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Good modern novels or plays with literary merrit?

I need to choose 5 books to research for my English honors class, one will get chosen for me and im not sure which ones sound good. i'm looking for ones at least semi easy to understand and kind of short (no longer than 300~ pages) and maybe modern. Some i have been thinking about are the color purple, the jungle , Gulliver travels. Or if you know any similar to Fahrenheit 451 i loved that book. This is a list my teacher has of books i hope you can access it.


btw im a sophomore in high school so something not too hard! And ive already read the great gatsby, romeo and juliet, things fall apart, antigone and oedipus, a seperate peace, a midsummers night dream, of mice and men and there are other books i cant think of that would be on that list thanks!!!!

1 Answer

  • Brenda
    Lv 6
    6 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'm going to mention titles as I see them on the list, as well as any other titles that come to mind that are age-appropriate.

    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Tom Sawyer - 19th c., some satire, some racial issues

    *Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - 20th c., some mystery, questions of identity

    *As You Like It by William Shakespeare - 17th c., play, pastoral romance

    Billy Budd by Herman Melville - 19th c., non-Transcendentalist, NOT Moby D{ck

    *The Chosen by Chaim Potok - 20th c., family/history, powerful story about love

    *Persuasion by Jane Austen - 19th c., short romance, best of Austen IMESHO

    *Civil Disobedience by Thoreau - 19th c., essay, food for thought

    *The Crucible by Arthur Miller - 20th c., play, about the Salem Witch Trials in the 17th c.

    Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller - 20th c., play, modern American heartbreak

    Henry IV, 1 or 2, or Henry V by William Shakespeare - 17th c., the making of a king

    *The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde - 19th c., play, tongue-in-cheek comedy

    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (abridged, if you can get away with it) - 19th c., family/history, dreams and expectations fulfilled or changed

    Medea by Euripides - ANCIENT, play, a little dark

    My Antonia by Willa Cather - 20th c., novel, American heartland

    *1984 by George Orwell - 20th c., novel, scifi

    The Orestia by Aeschylus - ANCIENT, plays, proper collection for the yearly Athens competition (All remnants of ancient plays were from this. They had a festival, where playwrights composed 3 plays to address a moral question.)

    Our Town by Thornton Wilder - 20th c., play, American heartland

    Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw - 20th c., play, British class system

    *Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe - 19th c., novel, isolation/companionship/morals

    *Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard - 20th c., play, satire on Shakespeare

    *Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut - 20th c., novel, scifi

    A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens - 19th c., novel, lookback on 18th c. history

    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - 20th c., novel, mercy/justice

    The list at the end is better than the list as a whole, because this list is a combination of all recommended readings for all grades, plus some plugs for super inappropriate works. I've starred ones that either I loved, or thought you would. Theoretically, I should have included some Hemingway, but I hate Hemingway and try never to inflict him on students. I should also have included Hawthorne, but his short stories are SO MUCH BETTER than the novels, and I don't know if your teacher would let you substitute "The Celestial Railroad" or "Rappaccini's Daughter." Gulliver's Travels or The Jungle are reasonable thoughts. Some of the stuff on this list will be appropriate in a year or two, and some of it isn't appropriate for old people. Good luck!

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