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Posts Tagged ‘great writers list’

In her post Thornton Wilder & Bridges, guest writer Teri Blair said this about Mr. Schminda, her former teacher:

Years ago, I was given a reading list by my 11th grade English teacher. I was in the college prep class, and the list of 100 or so books were ones he wanted us to read before we graduated from high school. It wasn’t just his idea. He told us a committee of English professors had compiled it. These books were considered the bare-bones-minimum to have read before we darkened the first door of a collegiate hall.

This piqued the interest of several readers — myself included — and we asked to see the list. Teri generously reproduced it from mimeographed pages carried with her since high school. So, without further ado…(drumroll)…and in no apparent order except that which made sense to Mr. Schminda et al., here is…


THE “95 BOOKS” LIST
Provided by Teri Blair

JOHN STEINBECK
          THE GRAPES OF WRATH
          CANNERY ROW

HERMAN MELVILLE
          MOBY DICK
          WHITE JACKET
          TYPEE
          OMOO

WILLIAM FAULKNER
          LIGHT IN AUGUST
          INTRUDER IN THE DUST

MARK TWAIN
          PUDD’NHEAD WILSON
          CONNECTICUT YANKEE

JAMES FENIMORE COOPER
          THE DEERSLAYER
          THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS

WILLA CATHER
          O PIONEERS!
          MY ANTONIA

ERNEST HEMINGWAY
          A FAREWELL TO ARMS
          FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS
          THE SUN ALSO RISES
          ISLANDS IN THE STREAM

F. SCOTT FITZGERALD
          THE GREAT GATSBY

THORNTON WILDER
          THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY
          OUR TOWN

THEODORE DREISER
          THE AMERICAN TRAGEDY
          SISTER CARRIE

FRANK NORRIS
          THE OCTOPUS
          MCTEAGUE

STEPHEN CRANE
          THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE
          MAGGIE: A GIRL OF THE STREETS

WALTER VAN TILBURG CLARK
          THE OX-BOW INCIDENT

JOHN HERSEY
          THE CHILD BUYER

DANIEL KEYES
          FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON

OLE ROLVAAG
          GIANTS IN THE EARTH

WILLIAM BARRETT
          LILIES OF THE FIELD

SINCLAIR LEWIS
          MAIN STREET
          ARROWSMITH
          BABBITT
          DODSWORTH
          ELMER GANTRY

EDNA FERBER
          CIMMARRON
          GIANT
          ICE PALACE

UPTON SINCLAIR
          THE JUNGLE

OWEN WISTER
          THE VIRGINIAN

NORMAN MAILER
          THE NAKED AND THE DEAD

HERMON WOUK
          THE CAINE MUTINY

HARPER LEE
          TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

HARRIET BEECHER STOWE
          UNCLE TOM’S CABIN

LORRAINE HANSBERRY
          A RAISIN IN THE SUN

OLIVER LAFARGE
          LAUGHING BOY

THOMAS FALL
          THE ORDEAL OF RUNNING STANDING

PAUL ZINDEL
          THE EFFECT OF GAMMA RAYS ON MAN-IN-THE-MOON
          MARIGOLDS

JAMES AGEE
          A DEATH IN THE FAMILY

ROBERT PENN WARREN
          ALL THE KING’S MEN

JEAN MERRILL
          THE PUSHCART WAR

JOHN KNOWLES
          A SEPARATE PEACE

DALTON TRUMBO
          JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN

MICHAEL CRICHTON
          THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN
          THE TERMINAL MAN

ARTHUR CLARKE
          2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

RAY BRADBURY
          FAHRENHEIT 451

NEVIL SHUTE
          ON THE BEACH

PAT FRANK
          ALAS, BABYLON

MARGARET MITCHELL
          GONE WITH THE WIND

BETTY SMITH
          A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN

RICHARD WRIGHT
          NATIVE SON

RALPH ELLISON
          THE INVISIBLE MAN

HAL BORLAND
          WHEN THE LEGENDS DIE

LEONA RIENOW
          THE YEAR OF THE LAST EAGLE

HAMLIN GARLAND
          SON OF THE MIDDLE BORDER
          DAUGHTER OF THE MIDDLE BORDER

EDITH WHARTON
          AGE OF INNOCENCE

JACK LONDON
          WHITE FANG
          CALL OF THE WILD
          SEA WOLF

CARL SANDBURG
          REMEMBRANCE ROCK

PEARL BUCK
          THE GOOD EARTH

RICHARD H. DANA
          TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE
          HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES
          SCARLET LETTER

JESSAMYN WEST
          THE FRIENDLY PERSUASION

ALDOUS HUXLEY
          BRAVE NEW WORLD

SAUL BELLOW
          THE ADVENTURES OF AUGIE MARCH

ARTHUR MILLER
          THE CRUCIBLE

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS
          CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF
          A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE

WASHINGTON IRVING
          THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW
          RIP VAN WINKLE

EDGAR ALLAN POE
          THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER
          THE RAVEN

BRET HARTE
          SELECTED STORIES OF BRET HARTE

SHERWOOD ANDERSON
          WINESBURG, OHIO

J.D.SALINGER
          THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

LANGSTON HUGHES
          SELECTED POEMS OF LANGSTON HUGHES

JAMES THURBER
          MY LIFE AND HARD TIMES

EUGENE O’NEILL
          BEYOND THE HORIZON


Postscript
In a brief email exchange about her former teacher, Teri said:

Mr. Schminda is retired now, but lives in the same small town where he taught English to high school juniors. He whet my appetite for good books, and it was more than passing on the list of classics to read. He was thrilled about literature and authors.

One of the books we read the year he was my teacher was Moby Dick. I remember him pacing up and down the aisles between desks waving his paperback in the air and talking about Captain Ahab. He got fired up thinking about the adventure of the whale hunt.

When we read The Grapes of Wrath, I was desperate to go to Oklahoma and retrace the steps of the Okies fleeing the dust bowl. I wanted to know and love books as Mr. Schminda did. We all had to do an in-depth study of a writer; I picked James Weldon Johnson, my friend Pam chose Stephan Crane, and Sherri’s was John Steinbeck.

Mr. Schminda told us that we’d have to write one paper after another once we got to college. He told us by the time we left 11th grade he was determined that we’d know how to write term papers. We wrote and wrote and wrote. And when I got to college, thanks to his instruction, I knew how to write.

Thanks, Teri, for sharing Mr. Schminda with us, and thank you Mr. Schminda for inspiring Teri and countless others with your passion for reading and writing.

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