The Required High School Reading List

May 20, 2020

It doesn't matter if you loved them or hated them, this is a list of Books that you were required to read in high school. 

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How many have you read? 

1 Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare | Drama Classics

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The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (first published 1597) is a play by William Shakespeare concerning the fate of two young star-crossed lovers. Perhaps the most famous of his plays, it is one of his earliest theatrical triumphs and is considered the archetypal love story of the Renaissance.

2 The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby

Francis Scott Fitzgerald | Fiction Classics

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In 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write "something new, something extraordinary and beautiful and simple + intricately patterned." That extraordinary, beautiful, intricately patterned, and above all, simple novel became The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald's finest work and certainly the book for which he is best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author's generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald's--and his country's--most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It

3 Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies

William Golding | Fiction Classics

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The Classic book Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

4 Macbeth

Macbeth

William Shakespeare | Fiction Classics

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Macbeth is among the best-known of William Shakespeare's plays, and is his shortest tragedy, believed to have been written between 1603 and 1606. It is frequently performed at both amateur and professional levels, and has been adapted for opera, film, books, stage and screen. Often regarded as archetypal, the play tells of the dangers of the lust for power and the betrayal of friends. For the plot Shakespeare drew loosely on the historical account of King Macbeth of Scotland by Raphael Holinshed and that by the Scottish philosopher Hector Boece. There are many superstitions centred on the belief the play is somehow "cursed", and many actors will not mention the name of the play aloud, referring to it instead as "The Scottish play".

5 Hamlet

Hamlet

William Shakespeare | Drama Classics

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After Hamlet's father is killed by his brother, Claudius, Hamlet struggles with his vow to seek revenge by murdering Claudius.

6 Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

John Steinbeck | Fiction Classics

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The Classic book Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. It tells the story of 2 poor ranch workers, George Milton and Lennie Small, who try to find work wherever they can during the great depression. The 2 couldn’t be more different. George is small and sharp, while Lennie is a giant of a man, but has a very simple mind. Having nothing but each other, the pair must survive together in this harsh landscape.

7 The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne | Fiction Classics

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In early colonial Massachusetts, a young woman experiences the results of adultery and must spend the remainder of her life atoning for her sins.

8 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain | Children's Classics

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Huck Finn befriends Jim, a runaway slave, and the two travel down the Mississippi River on a raft and share many interesting experiences along the way.

9 The Odyssey

The Odyssey

Homer. | Humanities and Arts

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The Odyssey (Ancient Greek: Ὀδύσσεια, Odysseia) is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature. It was probably composed near the end of the 8th century BC, somewhere in Ionia, the Greek coastal region of Anatolia.[1] The poem mainly centers on the Greek hero Odysseus (or Ulysses, as he was known in Roman myths) and his journey home after the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years to reach Ithaca after the ten-year Trojan War.[2] In his absence, it is assumed he has died, and his wife Penelope and son Telemachus must deal with a group of unruly suitors, ...

10 Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen | Romance Classics

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The beautiful, young Elizabeth falls in love with Mr. Darcy, but he must control his pride while she tries to overcome her prejudice.

11 Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury | Sci-Fi Classics

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The Classic book Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. In a futuristic society, books are illegal, and firemen are tasked to burn any they find. Television is the preferred mode of entertainment. Then one day, Guy Montag a fireman, meets a young man who opens up his world to a vision in which society can grow and learn from the ideas found in books.

12 Jane Eyre: An Autobiography

Jane Eyre: An Autobiography

Charlotte Bronte | Romance Classics

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A poor, abused orphan named Jane uses her cleverness and perseverance to win the love of the man she loves.

13 The Crucible

The Crucible

Arthur Miller | Drama Classics

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The Classic book The Crucible by Arthur Miller. This play uses the Salem witch trials, as comparisons to the McCarthy government which “hunted” down suspect communists in the USA. Miller himself was even questioned and convicted under similar circumstances.

14 Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar

William Shakespeare | Poetry Classics

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The Classic book Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. And while named after the famous emperor, this play actually centers around the character of Brutus and his clash for honour, patriotism and friendships. Along with Coriolanus and Antony and Cleopatra, this is one of 3 plays Shakespeare has based on real Roman history.

15 Great Expectations

Great Expectations

Charles Dickens | Fiction Classics

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Pip is a poor orphan who grows up in England in the early 1800's. He endures many hardships including poverty and violence.

16 Frankenstein

Frankenstein

Mary Shelley | Sci-Fi Classics

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A scientist creates a monster with pieces of corpses, but the monster develops a mind of his own begins to despise his creator.

17 A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream

William Shakespeare | Drama Classics

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A Midsummer Night's Dream is a romantic comedy by William Shakespeare, suggested by "The Knight's Tale" from Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, written around 1594 to 1596. It portrays the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of amateur actors, their interactions with the Duke and Duchess of Athens, Theseus and Hippolyta, and with the fairies who inhabit a moonlit forest. The play is one of Shakespeare's most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.

18 Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights

Emily Bronte | Fiction Classics

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A servant in the house at Wuthering Heights reveals the historic story of the love affair between Catherine and Heathcliff to a visitor who is currently staying there.

19 A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens | Fiction Classics

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This novel follows the lives of three peasants who are degraded and subdued by the French aristocracy.

20 Beowulf

Beowulf

Heyn-Socin | Humanities and Arts

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The classic Anglo- Saxon epic poem

21 Othello

Othello

William Shakespeare | Drama Classics

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Classic theater by the master

22 The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales

Geoffrey Chaucer | Poetry Classics

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A group of pilgrims embark on a long journey, and each of the characters reflect the irony and criticism of the church at the time.

23 Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoevsky | Fiction Classics

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Raskolnikov kills two people in the belief that some people are "extraordinary" and have the right to kill others in order to improve the state of the world.

24 The Taming of the Shrew

The Taming of the Shrew

William Shakespeare. | Drama Classics

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I n the English countryside, a poor tinker named Christopher Sly becomes the target of a prank by a local lord. Finding Sly drunk out of his wits in front of an alehouse, the lord has his men take Sly to his manor, dress him in his finery, and treat him as a lord. When Sly recovers, the men tell him that he is a lord and that he only believes himself to be a tinker because he has been insane for the past several years. Waking in the lord’s bed, Sly at first refuses to accept the men’s story, but when he hears of his “wife,” a pageboy dressed in women’s clothing, he readily agrees that he is the lord they purport him to be. Sly wants to be left alone with his wife, but the servants tell him that a troupe of actors has arrived to present a play for him. The play that Sly watches ma...

25 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Mark Twain | Children's Classics

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Set on a 19th century Mississippi town, Tom Sawyer is a mischievous boy who skips school, witnesses to a crime, hunts for pirate treasure, and gets lost in a cave.

26 The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest

Oscar Wilde | Fiction Classics

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"Algernon, a wealthy young Londoner, pretends to have a friend named Bunbury who lives in the country and is frequently in ill health. Whenever Algernon wants to avoid an unwelcome social obligation, or just get away for the weekend, he makes an ostensible visit to his "sick friend". In that way, Algernon can feign piety and dedication, while having the perfect excuse to get out of town, avoiding his responsibilities. He calls this practice “Bunburying". Download this FREE e-Book today!

27 The Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of Courage

Stephen Crane | Fiction Classics

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In the novel The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, young soldier Henry Fleming entered the American Civil War as a nervous, unready boy. By convincing himself that others were more cowardly than he, however, Henry succeeded in making himself feel like a hero.

28 Moby Dick

Moby Dick

Herman Melville | Fiction Classics

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Captain Ahab's is fueled by his desire to kill the great white whale that tore off his leg leads, but his attempts lead to disaster.

29 Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad | Fiction Classics

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Captain Charles Marlow describes his experience transporting ivory along the Congo River in Africa where he encounters many instances of ruin and destruction.

30 The Awakening, and Selected Short Stories

The Awakening, and Selected Short Stories

Kate Chopin | Misc Classics

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The classic book, The Awakening, and Selected Short Stories, by Kate Chopin.

31 King Lear

King Lear

William Shakespeare | Drama Classics

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The Classic book King Lear by William Shakespeare. In this tragedy, the aging King Lear, takes counsel from his 3 daughters. Two are flattering and manipulative liars. One is honest. Unfortunately, the King falls for the flattery resulting in dire consequences.

32 Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing

William Shakespeare | Drama Classics

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The Classic book Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare.

33 Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist

Charles Dickens | Fiction Classics

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Oliver escapes from a miserable workhouse where he's spent his childhood, travels to London, and befriends Artful Dodger, Fagin, and their group of thieves.

34 The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle | Fiction

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Excellent classic! Download it today!

35 A Doll's House

A Doll's House

Henrik Ibsen | Mystery Classics

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During a Christmas holiday, Nora Helmer is facing debt, blackmail, but her biggest problem is a manipulative husband.

36 Siddhartha

Siddhartha

Herman Hesse | Religion

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A young man's adventures in a Jungian world by one of his most famous analysands. A spiritual masterpiece.

37 The Jungle

The Jungle

Upton Sinclair | Sci-Fi Classics

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The classic book, The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair.

38 Les Miserables

Les Miserables

Victor Hugo | Fiction Classics

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Ex-convict Jean-Valjean struggles to find redemption after his release for a 19 year prison sentence for stealing food for his starving family.

39 Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels

Jonathan Swift | Sci-Fi Classics

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During his travels, an Englishman encounters tiny people, giants, sorcerers, and horses who control humans.

40 A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal

Jonathan Swift | Short Stories Classics

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The classic book, A Modest Proposal, by Jonathan Swift.

41 The Tempest

The Tempest

William Shakespeare | Drama Classics

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The Classic book The Tempest by William Shakespeare. One of the Bard’s last plays, it is mostly set on a deserted island where the crew of a shipwreck find themselves stranded after a large storm. There they encounter a wizard, Prospero, monsters, spirits and more. While listed as a comedy it includes plenty of drama

42 The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis

Franz Kafka | Short Stories Classics

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The Classic book The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. First published in 1915 this novella is widely considered one of the most important short stories of the century and one of Kafka’s best. Gregor Samsa awakes one day only to find out he’s now a huge insect. The story follows as Gregor struggles to adjust this transformation. Many different interpretations of this story has created lots of exciting discussions over the years.

43 Little Women

Little Women

Louisa May Alcott | Children's Classics

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The March sisters, Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth, survive poverty and the absence of their father during the Civil War.

44 The Raven

The Raven

Edgar Allan Poe | Short Stories Classics

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"The Raven" is a narrative poem by the American writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe. It was published for the first time on January 29, 1845, in the New York Evening Mirror. Noted for its musicality, stylized language and supernatural atmosphere, it tells of the mysterious visit of a talking raven to a distraught lover, tracing his slow descent into madness.

45 Ethan Frome

Ethan Frome

Edith Wharton | Romance Classics

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Ethan, a farmer tethered to his farm, his helpless parents, and his hypochondriac wife find himself drawn to his wife's alluring cousin.

46 Pygmalion

Pygmalion

George Bernard Shaw | Drama Classics

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Based on the classical myth, Pygmalion plays on the complex web of human relationships in a social world. Download it now!

47 Candide

Candide

Voltaire | Misc Classics

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The classic book, Candide, by Voltaire.

48 Antigone

Antigone

Sophocles | Drama Classics

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Antigone disobeys the royal edict and buries the corpses of her brothers since she believes honoring her family is more important than following the laws.

49 The Aeneid

The Aeneid

Virgil | Poetry Classics

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The Classic book The Aeneid by Virgil. Initially written in Latin, this poem is over 300 pages long. In this Epic, the hero Aeneas, a Tojan, travels to Italy where he starts the Roman civilization.