Probably not typical beach reads; nevertheless, this is what I mentally consumed while sitting on the beach under an umbrella:I’m finishing The Crucible today.This fall I’m planning to present an American Literature course for high school home-schooled students. There are many books I’ve never read (or I read them so long ago that I don’t remember anything about them). Thus, the selections you see in the photo above represent some catch-up. I’m trying to determine the most appropriate novels, most worth the time and attention of these students.In addition to short stories and poetry, here are some novels I’m currently planning to use, that appear on most high school American Lit lists:
- Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
- The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
- Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
- Up From Slavery – Booker T Washington
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe
- Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
- Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
- To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
- The Crucible – Arthur Miller
Here are some that I’m reading through to swap out or add to the list (only one or two from below will replace one on the main list or be added):
- History of the Plymouth Plantation – William Bradford
- The Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane
- Billy Budd – Herman Melville
- Mama’s Bank Account – Kathryn Forbes
- The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
- A Raisin in the Sun – Lorraine Hansberry
- The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
- The Chosen – Chaim Potok
- Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
- The Call of the Wild (or White Fang) – Jack London
- POETRY: (maybe) The Mentor Book of Great American Poets
- ESSAYS & SHORT STORIES: I am looking into anthologies or a literature book that contains selections.
I’m also looking for a great college prep vocabulary book to use.Any suggestions from y’all?Any great American books appropriate for teens you would recommend? Can you think of some titles missing from this list?
The only other series of books I devoured in highschool was the Laura Ingalls Wilder book series. Like little women it took me to a time and places I would never have encountered. Well written and definitely apart of the Great American Literature library, I enjoyed them!
Also, Great American Poet Edgar Allen Poe, depending on the poem and the children, he does add a bit of drama to the collection.
looks like a great list…stobaughs prep book for the sat has a great literary list at the back that he directs high school students to consume…and I believe he has vocab as well….
in fact I need to dig that book up again and think through what we are going to read next year, my oldest at home is a sr. this year and we are thinking of doing mainly British literature…smile…and our dream trip…
is to visit London next summer as her senior trip…who knows…but we are hoping…
I would say to definitely include The Great Gatsby. That book was crucial in my high school development – I believe we studied it my senior year.
Monica- Paper Bridges says
oh, I HATED Gatsby. never again. (yes, important in American Lit, just don’t care for it)
the only thing I can think of is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.
I loved Chaim Potak’s books.
The Sat and College Preparation Course for the Christian Student (Paperback)
by James Stobaugh (Author)
Aja Abney says
Great list! I need to go back and re-read some of those. 🙂
I have to demur on Gatsby. It is a novel with homosexual overtones — worth reading as a formed adult, not that I care for it, but a little strangely self-indulgent for teens, IMHO.
What about Poe? An important influence on later genres…
Henry James counts, right? I loved reading Portrait of a Lady in senior year. His writing is so worth studying…
A book that is quite new but fantastic and amazingly well written and I really think destined to replace a lot of these other books as the great American novel is Peace Like A River. I think this would be a great book to read with intelligent high schoolers who are used to thinking about narrators, names, biblical allusions — it’s just SO good!
Good luck! What fun!!
I forgot to say that Peace Like a River is by Lief Enger. Let’s all read it (me for the 4th time) and talk about how much we love it!! 🙂
Also, you didn’t mention poetry, but it’s nice to break up long novels with a little poetry… Dickinson? Longfellow (The Courtship of Miles Standish)? Memorizing at least the first few stanzas of The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere…
I liked “Peace Like a River” so well that after reading it I went back to the library for his first book (can’t remember the title). He has an amazing gift for the use of language.
I would also recommend “The Girl of the Limberlost” (can’t remember the author) and another title by the same author.
Lynn Hopper says
“Girl of the Limberlost” is by Gene Stratton Porter, an Indiana writer. She had several other good novels, including “Freckles” and “Song of the Cardinal,” but my own favorite was “Laddie”, also set in Indiana. One of the reasons I liked it so much, I think, is that WWII was going on when I was a girl and books were not as abundant as now, so I read it over and over!
You all are great! What helpful comments–thank you for taking time to make suggestions.
I was looking at my bookshelf and wondered if Ben-Hur would be a good one? It’s written by Gen. Lew Wallace, a Hoosier, which would be added interest. Online I saw that it was the most popular books, surpassing sales of Uncle Tom’s Cabin until Gone with the Wind came along. I’ve never read it; only watched the film with Charleton Heston.
I’m reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, because not only did it come up from Monica, but someone offline mentioned it. I might swap out Little Women for that, since a lot of people may have already read Little Women.
And Leila’s just about got me sold on Henry James. I think I must have read Daisy Miller at some point in time, so I’ll re-read that novella quickly to assess it.
It’s hard to make some final decisions on the titles for this course. But you all are helping me-thanks!
Second time to visit your interesting blog. I’m very partial to Mama’s Bank Account, having played Mama in my high school play (a very long time ago) but it is a lovely story of an immigrant family. If you’re looking for Hoosiers, I’d like to recommend Emily Kimbrough(b. 1899). How Dear to My Heart is a wonderful account of her childhood. Girls might enjoy Through Charlie’s Door, the story of her employment at Marshall Field’s during the 1920’s. Department stores have changed a lot since then. I enjoyed The Great Gatsby when I was a teenage; also The Chosen and To Kill a Mockingbird. May I encourage you to do a full presentation on an author’s agenda if you choose one with a definite bias (The Fahrenheit 451 or The Crucible)? All in all a very interesting set of titles. Wish I could sit in.