A list of books

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
  • Feed

What about the heavies, Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, 1984?

8 thoughts on “A list of books

  1. 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

  2. Ditto on Tolkien,
    also…
    The Martian Chronicles
    To Kill A Mockingbird
    Ulysses

    and for the younger set:
    The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
    The Chronicles of Narnia

  3. 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:
    Tarzan
    The Maltese Falcon by Hammett or The Big Sleep by Chandler

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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