1984. Apparently I have a thing for dystopia? Haha. But really. Both books are so engaging. I’m really not a huge literature person (and yet I’m an English major…hmm…) but I loved both of those books. I think they’re both definitely must reads.

    I’m also a big fan of Of Mice and Men…way better than The Grapes of Wrath, imo. I didn’t really dig Fahrenheit 451, either, even though I like dystopian books. I couldn’t get into it when I read it. However, I’m in a Brit Lit class right now where we’ve read a bunch of stuff I read in AP English in high school, and I’ve enjoyed the repeat writings a lot more the second time through. Maybe I just need to give all these books I originally didn’t like another chance.


  31. says

    I read 5 of the books (not all required by my school) during high school.

    Some of the other ones we had to read were Crime and Punishment (really long and kind of difficult), Wuthering Heights, Rebecca, Heart of Darkness…we read some challenging ones!


  32. says

    I read Where the Red Fern Grows in middle school and LOVED IT! It’s a great young adventure story and as a fellow dog lover, I’m sure you would too – and Sadie would make some friends. I love re-visiting books I read in school – I usually end up liking them a lot more now!


  33. says

    Ok, I’m going to be such an OUTCAST here, but my absolute favorite book was 1984 (& it’s still my favorite!)- I loved it!! & I loved animal farm too..I think it’s because of all of the political ties in it.
    I totally cried reading Of Mice & Men too..such a good book!


  34. Linda says

    I read Frankenstein and the Scarlet Letter in high school. A lot of those other books are on my personal list of books to read. Especially Pride and Prejudice. It seems wrong that I haven’t read it yet.


  35. Katie says

    I’ve only three on the list as well: Gatsby, Scarlet Letter, and To Kill a Mockingbird. I loved them all. I have not read Catcher in the Rye–I was always in a different section that didn’t choose that one!

    My favorite book I was required to read in HS was The Awakening by Kate Chopin. It is a fabulous read!!

    I was talking with a HS friend recently and we were discussing how we both LOVE to read and feel like even in our AP English classes we missed out on a lot of classics. We strolled around Borders (RIP my favorite Friday night nerd hangout) and found TONS of books we felt like heathens for never having read. I added a ton to my list! Now if I could only put down the chick lit….


  36. Annie says

    we were assigned 7 of the 10 books on that list….and in the first two years!!

    My favorite book that was assigned reading in HS, which ultimately became one of my fave books ever, is The House of the Spirits by Isabelle Allende. I HIGHLY recommend it. It takes some getting used to the writing style at first, but it’s quick to pick up on, and honestly, I could not put it down. Full of action, romance, sorrow, defeat, triumph, gathering the will to survive when everyone would understand if you gave up… UGH just thinking about it makes me want to pick it back up again! It really is an incredible book.

    I do think I will have to go home and start reading it again. Wow.

    side note: HATED Fahrenheit 451.


  37. Sarah says

    I’m in high school right now (when will 10th grade end?) and i have Pride and Prejudice this year. I have read both the adventure of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Also i read To Kill A Mockingbird, which i liked. I think high schoolers, or at least girls should read Little Women. Some say Jane Eyre but it was hard for me to get through and i quit half way through! Sense and Sensibility is nice, but a little confusing. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Elsie Dinsmore series! And i have Shakespeare for the first time this year. How did that go for you guys? I’ve never read Shakespeare so i hoe y’all can tell me if ya enjoyed it. Here are some books i think should make the list:

    1. Little Women
    2. An Old Fashioned Girl
    3. The Elsie Dinsmore Series
    4. The Narnia books
    5. Anne of Green Gables
    6. Saving Sprite ( totally not classic, still so heartwarming for dog lovers everywhere)
    7. Catherine Called Birdy (HAlarious)
    8.Mary Bloody Mary
    9. Sense and Sensibility
    10. My Mother Got Married (And Other Disasters) -ok, that’s just me- not a general hschool reading list material

    And Julie- maybe next post you could compile some of the suggestions into a high school reading list and we could all go through the list together 🙂 Also it would totally help me for reading lists cuz im homeschooled. Thanks!


    • says

      how neat that you’re homeschooled! i’m loving the comments on this post because they’re giving me reading ideas! i actually liked shakespeare – from what i could understand of it, at least. one of my teachers had a neat book where it would have “shakespeare speak” on one side and modern day translations on the other. it was really cool!


      • Katie says

        I agree with Julie! Shakespeare is good–even if you can’t understand the language, when you’re able to grasp everything I think you’ll really like the stories!


        • Sarah says

          ooooh! Now i can’t wait to get to it! Shakespeare has always scared me just cuz all my older friends said it was the worst! They said to avoid it as long as i could- as if homeschoolers can avoid shakespeare anyhow! Just wondering- do you remember the title of that “shakespeare speaks” book? And do you know if it’s available for private instruction? I think it would be really helpful, especially since English/Literature isn’t my strong point.


    • says

      Oh wow I’m glad I read your comment!

      I read “Catherine Called Birdy” in 6th grade. Just randomly pulled it out of my teacher’s private “library” collection and I completely adored it. It has stuck with me forever but I couldn’t remember the exact name of it.

      I think I wrote a rave report on the book or something because when the author came to speak locally my teacher took me on a Saturday to see it!

      I’m definitely going to have to find it and buy it.


        • Sarah says

          Isn’t it great? Actually i had to read it as part of my 9th grade history curricula last year! And i can’t believe Karen Cushman actually came to speak locally and you got to see her! SO cool! Now my sister is enjoying it- it is so funny! i just read it for the 7th time. it’s one of those books i pick up when i need to smile- and i never get tired of it!


  38. Emily says

    the great gatsby was by FAR my favorite. we always got to watch the movies afterwards too, robert redford was a babe. high schoolers should definitely read the omnivores dilemma. especially with the obesity epidemic with our youth and all the junk being served in school cafeterias….high school (or even earlier) is where they should be learning to make healthy choices!


  39. says

    I read some of those in high school, and some on my own as well. I adore catcher in the rye and never read it at school, and i guess i read huckleberry on my own as well. I did read LOTF and to kill a mockingbird in high school, and I liked them both. What can I say, I love to read period!


  40. says

    I’ve read all of those- but I was an English major in college so a lot of them I read in my survey classes. I’m surprised 1984 wasn’t on there! I wrote one of my application essays on that!


  41. says

    The Awakening was the best book I read in high school—-it’s the book that made me want to be an English teacher! Talk about influential.

    I teach Frankenstein to my eighth grade gifted students, and they LOVE it. I love teaching it, too!


  42. danielle says

    I read all of the ones on the list throughout English class in High School. Favorites that I had to read included Great Gatsby, The Awakening, Jane Eyre, The Sun Also Rises, Farinheight 451, and Brave New World.


  43. says

    I read every book on that list but 6 and 10. I don’t know why… I think the Fountainhead looked daunting and I wasn’t a Rand fan. I think Fahrenheit 451 should be on that list; I liked it a lot.

    However, I think reading in high school is extremely complex, because not every student is going to like every book. It’s only when you’re an adult and you get to pick and choose what you read when it becomes really fun, in my opinion.


  44. Emily C says

    The Fountainhead was absolutely amazing! I had to read it my senior year and it was one of the only books we read that people finished. It is about 700 and some odd pages but it is well worth it. I loved Of Mice and Men, such a great story. I hated Things Fall Apart, I just could not get through it but The Great Gatsby will always be a favorite 🙂


  45. says

    I read 6 out those books. I loved Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, and Lord of the Flies. My favorite books I read in high school were probably The Awakening by Kate Chopin and For Whom the Bells Tolls by Hemingway. My worst favorite book by far was Moby Dick!!!! I don’t know how people like it!


  46. Mary Babicki says

    Funny enough, in my High School literature class we were assigned to read Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (this was about a year before the movie came out) . I think we were studying modern writing at the time. I was riveted and couldn’t put it down. Not so with some of the other reading assignments, lol.


  47. says

    Pride and Prejudice is my all time favorite book!! I picked it up freshman year of high school because I heard great things about it. It started off slow at first and I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. Once I got used to the wording and pacing of the book I couldn’t put it down! I think it is such a great love story and love how it examines the flaws and beauty in people. I’m such a sap. ;P


  48. says

    I loooooved The Great Gatsby. I was also in Honors English classes, so there were a lot more books on our lists than the regular English classes. Other favorites of mine were All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Ramarque and Night by Elie Wiesel. There was also one I remember really enjoying called McTeague by Frank Norris.

    But I should stop. I could go on forever and ever. I love books. I love to read, love to write. I could do those things all day with a few breaks for snacks and be a happy camper.


  49. says

    I loved To Kill a Mockingbird! Also, for several of my AP english classes we got to pick from a list of books and the one I really enjoyed was Jane Eyre! All I have to say is I DO NOT think kids should have to read Crime and Punishment- seriously…making us read that book was a crime in itself haha.


  50. Stephanie says

    I LOVED The Great Gatsby and Cather in the Rye. My favorite books in HS were probably Night by Eli Weisel and A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (a very interesting take on what the future could be like for women).

    I never read Huckleberry Finn though because it’s not allowed in my county! They’ve taken it off of all of our reading lists and everything (or at least they did when I was in HS a few years ago!) And I lived in a very large and well known county in VA too!


  51. Sabina says

    wow – i’ve only read two of those! I guess i need to step away from the chick lit.

    Book that left the longest/best impression – “the Lottery” by shirley jackson. Very disturbing .


  52. Sara says

    So many good books, so little time! I remember having a reading list and we had to choose a book and do a report once a month. Most of those books were on the list. I tended to try to choose the ones not everyone else was reading (meaning I read all the longer books and let 85% of the other kids do their report on Pearl by Steinbeck).

    I would add One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest to this list, along with Catch-22 and Slaughterhouse Five. I loved Catch-22 so much that I go back and re-read it again every few years.


  53. Jessica says

    We read; Lord of the Flies, Great Gatsby, and Scarlett Letter. I remember being assigned to read Fountainhead in 6th grade but pretty sure I didn’t get through one page of that book. Now I think back and wonder why in the heck we would have been assigned that in 6th grade!

    Two books that I really liked were 1984 and Animal Farm, both by George Orwell. I read 1984 in college and Animal Farm in HS but I am really intrigued by the themes in these books.

    I can’t wait for The Great Gatsby movie to come out!


  54. says

    I loved Catcher in the Rye… and also the Grapes of Wrath! If you ever get the chance to read the Grapes of Wrath I would definitely suggest you do 🙂
    As a matter of fact I think I am going to re-read it in the near future…


  55. says

    Ooh I’ve read all of those, except Siddartha, Catcher in the Rye and the Fountainhead. I was an English major in college, too, so I’m all about reading some classics.. I would love to read Huckleberry Finn again though- I read that a million years ago it feels like.


  56. Dana says

    I LOVED ‘Emma’ by Jane Austen. The whole time I was reading it, I kept thinking how familiar it seemed. Turns out, the movie ‘Clueless’ is based on it! It is so good.


  57. says

    the best book I was assigned to read in high school was “Someone to run with” by David Grossmann, I absolutely loved that book! for the rest, I was only assigned 1 of the 10 books, Pride and Prejudice, but I guess that’s because I’m Italian and we read mostly italian classics.


  58. Kate says

    I’m not sure if Catch-22 would be over a high school student’s head, but I loved reading it in college and wished I’d read it sooner.

    I think Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a thought-provoking book I was assigned and truly loved…Ok, anything by Margaret Atwood I love.


  59. says

    I was only assigned to read two of those books…We read “Of Mice and Men” too and I really enjoyed that one
    As a(n almost) CAL teacher, I absolutely think students should read “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson. It’s an AMAZING book about a young girl who goes through some serious friend changes, is raped, and is afraid to tell anyone about it for over a year. She goes experiences a lot of bullying and depression before she learns she just has to stand up for herself and protect herself so that others can be protected and heard, too.
    I highly recommend it, even as an adult it’s a fantastic book to read.


  60. Ryah says

    I read all of those books in high school, except for To Kill A Mockingbird. But I want to read it sometime. My boyfriend says it’s really good. I think Jane Eyre and East of Eden should really be on that list. 🙂


  61. says

    I never really read in high school, but since finishing my masters, I’ve had SOOO much time to read. Last year I decided to go back and re-read the major “classics”, many of which are on that list. I read Pride and Prejudice (which was amazing), East of Eden (again….amazing), and The Scarlett Letter (definitely won’t read that again).

    One book I would add to that list though is To Kill A Mockingbird. It is, by far, one of my top 5 books of all time. I’m actually re-reading it now!


  62. says

    Definitely Pride and Prejudice! It was one of the books we had to study for my graduation, the book and the film actually, and it’s my best memory of a book so far! The teacher was also awesome so I enjoyed every part of it!


  63. says

    hahaha my girlfriends and I made a “video project” for Lord of the Flies. It was absolutely hilarious and we had a blast making it. Surprisingly enough we came out with top marks. Not quite sure how we pulled that one off since our bloopers section was twice as long as the actual content .. Oppsie 🙂


  64. Lynn Seuberling says

    I hates Brave New World and 1984…it was more science fiction…. I love to Kill A Mockingbird and The Great Gatsby…after we read the books we would then watch the movie. I love to Kill a Mockingbird with Gregory Peck.

    BTW, chicken salad looks awesome


  65. Emma @ Microcosm of Life says

    I love J.D. Salinger. In addition to Catcher in the Rye, we also read the short story collection Nine Stories, which to this day is one of my favorites.

    Also, Sound and the Fury by Faulkner. I have read it in 4 different English classes, high school and college combined 🙂


  66. says

    My favorite book that I read in high school was The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. I loved the vignettes and the voice of the protagonist. I was so proud of myself when I got an A on the assignment, if not my only A of the year in that class, definitely my first.


  67. says

    Other than the great books mentioned in the comments, I think Three Musketeers was a fun read, Also Cry the Beloved Country was super moving.

    You HAVE to read To Kill a Mockingbird!! A Time to Kill is sort of similar in theme, but Mockingbird is even better. And The Help also made a lot of references to TKM.


  68. says

    Great Gatsby was my very favorite in high school! I really loved learning about the time period in general and actually couldn’t put the book down. One of the few I actually finished and didn’t just read the spark notes 🙂 I absolutely hated Scarlet Letter.


  69. says

    I was only at a regular high school for my freshmen year. I remember reading Jane Eyre and I really liked it. We also read Native Son, and I completely hated it.

    I absolutely love The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I read it in my own free time when I was 16 or 17. I think that should be required reading.


  70. says

    I read all of those except Siddhartha, but I think Lord of the Flies was in 8th grade, not high school.

    We were not only required to read The Fountainhead my junior year, but to enter an essay contest about it run by the Ayn Rand Foundation. Somehow, my essay complaining about how it was dull, badly written (and not even in an entertaining way), and filled with ridiculous pseudo-philosophy didn’t win. Can’t imagine why not.

    I do remember still getting excellent grades that year, despite the fact that I titled my final paper “Every Character in As I Lay Dying is a Jerk.” I was maybe a little bit of a smart ass…


  71. Cristin says

    I loved Catcher in the Rye, the Great Gatsby, To kill a Mockingbird, and a Streetcar named Desire. I never read the Fountainhead, Siddhartha, Pride and Prejudice or the Scarlet Letter. I also loved Fahrenheit 451!


  72. says

    I read 5 of those in high school and 2 in middle school. I’m surprised Wuthering Heights isn’t on the list. That was one of my favorites! I always say I’m going to reread it but I never find the time.


  73. Christina says

    I have to say, though I didn’t read this until I was a Lit major in college, that Frankenstein is my all-time favorite book! The story is incredibly heart-wrenching and fascinating and really makes you think. I would highly recommend reading it. A lot of people shy away because of the title and the silly movies that came out however long ago… but it is nothing like that at all!


  74. Christina says

    Oh, I also must say that Tarzan of the Apes should be on this list! Another one that I didn’t read until I was a Lit major, but oh-so-good! I read it in two days! Wild romance… literally. There is a reason people made movies out of these books folks!


  75. says

    We had to read
    The Catcher in the Rye
    The Great Gatsby
    Lord of the Flies
    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    and To Kill a Mockingbird

    My favorite of those was The Catcher in the Rye

    I started reading Pride and Prejudice this year, but I got bored.

    1984 is probably the most important book to read ever. I mean, I didn’t care for it all that much, and government big brother, blah blah whatever, but really people reference it constantly. Just to be in the loop.

    I absolutely hated Of Mice and Men, but the worst book we read in school was The Old Man and the Sea. It’s literally about an old guy fishing. I felt like I was being tortured.


  76. Angie says

    I teach high school English and teach three of the books on the list. I also teach Of Mice and Men. It is interesting how some students will love a book and others hate it (namely Catcher in the Rye and Great Gatsby). I personally loved Gatsby when I was in high school and now love sharing it with my students. Thanks for the link also – I will be showing this to my students tomorrow!


  77. jaci says

    I had to read 6 of them in high school and 1 (to kill a mockingbird) in 6th grade. I loved all of them except Lord of the Flies.

    I don’t think I could pick just one to add! Throughout high school we read ‘Brave New World’, ‘ The Stranger’, ‘Cathedral’ (collection of short stories) and ‘White Noise’ and I personally think all of them should be on that list!!


  78. says

    I love this post!!!! My favorite book that I had to read for school was The Great Gatsby. We read it my junior year in high school, and at the end of the book my English teacher held a party at night for the class at the cafeteria where we all had to dress up in clothes from the 20’s. Obviously this was an honors class filled with a bunch of nerds! But our speakeasy party was so fun, and everyone got really into it! It would be really fun to have a 20’s themed party now that I’m an adult now…


  79. says

    I have read all except the Fountainhead, Siddharta and Pride and Prejudice. Frankenstein was my absolute favorite and is probably one of my favorite books. It was completely not what I expected and the depth of the characters was incredible. I loved it!


  80. says

    Wooo I’m at 9 out of 10 – haven’t read Fountainhead but it is definitely on my list! I absolutely LOVE the Great Gatsby – it was my mom’s favorite book and as a high school English teacher, it was also her favorite book to teach. I still have her book with all of her notes in it – those definitely helped push me ahead in class discussion points 🙂


  81. says

    ah I just taught Great Gatsby to my high schoolers and so many of them got into it. Have you seen the show Royal Pains on USA? It’s a modern day knock off of the book. And this past spring they just knocked down the house that inspired the book (look it up, they did a story of it on the Today show- it’s sad to see it go!)
    Ok nerdiness over haha


  82. Alison says

    My favorite book of all time is A Prayer for Owen Meany, so glad that I “had” to read it in high school. In college, I read The Things They Carried but I think that would be appropriate for a HS senior, another wonderful book!


  83. says

    We never got to “the Fountainhead” but i may have to read that one. i DISLIKED Siddhartha! SOOOOO boring! But my all-time fav HS reading list book was, “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. Still tops my list of all-time greats.
    Thanks for sharing the list!


  84. says

    I was assigned 5 of the books and then read Pride and Prejudice on my own. A great book that we read in 8th grade was the Power of One. I definitely think that was a good book to read because it was challenging (lol well above 8th grade) and it taught us about apartheid and South Africa, an area of the world I wouldn’t have known much about otherwise.


  85. says

    I hated reading the Scarlet Letter. It was so hard to understand Nathanial Hawthorne’s way of writing.

    I had to read Night by Elie Weisel and it was very very moving. My teacher even took us to a Holocaust museum and we met someone who was on Schindler’s list. Amazing.


  86. says

    I looove Gatsby!!

    My favorite book from high school English would have to be Night by Elie Wiesel, an autobiographical account of his WWII internment camp experience. It really spoke to me, and touched my soul, even as the 15 year old that I was back then.


  87. says

    I’ve read all the books on the list, but not all in school. In middle school we read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird, in high school we read The Scarlett Letter, The Catcher in the Rye, Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice, and I read the rest on my own….I was obsessed with classic novels until college killed the concept of “pleasure reading” for me, haha!


  88. Jordan says

    From the list, I had to read The Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, Lord of the Flies, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

    LOVED To Kill a Mockingbird…was pretty neutral about the rest. Did not read The Fountainhead but DID read another of Rand’s books, Anthem. Which was only 100 pages and super-intriguing. Also, Brave New World I really enjoyed.

    What I think should be assigned for high school students is THE BOOK THIEF. I read that for a literature project and it was SO good!


  89. E says

    I loved a LOT of the books we were assigned – favorites probably were To Kill a Mockingbird, Hamlet & Pride and Prejudice.

    Of the ones you listed…I was assigned:

    The Scarlet Letter – was OK
    The Catcher in the Rye – LOVED this one!
    The Great Gatsby – another really good one
    Pride and Prejudice – I’ve read multiple times!
    Lord of the Flies – this one was pretty good
    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – never assigned, but I read it as a kid
    To Kill a Mockingbird – FAVORITE!

    I really enjoy classics & have read a lot of great one. I think we should read a Jane Austen book, maybe Emma?


  90. says

    The Fountainhead is amazing. We had to read Anthem in high school, which made me fall in love with Ayn Rand so much so that I ended up reading The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged on my own. They’re both really long but so great. Atlas Shrugged has been my favorite book ever since.


  91. says

    This post makes me SO happy because I’m a high school English teacher!

    I JUST finished reading Of Mice & Men with my 10th graders & they always love it! I teach 3 sections of the same class back to back & I NEVER get tired of discussing that book!

    I also LOVE Gatsby & teach that to my 11th graders. That’s my absolute favorite book of all time!

    Huck Finn & Catcher in the Rye are two other good ones! 🙂


  92. says

    We had to read:

    To Kill A Mockingbird
    Scarlet Letter
    Lord of The Flies
    Animal Farm

    I think my all time favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird. I read it every 2 years or so as an adult. I LOVED Scarlet Letter though…it really was good. Lord of the Flies was good and so was 1984.


  93. Katie says

    During an autobiography unit, I read “The Color of Water” by James McBride. It was about him growing up as an African American with a white Jewish mom. Each chapter flips perspective between him and his mom. Really great book! Just checked it out of the library to reread.


  94. Lisa says

    My favorites in high school were the Great Gatsby and Black Boy. I also remember limit A Raisin in the Sun alot as well. I also really loved Night (and loved it even more when I had to reread it for a class in college-cried my eyes through the whole thing. My brother totally lucked out this year (he’s a sophomore in high school) and had to read The Hunger Games for summer reading! How cool is that?!?!


  95. Lindsey says

    I rebelled in high school against reading those books! I was really picky about the books I read (James Patterson) 🙂 and none of those ever appealed to me. The only one I actually read was Lord of the Flies. Just used spark notes for the others hehe. For some reason the wild boys in the island with the pigs head just was comical to me.


  96. says

    Of the list, I was only assigned To Kill a Mockingbird in 7th grade.

    Mice of Men was my most memorable from High School.

    One of my favorite books is from college: A Small Place – short but powerful.

    I want to read The Great Gabsy before it comes out on film!


  97. says

    I had to read a few of the books on the list, but I hated all of them. There is no faster way to get me to hate a book that to “assign” it to me and force me to read it. Maybe I would like them more now, but I’d much rather be reading non-fiction or thrillers.


  98. Morgan says

    Oh you need to pick that Pride and Prejudice right back up!! Unless you saw the 6 hour English version (with collin firth), the others don’t do the book justice. It’s one of my all time favorite books and have reread it multiple times.


  99. says

    I am a high school English teacher and was only assigned to read “Lord of the Flies” and the “Great Gatsby.” I, in turn, assigned them both to my students. I am currently interested in assigning “World War Z” about zombies. Yea, I’m that cool teacher =)


  100. Katie says

    You know what’s sad? I didn’t read any of those books until college, and I’m pretty sure it was only because I majored in English. My fave was Huckleberry Finn, but I loved them all. I had such aweome English professors that helped bring the books to life. 🙂


  101. Nicole says

    I read all of those except for Catcher in the Rye, Pride & Prejudice, and The Fountainhead, and enjoyed all of them! I was really lucky to have some great teachers who really got to the core of each book.

    My favorite book we had to read, though, was Brave New World. Absolutely amazing – 1984-esque, but almost more feasible in terms of what the future could look like. I highly recommend it!!


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