News & Notes from the Reading/Writing Center

Summer Reading: Modern Classics

Looking for a good book this summer? RWC staff recently put together a list of 20th century English language must-reads. Take a look, and if you have anything to add (or contest), do leave us a comment.

British novels:

  • Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness (1902)*
  • Golding, William. Lord of the Flies (1954)*
  • Ishiguro, Kazuo. The Remains of the Day (1989)*
  • Forster, E. M. A Passage to India (1924)
  • Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World (1932)
  • Orwell, George. 1984 (1949)

American novels:

  • Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby (1925)*
  • Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)*
  • Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)*
  • London, Jack. The Call of the Wild (1903)
  • Anderson, Sherwood. Winesburg, Ohio (1919)
  • Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms (1929)
  • Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying (1930)
  • Wright, Richard. Native Son (1940)
  • Spillane, Mickey. One Lonely Night (1951)
  • Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
  • O’Connor, Flannery. Wise Blood (1952)
  • Kesey, Ken. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962)
  • Pirsig, Robert. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974)
  • King, Stephen. The Stand (1978)
  • Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Game (1985)
  • Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club (1989)
  • Irving, John. A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989)
  • Lowry, Lois. The Giver (1993) and Gathering Blue (2000)

American drama:

  • Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie (1945)*
  • Miller, Arthur. The Crucible (1952)
  • Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun (1959)

* Selected by more than one person

3 Responses to “Summer Reading: Modern Classics”

  1. What a neat idea! Thanks for the list, RWC-ers.

    I’m glad y’all included Owen Meany. Definitely my favorite from John Irving.

  2. A great list in some respects, but it looks as if it came right out of the 1950s. Why not include more great titles by women authors and authors of color? A Virginia Woolf or Toni Morrison title beats a number of the above books any day.

  3. Virginia Woolf or Toni Morrison??? If this list were composed of “favorite reads” rather than a broad cross section of literature, it might have included Margaret Mitchell, Agatha Christie or even Mad Magazine. And if your only concern were political correctness, the list may well have included Maya Angelou and James Baldwin, not to mention Malcolm X and Albert Camus. But it is difficult to argue that the above list is not broadly representative of worthwhile books. This is like publishing a list of the 100 best films of all times. It will depend how old you are; your preference for different genres; and how you feel on any given day.

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