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ENG 10: Pre-Approved Book List

Below is a list of reading materials that qualify for this assignment. As you can tell, it is rather extensive, so there should be plenty for everyone to choose from. No more than TWO people may sign up for the same book; there will be a sign-up sheet in my room. Be sure to research your book just a bit before you begin reading (check the web, ask me or another teacher about suggestions) so that you're not bored with your choice halfway through. You are not limited to books on this page, but ALL choices must be approved by me. You may choose from the 11th grade American Literature list, as well. At the bottom of the page are two sources used to compile this list; check them out for more information on each book. Both links contain books not included on this page; almost any of them would be acceptable, but ask first. 

Click the link to the CHS Media Center to find out if the library has the book you want.

Click this link to see if Taylor County Public Library has your book of choice. 



Adams, Richard Watership Down 496

A tale of rabbits in search of a home.

Alexie, Sherman The Absolutely True Dairy of a Part-time Indian 288

A heartbreaking and hilarious story, Junior moves from the Reservation school to the all-white high school.

Anaya, Rudolfo Bless Me, Ultima 262

Under the wise guidance of Ultima, young Antonio journeys through life's difficulties to manhood.

Asimov, Isaac The Gods Themselves 320

A rebellious scientist and an outcast alien sense the coming destruction of the sun.

Baldwin, James Go Tell It On the Mountain 221

Semi-autobiographical novel about a 14-year-old black youth's religious conversion.

Bellow, Saul Seize the Day 114

A son grapples with his love and hate for an unworthy father.

Boyle, T. C. The Tortilla Curtain 355

Through the travails of immigrants and LA liberals, Boyle exposes the potholes on the way to the American dream.

Bradbury, Ray The Martian Chronicles 192

Earth invaders of Mars attempt to conquer that civilization

Capote, Truman In Cold Blood 368

True story of the murder of a family in Kansas in 1959, and of the arrest and execution of the killers.

Card, Scott Ender’s Game 384

Amid alien attacks, the government trains young genius Ender in military strategy w/computer games

Cather, Willa O Pioneers! 270

Immigrant pioneers strive to adapt to the Nebraska prairies.

Chopin, Kate The Awakening 190

A New Orleans woman who abandons her husband and children to search for love and self-understanding.

Clark, Walter Van Tilburg The Ox-Bow Incident 241

When a group of citizens discovers one of their members has been murdered by cattle rustlers, they form an illegal posse, pursue the murderers, and lynch them.

Conroy, Pat The Prince of Tides 572

The turbulent story of Tom Wingo and his twin Savannah traces the dark and violent past of their extraordinary family.

Cooper, James Fenimore Last of the Mohicans 384

In 1757 an Indian scout tries to save the commander’s daughters from a rebellious Huron renegade.

Cormier, Robert The Chocolate War 272

Jerry Renault challenges the power structure of his school when he refuses to sell chocolates for the annual fundraiser.

Courtenay, Bryce The Power of One 518

In 1939 South Africa, an English schoolboy vows to survive and become the welterweight champion of the world.

Crane, Stephen The Red Badge of Courage 256

During the Civil War, Henry Fleming joins the army full of romantic visions of battle which are shattered by combat.

Dorris, Michael A Yellow Raft in Blue Water 384

Three generations of Native American women recount their searches for identity and love.

Dubus, Andre House of Sand and Fog 384

With unbearable suspense, three fragile people become entangled in a crisis.

DuMaurier, Daphne Rebecca 416

The second Mrs. DeWinter is tormented by the haunting presence of the first Mrs. DeWinter.

Ellison, Ralph Invisible Man 581

A black man's search for himself as an individual and as a member of his race and his society.

Faulkner, William As I Lay Dying 267

The Bundren family takes the ripening corpse of Addie, wife and mother, on a gruesomely comic journey.

Fisher, Vardis Mountain Man 368

After Sam Minard’s Indian wife is killed, he becomes obsessed with vengeance.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott The Great Gatsby 192

A young man corrupts himself and the American Dream to regain a lost love.

Ford, Ford Madox The Good Soldier 288

Handsome, wealthy Capt. Ashburnham appears to be the perfect “good soldier” but he is an expert at hypocrisy, deception, and betrayal.

Frazier, Charles Cold Mountain 464

A wounded Civil War soldier’s adventurous walk home to his sweetheart, enduring her own troubles in North Carolina.

Gaines, Ernest A Lesson Before Dying 272

A disillusioned teacher is sent into the penitentiary to help an inmate gain dignity before his execution.

Hammett, Dashiell The Maltese Falcon 224

Cool (and archetypal) detective Sam Spade must find out who killed his partner Archie, who was hot on a case.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel The House of the Seven Gables 247

A family dynasty founded on theft endures a dead man’s curse.

Heinlein, Robert Stranger in a Strange Land 448

A young man, raised on Mars, is returned to Earth where he must adapt.

Heller, Joseph Catch-22 463

A broad comedy about a WWII bombardier based in Italy and his efforts to avoid bombing missions.

Hemingway, Ernest A Farewell to Arms 336

During World War I, an American lieutenant runs away with the woman who nurses him back to health.

Herman, Mark The Boy in the Striped Pajamas 240

Bruno lives in a house adjacent to the concentration camp and befriends a boy within.

Hernandez, Jorge Sun, Stone, and Shadows 243

A superb collection of Mexican short stories, offering a glimpse into a fascinating culture.

Hosseini, Khaled The Kite Runner 384

A heartbreaking tale of betrayal between two childhood friends in Afghanistan during the Russian invasion.

Hurston, Zora Neale Their Eyes Were Watching God 219

Janie repudiates many roles in her quest for self-fulfillment.

Kenneally, Thomas Schindler’s List 400

A rich factory worker risks his life to save Jews during WWII.

Kesey, Ken One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 336

A novel about a power struggle between the head nurse and one of the male patients in a mental institution.


Kingsolver, Barbara The Poisonwood Bible 576

A fierce Baptist missionary takes his wife and 4 daughters to the Congo in 1959.

LaGuin, Ursula A Wizard of Earthsea 208

Young Sparrowhawk becomes apprentice to a master wizard; evil happens!

London, Jack Call of the Wild 114

Buck is a loyal pet dog until cruel men make him a pawn in their search for Klondike gold.

Mahfouz, Naguib The Thief and the Dog 158

After 4 years in an Egyptian prison, a skilled young thief finds his world has changed.

McCullers, Carson The Member of the Wedding 176

Questioning her existence, a hopelessly bored twelve-year-old takes a more than active interest in her brother’s wedding.

McEwan, Ian Atonement 351

Set in 1935 England, a child’s lie leads to heartbreak and loss, in a moving portrait of shame and forgiveness

McMurtry, Larry Lonesome Dove 864

An epic 19th C cattle drive with all the elements: adventure, loyalty, betrayal, love.

Melville, Herman Moby-Dick 452

A complex novel about a mad sea captain's pursuit of the White Whale.

Mitchell, Margaret Gone With The Wind 1000

The classic story of love and the Civil War.

Monk Kidd, Sue The Secret Life of Bees 336

With her outspoken housekeeper, 14 year old Lily sets off on a pilgrimage that ends with eccentric bee-keepers.

Morrison, Toni Sula 174

The lifelong friendship of two women is strained when one causes the other’s husband to leave her.

O’Brien, Tim The Things They Carried 273

Stories follow a platoon of American soldiers during the Vietnam War.

Patchett, Ann Bel Canto 352

At a party at the house of South American vice-president, terrorists hold the guests hostage.

Pirsig, Robert Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance 568

A father and son's summer motorcycle trip becomes a philosophical odyssey of life's great questions.

Plath, Sylvia The Bell Jar 288

The heartbreaking story of a talented young woman's descent into madness.

Poe, Edgar Allen Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe 480

Masterpieces of horror, terror, humor, and adventure.

Potok, Chaim The Chosen 271

Friendship between two Jewish boys, one Hasidic and the other Orthodox, begins at a baseball game and flourishes despite their different backgrounds and beliefs.

Quinn, Daniel Ishmael 272

A man’s search for truth involves studying under a teacher of immense wisdom: a gorilla.

Rand, Ayn Atlas Shrugged 1056

Dagny Taggart struggles to run a transcontinental railroad amid pressures from bureaucracy.

Robinson, Marianne Housekeeping 224

In a story set in Idaho, two sisters struggle with loss and survival.

Roy, Arundhati The God of Small Things 334

In this stunning novel, set in 1969 India, 7-year old twins realize that the world can change in a single day.

Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye 224

A prep school dropout rejects the "phoniness" he sees all about him.

Shaara, Michael Killer Angels 384

Officers and soldiers steel themselves for the battle of Gettysburg.

Smiley, Jane A Thousand Acres 384

A patriarch’s decision to split his farmland among his three daughters opens old wounds and causes new ones.

Stegner, Wallace Angle of Repose 592

Pulitzer-winning story of 4 generations of an American family, partly based on the life of Idaho’s Mary Hallock Foote.

Steinbeck, John East of Eden 608

Two California families intertwine, helplessly reenacting the fall, and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

Stowe, Harriet Beecher Uncle Tom's Cabin 544

The classic tale that awakened a nation about the slave system.

Tan, Amy The Joy Luck Club 352

A young Chinese-American woman learns of her mother’s tragic early life in China.

Twain, Mark The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 249

A mischievous boy grows up in 19th C Mississippi.

Vonnegut, Kurt Slaughterhouse-Five 215

Billy Pilgrim, an optometrist from Ilium, New York, shuttles between World War II Dresden and a luxurious zoo on the planet Tralfamadore.

Walker, Alice The Color Purple 300

A young woman sees herself as property until another woman teaches her to value herself.

Warren, Robert Penn All the King’s Men 672

The rise and fall of Willie Stark, an idealistic politician corrupted by success.

Wells, H.G. The Time Machine 144

A scientist invents a machine that transports him into the future.

Wharton, Edith The House of Mirth 374

The powerlessness of women is examined in this dark tragedy set in 1870’s New York.

Wilder, Thornton The Bridge of San Luis Rey 160

Pulitzer winning story set in Peru of the aftermath of an inexplicable tragedy, causing 5 deaths.

Wright, Richard Native Son 528

Bigger Thomas, a young man from the Chicago slums, lashes out against a hostile society by committing two murders.


Achebe, Chinua Things Fall Apart 212

Village leader Okonkwo is driven to murder and suicide by European changes to his traditional Ibo society.

Allende, Isabel House of the Spirits 433

The story of the Trueba family in Chile, from the turn of the century to the violent days of the overthrow of the Salvador Allende government in 1973.

Atwood, Margaret The Handmaid’s Tale 320

In a fundamentalist dystopia, fertile lower-class women serve as birth mothers for the upper class.

Austen, Jane Pride and Prejudice 352

First impressions delay love and marriage among the English country gentry of Austen's day.

Balzac, Honore de Eugenie Grandet 200

Eugenie’s emotional awakening puts her in conflict with her miserly father.

Bronte, Charlotte Jane Eyre 548

An intelligent and passionate governess falls in love with a strange, moody man tormented by dark secrets.

Bronte, Emily Wuthering Heights 248

One of the masterpieces of English romanticism, this is a novel of Heathcliff and Catherine, love and revenge.

Camus, Albert The Stranger 113

A man who is virtually unknown to both himself and others commits a pointless murder for which he has no explanation.

Cervantes, Miguel de Don Quixote 1056

An eccentric old gentleman sets out as a knight "tilting at windmills" to right the wrongs of the world.

Chevalier, Tracy The Girl with the Pearl Earring 240

A young girl's life is transformed by an encounter with an artistic genius.

Cisneros, Sandra Carmelo 464

Descriptive story of interesting characters in a family's move from Mexico City to Chicago.

Conrad, Joseph Heart of Darkness 131

The novel's narrator journeys into the Congo where he discovers the extent to which greed can corrupt a good man.

Defoe, Daniel Robinson Crusoe 352

The adventures of a man who spends 24 years on an isolated island.

Dickens, Charles A Tale of Two Cities 304

The moving story of terror and treason, love and sacrifice during the French Revolution.

Dostoyevsky, Feodor Crime and Punishment 505

A psychological novel about a poor student who murders an old woman pawnbroker and her sister.

Dumas, Alexandre The Count of Monte Cristo 624

Edmond Dantes has everything, until he is framed by a jealous rival and imprisoned in a dark cell.

Eliot, George The Mill on the Floss 624

Maggie is miserable because her brother disapproves of her choices of romances.

Erdrich, Louise Love Medicine 367

The saga of two extended families on the North Dakota Chippewa reservation.

Esquivel, Laura Like Water for Chocolate 256

As the youngest of three daughters in a turn-of-the-century Mexican family, Tita may not marry but must remain at home to care for her mother.

Flaubert, Gustave Madame Bovary 320

In her extramarital affairs, a bored young wife seeks unsuccessfully to find the emotional experiences she craves.

Forster, E.M. A Passage to India 368

A young English woman in British-ruled India accuses an Indian doctor of sexual assault.

Garcia Marquez, Gabriel One Hundred Years of Solitude 464

A technique called magical realism is used in this portrait of seven generations in the lives of the Buendia family.

Hardy, Thomas Tess of the D'Urbervilles 492

The happiness of Tess is destroyed when she confesses a tragic history.

Homer The Iliad 560

The epic story of the Battle of Troy, in verse.

Hugo, Victor Les Miserables 846

Classic story of peasant Jean Valjean's imprisonment, then struggle for redemption.

Huxley, Aldous Brave New World 288

A bitter satire of the future, in which the world is controlled by advances in science and social changes.

James, Henry Washington Square 166

A wealthy spinster receives a proposal from a dashing suitor; her father is not pleased.

Joyce, James A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man 428

A novel about a young man growing up in Ireland and rebelling against family, country, and religion.

Kafka, Franz The Trial 276

A man is tried for a crime he knows nothing about, yet for which he feels guilt.

Lawrence, D.H. Sons and Lovers 394

A novel about a youth torn between a dominant working-class father and a possessive genteel mother.

Mann, Thomas Death in Venice 142

In this novella, an author becomes aware of a darker side of himself when he visits Venice.

Orwell, George 1984 336

Winston Smith is being watched in this nightmarish vision of a “negative” utopia.

Pasternak, Boris Doctor Zhivago 558

An epic novel of Russia before and after the Bolshevik revolution.

Paton, Alan Cry, the Beloved Country 320

A country Zulu pastor searches for his sick sister in the city, discovering she is a prostitute and his son a murderer.

Remarque, Erich Maria All Quiet on the Western Front 304

A young German soldier in World War I experiences pounding shellfire, hunger, sickness, and death.

Rostand, Edmond Cyrano de Bergerac 187

A witty but homely man loves beautiful Roxanne, but writes romantic letters to court her for his handsome friend.

Scott, Sir Walter Ivanhoe 544

Tale of disinherited knight Ivanhoe, Lady Rowena, Richard the Lion-Hearted, and Robin Hood during the Crusades.

Solzhenitsyn, Aleksander One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich 142

Ivan Denisovich Shukhov endures one more day in a Siberian prison camp and finds joy in survival.

Stoker, Bram Dracula 320

Deep in the Transylvanian forests lives the bloodthirsty Count Dracula.

Swift, Jonathan Gulliver's Travels 511

Gulliver encounters dwarfs and giants and has other strange adventures when his ship is wrecked in distant lands.

Tolstoy, Leo Anna Karenina 960

Anna forsakes her husband for the dashing Count Vronsky and brief happiness.

Wilde, Oscar The Picture of Dorian Gray 248

A young man sells his soul for youth and beauty.

Woolf, Virginia To the Lighthouse 209

Stream of consciousness novel revolves around the Ramsay family’s visits to their summer residence.

Zusak, Marcus The Book Thief 552

In WWII Germany, a foster girl shares books with neighbors and the Jew hidden in the basement.

Idiots Guide: American Literature: An Essential Reading List


College-Bound Reading List (list of books with a brief description of each)

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