My mother-in-law called yesterday and asked me to put together a list of “25 books you should have read before graduating high school,” for the guidance of her younger grandchildren. Always wishing to avoid the appearance of didacticism, as St. Paul might have better said, I have renamed this list “25 books you’ll have fun reading before you graduate.”
This list can contain anything, from Huckleberry Finn to Harry Potter. So, what are your nominations?
Here are my first thoughts:
- Huckleberry Finn and/or Tom Sawyer
- Harry Potter
- at least some of the Sherlock Holmes stories
What about the heavies, Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, 1984?
8 thoughts on “A list of books”
The Consolations of Philosophy, Boethius
Justine, Marquis de Sade
Naked Lunch, William Burroughs
The Phantom Tollbooth, Jules Feiffer
Riddley Walker, Russell Hoban
In Patagonia, Bruce Chatwin
Chants du Maldoror, Comte de Lautreamont
“Lord of the Rings”
Ditto on Tolkien,
The Martian Chronicles
To Kill A Mockingbird
and for the younger set:
The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
The Chronicles of Narnia
Agreed on Holmes, Potter, and Treasure Island.
Any PG Wodehouse (I know you like Wooster and Jeeves, but I prefer the non Jeeves-Wooster stories.)
Grapes of Wrath
Life of Pi (?) – May be better when you’re a little older than high school.
The Once and Future King
I would vote Huck Finn over Tom Sawyer
Call of the Wild or White Fang
All Quiet on the Western Front
Something Vonnegut – Cat’s Cradle or Breakfast of Champions, perhaps
And if you’re just trying to get a sense of different styles:
The Maltese Falcon by Hammett or The Big Sleep by Chandler
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series
The Once and Future King is a great choice (I support it).
I always feel silly not having read The Catcher in the Rye.
Watership Down is something I’ve loved. Maybe for the younger, though; The Hero and the Crown was another oldschool favorite. And the Dark is Rising series.
I’d put Fahrenheit 451 in there with 1984. Both freak me out in a similar way.
On the Road
Death of a Salesman
The Catcher in the Rye
Brave New World
I think those four were the most influential books I read in high school.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead was simply wonderful, too. I read it several times before graduation, but didn’t understand it til senior year, when I’d read Hamlet.