Do you remember that teacher who struck fear in your heart? That teacher who you never made eye contact with for fear of drawing attention to yourself ? That teacher for me was my high school English teacher, Mr. Jones.
He looked like an average man. He was medium height, thin and he dressed professionally (the meaning of the word casual eluded this man) every day. Yet, he scared me to my core. He could cut you down in a heartbeat or with the flick of his pen.
Yet, he was the most memorable teacher I had in high school not just because of his demeanor, but because he excelled at what he did. He is the one most responsible for teaching me how to write. I could write an essay in college with the best of them due to this man's teaching.
I will never forget when he had assigned us a novel to read. And it was not one of the smut books, as he called the romance books one of the girls at the front of the room read (often blatantly in front of him). We were discussing thesis sentences, I believe. He asked one of my closest friends her thoughts on the book. My friend (who sat across from me) looked him directly in the eye and told him she would love to give her opinion but unfortunately she hadn't read the book.
Dead silence. No one even breathed. We were all expecting her to get screamed at (Mr. Jones didn't yell often but when he did...) or worse-kicked out of class.
He looked at her and to our amazement he told her that he appreciated her honesty. To this day, we still talk about that day in Mr. Jone's class. I still admire my friend for she is one of the most honest people I have the privilege of knowing. If you want to know how it is, just ask her.
To this day I could rattle off the list of books we had to read in Mr. Jone's English class. Several of which are on this list.
Recommended Books For High School Students (Especially Those College-Bound) : I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë The Good Earth by Pearl Buck Queen Eleanor, Independent Spirit of The Medieval World: Biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine by Polly SchoyerBrooks My Ántonia by Willa Cather Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov The Awakening by Kate Chopin Last of the Mohicansby James FenimoreCooper The Chocolate War by RobertCormier The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane The Divine Comedy by Dante Robinson Crusoeby Daniel Defoe Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, & A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas by Frederick Douglass
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas Rebecca by DaphneDu Maurier Silas Marner George Eliot Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison Selected Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner Tom Jones by Henry Fielding The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Lord of the Flies William Golding I, Claudius Robert Graves Roots by Alex Haley Catch 22 by Joseph Heller The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
The Scarlet Letter & The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne For Whom the Bell Tolls & A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
Short Stories by O. Henry The Iliad & The Odyssey by Homer
Poems by Langston Hughes Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor .Hugo Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen The Portrait of a Lady by James Henry
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka Poems by John Keats One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by KenKesey Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy Charles Kuralt's America by Charles Kurault To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis The Call of the Wild by Jack London Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
The Crucible & Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell Beloved by Toni Morrison 1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak Cry, the Beloved Countryby AlanPaton The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath Complete Tales and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger Ivanhoeby Sir Walter Scott MacBeth, Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, sonnets, and King Lear by William Shakespeare Pygmalion by George Bernard.Shaw Frankenstein by Mary Shelley The Jungle by Upton Sinclair Of Mice and Men, The Pearl, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan Vanity Fair by William Thackeray Walden Henry David Thoreau The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien Anna Karenina and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain The Aeneid by Virgil Candide by Voltaire All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
The Color Purple by Alice walker The Age of Innocence and Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton Night by Elie Wiesel The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Our Town by Thornton Wilder A Streetcar Named Desire and The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams To the Lighthouse by Virginia Wolfe Native Son by Richard Wright
Other Books Found on Reading Lists From Schools Across the Country: Twinkie Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated into What America Eats by Steve Ettlinger Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrap Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Piccoult The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom The Davinci Code by Dan Brown Life of Pi by Yann Martel Maximum Ride: The Angle Experiment by James Patterson Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier