Summer Reading

Summer Reading

The English Department requires each student to read four books during the summer. We leave the choice to the students themselves, but we hope they’ll consider reading works that challenge their ideas about literature and life. We’ve divided our list into more than fifty categories and have provided suggestions in many of them; we’ve also added recommendations from many members of the Cate community.

Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades: The Power of One by Bryce Courtney
First published in 1989 and set in South Africa during the 1930s and 1940s, The Power of One tells the story of an Anglo-African boy who, through the course of the story, is sent to boarding school. Being the only English speaker in the largely Afrikaner school, he soon becomes the target of the other boys.
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
This novel depicts the life of Okonkwo, a leader and local wrestling champion in Umuofia—a fictional group of nine villages in Nigeria, inhabited by the Igbo ethnic group. In addition it focuses on his three wives, his children, and the influences of British colonialism and Christian missionaries on his traditional community.
  • West with the Night by Beryl Markham
  • The Flame Trees of Thika by Elizabeth Huxley
  • Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  • When a Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Godwin
  • The Last King of Scotland by Giles Foden
  • Rules of the Wild by Francesca Marciano
  • White Man’s Grave by Richard Dooling
  • The Book of Secrets by M.G. Vassanji
  • Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  • The Famished Road by Ben Okri
  • A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiongo
  • The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
  • July’s People by Nadine Gordimer
  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Current of Electricity and Hopeby William Kamkwamba and Bryon Mealer
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades: A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
In a small Cajun community in 1940s Louisiana, a young black man is about to go to the electric chair for murder. A white shopkeeper had died during a robbery gone bad; though the young man on trial had not been armed and had not pulled the trigger, in that time and place, there could be no doubt of the verdict or the penalty.
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades:The Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
American author Toni Morrison follows the life of Macon “Milkman” Dead III, an African-American male living in Michigan, from birth to adulthood. The Song of Solomon won the National Books Critics Award and was cited by the Swedish Academy in awarding Morrison the 1993 Nobel Prize in literature.
  • The Salt Eaters by Toni Cade Bambara
  • Nobody Knows My Name by James Baldwin
  • Paradise by Toni Morrison
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • Black Boy by Richard Wright
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  • If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin
  • Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
  • Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed
  • Erasure by Percival L. Everett
  • A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
  • The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines
  • High Cotton by Darryl Pinckney
  • The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter
  • Sunday You Learn How to Box by Bill Wright
  • What You Owe Me by Bebe Moore Campbell
  • Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan
  • He Say, She Say by Yolanda Joe
  • Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine by Bebe Moore Campbell
  • Blues Dancing by Diane McKinney-Whetsone
  • Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do by Valerie Wilson Wesley
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid
  • Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid
  • Sula by Toni Morrison
  • The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor
  • Fences by August Wilson
  • I Am the Darker Brother: An Anthology of Modern Poems by African Americans
  • A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades: The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara.
This historical novel by Michael Shaara was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1975. The book tells the story of four days of the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War.
 
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades: Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow.

This work of historical fiction is primarily set in the New York City area from about 1900 until the United States entry into World War I in 1917. A unique adaptation of the historical narrative genre, the novel blends three fictional American families and various actual historical figures into a framework that revolves around events, characters and ideas important in U.S. history.

  • The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
  • The Americanization of Ben Franklin by Gordon Wood
  • A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
  • The First Tycoon by T.J. Stiles
  • The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
  • The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream by H.W. Brands
  • The Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis
  • Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water by Marc Reiser
  • Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown and Hampton Sides
  • Dreamland by Kevin Baker
  • Paradise Alley by Kevin Baker
  • All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
  • In the Fall by Jeffrey Lent
  • City of Light by Lauren Belfer
  • Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow
  • Underworld by Don DeLillo
  • The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
  • Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
Particularly recommended: Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat
Hordes of bloodthirsty wolves are slaughtering the arctic caribou, and the government’s Wildlife Service assigns naturalist Farley Mowat to investigate.
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
  • Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditerod by Gary Paulsen
  • An Owl in the Family by Farley Mowat
  • Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat
  • My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
  • Best Friends: The True Story of the World’s Most Beloved Animal Sanctuaryby Samantha Glen
  • James Herriot’s Animal Stories by James Herriot
  • Through Other Eyes: Animal Stories by Women by Doris Lessing, Ursula LeGuin, Alice Walker, Annie Dillard
  • A Whale for the Killing by Farley Mowat
  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • The Lady and the Panda by Vicki Constantine Croke
  • The Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades: The Boat by Nam Le
The Boat catches people in moments of extremis, confronted by death or loss or terror (or all three. Whether it’s the prospect of dying at sea or being shot by a drug kingpin or losing family members in a war, Nam Le’s people are individuals trapped in the crosshairs of fate.
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades: God of Small Things by Arunhati Roy
In her first novel, award-winning Indian screenwriter Arundhati Roy conjures a whoosh of wordplay that rises from the pages like a brilliant jazz improvisation. God of Small Things is nominally the story of young twins Rahel and Estha and the rest of their family, but the book feels like a million stories spinning out indefinitely.
  • The Surrendered by Chang-rae Lee
  • The Moon Pearl by Ruthann Lum McCunn
  • Women of the Silk by Gail Tsukiyama
  • The Gift of Rain by Twan Eng
  • The Sorrow of War: A Novel of North Vietnam by Bao Ninh
  • The Boat by Nam Le
  • Monkey Bridge by Lan Cao
  • In A Free State by V.S. Naipaul
  • The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrel
  • Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabwala
  • God of Small Things by Arunhati Roy
  • The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
  • Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata
  • Spring Moon by Betty Bao Lord
  • A Silent Cry by Kenzaburo Oe
  • The Lady and the Monk by Pico Iyer
  • Red Azalea by Min Achee
  • Iron and Silk by Mark Salzman
  • The Laughing Sutra by Mark Salzman
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades: When the Emperor was Divineby Julie Otsuka
This heartbreaking, bracingly unsentimental debut describes in poetic detail the travails of a Japanese family living in an internment camp during World War II, raising the specter of wartime injustice in bone-chilling fashion.
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades:The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
The Woman Warrior is a pungent, bitter, but beautifully written memoir of growing up Chinese American in Stockton, California.
  • The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  • Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Fifth Chinese Daughter by Jade Snow Wong
  • The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
  • Bone by Faye Mynenne Ng
  • Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers by Lois-Ann Yamanaka
  • Donald Duk by Frank Chin
  • When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
  • Typical American by Gish Jen
  • Who’s Irish? by Gish Jen
  • Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
  • Obasan by Joy Kogawa
  • Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-Li Jiang
  • American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
  • A Step From Heaven by An Na
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
Satrapi’s autobiography is a timely and timeless story of a young girl’s life under the Islamic Revolution. Descended from the last Emperor of Iran, Satrapi is nine when fundamentalist rebels overthrow the Shah. A graphic novel.
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades: The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Published in 1965, this is the memoir of the American black militant religious leader and activist who was born Malcolm Little. Written by Alex Haley, who had conducted extensive audiotaped interviews with Malcolm X just before his assassination in 1965, the book gained renown as a classic work on black American experience
  • The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  • Growing Up by Russell Baker
  • The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candace Millard
  • Living Well is the Best Revenge by Calvin Tompkins
  • Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy — A Lost Generation Love Story by Amanda Vaill
  • Days of Grace by Arthur Ashe
  • Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years by Sara and A. Elizabeth Delany
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  • Roots by Alex Haley
  • The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
  • Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
  • Born on the Fourth of July by Ron Kovic
  • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  • Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
  • Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  • Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher’s First Year by Esme Raji Codell
  • Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
  • Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma Larkin
  • Double Down: Reflections on Gambling and Loss by Frederick Bartheleme
  • I’m a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning by Bill Bryson
  • The Lady and the Panda by Vicki Constantine Croke
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
  • Just Kids by Patti Smith
  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Current of Electricity and Hopeby William Kamkwamba and Bryon Mealer
  • The Last Boy : Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood by Jane Levy
  • Salinger: A Life by Kenneth Slawenski
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades: Stand Before Your God: An American Schoolboy in England by Paul Watkins
This true account of coming of age in an English boarding school, by an acclaimed young writer, is reminiscent of such books as A Separate Peace and The Catcher in the Rye.
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades: Old School by Tobias Wolff
Old School is at once a celebration of literature and delicate hymn to a lost innocence of American life and art. Set in a New England prep school in the early 1960s, the novel imagines a final, pastoral moment before the explosion of the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the suicide of Ernest Hemingway.
  • The Lawrenceville Stories by Owen Johnson
  • To Serve Them All My Days by R.F. Delderfield
  • Well Schooled in Murder by Elizabeth George
  • Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton
  • The Crazy School by Cornelia Reed
  • The Headmaster: Frank l. Boyden of Deerfield by John McPhee
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • The Rector of Justin by Louis Auchincloss
  • The Good School by Richard Yates
  • Stand Before Your God: An American Schoolboy in England by Paul Watkins
  • Old School by Tobias Wolff
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  • Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris
  • The World According to Garp by John Irving
  • Fifth Business by Robertson Davies
  • Looking for Alaska John Green
Particularly recommendedThe Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Little changes can have big effects; when small numbers of people start behaving differently, that behavior can ripple outward until a critical mass or “tipping point” is reached, changing the world.
  • The Big Short by Michael Lewis
  • Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis
  • The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Predator’s Ball by Connie Bruck
  • Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart
  • Barbarians at the Gate by Bryon Burrough
  • Why We Buy: The New New Thing by Michael Lewis
  • Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Particularly recommended: The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle
In this explosive and timely novel, T. C. Boyle explores an issue that is at the forefront of the political arena. He confronts the controversy over illegal immigration head-on, illuminating through a poignant, gripping story the people on both sides of the issue, the haves and the have-nots.
  • The Nowhere City by Alison Laurie
  • Bluebird Canyon by Dan McCall
  • Golden Days by Carolyn See
  • The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle
  • Greetings from the Golden State by Leslie Brenner
  • If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home By Now by Sandra Singh Loh
  • China Boy by Gus Lee
  • Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  • Changing Places by David Lodge
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Year of Living Famously by Laura Caldwell
  • Don’t Even Think About It by Lauren Henderson
  • Hit Reply by Rocki St. Claire
  • English as a Second Language by Megan Crane
  • Couch World by Cathy Yardley
  • Salem Falls by Jodi Piccoult
Particularly recommended: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
Tells the story of W. P. Inman, a wounded deserter from the Confederate army near the end of the American Civil War who walks for months to return to Ada Monroe, the love of his life; the plot shares several similarities with Homer’s The Odyssey. The novel alternates chapter-by-chapter between Inman’s and Ada’s stories.
  • The Black Flower by Howard Bahr
  • Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
  • Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
  • The Civil War: A Narrative by Charles Frazier
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades:To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Set in a small Southern town during the Depression, this novel follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus–three years punctuated by the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman.
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Dickens’ second novel tells the story of the orphan Oliver set against the seamy underside of the London criminal world.
  • Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • I, Claudius by Robert Graves
  • A Death in the Family by James Agee
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  • Seize the Day by Saul Bellow
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Emma by Jane Austen
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain
  • Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Howard’s End by E.M. Forster
  • Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
  • The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis
  • Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
  • The Fixer by Bernard Malmud
  • Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  • Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler
Particularly recommended: All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
John Grady Cole is a 16-year-old boy who leaves his Texas home when his grandfather dies. With his parents already split up and his mother working in theater out of town, there is no longer reason for him to stay. He and his friend Lacey Rawlins ride their horses south into Mexico; they are joined by another boy, the mysterious Jimmy Blevins, a 14-year-old sharpshooter.
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hossenei
  • My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin
  • This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff
  • Call it Sleep by Henry Roth
  • Duke of Deception by Geoffrey Wolff
  • The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy
  • Alligator Bayo by Donna Jo Napoli
  • The Orange House by Paul Griffin
  • Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
  • Tales of the Madmen Underground by John Barnes
  • Wintergirls by Laure Halse
  • Isaac and his Devils by Fernanda Eberstadt
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Assault by Harry Muslisch
  • Testing the Current by William McPherson
  • David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  • About a Boy by Tobias Wolff
  • The Rotter’s Club by Jonathan Coe
  • Old School by Tobias Wolff
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers
  • Stand Before Your God: An American Schoolboy in England by Paul Watkins
  • Out Stealing Horses by Per Patterson
  • The Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sije and Ina Rilke
  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  • Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid
  • A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Them by Joyce Carol Oates
  • Because it is Bitter by Joyce Carol Oates
  • My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by Allan Sillitoe
  • Anywhere but Here by Mona Simpson
  • Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zavin
  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Zusak has not really written “Harry Potter and the Holocaust.” It just feels that way.
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades: Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
The rituals of traditional Indian domesticity buttress the characters of Lahiri’s elegant first collection and mark the measure of these fragile people’s dissolution. Frequently finding themselves in Cambridge, Mass., or similar but unnamed Eastern seaboard university towns, Lahiri’s characters suffer on an intimate level the dislocation and disruption brought on by India’s tumultuous political history.
  • The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • The Bone Children by Keri Hulme
  • The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie
  • Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  • The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
  • Regeneration by Pat Barker
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • White Noise by Don DeLillo
  • The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
  • In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
  • Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
  • The Secret History by Donna Tart
  • The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
  • Nobody’s Fool by Richard Russo
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  • Three Junes by Julia Glass
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • The Palace Thief by Ethan Canin
  • The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
  • The House of Spirits by Isabelle Allende
  • Empire Falls by Richard Russo
  • After the Fall by Jeffrey Lent
  • In the Fall by Jeffrey Lent
  • A Peculiar Grace by Jeffrey lent
  • Last Nation by Jeffrey Lent
  • Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Shooting Party by Isabel Colegate
  • The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino
  • The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
  • The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
  • Freedom: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen
Particularly recommended: Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard
When Jack Foley, a career bank robber, surfaces after tunneling out of a medium-security penitentiary in Florida, he comes face to face with Karen Sisco, a beautiful federal marshal. Though the barrel of her shotgun is pointed right at his face, she doesn’t shoot, and Foley’s accomplice, Buddy, overpowers her and puts her in the trunk of a car.
 
  • Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard
  • The Godwulf Manuscript (and others) by Robert B. Parker
  • The Devil in the White City: A Saga of Magic and Murder at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
  • The Firm (and others) by John Grisham
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  • A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger
  • King’s Ransom by Ed McBain
  • The Black Dahlia by James Elroy
  • Double Whammy by Karl Hiaasen
  • The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
  • The Tiger in the Smoke by Margary Allingham
  • The Getaway by Jim Thompson
  • Devil in Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
  • All the Flowers Are Dying by Lawrence Block
  • IWOZ: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It by Steve Wozniak
  • The Google Story by David Vise and Mark Malseed
  • Geeks: How Two Lost Boys Rode the Internet Out of Idaho by Jon Katz
  • David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  • Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  • Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
Particularly recommended: Zodiac by Neal Stephenson
Stephenson’s improbable hero is Sangamon Taylor, a high-tech jack-of-all-trades who inhales nitrous oxide for kicks and scouts environmental hazards for GEE, the Group of Environmental Extremists. Taylor particularly wants to nab the polluters of Boston Harbor, whose toxic sludge he monitors by zipping from illegal pipeline to illegal pipeline in his inflatable Zodiac raft.
  • Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
  • The Monkeywrench Gang by Edward Abbey
  • Tourist Season by Karl Hiaasen
  • A Friend of the Earth by T.C. Boyle
  • Zodiac by Neal Stephenson
Particularly recommended: White Teeth by Zadie Smith
Focuses on the later lives of two wartime friends – the Bangladeshi Samad Iqbal and the Englishman Archie Jones, and their families in London.
  • Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  • The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  • A Prayer for the Dying by Stewart O’Nan
  • White Teeth by Zadie Smith
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • What is the What by Dave Eggers
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy O’Toole
  • Edisto by Padgett Powell
  • Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins
  • Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins
  • Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
  • Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
  • Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace
  • Orphans by Charles D’Ambrosio
  • We Tell Ourselves Stories In Order to Live by Joan Didion
  • The White Album by Joan Didion
  • The Best American Essays of the Century edited by Joyce Carol Oates
  • Traveling Light by Bill Barich
  • The Privileges by Jonathan Dee
  • The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris
  • Just Listen by Sarh Dessen
  • House Rules by Jody Picoult
  • My Sister’s Keeper by Jody Picoult
  • The Pact by Jody Picoult
  • The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris
  • Ordinary People by Judith Guest
Particularly recommended: A Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
The story told in A Winter’s Tale begins in the late 19th century, jumping abruptly, in mid-course, to the year 2000. Its focus is a series of interconnected heroic lives, chief of which is that of Peter Lake, orphan, burglar, lover, idealist, mechanic first- class. Seized by the police as a public danger, Peter Lake is incarcerated in the Overweary Home for Lunatic Boys, an early metropolitan slave labor camp, but he’s swiftly advanced to the home’s elite: 50 lads serving unpaid apprenticeships under the tutelage of a splendidly Dickensian Reverend Mootfowl, ”mad craftsman, a genius of tools.”
  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson
  • The Lord of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein
  • A Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
  • A Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon
  • Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  • The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
  • The Farseer by Robert Hobb
  • His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
  • Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • Thomas Covenant – The Unbeliever by Stephen Donaldson
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice
  • The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
  • The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King
  • The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
  • The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
  • Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
  • Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
  • The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
  • Fate is the Hunter by Ernest Kellogg Gann
  • A Gift of Wings by Richard Bach
  • The Spirit of St. Louis by Charles Lindbergh
  • Yeager: An Autobiography by Chuck Yeager
  • Airman’s Odyssey by Antoine De Saint Exupery
  • Food and Loathing: A Life Measured Out in Calories by Betsy Lerner
  • The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones
  • Gine Bamboo by Anthony Bourdain
  • The Salvo Montalbano Series by Andrea Camillari
  • My Life in France by Julia Child
  • Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
  • Orlando by Virginia Woolf
  • Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig
  • Maurice by E.M. Forster
  • Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  • Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote
  • The Object of My Affection by Stephen McCauley
  • Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins
  • The Front Runner by Patricia Neil Warren
  • Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown
  • The Laramie Project by Moses Kaufman
  • Angels in America by Tony Kushner
  • Becoming a Man by Paul Monette
  • The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs
  • Ghost Story by Peter Straub
  • The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Particularly recommended: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
A governess goes to work for a moody employer, captures his heart, and a dark secret intrudes.
  • Bellefleur by Joyce Carol Oates
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austin
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  • Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind
  • The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
  • Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
  • The Gormenghast Novels by Anthony Burgess
  • Hell House by Richard Matheson
  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • The Stand by Stephen King
  • The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • The Dracula Dossier by James Reese
  • The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker
  • Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelly Woolstonecraft
Particularly recommended: Maus by Art Spiegelman
“Maus is a book that cannot be put down, truly, even to sleep. When two of the mice speak of love, you are moved, when they suffer, you weep. Slowly through this little tale comprised of suffering, humor and life’s daily trials, you are captivated by the language of an old Eastern European family, and drawn into the gentle and mesmerizing rhythm, and when you finish Maus, you are unhappy to have left that magical world.” — Umberto Eco
  • Trotsky: A Graphic Biography by Rick Geary
  • American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  • Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
  • V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
  • Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
  • A Contract with God by Will Eisner
  • Maus by Art Spiegelman
  • The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
  • Black Hole by Charles Burns
  • Epileptic by David B.
Particularly recommended: Schindler’s List by Thomas Kennealy
Tells the story of Oskar Schindler, a Nazi Party member, who turns into the unlikely hero. By the end of the war, Schindler has saved 1,200 Jews from concentration camps all over Poland and Germany. It won the Booker Prize for fiction in 1982.
  • John Adams by David McCullough
  • A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara Tuchman
  • 1776 by David McCullough
  • Truman by David McCullough
  • Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose
  • Peter the Great by Robert K. Massie
  • The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman
  • Manhunt: The 12 Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson
  • There is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America by Vincent Harding
  • Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes
  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  • The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Taleb
  • Collapse by Jared Diamond
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
  • Myths of the Norsemen by H.A. Gruber
  • Life in Year One: What Life Was Like in First-Century Palestine by Scott Korb
  • Empires and Barbarians by P.J. Heather
  • Mythology by Edith Hamilton
  • Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky
  • Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization by Steven Solomon
  • The Murder of King Tut: The Plot to Kill the Child King by James Patterson and Martin Dugard
  • Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
  • How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe’s Poorest Nation
    Created Our World and Everything in It
    by Arthur Herman
  • How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill
  • The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America by Louis Menand
  • Son of the Morning Star by Evan Connell
  • Schindler’s List by Thomas Kennealy
  • Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert Massie
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
  • The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict Between America and Al-Qaeda by Peter L. Berger
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Sklootr
  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
Particularly recommended: Shogun by James Clavell
Beginning in 1600 in feudal Japan, some months before the critical battle of Sekigahara, it gives an account of the rise of the daimyo “Toranaga” (based upon the actual Tokugawa Ieyasu) of the Shogunate, seen through the eyes of an English sailor whose fictional heroics are loosely based on William Adams’s exploits.
Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel
Winner of the Booker Prize. Henry VIII’s challenge to the church’s power with his desire to divorce his queen and marry Anne Boleyn set off a tidal wave of religious, political and societal turmoil that reverberated throughout 16th-century Europe.
  • People of the Book: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks
  • The Little Book by Selden Edwards
  • The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  • Wild Life by Molly Gloss
  • Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel
  • Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks
  • March by Geraldine Brooks
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone
  • Jack Maggs by Peter Carey
  • Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
  • The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory
  • Weep No More by Janet Stevenson
  • The Untouchable by John Banville
  • Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks
  • The Last Canyon by John Vernon
  • The Death of Che Guevara by Jay Cantor
  • The Bull from the Sea by Mary Renault
  • Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault
  • The Persian Boy by Mary Renault
  • The Road to Sardis by Stephanie Plowman
  • Little Big Man by Thomas Berger
  • Shogun by James Clavell
  • Imagining Argentina by Lawrence Thornton
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Aud
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  • The Alienist by Caleb Carr
  • Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
  • Naked by David Sedaris
  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
  • In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd
  • I Am American (And So Can You) by Stephen Colbert
  • Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman
  • Dakota: A Spiritual Guide by Kasthleen Norris
  • The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris
  • Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris
  • Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Annie Lamott
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Cohelho
  • Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
  • The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
  • The Essential Rumi by Jalal Al-Din Runi
  • Conversation with God by Neale Diamond Walsh
  • Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  • Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis
  • The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck
  • The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
  • Three Cups of Tea by G. and Relin D. Mortensen
  • There is No Me Without You by Melissa Faye Greene
  • Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
Particularly recommended: Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafsi
For two years before she left Iran in 1997, Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. They were all former students whom she had taught at university. Some came from conservative and religious families, others were progressive and secular; several had spent time in jail.
  • The Mantle of the Prophet: Religion and Politics in Iran by Roy Mottahedah
  • A History of the Arab People by Albert Hourani
  • Islamic Art and Architecture by Robert Hildebrand
  • Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices by Andrew Rippin
  • Islam Today: A Short Introduction to the Muslim World by Akbar S, Ahmed
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafsi
  • After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy by Noah Feldman
 
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades: The Fixer by Bernard Malamud
The novel is about Yakov Bok – a Jewish handyman or “fixer”. Living in Kiev without official papers, Bok is arrested on suspicion of murder, when a Christian boy is killed during Passover. Jailed without being officially charged, and denied visitors or legal counsel, Bok is treated poorly and interrogated repeatedly.
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades: Call it Sleep by Henry Roth
“Arguably the most distinguished work of fiction ever written about immigrant life…Surely the most lyrically authentic novel in American literature about a young boy’s coming to consciousness.” –Lis Harris, The New Yorker
  • Call it Sleep by Henry Roth
  • The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
  • Herzog by Saul Bellow
  • Mr. Sammler’s Planet by Saul Bellow
  • Humboldt’s Gift by Saul Bellow
  • An American Dream by Norman Mailer
  • The Assistant by Bernard Malamud
  • The Fixer by Bernard Malamud
  • The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  • My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
  • Wanderings: Chaim Potok’s History of the Jews by Chaim Potok
  • Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth
  • Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
  • Letting Go by Philip Roth
  • American Pastoral by Philip Roth
  • The Amazing Adventure of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
  • The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon
  • Maus by Art Spiegelman
  • If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
Latino/Latina and Latin American up to top
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
  • Child of the Dark by Caroline Maria de Jesus
  • House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  • Famous All Over Town by Danny Santiago
  • Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
  • Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing Up Latino in the United States by Lori M. Carlson
  • CrashBoomLove: A Novel in Verse by Juan Felipe Herrera
  • La Línea by Ann Jaramillo
  • Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Annie Lamott
  • Slouching Towards Kalamazoo by Peter de Vries
  • The American Language by H.L. Mencken
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White
  • On Writing Well by William K. Zinsser
  • On Writing by Stephen Ki
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades: Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey
In 1963, an occupational therapist from Kentucky, in uncertain health and spirits, traveled to central Africa in the quixotic hope of seeing a mountain gorilla in its natural habitat. Dian Fossey had read everything she could about the reclusive and much-feared animal, and she returned from her trip convinced that most of the books were wrong.
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades:This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind by Ivan Doig
Doig was born in Montana in 1939 and grew up along the Rocky Mountain Front, the dramatic landscape that has inspired much of his writing. His first book, This House of Sky, was a finalist for the National Book Award in contemporary thought. “The language begins in western territory and experience but in the hands of an artist it touches all landscape and all life,” Robert Kirsch wrote in the Los Angeles Times.
  • This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind by Ivan Doig
  • Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey
  • A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
  • The Cage by Ruth Minsky Sender
  • Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas
  • When I was Puerto Rican and Almost a Woman by Esmerelda Santiago
  • Addie: A Memoir by Mary Lee Settle
  • The Unwanted: A Memoir of Childhood by Kien Nguyen
  • Journey in the Whirlwind by Eugenia Ginzberg
  • My Life in France by Julia Child
  • Operating Instructions by Annie Lamott
  • Wait Until Next Year: A Memoir by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Clayborne Carson
  • Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  • Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison
  • Musical Chairs by Jen Knox
  • The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  • Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres
  • Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp by Stephanie Klein
  • Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival by Norman Ollestad
  • The Thief of Time (and others) by Tony Hillerman
  • Malice Aforethought by Francis Iles
  • The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
  • Rumpole of the Bailey by John Mortimer
  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Fletch by Gregory McDonald
  • Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
  • Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
  • Deja Dead by Kathleen J. Reichs (A Temperance Brennan Novel)
  • Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
  • Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Enter a Murderer by Ngaio Marsh
  • A is for… (or any of the alphabetical mysteries) by Sue Grafton
  • Death in a Tenured Position by Amanda Cross
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson and Reg Keeland
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades: A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris
The emotional terrain of lives led without the steady presence of fathers or husbands is common ground for the three generations of American Indian women who successively tell their stories in this absorbing novel. Rayona, 15, half black and half Indian, is abandoned by her mother and in turn abandons her Aunt Ida.
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades: Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
Erdrich’s first novel explores sixty years of a small group of Chippewa living on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota. The narratives are very conversational, as if the narrators were telling a story, often from the first-personperspective
  • Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
  • Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog and Richard Erdoes
  • Tracks by Louise Erdrich
  • The Broken Cord by Michael Dorris
  • Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
  • A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris
  • Smoke Rising by Joseph Bruchac
  • House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday
  • The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie
  • The Heartsong of Charging Elk by James Welch
  • I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven
  • Yo by Ruth Bebe Hill
  • The Thief of Time by Tony Hillerman
  • Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival by Norman Ollestad
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades:The Snow Leopard by Peter Mathiessen
 Published in 1978, The Snow Leopard is rightly regarded as a classic of modern nature writing. Guiding his readers through steep-walled canyons and over tall mountains, Matthiessen offers a narrative that is shot through with metaphor and mysticism, and his arduous search for the snow leopard becomes a vehicle for reflections on all manner of matters of life and death.
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades: Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
Abbey’s Desert Solitaire, the noted author’s most enduring nonfiction work, is an account of Abbey’s seasons as a ranger at Arches National Park outside Moab, Utah. Abbey reflects on the nature of the Colorado Plateau desert, on the condition of our remaining wilderness, and on the future of a civilization that cannot reconcile itself to living in the natural world.
  • Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
  • Wind, Sand, and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
  • Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
  • The Control of Nature by John McPhee
  • The Wild Trees by Richard Preston
  • A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
  • In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
  • A River Runs Through it and Other Stories by Norman Maclean
  • Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez
  • An Outside Chance by Thomas McGuane
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades: I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Hanna Green
A semi-autobiographical account of a teenage girl’s three-year battle with schizophrenia. Deborah Blau, bright and artistically talented, has created a world, the Kingdom of Yr, as a form of defense from a confusing, frightening reality.
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades: Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
Girl, Interrupted is a best-selling memoir by American author Susanna Kaysen, relating her experiences as a young woman in a psychiatric hospital in the 1960s after being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. The memoir’s title is a reference to the Vermeer painting Girl Interrupted at her Music.
  • Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
  • I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Hannah Green
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks
  • Sybil by Flora Rita Schreiber
  • Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp
  • Musical Chairs by Jen Knox
  • Devil in the Details: Scenes from an Obsessive Girlhood by Jennifer Trig
  • Sickened: The Memoir of a Munschausen by Proxy Childhood by Julie Gregory
  • Prozak Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel
  • Manic by Terri Cheney
  • Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia by Marya Hornbacher
  • Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison
  • Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited by Elys Schein
  • When Rabbit Howls by Truddi Chase
  • Any of the Alex Delaware novels by Jonathan Kellerman
  • Lisa, Bright and Dark by John Neufeld
  • The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  • A Doctor Among Addicts by Nat Hentoff
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
  • The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad by Harrison Salisbury
  • The Possesed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People who Read Themby Elif Batuman
  • Omon Ra by Viktor Pelevin
  • Lenin’s Tomb by David Remnick
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Notes from Underground by Fydor Dostoevsky
  • Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
  • Stories of Anton Chekhov
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzenitsyn
  • Overcoat and Other Tales of Good and Evil by Nikolai Gogol
  • The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades: Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin by Stephen Jay Gould
Harvard paleontologist Gould examines trends in natural variation throughout organic evolution, thereby discrediting the abstract ideas of eternal forms, fixed essences, and intrinsic progress. His insightful study even applies to sports systems, accounting for the apparent extinction of .400 hitting in baseball.

 

Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades: A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists in history, wrote the modern classic A Brief History of Time to help nonscientists understand the questions being asked by scientists today: Where did the universe come from? How and why did it begin? Will it come to an end, and if so, how?
  • The Lives of a Cell by Lewis Thomas
  • Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
  • Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin by Stephen Jay Gould
  • The Living Planet by David Attenborough
  • A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  • The Ascent of Man by Jacob Bronowski
  • The Genius in All of Us by David Shenk
  • The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin
  • The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
  • One Two Three…Infinity by George Garnow
  • The Double Helix by James D. Watson
  • The Cosmic Connection by Carl Sagan
  • The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould
  • Gaia by James Lovelock
  • The Insect Societies by Edward O. Wilson
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks
  • Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey
  • The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker
  • Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynman
  • A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman
  • The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes
  • The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
  • Food Inc. by Eric Schlosser
  • Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
  • Flight of the Iguana by David Quammen
  • Algeny by Jeremy Rifkin
  • The Flying Circus of Physics by Jearl Walker
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach
  • In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick
  • The Voyage of the Narwahl by Andrea Barrett
  • Master and Commander (and many others) by Patrick O’Brian
  • Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
  • Ninety Degrees North: The Quest for the North Pole by Fergus Fleming
  • Godforsaken Sea: Racing the World’s Most Dangerous Waters by Derek Lundy
  • The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsaratt
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades: The Collected Short Stories of Roald Dahl
With the inventive power of a Thomas Edison and the imagination of a Lewis Carroll . . . Roald Dahl is a wizard of comedy and the grotesque, an artist with a marvelously topsy-turvy sense of the ridiculous in life.
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades: Flannery O’Connor: Collected Works by Flannery O’Connor
Flannery O’Connor, a unique and important figure in the Southern literary tradition, was one of the finest writers of the twentieth century.
  • Pigeon Feathers by John Updike
  • Collected Stories by Frank Connor
  • Flannery O’Connor: Collected Works by Flannery O’Connor
  • The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway
  • The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
  • Where I’m Calling From: Selected Stories by Raymond Carver by Raymond Carver
  • The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
  • The Collected Stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer
  • Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood
  • Shiloh and Other Stories by Bobbie Ann Mason
  • Stories by T.C. Boyle
  • In the Loyal Mountains by Rick Bass
  • The Means of Escape by Penelope Fitzgerald
  • Anton Chekhov’s Short Stories by Anton Chekhov
  • Selected Stories by Alice Munro
  • The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever
  • Rock Spring by Richard Ford
  • Emperor of the Air by Ethan Canin
  • Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick
  • Collected Short Stories by Raold Dahl
  • The Elizabeth Stories by Isabel Huggins
  • Who’s Irish? by Gish Jen
  • In the Loyal Mountains by Rick Bass
  • Town Smokes by Pinckney Benedict
  • The Three Button Trick by Nicola Barker
  • The Short Stories of Nikolai Gogol
  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
  • Reading Lolita in Teheran by Azar Nafisi
  • Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer
  • Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
  • Hopscotch by Brian Wynne
  • Six Days of the Condor by James Grady
  • The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
  • The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson
  • I Spy by Geoffrey Elliot
  • The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA by Thomas Powers
  • The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
  • Without Remorse by Tom Clancy
  • The Room and the Chair by Lorraine Adams
  • Berlin Game by Len Deighton
  • Spy Wednesday by William Hood
  • The Soul of Viktor Tronko by David Quammen
  • The Last Supper by Charles McCarry
  • The Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry
  • The Spy Who Came in from the Cold or any by John LeCarre
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades: The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy
The narrator, Will McLean, attends the South Carolina Military Institute (a fictional military college based on The Citadel) in Charleston, from 1963 to 1967. The novel describes the traditions of the academy and Will’s battle against the mysterious “Ten.”
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades: Charm for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons
Like its predecessors Ellen Foster, A Virtuous Woman, and A Cure for Dreams, this novel depicts three generations of Southern women living together during World War II. Unworthy men marry into this formidable tribe, but they cannot break the women’s circle of strength and grace.
  • The Mysterious Secret of the Valuable Treasure by Jack Pendarvis
  • Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
  • Charm for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons
  • Run With the Horsemen by Ferrol Sams
  • Raney by Clyde Edgerton
  • The Last Gentleman by Walker Percy
  • The Second Coming by Walker Percy
  • The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  • Sanctuary by William Faulkner
  • Light in August by William Faulkner
  • A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams
  • The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy
  • The Great Santini by Pat Conroy
  • The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy
  • The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
  • Paris, Texas by Dexter Trout
  • Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor
  • A Virtuous Woman by Kaye Gibbons
  • Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons
  • The Unvanquished by William Faulkner
  • The Traveler by Ellen Gilchrist
  • Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades: The Southpaw by Mark Harris
Even those whose knowledge of baseball is elemental will find the book worth reading. For let there be no doubt about it, this is a distinguished and unusual book.” New York Times “Cheers to Mark Harris, who gives us by far the best ‘serious’ baseball novel published.
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades: End Zone by Don DeLillo
Set at small Logos College in West Texas, End Zone,is a light-hearted farce narrated by Gary Harkness, a blocking back on the American football team during that school’s first integrated season
  • Odd Man Out by Matt McCarthy
  • Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
  • The Southpaw by Mark Harris
  • Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris
  • The Natural by Bernard Malamud
  • Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella
  • End Zone by Don DeLillo
  • The River Why by David James Duncan
  • The Yogi Book: I Really Didn’t Say Everything I Said by Yogi Berra
  • You Know Me, Al by Ring Lardner
  • Summer of ’49 by David Halberstam
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
  • The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood by Jane Levy
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades: The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
This is a techno-thriller novel documenting the efforts of a team of scientists investigating a deadly extraterrestrial microorganism that rapidly and fatally clots human blood, while in other people inducing insanity, mostly ended in suicide or murder-suicide.
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades: No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
Set along the United States–Mexico border in 1980, the story concerns an illicit drugdeal gone wrong in a remote desert location. The title comes from the poem “Sailing to Byzantium” by William Butler Yeats. The book was adapted into the 2007 film No Country for Old Men, which won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
  • Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
  • Stranger on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  • The Drowning Pool by Ross Macdonald
  • A Time to Kill by John Grisham
  • No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Fifth Woman by Henning Mankell
  • The Lake of Darkness by Ruth Rendell
  • Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell
  • Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
  • The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
  • Primal Fear by William Diehl
  • Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
  • Whiteout by Ken Follett
  • Coma by Robin Cook
  • The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
  • Mammoth by John Varley
  • Green River Running Red by Anne Rule
  • Killing Floor by Lee Child
  • In the Dark by Mark Billingham
  • Deception by Jonathan Kellerman
  • Cure by Robin Cook
  • The Thanatos Syndrome by Walker Percy
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
1985 Pulitzer Prize-winning western novel written by Larry McMurtry. The story focuses on the relationship of several retired Texas Rangers and their adventures driving a cattle herd from Texas to Montana.
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades: A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean
A River Runs Through It concerns the Macleans, a Presbyterian family during early 20th century Montana whose opinions of life are filtered through their passion for fly-fishing. The novella is noted for using detailed descriptions of fly-fishing and nature to engage with a number of profound metaphysical questions.
  • Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  • All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
  • Centennial by James Michener
  • Hondo by Louis L’Amour
  • Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey
  • Shane by Jack Schaefer
  • The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilberg Clark
  • Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
  • True Grit by Charles Portis
  • Wild Life by Richard Form
  • The House of Sky by Ivan Doig
  • The River Why by David James Duncan
  • The Jump Off Creek by Molly Gloss
  • Plainsong by Kent Haruf
  • Three-Ten to Yuma and other stories by Elmore Leonard
  • Hud by Elmore Leonard
  • Hombre by Elmore Leonard
  • A River Runs Through it and Other Stories by Norman Maclean
  • Monte Walsh by Jack Schaefer
Particularly recommended for 9th and 10th grades: The Guns of Navarone by Alister Maclean
An entire navy had tried to silence the guns of Navarone and failed. Full-scale attacks had been driven back. Now they were sending in just five men, each one a specialist in dealing death.
Particularly recommended for 11th and 12th grades: The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing–these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight. They carried shameful memories. They carried the common secret of cowardice…. Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to.
  • Dispatches by Michael Herr
  • The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
  • Where Eagles Dare by Alister Maclean
  • H.M.S. Ulysses by Alister Maclean
  • The Guns of Navarone by Alister Maclean
  • A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute
  • Rumor of War by Philip Caputo
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  • King Rat by James Clavell
  • Chickenhawk by Robert Mason
  • The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kozinski
  • Rumors of Peace by Ella Leffland
  • In Country by Bobbie Ann Mason
  • Bloods by Terry Wallace
  • Catch -22 by Joseph Heller
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
  • The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict Between America and Al-Qaeda by Peter L. Berger
  • Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes