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Library: High School Reading Recommendations: Classics / Foundational Texts


Fairy tales and their meaning

Emmuska Orczy

Erich Maria Remarque

Anne Frank -- Diary of a Young Girl*

Eli Wiesel -- Night* / Dawn / Day

Ismail Kadare  -- Broken April*

Cervantes - Don Quixote

Dante - Inferno



Nibelungen Lied

Gunther Grass

  • Danzig Trilogy, The Tin Drum; Cat and Mouse; Dog Years

Thomas Mann -

  • Buddenbrooks
  • Death in Venice

Goethe - Faust

Franz Kafka

 Click on the image to see a brilliant digital essay on Kafka's Wound created by Will Self.



Herman Hesse

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing - Nathan the Wise


Fairy tales

Alexander Pushkin

Nikolai Gogol

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Leo Tolstoy

Mikhail Bulgakov

  • The Master and Margarita
  • Heart of a Dog

Yevgeny Zamyatin  --  We*

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch*


Other ancient

India / South Asia

The Ramayana

  • Ramesh Menon version*
  • R.K. Narayan version* (shortened modern prose version)
  • Sita's Ramayana* (graphic novel)

The Mahabharata



Outlaws of the Marsh

Dream of Red Mansions

The Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Journey to the West: The Monkey King

  • Arthur Whaley translation

Fa Mu-Lan



Murasaki Shikibu  --  The Tale of the Genji

Matsuo Basho  --  Haiku

Natsume Soseki 

  • I am a Cat 
  • Kokoro

Yasunari Kawabata

  • A Thousand Cranes
  • The Old Capital

Kenzaburo Oe

  • A Personal Matter
  • The Changeling
  • The Silent Cry
  • Teach Us to Outgrow our Madness

Junichiro Tanizaki

  • The Makioka Sisters

Kobo Abe

  • The Woman in the Dunes*

Ryunosuke Akutagawa

  • Rashomon
  • Kappa

Yukio Mishima

  • The Sailor who Fell from Grace with the Sea*
  • The Sound of Waves*


Yongbi och'on ka (1445–47; Songs of Flying Dragons)

Gonghuin (Konghu-in) by Yeo-ok 

 Geumo Sinhwa (金鰲新話 금오신화 New stories from Mount Geumo) by Kim Si-seup (김시습)

Kim Manjung (1637–1692) wrote The Cloud Dream of the Nine (구운몽)

Tale of Hong Gildong (홍길동전)

Chunhyangjeon is a kodae sosol (고대 소설) novel based on the pansori Chunhyangga.

Kang Kyeong-ae (강경애, 姜敬愛; 1907–1944): In'gan munje (인간문제 From Wonso Pond)

Kim Tong-in (1900–1951): Pulgun San (붉은 산 Red Mountain)

Shim Hun (1901–1936): Sangnoksu (상록수 Evergreen Tree, 1943 posthumously)

Ri Ki-yong (리기영,[2] 李箕永; 1895–1984): Kohyang (The Home Village, 1932), later a North Korean author

Hong Myong-hui (1880—1968): Im Kkok-chong (Story of the bandit Im Kkok-chong)

Choi Seo-hae (최서해, 崔曙海; 1901–1932): Hongyom (홍염)

Yom Sang-seop (염상섭, 廉想涉; 1897–1963): Sam dae (Three Generations, 1932) Mansejon (만세전)

Chae Man-shik (1902–1950): Thaepyong Chunha (태평천하 Peaceful Spring on Earth, 1937) and Tagryu (Muddy Stream, 1941)

Indonesia & Malaysia


Links below go to books in our catalog.  

  • An asterisk (*) after a title/version indicates we have multiple copies.
  • An at sign (@) after a title indicates there is an ebook version available.

Australia / New Zealand

Henry Handel Richardson  --  The Getting of Wisdom

Miles Franklin  --  My Brilliant Career

Ruth Park  --  Harp in the South

Neville Shute  --  A Town like Alice

Vance Palmer  --  The Passage

Hal Porter - Short Stories

Randolph Stowe  --  Merry-go-round in the Sea

Christina Stead  --  The Man Who Loved Children

Patrick White 

  • Voss
  • The Vivisector
  • The Solid Mandala

Henry Lawson  --  poetry

Banjo Patterson  --  poetry

Colin Thiele

Norman Lindsay

Joan Lindsay - Picnic at Hanging Rock

George Johnston - My Brother Jack


Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness* @

Chinua Achebe

Nadine Gordimer

Dalene Matthee  --  Fiela's Child

Ngugi Wa Thiong'o  --  A Grain of Wheat

Tsisti Dangarembga  --  Nervous Conditions

Ayi Kwei Amah

Athol Fugard  --  Tsotsi

Uwem Akpan  --  Say You're One of Them 

Alan Paton  --  Cry the Beloved Country

K Selo Duiker  -- Thirteen Cents

Zakes Mda  --  Ways of Dying

Bessie Head

  • When Rain Clouds Gather
  • A Question of Power
  • Maru
  • A Collector of Treasures
  • A Woman Alone

Ama Ata Aidoo  --  The Girl Who Can and other stories

Buchi Emecheta

  • Second Class Citizen
  • The Bride Price
  • The Slave Girl

Wole Soyinka  -- The Years of Childhood

Andre Brink  --  A Dry White Season

Chenjerai Hove  --  Bones

J.M. Coetzee

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Doris Lessing

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