jsherry's "Recommended Reading List for the Well Educated Adult"

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When I was in high school 9th and 12th Grade English Teacher had a "Recommended Reading List for the Well Educated Adult". I had the list for several years after and liked that I had a list of classics and quality books, both fiction and non-fiction. Sometime in the last 5 years I lost the list. This list is an attempt to re-create it and have a major lists of books folks should read.

This list has been compiled from various lists which can be found online and also from my own personal input. Hopefully it will not be easy to tell which is which.

Accept no substitute. :)


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  1. 1.
    Go Ask Alice
    by Anonymous

  2. 3.
    Things Fall Apart
    by Chinua Achebe

  3. 4.
    Watership Down
    by Richard Adams

  4. 5.
    Aesop's Fables (Oxford World's Classics)
    by Aesop

  5. 6.
    A Death in the Family
    by James Agee

  6. 7.
    The House of the Spirits
    by Isabel Allende

  7. 8.
    Winesburg, Ohio (Bantam Classic)
    by Sherwood Anderson

  8. 9.
    And Still I Rise
    by Maya Angelou

  9. 10.
    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
    by Maya Angelou

  10. 11.
    Days of Grace
    by Arthur Ashe

  11. 12.
    The Living Planet: A Portrait of the Earth
    by David Attenborough

  12. 13.
    Emma (Oxford World's Classics)
    by Jane Austen

  13. 14.
    Northanger Abbey (Modern Library Classics)
    by Jane Austen

  14. 15.
    Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics)
    by Jane Austen

  15. 16.
    Sense and Sensibility (Penguin Classics)
    by Jane Austen

  16. 17.
    Go Tell It on the Mountain
    by James Baldwin

  17. 18.
    Pere Goriot (Signet Classics)
    by Honore de Balzac

  18. 19.
    Growing Up (Plume)
    by Russell Baker

  19. 20.
    Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts
    by Samuel Beckett

  20. 21.
    Looking Backward: 2000 - 1887 (Broadview Literary Texts)
    by Edward Bellamy

  21. 22.
    Seize the Day (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
    by Saul Bellow

  22. 25.
    A Man for All Seasons: A Play in Two Acts
    by Robert Bolt

  23. 26.
    Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings
    by Jorge Luis Borges

  24. 27.
    Fahrenheit 451
    by Ray Bradbury

  25. 28.
    Mother Courage and Her Children
    by Bertolt Brecht

  26. 29.
    The Ascent of Man
    by Jacob Bronowski

  27. 30.
    Jane Eyre (Penguin Classics)
    by Charlotte Brontë

  28. 31.
    Wuthering Heights (Penguin Classics)
    by Emily Brontë

  29. 32.
    Selected Poems (Perennial Classics)
    by Gwendolyn Brooks

  30. 34.
    Robert Browning: Poems (Highbridge Classics)
    by Robert Browning

  31. 35.
    The Good Earth (Oprah's Book Club)
    by Pearl S. Buck

  32. 36.
    The Way of All Flesh (Everyman's Library (Cloth))
    by Samuel Butler

  33. 37.
    The Power of Myth
    by Joseph Campbell

  34. 38.
    The Plague
    by Albert Camus

  35. 39.
    The Stranger
    by Albert Camus

  36. 40.
    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
    by Lewis Carroll

  37. 41.
    Silent Spring
    by Rachel Carson

  38. 42.
    Death Comes for the Archbishop (Vintage Classics)
    by Willa Cather

  39. 43.
    My Antonia
    by Willa Cather

  40. 44.
    Don Quixote (Penguin Classics)
    by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

  41. 45.
    The Canterbury Tales
    by Geoffrey Chaucer

  42. 46.
    The Cherry Orchard (Dover Thrift Editions)
    by Anton Chekhov

  43. 47.
    The Awakening
    by Kate Chopin

  44. 48.
    The Ox-Bow Incident (Modern Library Classics)
    by Walter Van Tilburg Clark

  45. 49.
    The Moonstone (Oxford World's Classics)
    by Wilkie Collins

  46. 50.
    Heart of Darkness (Dover Thrift Editions)
    by Joseph Conrad

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This is jsherry's list. Only jsherry can edit it. You can make your own version of this list.
Created by jsherry on Mar 29, 2006.


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Untitled — 1 year ago

I think Doom: Knee Deep in the Dead should be added.

adopting it! — 4 years ago

thanks for the list, I’m adopting it straight away. I’m trying to get away from the PC, since I work on it every day, to do something off-line, like reading. Gosh, I even read the books on my PC! Not anymore.

Go Ask Alice by A. Forger — 5 years ago

This seventies precautionary tale of the dangers of drug abuse has been become widely believed to be a forgery. It was not written by a teenage drug-user, discovered by grieving parents, and published posthumously. Here’s a link to a decent write-up by Snopes:


Given its fallacious nature, should it really be included on a list of great works?

Awesome List — 6 years ago

Most of the titles are familiar, but my memory escapes me. I’ve read a lot of them in high school but if you were to ask me about them I couldn’t recall. Sad, very sad. I’m going to take the time to re-read them. Those I have checked off are ones that I have read recently (last couple years) ~ I have a long way to go. Awesome list!!!

Fantastic list!!! — 6 years ago

There are many titles I was happy to see included..

Might I suggest adding Atlas Shrugged?

great list — 6 years ago

love all the classic fiction, biographies, and of course the play writing.

One more... — 7 years ago

Watership Down is my all time favorite book. Another one of my favorites I think everyone should read is The Education of Little Tree. I am now going to work my way through this list.

Whoot! — 7 years ago

Great List, thanks for posting it. I am trying to work my way through the ones I have not read.


Untitled — 7 years ago

What an excellent list. Bravo! Gives me a lot to think about and read. I definitely want to read a lot of what’s on here that I haven’t.

Wow! — 7 years ago

I must say, that is one long list you have there!

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