High School Reading List - SLO Classical Academy
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SLO classical academy high school

reading list

There is then creative reading as well as creative writing.

– ralph waldo emerson

These are the Great Books our student read, discuss, and write about over the course of their time at SLOCAHS. In an age that favors quick, digital consumption of information and whole books are largely leaving the classroom, we have found our emphasis on reading the Great Books of Eastern and Western Civilization create young adults who are knowledgeable, cultured, and wise.

We choose beautiful print editions of these works, and they are available for sale in our school store.

Ancient World

The Epic of Gilgamesh
Metamorphoses, Ovid
The Peloponnesian War, Thucydides
The Histories, Herodotus 
The Iliad, Homer
The Odyssey, Homer
Antigone, Sophocles
Poems, Sappho
The Pre-Socratics
The Republic, Plato
Symposium, Plato
Rhetoric, Poetics, and Ethics, Aristotle
Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu
The Way of Chuang Tzu, Chuang Tzu
Classical Chinese Poetry
Meditations, Marcus Aurelius
Odes, Horace
Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare
Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis
Lavinia, Ursula K. Guin
The Hebrew Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Job, Ecclesiastes, Jonah, Psalms
The New Testament: The Gospels, selected Epistles

Medieval World

The Once and Future King, T.H. White
The Prose Edda, Snorri Sturluson
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Gunnar’s Daughter, Sigrid Undset
Grendel, John Gardner
Sayings of the Desert Fathers
Confessions, Augustine of Hippo
Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas
One Thousand and One Nights 
The Gift, Hafiz
Poems, Rumi
The Travels of Marco Polo
Inferno, Dante Alighieri
Showings, Julian of Norwich
Second Shepherd’s Play
The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer
Utopia, Thomas More
The Prince, Machiavelli
Tortilla Flat, John Steinbeck
Hamlet, Shakespeare
Twelfth Night, Shakespeare

The U.S. and the Age of Enlightenment

Don Quixote, Cervantes
The Tempest, William Shakespeare
A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
Rousseau, Hobbes, Locke, Kant
Paradise Lost, John Milton
The Metaphysical Poets
The English Romantics
Faust, Goethe
Gulliver’s Travels, Swift
Emma, Jane Austen
A Vindication of the Rights of Women, Mary Wollstonecraft 
The United States Constitution
Moby Dick, Herman Melville
Poems, Emily Dickinson
Essays, Emerson
Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
Walden, Henry David Thoreau
Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano

Modern World

Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx
The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
Fear and Trembling, Soren Kierkegaard
Notes from Underground, Fyodor Dostoevsky 
The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
My Antonia, Willa Cather
Night, Elie Wiesel
Maus, Art Spiegelman
The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin
Hiroshima, John Hersey
Cannery Row, John Steinbeck
Franny and Zooey, J.D. Salinger
Hannah Coulter, Wendell Berry
Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson
Victorian Poets (Tennyson, Arnold, Keats, Browning, Kipling, Hopkins, Rossetti, Hardy)
Modernist Poetry (WWI Poets, Eliot, Auden, Yeats, cummings, Hughes, Frost, Stevens)

NOTE: This is a representative sampling—this book list may change from year to year. List includes books read in full. Additional poetry, as well as philosophical and historical excerpts are regularly included.

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