Essay Writing Reading List

Recommended for Ages 16 - 18 High School level course: Grades 10 - 12 (The Write Foundation Writing Curriculum)

Why read quality literature? It matters what you read.

  1. The best readers are the best writers.
  2. What you read is a major factor determining who you will become.
  3. Quality literature encourages reading, because it is hard to put a good book down.
  4. Reading is not just for fun. Reading plays a major role in brain development.

Do you want to raise your students’ reading level? Read out loud to them.
Do you want to improve your students’ listening skills? Read out loud to them. Even older students benefit from and enjoy listening to books.  

Reading Guidelines:

  • Read books to students. The more you read to them, the higher their level of reading and comprehension climbs.  Read books out loud to them that they would not find easy to read on their own, but also read easier books out loud for sheer enjoyment.
  • Listen to audio books. When you are going places in the car or just relaxing at home, listening to a good book captivates and entertains.
  • Encourage students to select books to read independently. Have them read books on their own that are on their easy-to-read level and that interest them.
  • Discuss what is read. Instead of book reports, talk to them about what they are reading. As they enjoy books, they will want to talk about them. Who? What? When? Where? How? Why?

Book List Organization and Point System:

  • The point groups are determined by length and reading level.
  • Books are mostly listed in alphabetical order by title.
  • If several books are by one author or a series by various authors, then they are included in the alphabetical order by the author’s name, series title or a group title such as historical fiction.
  • Books are not listed in a particular reading order.

Easy-to-Read? Abridged? Translated?

  1. Avoideasy-to-read” versions of any of the books, such as those by Great Illustrated Classics.
  2. Abridged means a book has been condensed or shortened. For a few extremely difficult books there are some abridged versions which may be preferable.
  3. A few of the classics were originally written in another language. Some translations are much better than others. 

Read reviews about different versions if questioning different abridged versions or translations.

  • Many of these books can probably be found at your public library. A good librarian can be a wonderful resource. 
  • Amazon is a convenient way to find out more about these books through their descriptions and reviews.

The goal is to encourage the reading of quality books that all will approve of and enjoy. Investigating these books that range from modern to classical to forgotten works of art will hopefully be an enjoyable adventure.

The Write Foundation – Essay Writing Reading List

12 Point Books

Animal Farm – George Orwell
Answers for Difficult Days: Surviving the Storm of Secularism - David Quine
Assumptions that Affect Our Lives – Christian Overman
Jane Austen
                        Sense and Sensibility
                        Northanger Abbey
Book of Greek Myths – Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire
Bruscho – Bruce Olsen
The Cross and the Switchblade – David Wilkerson
John Eldredge
                        Fathered by God
                        Killing Lions
The Exchange of Truth – David Shormann
Eyes Wide Open – Brienne Murk
Facing Your Giants, Teen Edition – Max Lucado & Monica Hall
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Future Men – Douglas Wilson
For Young Women Only – Shaunti Feldhahn & Lisa A. Rice
Give Me This Mountain – Helen Roseveare
                        He Gave Us a Valley (sequel)
                        Digging Ditches (sequel)
                        Living Holiness
God’s Smuggler – Brother Andrew
A Life Well Lived: A Study of the Book of Ecclesiastes – Tommy Nelson
Paul Little
                        Know What You Believe
                        Know Why You Believe
Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
Pilgrim’s Progress Today – Lael Arrington
Max Lucado
                        It’s Not About Me
                        When God Whispers Your Name
                        The Applause of Heaven
                        Traveling Light – Psalm 23
                        Other Lucado books are fine.
John Maxwell
                        Failing Forward
                        Winning With People
                        Developing the Leader Within
                        Becoming a Person of Influence
                        The Winning Attitude
Never Before in History: America's Inspired Birth - Gary Amos and Richard Gardiner
Of Pandas and People – Percival Davis & Dean Keynyon
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Passion and Purity – Elizabeth Elliot
Frank E. Peretti
                        This Present Darkness
                        Piercing the Darkness
The Space Trilogy – C. S. Lewis
                        Out of the Silent Planet
                        That Hideous Strength
William Shakespeare / Alan Durband
                        Julius Caesar
                        Romeo and Juliet
                        The Taming of the Shrew
                        Other books in this series are fine.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
Mark Twain
                        Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
                        The Prince and The Pauper
Jules Verne
                        Around the World in Eighty Days
                        20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
                        Master of the World
                        Journey to the Center of the Earth
                        The Mysterious Island
                        From the Earth to the Moon / Around the Moon
H.G. Wells
                        The Invisible Man
                        The Time Machine

18 Point Books

Alas, Babylon – Pat  Frank
Affliction: A Compassionate Look at the Reality of Suffering and Pain – Edith Schaeffer
Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery – Eric Metaxas
Anna and the King of Siam –  Margaret Landon
Jane Austen
                        Pride and Prejudice
Born Again – Charles Colson
Buffalo Coat – Carol Ryrie Brink
Captivating – John & Stasi Eldredge
The Circle Maker – Mark Batterson
Agatha Christie
                        Murder on the Orient Express
                        And Then There Were None
                        The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
                        Other books in Hercule Poirot mysteries are fine.
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court – Mark Twain
The Cost of Discipleship – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Deadliest Monster – Jeff Baldwin
The Diary of Anne Frank – Anne Frank
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage – Alfred Lansing
Father Brown – G. K. Chesterton
                        Father Brown: The Essential Tales
                        The Best of Father Brown
The Favorite Uncle Remus – Joel Chandler Harris
The Gift of Music: Great Composers and Their Influence – Jane Stuart Smith & Betty Carlson
The Hiding Place – Corrie Ten Boom
The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
In the Presence of My Enemies – G. Burnham
Johnny Tremain – Esther Forbes
Kidnapped – Robert Louis Stevenson
Kon-Tiki – Thor Heyerdahl
C.S. Lewis
                        The Abolition of Man
                        The Great Divorce
                        Mere Christianity
                        The Problem of Pain
                        The Screwtape Letters
Catherine Marshall
                        A Man Called Peter: The Story of Peter Marshall
Flannery O’Connor
                        Everything that Rises Must Converge
                        The Violent Must Bear It  Away
                        Wise Blood
Gene Stratton Porter
                        Girl of the Limberlost (Sequel to Freckles)
                        The Harvester
Dorothy L. Sayers (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries 200-400 pgs.)
                        Clouds of Witnesses
                        The Five Red Herrings
                        Murder Must Advertise
                        Strong Poison
                        Other books this length are fine.
North and South – Elizabeth Gaskill
The Phantom of the Opera – Gaston Leroux
Purpose Driven Life – Rick Warren
The Ramsay Scallop – Frances Temple
Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert T. Kiyosaki
Rifles for Watie – Harold Keith
Robinson Crusoe – Daniel DeFoe
Robin Hood – Roger Green
Run Baby Run – Nicky Cruz
Sea of Glory – Ken Wales & David Poling
The Scarlet Pimpernel – Baroness Orczy
                        The Scarlet Pimpernel
                        The Elusive Pimpernel
                        The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel
                        Sir Percy Leads the Band
                        Other books in this series are fine.
The Story of King Arthur and His Knights – Howard Pyle
The Story of the Trapp Family Singers – Maria Augusta Trapp (Sound of Music)
Jessie Stuart Stories
                        Daughter of the Legend
                        Hie to The Hunters
                        The Thread That Runs So True
Swiss Family Robinson – Johann D. Wyss
Tales From Shakespeare – Charles and Mary Lamb
To Kill a Mocking Bird – Harper Lee
The Universe Next Door - James Sire
A Walk Across America – Peter Jenkins
                        The Walk West (sequel)
Wild at Heart – John Eldredge

24 Point Books

Ben Hur – Lew Wallace
Christy – Catherine Marshall
Charles Dickens
                        Great Expectations
                        Oliver Twist
                        A Tale of Two Cities
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Keeper of the Bees – Gene Stratton Porter
James Herriot
                        All Creatures Great and Small
                        All Things Bright and Beautiful
                        All Things Wise and Wonderful
                        The Lord God Made Them All
Flannery O’Connor
                        The Complete Stories
The Robe – Lloyd C. Douglas
Dorothy L. Sayers (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries 400-600 pgs.)
                        Busman's Honeymoon
                        Gaudy Night
                        Have His Carcase
                        The Nine Tailors
                        Other books this length are fine.
Francis A. Schaeffer
                        How Should We Then Live?
                        Trilogy (The God Who Is There, Escape from Reason, He is There and He is Not Silent)
Irving Stone
                        The President’s Lady: Rachel and Andrew Jackson
                        Love is Eternal: Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln
The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
                        The Fellowship of the Ring
                        The Two Towers
                        The Return of the King
The Zion Chronicles – Brock & Bodie Thoene
                        The Gates of Zion
                        A Daughter of Zion
                        The Return to Zion
                        The Key to Zion
                        A Light in Zion
The Zion Covenant – Brock & Bodie Thoene
                        Vienna Prelude
                        Prague Counterpoint
                        Munich Signature
                        Jerusalem Interlude
                        Danzig Passage
                        Other books in this series are fine.
The Zion Legacy – Brock & Bodie Thoene
                        Jerusalem Vigil
                        Thunder from Jerusalem
                        Jerusalem’s Heart
                        The Jerusalem Scroll
                        Stones of Jerusalem
                        Jerusalem’s Hope
                        Other books in this series are fine.

32 Point Books

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy – Eric Metaxas
Civil War Trilogy– Jeff M. Shaara
                        The Killer Angels
                        Gods and Generals
                        The Last Full Measure
Alexandre Dumas 
                        The Count of Monte Cristo (Lowell Bair)
                        The Three Musketeers (Lowell Bair)
                        Twenty Years Later
                        Ten Years Later
                        The Man in the Iron Mask
Greek Mythology (Translated by Robert Fagles)
                        The Aeneid – Virgil
                        The Iliad – Homer
                        The Odyssey – Homer
How Now Should We Live? – Charles Colson
A Lineage of Grace: Five Stories of Unlikely Women Who Changed Eternity – Francine Rivers
Lorna Doone – R. D. Blackwell
Irving Stone
                        Men to Match My Mountains
                        Those Who Love: John and Abigail Adams

48 Point Books

Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories
                        Hans Christian Andersen (original author) Erik Christian Haugaard
The City of God - St. Augustine
The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus – Joel Chandler Harris
Charles Dickens
                        Bleak House
                        David Copperfield
                        Little Dorit
                        Nicholas Nickleby
                        Our Mutual Friend
                        The Pickwick Papers
Les Miserable – Victor Hugo
The Scottish Chiefs: A Romance (Volumes 1 & 2) (William Wallace) – Jane Porter
                        (2 Volume Set: 1 volume = 24 points)
The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Short Stories – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
                        (2 Volume Set: 1 volume = 24 points)
Irving Stone - The Agony and Ecstasy (Michelangelo / Renaissance)
Wives and Daughters – Elizabeth Gaskill
Understanding the Times – Dr. Jeff Meyers and David A. Noebel