High School Recommended Fiction List

There are a few plays and a bit of non-fiction here, but mostly these are novels. China and India are mostly missing, unfortunately.

A good rule of thumb: If you cannot read one page per minute in a certain book, it is too difficult for you. Put it down and find something easier (and more enjoyable).

By nationality, era, and author


  • Achebe
  • Ngugi
  • Chimamanda Adichie


  • Ralph Ellison
  • Lorraine Hansberry
  • Toni Morrison
  • Alice Walker
  • Richard Wright

American 19th century

  • Melville
  • Hawthorne
  • Clemens/Twain
  • Thoreau (not a fiction writer, but wonderful)

American 20th century

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • William Faulkner
  • Joseph Heller
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Henry James
  • Harper Lee
  • Jack London
  • J.D. Salinger
  • William Saroyan
  • John Steinbeck
  • Kurt Vonnegut
  • Edith Wharton
  • Thornton Wilder
  • Tennessee Williams

British 18th century

  • Daniel Defoe
  • Joseph Fielding

British 19th century

  • Jane Austen
  • Charlotte Bronte
  • Emily Bronte
  • Charles Dickens
  • George Eliot
  • Thomas Hardy
  • Mary Shelley

British 20th century

  • E.M. Forster
  • William Golding
  • Aldous Huxley
  • D.H. Lawrence
  • George Orwell
  • George Bernard Shaw (plays)
  • Virginia Woolf


  • Margaret Atwood
  • Margaret Laurence
  • W.O. Mitchell
  • Alice Munro
  • Michael Ondaatje
  • Gabrielle Roy


  • Cervantes
  • Gustav Flaubert
  • Johann von Goethe
  • Hermann Hesse
  • Erich Maria Remarque
  • Voltaire

Latin American

  • Isabel Allende
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez


  • Chekhov
  • Dostoyevsky
  • Solzhenitsyn
  • Tolstoy
  • Turgenev


  • V.S. Naipaul
  • Alan Paton
  • I.B. Singer
  • Elie Wiesel (non-fiction)

Individual titles

Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
Alice Walker, The Color Purple
Richard Wright, Black Boy
Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
Henry David Thoreau, “On Civil Disobedience”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men
Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle; Slaughterhouse 5
Edith Wharton, Summer
Tennessee Williams, Glass Menagerie (a play)
Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Thomas Hardy, Far From the Madding Crowd; The Mayor of Casterbridge
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
George Orwell, 1984
George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion (a play)
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote (an abridged version is OK)
Johann von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha; Demian
Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front
Voltaire, Candide
Isabel Allende, House of the Spirits
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, A Hundred Years of Solitude
Anton Chekhov, The Three Sisters (a play)
A. Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace; The Death of Ivan Ilyich
Turgenev, Fathers and Sons
Alan Paton, Cry, the Beloved Country
I.B. Singer, short stories
Elie Wiesel, Night



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