Recommended Reading Lists For Homeschoolers
(February 2005)

Here is my list of recommended reading for college preparation, covering roughly what would be covered in the average high school curriculum. I haven't read all of these: I'm no longer in college prep, for one thing, so I can read what I like.  Knowing that, I also based this list on thoseI have gotten from my friends who are librarians, and on lists I tracked down online, including American Library Association lists and online High School lists, so that friends who are being homeschooled can be sure they will be able to show they are meeting the same general requirements

I also made an effort to ensure this list is as multi-cultural as I could while still making sure it would meet college education standards. I am deeply unhappy that college education standards, as evidenced by all those online lists, is still that of white men who died over a century ago and fear for the best and brightest minds educated on a standard that does not address the fact that we live in a global culture that does not recognize the primacy of the values of dead, white, European men.

It's not necessary for someone to read everything on this list: I provided a big selection so a person can pick and choose. I did * those books/authors that appeared on a lot of lists, meaning a reader should read that book or one book by that author. I was asked not to include fantasy on this list because most of my friends read fantasy anyway. I did include the many science fiction titles I found on the required reading lists online (1984, BRAVE NEW WORLD, FAHRENHEIT 451, THE HANDMAID'S TALE).

Contemporary Teen (I tried to include as few depressing problem novels as I could, but sadly, most of the contemporary teen books on the lists are just that. Sorry):

  • Alvarez, Julia - BEFORE WE WERE FREE
  • Bauer, Marion Dane, ed. - AM I BLUE? (short stories)
  • Bloor, Edward - TANGERINE
  • Crowe, Chris - MISSISSIPPI, 1955
  • Flinn, Alex* - BREATHING UNDERWATER
  • Gallo, Don ed. - ON THE FRINGE (short stories)
  • Garden, Nancy* - ANNIE ON MY MIND
  • Hartinger, Brent - GEOGRAPHY CLUB
  • Houston, Jeanne Wakatsuki - FAREWELL TO MANZANAR
  • Myers, Walter Dean* - FALLEN ANGELS
  • Oates, Joyce Carol* - BIG MOUTH AND UGLY GIRL
  • Plum-Ucci, Carol - WHAT HAPPENED TO LANI GARVER?
  • Satrapi, Marjane - PERSEPOLIS (graphic novel)
  • Spiegelman, Art* - MAUS (graphic novel)
  • Staples, Suzanne Fisher - SHABANU
  • Voigt, Cynthia - A SOLITARY BLUE

Fiction:

  • Akutagawa, Ryunosuke - RASHOMON & OTHER STORIES
  • Alvarez, Julia - IN THE TIME OF THE BUTTERFLIES
  • Atwood, Margaret* - THE HANDMAID'S TALE
  • Bradbury, Ray* - FAHRENHEIT 451
  • Brown, Rita Mae - RUBYFRUIT JUNGLE
  • Burgess, Anthony - A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
  • Cisneros, Sandra - THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET
  • Clavell, James - SHOGUN
  • Conrad, Joseph* - THE HEART OF DARKNESS
  • Conroy, Pat - THE PRINCE OF TIDES
  • Diamant, Anita* - THE RED TENT
  • Dickens, Charles* - A TALE OF TWO CITIES; OLIVER TWIST
  • Dostoyevsky, Fedor* - CRIME AND PUNISHMENT; THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV
  • Doyle, Arthur Conan* - THE VALLEY OF FEAR; A STUDY IN SCARLET
    (You'll find both in most Sherlock Holmes collections--they're short novels based on events of the times. You might want to find out the real events he's writing about with other names)
  • Golding, William* - LORD OF THE FLIES
  • Hurston, Zora Neale* - THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD
  • Huxley, Aldous* - BRAVE NEW WORLD
  • Ibuse, Masuji - BLACK RAIN
  • Kingston, Maxine Hong - CHINA MEN
  • Lee, Harper* - TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
  • Malamud, Bernard - THE FIXER
  • Martel, Yann - THE LIFE OF PI
  • Maxwell, Robin - THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL
  • McCourt, Frank* - ANGELA'S ASHES
  • Morrison, Toni - THE BLUEST EYE
  • O'Brien, Tim* - THE THINGS THEY CARRIED
  • Orwell, George* - 1984; ANIMAL FARM
  • Paton, Alan* - CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY
  • Rand, Ayn - ANTHEM
  • Remarque, Eric Maria* - ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT
  • Roberts, Kenneth - A RABBLE IN ARMS
  • Tan, Amy* - THE JOY LUCK CLUB
  • Uris, Leon - MILA 18
  • Voltaire - CANDIDE
  • Vonnegut, Kurt* - SLAUGHTERHOUSE 5; CAT'S CRADLE; THE SIRENS OF TITAN
  • Walker, Alice* - THE COLOR PURPLE
  • White, T. H. - THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING
  • Woolf, Virginia - ORLANDO
  • Yolen, Jane - BRIAR ROSE

Nonfiction:

  • Agee, James - LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS MEN
  • Angelou, Maya* - I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS
  • Ball, Edward - SLAVES IN THE FAMILY
  • Brown, Dee* - BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE
  • Brown, Claude* - MANCHILD IN THE PROMISED LAND
  • Didion, Joan - SLOUCHING TOWARD BETHLEHEM (essays); SALVADOR
  • Ellison, Ralph* - THE INVISIBLE MAN
  • Gies, Miep - ANNE FRANK REMEMBERED
  • Goldman, William - ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE
  • Haley, Alex* - ROOTS
  • Jung, Henry - MAN AND HIS SYMBOLS (psychology)
  • Junger, Sebastian* - THE PERFECT STORM
  • Keller, Helen - THE STORY OF MY LIFE
  • Lawson, Eric - THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY
  • Mandela, Nelson* - THE LONG WALK TO FREEDOM
  • Marx & Engels - THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO (philosophy)
  • Mowat, Farley - NEVER CRY WOLF
  • Musashi, Miyamoto - THE BOOK OF FIVE RINGS (philosophy)
  • Pipher, Mary - REVIVING OPHELIA
  • Sinclair, Upton* - THE JUNGLE
  • Sontag, Susan - IN AMERICA; ON PHOTOGRAPHY (essays)
  • Thoreau, Henry David* - ON WALDEN POND (philosophy)
  • Tuchman, Barbara - A DISTANT MIRROR
  • Tzu, Sun - THE ART OF WAR (philosophy)
  • Weir, Alison - THE CHILDREN OF HENRY VIII
  • Wolfe, Tom - RADICAL CHIC & MAU-MAUING THE FLAK CATCHERS; THE RIGHT STUFF
  • Woodward & Bernstein - ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Classics I Liked:

  • Austen, Jane* - PRIDE AND PREJUDICE; EMMA
  • Boccaccio - THE DECAMERON
  • Chaucer* - THE CANTERBURY TALES
    (spot what Chaucer stole from Boccaccio! find the dirty stories! find out what life was like during Boccaccio's plague and Chaucer's pilgrimages)
  • Cervantes, Miguel - DON QUIXOTE
  • leFanu, Sheridan - CARMILLA
  • Malory, Sir Thomas - MORTE D'ARTHUR
  • Mishima, Yukio* - THE SAILOR WHO FELL FROM GRACE WITH THE SEA
  • Shelley, Mary* - FRANKENSTEIN
  • Stoker, Bran* - DRACULA

Poetry (most you'll just find under "collected poems of"):

  • Angelou, Maya*
  • Auden, W. H.
  • Cisneros, Sandra*
  • Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY
  • Dickinson, Emily
  • Ginsberg, Alan Howl
  • Hesse, Karen - WITNESS
  • Milton, John - PARADISE LOST
  • Neruda, Pablo*
  • Plath, Sylvia*
  • Sappho
  • Sexton, Anne
  • Thomas, Dylan*
  • Whitman, Walt - LEAVES OF GRASS
  • Whitney, Phyllis
  • Wilde, Oscar - THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL
  • Williams, Wallace

To my friends - There are some writers people say you have to read to be educated in our society. A lot of them write plays. I hate these writers. I would be letting you down if I did not mention them, but if you hate them, I don't want you blaming me. I also do not want you to blame me if people say you're ignorant. So here they are:

  • Camus, Albert* - THE PLAGUE; THE STRANGER
  • Cormier, Robert - THE CHOCOLATE WAR*; I AM THE CHEESE; TENDERNESS
  • Dreiser, Theodore - AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY*
  • Eliot, George* - MIDDLEMARCH; ADAM BEDE; THE MILL ON THE FLOSS
  • Faulkner, William* - LIGHT IN AUGUST; THE SOUND AND THE FURY; AS I LAY DYING
  • Fitzgerald, F. Scott - THE GREAT GATSBY*; TENDER IS THE NIGHT
  • Flaubert, Gustave* - MADAME BOVARY
  • Hardy, Thomas* - JUDE THE OBSCURE; TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES; FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
  • Hawthorne, Nathaniel* - THE HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES; THE SCARLET LETTER
  • Hemingway, Ernest* - THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA (it's short); A FAREWELL TO ARMS; THE SUN ALSO RISES
  • James, Henry* - THE WINGS OF THE DOVE; THE TURN OF THE SCREW
  • Joyce, James - PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN (short)*; DUBLINERS (stories); ULYSSES (really long)
  • McCullers, Carson* - THE BALLAD OF THE SAD CAFE (stories); THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER; THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING
  • Melville, Herman* - MOBY DICK (I liked it, but that was in 6th grade); BILLY BUDD
  • Rand, Ayn - THE FOUNTAINHEAD
  • Salinger, J.D.* - CATCHER IN THE RYE; FRANNY AND ZOOEY; RAISE HIGH THE ROOF BEAM CARPENTERS
  • Steinbeck, John* - THE GRAPES OF WRATH; CANNERY ROW (stories); THE PEARL; OF MICE AND MEN
  • Stowe, Harriet Beecher - UNCLE TOM'S CABIN
  • Twain, Mark - HUCKLEBERRY FINN* (his only book I don't like)
  • Voltaire - CANDIDE*
  • Wharton, Edith* - THE AGE OF INNOCENCE; ETHAN FROME

Plays:

  • Anderson, Maxwell - Anne of the Thousand Days; Elizabeth the Queen
  • Albee, Edward - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf*
  • Anouilh, Jean - Becket
  • Aristophanes* - Lysistrata; The Frogs
  • Beckett, Samuel* - Waiting for Godot
  • Chekhov, Antonin* - The Cherry Orchard; Uncle Vanya
  • Churchill, Caryl - Cloud 9
  • Eliot, T.S.* - Murder in the Cathedral
  • Euripides - Iphigenia at Aulis; The Trojan Women
  • Flagg, Fannie - Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Hansberry, Lorraine* - A Raisin in the Sun
  • Hellmann, Lillian - Julia
  • Henley, Beth - Crimes of the Heart
  • Marlowe, Christopher* - Dr. Faustus
  • Miller, Arthur* - The Crucible; Death of a Salesman
  • Moliere - Tartuffe; The Imaginary Invalid; The School for Wives
  • Norman, Marsha - 'Night, Mother
  • O'Neill, Eugene* - A Long Day's Journey Into Night
  • Osborne, John - Look Back in Anger
  • Pinter, Harold* - The Birthday Party
  • Rostand, Edmond - Cyrano de Bergerac*
  • Shaffer, Peter - Equus*
  • Shakespeare, William* - Hamlet; Henry V; King Lear; Macbeth; A Midsummer Night's Dream; Othello; Richard III; Romeo and Juliet; Twelfth Night
    (there are versions with portions or retellings of some of these on film, including Japanese retellings of Lear and Macbeth, and a WWII as-done-in-Shakespeare's-time Henry V, and pieces with background research of a Shakespeare-in-the-Park production of Richard III with Al Pacino)
  • Shange, Ntozaka - For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf
  • Sheridan, Richard Brinsley - School For Scandal
  • Shaw, George Bernard* - Pygmalion; St. Joan
  • Sophocles - the Oedipus trilogy
  • Stoppard, Tom - Rosencranz & Guildenstern Are Dead
  • Wassersman, Wendy - The Heidi Chronicles
  • Wilde, Oscar - The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Wilder, Thornton* Our Town
  • Williams, Tennessee* - The Glass Menagerie; A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Wilson, August - Hot L Baltimore; Fences

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