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Must Reads Before the End of High School (?) (1 Viewer)

R

Rampala

I'm starting to create a list of books that I should read before I leave High School. That is, particularly because I'm hoping to be some sort of English major in college.

Any suggestions for my list would be greatly appreciated! Even if it's just "read at least one book by [this author]" or on [this topic]. Etc...

Thanks for your help!

qui sans cesse,
~Natalie Rose
 

Chrispian

Patron
If you haven't read it yet, you should read The Stranger, by Albert Camus. It's translated from French, it's pretty short and it'll be required reading at most schools. It's a pretty good example Existentialism in writing, but more than that it was just a good book. Well written and remarkebly easy to get through for the subject matter.
 
M

midnightmare

If you can find it:

The Night Is Dark And I Am A Long Way From Home by Jonathan Kozol. One of my lit. teachers gave me a copy and said "Here. Take from it what you will, and pass it on when you are ready." It's an unkind but sharp examination of how we grow into the world around us. Highly suggested if you have the time to hunt it down. It's not too thick, but takes a while to absorb.

Also, Einstein's work. That man had some unreal insight. It's also impressive to be able to quote the silly bugger from time to time. Passing on those little tidbits to other people has the effect of making them seek out knowledge for some reason. I know it worked on me!
 
A

Aliena

I would say:

To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
Of Mice & Men - John Steinbeck
Flowers for Algernon - can't remember the author

And there are many more, but I just woke up, so I'm having a hard time thinking of them.
 
If you're looking to do English at a higher level, I've been told a firm basis in the Classics is good. This means the Bible, works by Homer (the Iliad and the Oddysey) and others of the time. The Bible, I've been told, is a must, because so many books use Biblical imagery of some kind, and many meanings can be lost if you don't know at least some of the religious stories.

Other than that, I think more modern classics are good to read, especially books like 1984, A Christmas Carol, etc. There really is no real list for what you should read, I don't think, but a wide knowledge of literature is good to have before you start such courses.
 

Isabo

Senior Member
Book reccommendations

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou
The Color Purple - Alice Walker
War & Peace - Leo Tolstoy
Crime & Punishment - Dostoevsky
The Raw & The Cooked - Claude Levi Strauss
The Catcher In The Rye - J.D.Salinger

Those are all the usual classics. Dostoevsky & Tolstoy can be a bit heavy going/boring at some parts but it depends what you like

isabo x
 

Andrew

Member
I agree with what midnightmare mentioned on the Einstein books. Some of what he wrote is a little beyond the average mind's ability to comprehend, but a lot of it is accessible to even the mediocre physicist's imagination.

As a corollary to that, read the Stephen Hawking books as well. His A Brief History of Time is a phenomenal book and is relatively easy to comprehend (mainly because he wrote it for the general public and not the science world). Also, Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe is quite good, I've heard. And all of them really help you understand how the universe works.

I would also say that if you haven't read them, any of Ayn Rand's books are recommended. I'm sure that in college you'll discuss her writing and/or her ideologies at least once, and if you read nothing else by her, pick up Anthem. It's quite short, but quite powerful as well.

I would suggest, as well, that you read Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. Any of his other books (Farnham's Freehold, Starship Troopers, The Number of the Beast) are recommended as well, but SiaSL is an absolute necessity, especially from a sociological standpoint (Farnham's Freehold is another great sociological book by him).
 
I

Id

Chrispian said:
If you haven't read it yet, you should read The Stranger, by Albert Camus. It's translated from French, it's pretty short and it'll be required reading at most schools. It's a pretty good example Existentialism in writing, but more than that it was just a good book. Well written and remarkebly easy to get through for the subject matter.


Yes, you're right, but I think tehat even better would be Camus' "The Plague". In fact, I wrote about it on my final exams in high school :)

I can also add:

"Remembrance of things past" by Marcel Proust
"Ulisses" by James Joyce
 

yad4u

Senior Member
Although these books might not be the most literarily significant for high school, I would have to suggest my favorite book "The Talisman," by Stephen King. It's not as horror filled as most of his other books. I've read it 6 times, and i'm still in high school.

"The Stand" by him is good too ;)

Brandon
 

free_mind_7

Senior Member
i would have to agree with yad4u when saying that stephen king is a must read. no tbecaus ehe'll get u into college but because he's good for a reader's mind. i must say that if there is any one book by him to read it owuld be Bag Of Bones. that is the first book i ever read by him and since then i havent been able to stop just buying his books let alone reading them. good luck with trying to major in english.
 

mattquarterstein

Senior Member
Aliena said:
I would say:

To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
Of Mice & Men - John Steinbeck
Flowers for Algernon - can't remember the author

And there are many more, but I just woke up, so I'm having a hard time thinking of them.

I tried reading a Tale of Two Cities once. Tried... :lol:
 

aubie84

Senior Member
I have to nod agreement with several already mentioned, especially "Cather in the Rye" and "To Kill a Mockingbird." If the purpose of this reading is to prepare for college, you likely need to read "Beowulf" and "The Canterbury Tales," as well.

The mention of "Ulysses" made me wince --- not because I necessarily disagree with the choice, but, when tackling Joyce, that's not where I would begin. It's quite a difficult read and, I think, would be more easily digested after you read Joyce's "Dubliners" (a collection of short stories) or "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man."

Poets you should be familar with:

T.S. Eliot ("The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock")
Wallace Stevens
William Carlos Williams
Lord Byron ("She Walks in Beauty")
e.e. cummings
William Butler Yeats
John Keats
Robert Browning

Hope this helps!

DG/aubie84
 

Anonymous

Senior Member
The ACT study book that I used had a long list in it. I'll try and find it and post what hasn't been mentioned yet.
 
D

debatertwig67

ooh, ooh: go to your library/local bookstore. go to the fiction section. find the V's. Stop at Vonnegut. Pick whatever you can carry. The best ones are Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions.

I'm also fond of Catch-22. For some reason the author's name escapes me. (I guess I read too much "black humor" but...what can you do?)

a few more:
In the Lake of the Woods or If I Die in a Combat Zone... by Tim O'Brien
The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky
Black Boy or Native Son by Richard Wright
Huck Finn by Samuel Clemens (AKA Mark Twain)
The Chosen by Chaim Potok
Walden by Thoreau (a good essay is "Civil Disobedience")

Some Plays:
"The Crucible" by Arthur Miller
"The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail" by two random guys I can't remember...I suck with names
 

Bartleby

Senior Member
Some knowledge of Shakespeare is definately helpful. You should definately be familiar with Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and Othello for tragedy and the Tempest and Midsummer Night's Dream for comedy. A history play or two wouldn't be a bad idea either.

Just thought I'd add that in since no one else mentioned the Bard.
 
N

nightshade

mattquarterstein said:
I tried reading a Tale of Two Cities once. Tried... :lol:

i've been trying to read moby dick for years. i never seem able to finish it. i even got past all the chapters about the different types of whales.
 

Bartleby

Senior Member
nightshade said:
mattquarterstein said:
I tried reading a Tale of Two Cities once. Tried... :lol:

i've been trying to read moby dick for years. i never seem able to finish it. i even got past all the chapters about the different types of whales.


Ah, the proverbial great white whale, of American literature. I had similar bad experiences with Melville, but it was nothing compared with the hell of being forced to read the Scarlet Letter in high school. It's quite possible that I could enjoy the book now, but if a naked Demi Moore in a big screen adaptation couldn't tempt me to the theatre or video store, I'm sure the scarring goes way too deep.
 

amie

Member
Having just received my BA in English, I must add my input here :D All of the suggestions so far are fantastic to know for the classroom, and I can guarantee you will run across most of them over the course of your four years. You might also want to look into Emerson and Thoreau and any of the early American authors...I found Thomas Cole and the Hudson River School particularly interesting.

Another necessity that I started on far to late is anything by Jack Kerouac. He won't help you in your classes (or maybe he will), but his books are fantastic and full of examples of people just gnawing on life. On the Road is a good starter...

Happy Reading!

- amie -
 

lemon

Member
I tried reading a Tale of Two Cities once. Tried...

Good book. I read it in three days for a school paper...dickens is a little long-winded though...

I am in my senior year of highschool and have found what I read for fun to help me in english as much as the stuff I've read for school, maybe even more so, even if they're not classics or anything like that. If you want to major in english and, I assume, start a career in writing, you don't really need certain books to tell you what you need to know, because if you're on this site chances are you already know you can write, but it does help the more you read. If that makes any sense.

You should probably read Ernest Hemingway, though personally I don't like his writing style. Ray Bradbury, George Orwell. But I don't recommend forcing yourself to read certain books because you feel you HAVE TO in order to be "Well Read". Read what you like and what interests you.
 
T

The Pope

Three words for you: The Brothers K.

I would give a plot synopsis, but it's nearly impossible, the amount of detail in this book. It's a story of baseball, of war, of religion, and more than anything, of family. It chronicles the strifes and confrontations of one generation of the Chance clan, a family torn apart by the Vietnamese war, budding intellectualism, and the gradual decline of human sanity. You can get it at any bookstore worth it's salt, it's written by David James Duncan, he's fairly well known. His other stuff is also good, particularly The River Why, but this book is gold. Do yourself a favour and pick it up.
 
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