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High School Summer Reading Lists for 2013

20 books today's students are diving into — and why you may want to read them, too

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Flashback: The Most Frequently Taught Novels in 1963


Teens in front of high school in 1963. (ClassicStock/Alamy)

So which list would you rather read from? The titles presented to today's teens, or those likely assigned to this wholesome 1963 foursome. — ClassicStock/Alamy

Fifty years ago, summer reading lists were rare.

But if you were a high school student at the time, you probably pored over a few of these novels in English class — they were the most commonly studied works of literature in American high schools in 1963 and the books changed little through the next decade or two.

How many of these books were you assigned? How many did you actually read?

  • Macbeth, by William Shakespeare (1623)

  • Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare (1623)

  • Silas Marner, by George Eliot (1861)

  • Our Town, by Thornton Wilder (1938)

  • Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens (1861)

  • Hamlet, by William Shakespeare (1603)

  • The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane (1895)

  • A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens (1859)

  • The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850)

  • Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1813)

  • The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare (1600)

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain (1884)

  • The Odyssey, by Homer (unknown, written approx. 700 B.C.)

  • Oedipus The King, by Sophocles (unknown, written approx. 430 B.C.)

  • Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare (1597)

  • Return of the Native, by Thomas Hardy (1878)

Next page: AARP members recall their youthful summer reads. »

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