Monday, April 18, 2011

101 Great Books Recommended for College-Bound Readers

While jumping from one blog to another, I found College Board's list of 101 Great Books Recommended for College-Bound Readers. I've read less than twenty books in this list, but I like it more than Modern Library's 100 Best Novels. It's more diverse with books written by colored and female writers, while the books in Modern Library's list were mostly written by white male American writers.

The books I've read are in bold while the ones in my TBR pile are italicized.
  1. A Death in the Family by James Agee
  2. A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
  3. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  4. A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
  5. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
  6. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  7. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  8. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
  9. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
  10. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  11. Antigone by Sophocles
  12. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  13. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
  14. Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville
  15. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  16. Beowulf
  17. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  18. Call it Sleep by Henry Roth
  19. Candide by Voltaire
  20. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  21. Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
  22. Collected Stories by Eudora Welty
  23. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  24. Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
  25. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
  26. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
  27. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  28. Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
  29. Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  30. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  31. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
  32. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  33. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  34. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  35. Inferno by Dante
  36. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  37. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  38. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  39. Long Day’s Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill
  40. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  41. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  42. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  43. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  44. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
  45. Native Son by Richard Wright
  46. Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
  47. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  48. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  49. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  50. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
  51. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  52. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  53. Selected Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  54. Selected Tales by Edgar Allen Poe
  55. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  56. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
  57. Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  58. The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
  59. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  60. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  61. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  62. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  63. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  64. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  65. The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
  66. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  67. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
  68. The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
  69. The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
  70. The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
  71. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  72. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  73. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  74. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  75. The Iliad by Homer
  76. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
  77. The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
  78. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  79. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
  80. The Odyssey by Homer
  81. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  82. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  83. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
  84. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  85. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  86. The Stranger by Albert Camus
  87. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  88. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
  89. The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
  90. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  91. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  92. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
  93. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  94. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
  95. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  96. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  97. Vanity Fair by William Thackeray
  98. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
  99. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  100. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  101. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte


Jenna said...

I've read about 40 on this list. There aren't as many "newer" titles as compared to the Modern Library list, but I do think it's an excellent compilation. It definitely feels inclusive and diverse, perfect for college bound readers.

Zibilee said...

I have read so few of these books that I actually feel a little embarrassed! I think I should probably print this list out and get to setting things right!

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

Is is, perhaps, more diverse than some lists of canon books, but I'd love to see more books post 1970 on these lists. It's like great literature ceased to exist post-Hemingway or something...

But maybe I'm just bitter because I've only read 43 of 'em and my reading tends to contemporary literary fiction. : )

Sam said...

I do like this list. It definitely has a different feel to it for me, with a large focus on American writers, compared to the BBC list. I need to read more great American fiction, so it's helpful for me :)

Brenna said...

I really like this list! Happy to see The Mill on the Floss and other lesser known classics.

Annie said...

I would love to see more modern writers on lists like these. I know that students need to have read the 'canon' but the implication always seems to be that there is no one writing good literature now. We threw out centrally drawn up lists like this years ago and substituted our own intended to reflect a much wider range of reading experiences.

Kathmeista said...

Like this list even though it makes me look like a complete slacker as I usually mainly read contemporary fiction!! Am going to check out the Modern Library list too just to compare. Thanks for pointing this out :)

Letter4no1 said...

That's a pretty well rounded list for college bound readers. I always felt like my high school failed to expose me to the classics and I felt woefully unprepared when I started college. In turn I've read 30 of these novels, all but about 7 of them during college or on my own.

Eclectic Indulgence said...

Pardon my ignorance, but what's College Board?

simplerpastimes said...

I've read 27 of those, I believe, many while in school. This is really the best sort of list: made up mostly of really good books that I want to read!

Rebecca Reid said...

I have this list on my blog too! I think I'd read about 35 when I started blogging three years ago. I've been conciously choosing from that list and now I'm up to 54! A few I'm not sure I want to read, but most are still on my TBR list.

Biblibio said...

I really, really dislike this list. First off, it seems like a rehashing of the same "top 100" list that pops up every few years that never seems to get updated (or is updated with the same five or so modern titles). More annoyingly, though, most of the books are hands-down classics, and a great number of them required reading in high schools across the country.

In creating a list that's specifically geared towards college-bound students, I would not only expect significantly more diversity, but also more modern choices. More actually relevant choices. For instance, The Handmaid's Tale, an excellent and still reasonably time-relevant dystopian novel that will actually make the young reader think. Or Wolf Hall which I recently read, an absolutely amazing book that not only exposes the young adult mind to a very literary novel, but also to some impressive and in-depth history.

I'm not saying these aren't worthy and important titles included. Practically speaking, I don't see how handing this list to my college-bound colleagues will actually lead them in the direction of new and important books, ones they haven't already been told to read a thousand times. With so much other excellent and eye-opening literature out there (literature from around the world, literature as written by minorities, modern English lit etc.), it seems like this list doesn't actually say much at all.


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