Red=probably won't read,
Blue=on my list,Black=read and reviewed
Recommended by Jan so changed from red to purple
1. Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
This is a fabulous book. It was required reading my Junior year in high school and I think I got more out of it for the discussion we had,
3. Forever by Judy Blume.
I didn’t think they let a girl go through puberty without having read this. Did I miss something? Have the rules changed?
4. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman.
Reading this out loud was a little difficult, but it is a pretty darned good book. I like the parallel world thing a lot.
5. Lord of the Flies by William Golding.
This one isn’t so much ‘good’ as important. I read it to both kids before starting middle school. I felt they needed some perspective on how awful kids can be to each other if they engage in group-think.
These are my favorite books EVER. These books made me a writer and I love them deeply.
7. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.--good movie, but not compelled to read.
8. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.--I've seen the movie and liked it—probably past my reading Roald Dahl though, until grandkids (BFG is my favorite—though I love Matilda, the movie).
9. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
10. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.
Read this to my daughter and liked it—I think it is top notch for its era, but I think later young reader books get a lot better.
11. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier.
12. The Giver by Lois Lowery.
13. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
15. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Steinbeck is an important author for historical perspective. I'm not sure it matters WHICH Steinbeck you read—this happens to be mine (this and Cannery Row) but we all need a Steinbeck.
16. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriett Beecher Stowe
This is my FAVORITE Dr. Suess. (The Sleep Book is #2) Most Dr. Suess is about reading or just for fun. The Lorax is Environmentalism... both EARLY and hard-hitting for a 'child author'. This is one that I feel ALL PARENTS should read their kids. It is our hope for the future.
18. he DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
Oh, I know—you all grumble. But I liked this one. Then again, I read it before I wrote.
19. 1984 by George Orwell
As a 1984 graduate, I felt compelled. Not bad.
20. Animal Farm by George Orwell
21. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
22. Candide by Voltaire
23. Lady Chatterly’s Lover by DH Lawrence
I am convince I read this, but remember nothing about it. I think my thought was 'what is the fuss' because at the time it was written, it was controversial, but it is controversial in the way that ankles were controversial before WW1... just nothing of note WITHOUT the context. I think this would have been better as part of a class.
24. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
25. Fanny Hill by John Cleland
26. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
27. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I read this in high school and found it somewhat boring, but worth banning? Not so much.
28. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
29. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hossieni
This was a tragic and beautiful book (beautiful in that the horrible tale was told so well)
30. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
31. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
32. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
33. Rabbit, Run by John UpdikeI haven't read this but this is my chance to go on record... I DON'T like John Updike.
34. Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
I think this is a must read for all middle school students.
35. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
This is another horrible story told so incredibly well that it is a fabulous book. In fact I bring this one up a lot as the rare example of a horrible MC that is somehow still compelling. I HAVE TO always credit Nabikov's writing, though. In a lesser writer's hands Humbert Humbert would have repulsed me too much to read.
36. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I had a teacher in high school that I could never praise highly enough—she led us through a number of REALLY important books (it included Huckleberry Finn and A Streetcar Named Desire)
37. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
This was required reading in one of my college classes, but I loved it anyway. It takes a little time to fall into the cadence, as the narrator (in diary form) can't spell or punctuate, but her story is deeply compelling.
39. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
40. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
This was the first 'novel' my mom read to me—I think she read it twice, and then I read it once. I love Jo. An MC who is a writer speaks to us all, and I love the historical picture this gives us.
41. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
42. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Odd... I'm not sure if this feels juvenile because it was so far ahead of its genre and it has come so far since then. I KNOW for when it was written, it was ground-breaking, but it felt like... fan fiction or something to read. It is interesting which predictions came true and which were really off. I think this is an IMPORTANT book, but I think it is best read within a historical context, as what is important about it may not be obvious, and what is HOKEY, isn't so hokey if you look at when it was written and what the meaning was.
43. Native Son by Richard Wright
44. Beloved by Toni Morrison
No light, lovely tale, but a good one to have read. Brings up a lot of questions on where the line falls between ghosts and personal haunting (all in the head) and I personally believe as a white person from whiteville, that several of these cultural immersion experiences are good for me, too.
45. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
46. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
I LIKED this book but LOVED the movie—one of the rare cases of the movie catching all the essence that mattered and then some. It also has the bonus of being filmed at Dammish—Oregon's 'closed' mental hospital.
47. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
While I didn't LOVE this, I still think this is an important book—it comes back to me with some regularity, as the 'future dystopia' seems more realistic that some, and more subtle, which is in a lot of ways, more frightening.
48. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote—movies--both the one of the same name and Capote, which was of his making of it... not my stuff, but interesting to know ABOUT.
49. Slaughterhouse – Five by Kurt Vonnegut
I'm not a Vonnegut fan. REALLY. I can't even remember it, except not liking it.
50. East of Eden by John Steinbeck