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17 June 2008


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Erin (not your patron)

Some of the classics that I can rememember liking around that time were:

The Importance of Being Earnest--Oscar Wilde
Saint Joan--George Bernard Shaw (also Pygmalion, because I loved My Fair Lady)
Murder in the Cathedral--T.S. Eliot
The Once and Future King--T.H. White
To Kill a Mockingbird--Harper Lee

Les Miserables (but I read an abridged version that was still like 500 pages long)


Oooo, now I want to read that Eliot. It's been on my list for so long, but I keep forgetting about it...

And I'm super-ultra-embarrassed to admit that I still haven't read The Once and Future King.


The classics I enjoyed around that age were:

To kill a mockingbird by Harper Lee
The island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
The color purple by Alice Walker
Great expectations by Charles Dickens
A little princess and The secret garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

I just read The Count of Monte Cristo this winter and could not put it down (after the first 70 pages or so, anyhow). I highly recommend it.

Sarah Miller

I have a thing for The Grapes of Wrath. Or how about a little Mark Twain? I'm going to read Huckleberry Finn and The Diaries of Adam and Eve this summer. (Helen Keller was crazy about the Adam & Eve book, so of course I have to try it!)


This may make me a complete dork... but at that age, I did love Anna Karenina. I'd also suggest Jane Austen and the Brontes.


Jane Eyre (heroine goes from cruel aunt's house to cruel boarding school to mysterious mansion; what's not to like? You can skim over the part in the minister's house)
Pride and Prejudice (pick your favorite sister)

If it's a classic: On the Beach by Nevil Shute. Before we had The Dead and the Gone, Exodus, or Little Brother, we had On the Beach.


Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
Mrs. Mike by the Freedmans
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Daisy Miller by Henry James
My Antonia by Willa Cather
Cheaper by the Dozen and Bells on their Toes by Gilbreth and Gilbreth Carey
And I'm going to suggest any or all of the Mary Stewarts, which maybe aren't technically classics, but should be.


I loved anything by Dumas or Victor Hugo. Loved Bleak House in high school (spontaneous combustion! Can't beat it.) Also, Dracula and Frankenstein are both classic novels that are far better and more interesting than any movie adaptations of them have been. Finally, I recently reread Kidnapped by Stevenson, and it is just as awesome as I remembered it.


The Great Gatsby! By F Scott Fitzgerald


I have to second several of the above:
Jane Eyre
Cheaper by the Dozen
The Island of Dr. Moreau
The Importance of Being Earnest (or anything else by Oscar Wilde)
I also loved
stories by O.Henry (He and Wilde were and remain my favorite short story writers)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
The Hobbit
Any books by Lucy Maude Montgomery (not just the Anne books: The Blue Castle, her short story collections, Pat of Silverbush, Kilmeny of the Orchard...)
And one suggestion that I didn't read at that age but now think I'd have liked: P.G. Wodehouse.

Julie Carter

To Kill a Mockingbird was one of my favorites at that age. And this age! I love everything about this novel, the plot, the characters, the writing, everything.

In the same vein, I'd suggest short stories by Truman Capote.

Jack London might be a good one. The Brontes, Jane Austin, Dickens. The Three Musketeers.

A book that I was passionate about at that age (but, frankly, I was weird) was The Scarlet Pimpernel.


Watership Down!

Anna Marie

I second the Count of Monte Cristo. It is a must read.


From middle school on I loved Jane Austen and the Brontes - well, Charlotte and Anne. I never much got into Wuthering Heights. I tried a lot of other classics, but those were the ones that stuck. There's also Wilkie Collins, who I didn't read at that age but I'm sure I would've loved.

Sarah Rettger

Another vote for Jane Eyre and Mark Twain - I liked A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court when I read that one for school. (For the moment, we'll just overlook the fact that I still haven't read either Tom or Huck...)

If she can't get into Jane Austen, reassure her that it's worth trying again someday. I tried throughout high school and just could not understand why she was so popular, but a few years ago I decided to give it another try (mostly because I loved Keira Knightley in P&P) and was hooked.

Daddy Long-Legs and Dear Enemy by Jean Webster. Both very funny, but lots of substance.

Travels With Charley - I hated the Steinbeck they made us read in school, but loved his non-fiction.


I did my senior High School thesis on Peter Pan.

I also vote for To Kill a Mockingbird, that book is worth rereading every year.

1984 by George Orwell was one of the only books that I actually enjoyed from my school's English curriculum.


Oh, good call on Travels with Charley! I loved that one.

A Paperback Writer

Just for the record, I HATED Great Expectations at that age -- and I still do.
If you like Dickens, go for A Christmas Carol (the book is much more satisfying than the movies) or A Tale Of Two Cities.
Mark Twain is good, but my students usually find Huck Finn a bit tough (unless you're from the South). I'd recommend Roughing It or The Innocents Abroad or Puddin Head Wilson (which is a detective story!)
Speaking of detective stories, my students this age usually like Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Also popular with my students is Dracula.
And you've got to have Shakespeare! (Besides, you can watch DVDs to help out on this!) Romeo and Juliet is traditional for this age, but my students have also liked 12thh Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Taming of the Shrew.
And if you haven't read The Lord of the Rings yet, and if you like fantasy, the book is so very much richer than the movies, so READ IT.


A Tale of Two Cities

My Antonia

The Count of Monte Cristo



I was very put off by classics until I was 20 or so. But nevermind! (Also, I was possibly being stubborn because one of my sisters started reading Jane Eyre once a year from the year she turned ten. TEN. I ask you!)

However, I fourth-fifth-sixth-nth 'To Kill a Mockingbird.' We read it at school in year 9 and it became my favourite. And then I wrote my dissertation on it. Also, I really got into 'Lord of the Flies' around then. (Another one we had to read for school - good choices, GCSE-meisters!)

Honestly, I think it was the style/language (or my idea of what the style and language would be) that put me off classics. If your patron is the same, something like 'The Time Machine' might be good. (One of the first classics I read to get into things.) (I tried Dickens several times in my teens and I don't think it helped at all.)

One of my sister was passionately in love with 'Jane Eyre' by then and the other was in love with 'Pride and Prejudice.' When I made it to the third chapter of 'Pride and Prejudice', I fell in love with it too...


The Scarlet Letter (I actually liked it even though my teacher tried to kill it with incessant discussion of symbolism)
Huckleberry Finn
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court - I loved this one, very funny.
Candide (I read this the first time in 12th grade (in both English & French classes), but it's a pretty easy read)
Jane Eyre - It took awhile to warm up to, but this became one of my favorites
Edgar Allen Poe's short stories (they're short and spooky)

Because I majored in French in college, I didn't ready many English/American classics until recently. I will concur with those above on Austen's books. I've enjoyed several of hers. Pride and Prejudice would be a good one to start with.


Does Jules Verne count? My daughter's crazy about 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in 80 Days.


Throwin' my vote in for

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein

I read all of the above in high school and loved them. This one might be too young - Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster. Definitely a gentle read. I remember discovering it on my mom's bookshelf and feeling like I was the only person who had ever read it. :)

I'm fourteen, so maybe this will help:
Jane Eyre
Catch 22
Mark Twain books
Heinlein books
Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes
I found Dracula pretty dull, but some of my friends liked it


Jane Eyre (one of my fav books as a teen)
To Kill a Mockingbird
Little Women
Hunchback of Notre Dame (although an abbreviated version might be more appropriate...but I totally loved it as a teen)
Wizard of Oz books
Does CS Lewis and Narnia count?


When I was a sophomore the classics I could not put down were Fahrenheit 451, A Separate Peace, A Tale of Two Cities, All Quiet on the Western Front, and How Green Was My Valley.


I actually started homeschooling when I was a sophmore-good luck Erin! Some of my favs at the time: Song of the Scaffold, Hiroshima, Tale of Two Citys, Born on the Fourth of July, Pride and Prejudice,Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. That was also the year I read through every Agatha Christie thing I could get my hands on. (again)


I really liked Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence. Sure, it was a lot of social criticism, but it was also a really emotionally engaging love story, at least for me, and seems like a good pick for dramatically-inclined teenage girls.

Cheryl Rainfield

I *loved* reading:

A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter

Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery (and the whole series, as well as the Emily series)

Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster

Fanny Herself by Edna Ferber, and most other books by her that I could get my hands on

The Railway Children by E Nesbit (though that's a younger read)

Heidi by Johanna Spyri (though that's a younger read, but i love it still)

all of the books by Frances Hodgson Burnett

that's all I can think of, for now. :)


I have trouble admitting this now, but when I was a sophomore I mostly read Seventeen magazine, though in those days there was always a great short story in every issue. But I do remember that I loved Catcher in the Rye and I was besotted with Edna St Vincent Millay's poetry.


Their Eyes Were Watching God is one that I loved at that age, and I find a lot of teenage girls connect with it really strongly. Janie is such a vital character,

Jane Eyre
Wuthering Heights
Pride and Prejudice
To Kill a Mockingbird
...i had to read Merchant of Venice in school and it wasnt bad...and Lord of the Flies(if you can get past the gruesomeness) wasnt horrible

i didnt really love the idea of reading classics either, but i started reading them and actually enjoyed them a lot.


Dorothy Parker! Shirley Jackson!


This is pointless by now, but I will have my fun regardless:

To Kill a Mockingbird
All Jane Auste, but especially Pride and Prejudice
A Tale of Two Cities
Mark Twain biguns: Tom and Finn both
H.G. Wells, all
Does Kurt Vonnegut count? Because he's also amazing
And all famous dystopias - 1984, Brave New World, A Clockwork Orange (which is a CULT classic)
Elizabeth Gaskell - Crandford and North and South


My daughter, a rising junior, absolutely loved reading Emma this year. At that age, I loved To Kill a Mockingbird and Edith Hamilton's Mythology.. Also, Hamlet (all that teenage angst) and My Antonia. Wilde is good too.


Fahrenheit 451
The Scarlet Letter
Any Jane Austen
Shakespeare (there's a Shakespeare play for everyone!)
The Age of Innocence
The Great Gatsby

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