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. 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…


  2. 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!


  3. 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.


  4. 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!


  5. 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!


  6. 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.


  7. 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!


  8. 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!!


  9. 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…


  10. 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!


  11. 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 :)


  12. 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


  13. 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!


  14. 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!


  15. 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.


  16. 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.


  17. 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.


  18. 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!


  19. 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!


  20. 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?


  21. 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.


  22. 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! :-)


  23. 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.


  24. 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.


  25. 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?!?!


  26. 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.


  27. 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!


  28. 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.


  29. 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.


  30. 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 =)


  31. 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. :)


  32. 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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