10 books you should have read in high school: a fresh list

Recently several of you commented on 10 books you should have read in high school. They’re back. Here is an alternate list of 10 books, leaning towards more recent, “experimental” choices. Do you like these any better? Unsurprisingly, my readership level is much lower here: only 2 of 10, as opposed to 8 of 10 in the first round.

  • Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace: No.
  • Maus, Art Spiegelman: No, but I’m interested.
  • Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy: Haven’t read. Interested, but also intimidated. Tolstoy intimidates me.
  • Swamplandia!, Karen Russell: No. But I did buy it for the library!
  • Reality Hunger, David Shields: huh?
  • The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy: No, but it was recently discussed here… I took it off the shelf :-/
  • Against Interpretation, Susan Sontag: No, but I think I’m in favor all the same!
  • Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card: I read this one! Just recently, for a reader’s advisory class. Very much enjoyed it, recommend it, and see an application for high schoolers. Think it would be well received, too.
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert Heinlein: No, but I did read Stranger in a Strange Land as self-education while I was in high school. That recommendation came from my parents and fit into the same period, for me, as 1984 (loved) and Brave New World (didn’t really work for me but maybe I should try again?).
  • Beloved, Toni Morrison: I read this for school. Must have been high school. Enjoyed and could recommend for this purpose.

Please share your thoughts? We all like a good list, yes? (Or a list we can argue the goodness of…)

5 Responses

  1. I’ve only read one of these, in high school or anywhere else – Beloved (and it was for high school English class). Haven’t even heard of many of these. Thanks for this list – it gives me something to look in to.

  2. Have you tried any Tolstoy yet? I was intimidated, but he’s (at least with a good translator) easy to read. (I haven’t read Anna Karenina yet. I’m halfway through W&P.)

  3. Nope! Too scared! Maybe someday but they’re such chunksters, too :-/ although I’m glad to have your endorsement – and I know others who enjoy him, too.

  4. I bought Infinite Jest, because I think I should read something that is so influenced by Pynchon, but I haven’t started it yet. I read Maus when it was serialized in… whatever that magazine was. Before it was published in book form. I really should read The God of Small Things. I’ve read Beloved, but not for high school since it didn’t exist yet when I was in high school. 🙂 Definitely recommended.

    I have read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress many times, and it’s a huge influence on my writing. It’s the next in line to be added to my Ten Pillars of Modern Literature list (even though there are alread ten things on the list).

    I have not read Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, but I wrote about it on my blog:

    Tolstoy intimidates me, too.

  5. Huh, so you’ve done well on this second, later list. And I feel you on the list of ten having more than ten; check out my list of 100 🙂

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