Monday, December 12, 2016

Which Novel?

Looking back, is there a novel containing such powerful lessons about life that you believe everyone should read it before graduating from high school?

[Note: It need not be easy, but it has to have powerful lessons. Please pick one they are probably not reading.]

I have one in mind but am interested in your recommendations.


Daniel Richwine said...

It's hard to point to a single novel as being so essential to understanding the world, but if I had to choose one it'd be War and Peace. I'm fascinated by the themes of personal choice, seen and unforeseen consequences, fate, and happenstance which intertwine in the novel. It certainly changed my understanding of what I could and could not control in my life.

Michael Wade said...


That is a great choice. It is difficult to finish that book and not be amazed at Tolstoy's insight into people.


Kurt Harden said...

Henry came home with the assignment to reading The Picture of Dorian Gray. He hated it and I started wondering what book I would assign instead. The first one that came to mind was A Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich. It seems the perfect book to have high school students read in order to understand what can happen in other societies.

Though she didn't write novels, I have always maintained that high school students could stand a good dose of Flannery O'Connor - The Enduring Chill would be my choice for high school study.

Michael Wade said...


I wonder how many of the teachers have read Solzhenitsyn.

Flannery O'Connor would really freak them out. I'm still recovering from "A Good Man is Hard to Find."

Great choices!


Michelle Lechnou said...

Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl.

Michael Wade said...


That is one of my all-time favorite books!



Matt said...

Steinbeck's East of Eden pretty much covers the human condition for me - 'Timshel', as the Chinese scholars say.

Victor Frankl is awe inspiring and Ivan Denisovich is good too. Don't know Flannery O'Connor, so that's my holiday reading sorted out, thanks !

Andrew Munro said...

Long, very long, turgid, sometimes tedious, almost unreadable, but I'd add Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. In an age that seems to be begging for easy answers and people to blame, it still offers a valuable counterpoint.

Or, on a lighter note, I'm currently reading Animal Farm for the first time since school.

Michael Wade said...


I recall being stunned by East of Eden. I should re-read it.


I confess that I have never been able to get through Atlas Shrugged. Will have to give it another try.


Anonymous said...

1984 - Bobbo

Michael Wade said...


That book should certainly be in the top five.

It never loses its relevance.