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High School Reading List

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Thomas Becket

Biography of the man who went from being the handsome, worldly courtier to the zealous prelate, exile, and saint-martyr. A very interesting figure.

Cameron, Ian


Excellent biography of the great explorer.

Flexner, James Thomas

Washington: The Indispensable Man

Best one-volume biography of George Washington.

Frank, Anne

Diary of a Young Girl, The

Book based on the diary of a young Dutch Jewish girl as she was in hiding for 2 years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

Manchester, William

American Caesar

Great narrative of Gen. Douglas MacArthur; interesting perspective on World War II and the Korean Conflict.

Massie, R.K.

Peter the Great

Story of the amazing ruler who transformed Russia with his rule in the 17th and 18th centuries.

McCullough, David

John Adams

Gripping biography of John Adam, from his roots in Quincy, through his legal career and many years of service to the founding of the United States.

Morison, Samuel Eliot

Admiral of The Ocean Sea

Best biography of Christopher Columbus. Morrison is an expert mariner as well as historian, so he conveys greater appreciation for Columbus’s achievement.

Morris, Edmund

Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, The

An excellent account of Roosevelt’s rise to the Presidency, winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Oates, Stephen B.

With Malice Toward None

Superb biography of Abraham Lincoln, probably the best in one volume.

Smith, Gene

Lee and Grant

Dual biography of Robert E. Lee and U.S. Grant.

Treese, Patricia

Man for Others, A

Outstanding biography of St. Maximilian Kolbe.

Waugh, Evelyn

Edmund Campion

Biography of martyr Edmund Campion in England.


Benson, Robert Hugh

Come Rack, Come Rope

Historical novel about Catholic martyrs in Elizabethan England, written by an English Catholic convert from Anglicanism.

Benson, Robert Hugh

Lord of the World

Insightful and interesting apocalyptic novel.

Bolt, Robert

Man for all Seasons, A

Historical play about Thomas More's struggle to preserve law and truth against the tyranny of Henry VIII in making himself head of the Church in England, ending with the heroic martyrdom of More.

Boulle, Pierre

Bridge Over the River Kwai, The

Novel dealing with British soldiers in a Japanese POW camp during World War 2 and the ways they resist their capturers.


Black Hawk Down

Novel about the bloody fight of American troops against Somoli warlords.

Cather, Willa

Death Comes for the Archbishop

Beautifully written fictional account of Bishop Lamy of Santa Fe in the 19th century.

Cather, Willa

My Antonia

The final book of the prarie trilogy, about immigrant families moving to start new lives in Nebraska.

Christie, Agatha

And Then There Were None

Detective fiction novel about 10 people, previously complicit in the deaths of others but having escaped notice and/or punishment, and who are tricked onto an island and each mysteriously murdered one by one.

Christie, Agatha

Murder on the Orient Express

Detective fiction novel about a detective's attempts to solve a murder that occurs on the train he's riding through the Middle-East back to Europe.

Cooper, James Fenimore

Last of the Mohicans, The

Historical adventure novel about the relationship between American settlers and different warring Indian tribes.

Crane, Stephen

Red Badge of Courage, The

Historical novel on the Civil War and one soldier's role in it.


Divine Comedy, The: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradisio

One of the greatest works of literature in history, covering a trek through purgatory, hell, and heaven. Beautiful poetry infused with philosophical and theological thought.

Defoe, Daniel

Robinson Crusoe

Excellent story of a ship-wrecked Englishmen and his struggle with basic survival, native savages, and the meaning and reason behind his solitary existence.

Dickens, Charles

Christmas Carol, A

Story of sour and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge's ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation after the supernatural visitations of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come.

Doyle, Sir Aurthur Conan

Complete Sherlock Holmes, The

Stories about the briliant detective Holmes, who is famous for his intellectual prowess and is renowned for his skillful use of astute observation, deductive reasoning and forensic skills to solve difficult cases.

Greene, Graham

Power and the Glory, The

Story of a Roman Catholic priest in the state of Tabasco in Mexico in the 1930s when the Mexican government strove to surpess the Catholic Church.

Kipling, Rudyard

Captains Courageous

A spoilt son of a millionaire falls overboard from an ocean liner and is rescued by Portuguese fisherman. As he then must join the crew for the rest of their summer voyage, he undergoes a deep transformation in that alien and tough environment.

Kipling, Rudyard

Jungle Book, The

Collection of fable short stories.

Lee, Harper

To Kill a Mockingbird

Classic novel of a lawyer in the Deep South defending a black man charged with the rape of a white girl.

Lewis, C.S.

Chronicles of Narnia

Series of 7 classic fantasy novels for children, drawing upon Christian principles, Greek and Roman mythology and traditional British and Irish fairy tails. They present the adventures of children in the unfolding history of the fictional realm of Narnia, a place where animals talk, magic is common, and good battles evil. In each book the children help the Lion Aslan handle a crisis in the world of Narnia.

McLean, Alistair

Guns of Navarrone, The

The story concerns the efforts of an Allied commando team to destroy a seemingly impregnable German fortress that threatens Allied naval ships in the Aegean Sea, and prevents over 1,200 isolated British troops from being rescued. The story is based on the real events surrounding the Battle of Leros in World War II.

McLean, Alistair

H.M.S. Ulysses

Novel about a British light cruiser's battle against German U-boats as it attempts to escort a convoy of ships to Murmansk.



Medieval epic poem about the hero Beowulf's quest to save a people from a mythical monster. One of the major pieces of Old English literature.

Orczy, Baroness

Scarlet Pimpernel, The

Novel about an English aristocrat who pretends to be a weak foppish figure but in reality saves French noblemen from the French Revolution's guillotine.

Remarque, Erich

All Quiet in the Western Front

The book about World War I, still as gripping and deeply moving as when first published in the 1920’s.

Ryan, Cornelius

Bridge Too Far, A

Historical novel about the failed attempt to end the Second World War by Christmas 1944.

Ryan, Cornelius

Longest Day, The

Historical novel about D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Shaara, Michael

Killer Angels, The

Historical fiction account of the Battle of Gettysburg. Won the Pulitzer Prize, and called the best war narrative since Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage.

Shakespeare, William

Comedy of Errors, A

A short and quite farcical comedy, it tells the story of two sets of identical twins that were accidentally separated at birth. Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, arrive in Ephesus, which turns out to be the home of their twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant, Dromio of Ephesus. When the Syracusans encounter the friends and families of their twins, a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities lead to wrongful beatings, a near-seduction, the arrest of Antipholus of Ephesus, and accusations of infidelity, theft, madness, and demonic possession.

Shakespeare, William


The play, set in Denmark, recounts how Prince Hamlet exacts revenge on his uncle Claudius, who has murdered Hamlet's father, the King, and then taken the throne and married Gertrude, Hamlet's mother. The play vividly charts the course of real and feigned madness—from overwhelming grief to seething rage—and explores themes and various forms of moral corruption.

Shakespeare, William

Julius Caesar

It portrays the conspiracy against the Roman dictator of the same name, his assassination and its aftermath. Although the title of the play is Julius Caesar, Caesar is not the central character in its action; he appears in only three scenes, and is killed at the beginning of the third act. The protagonist of the play is Marcus Brutus, and the central psychological drama is his struggle between the conflicting demands of honour, patriotism, and friendship.

Shakespeare, William

King Lear

Tragedy of King Lear's failure to see which daughters and subjects are good and bad. The evil subjects revolt, and those loyal defend him. One of Shakespeare's greatest works.

Shakespeare, William


Tragedy in which Macbeth and his wife overthrow and murder King Duncan but later suffer retribution for their evil deeds.

Solzhenitsyn, Alexander

First Circle, The

Great Russian novel about life in the Soviet Union; this book won Solzhenitsyn the Nobel Prize.

Stevenson, Robert L

Black Arrow, The

An historical adventure novel and romance set during the Wars of the Roses.

Stevenson, Robert L

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

A novella about a dual personality much depicted in plays and films.

Stevenson, Robert L


A historical novel that tells of the boy David Balfour's pursuit of his inheritance and his alliance with Alan Breck in the intrigues of Jacobite troubles in Scotland.

Stevenson, Robert L

Treasure Island

Story of a boy and how he gets caught up in a race against pirates to find a hidden treasure.

Tolkien, JRR

Hobbit, The

Novel about Bilbo Baggins and how he comes into possession of the Ring of Power.

Tolkien, JRR

Lord of the Rings, The

Epic novel in the mythical world of Middle-Earth about the war and quest to defeat the forces of evil who seek to conquer all others.

Tolstoy, Leo

Anna Karenina

Greatest novel of Tolstoy, tells the story of 2 figures: the rebellious, sensual Anna and the self-doubting agnostic Levin and the struggle of both for fulfillment and happiness.

Twain, Mark

Tom Sawyer

Classic story of a boy's life in a Mississippi river town in 19th century America.

Verne, Jules

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Adventure story of exploring the depths of the ocean.



Classic piece of western literature. Picking up on the tradition of Homer, Virgil tells the epic story of Aeneas' struggle to reach Italy and the wars required to settle finally the wandering Trojans in their new home, which eventually would be Rome. Greatest piece of Latin literature.

Wallace, Lew


Novel set in the time of Christ. The central character is Judah, prince of the Hebrew house of Hur. Judah grows up in Jerusalem, during the turbulent years around the birth of Christ. His best friend is Messala, a Roman. As adults Judah and Messala become rivals, each hating the other, which leads to Judah's downfall and eventual triumph.

Wilder, Thornton

Bridge Of San Luis Rey, The

Short but beautifully written story about the lives of several people caught in a tragic accident—how their lives were all touched by love.

General Interest

Chesterton, G.K.

Everlasting Man , The

Two-part history of mankind, Christ, and Christianity. It is to some extent a conscious rebuttal of H.G. Well's book which argued for a purely evolutionary origin of man and against the divinity of Christ.

Lewis, C.S.

Screwtape Letters

Shrewd moral insights from correspondence between an arch-devil and his apprentice.


Alexander, Caroline

Endurance, The

True story of Shackleton’s ill-fated expedition to Antarctica in 1914, an amazing feat of courage and survival. Illustrated with remarkable photos.

Beevor, Antony


Detailed narrative of the horrific battle of Stalingrad in World War II.

Birnbaun, Louis

Red Dawn at Lexington

One of the best narrative histories about the outbreak of the American Revolution, from the Boston Tea Party to the close of 1776.

Bishop, Jim

Day Lincoln Was Shot, The

An hour-by-hour account of events leading up to Lincoln’s assassination.

Bradford, Ernle

Great Siege, The

Stirring narrative of how the Knights of Malta held of the Turkish invasion of that island in 1565, thus saving Europe.

Catton, Bruce

Part 1 of 3: The Coming Fury

Explores the causes and events leading to the start of the war, culminating in its first major combat, the First Battle of Bull Run.

Catton, Bruce

Part 2 of 3: Terrible Swift Sword

Both sides mobilize for a massive war effort and the story continues through 1862, ending with the Battle of Fredericksburg.

Catton, Bruce

Part 3 of 3: Never Call Retreat

The war continues through Vicksburg, Gettysburg, and the bloody struggles of 1864 and 1865 before the final surrender.

Catton, Bruce

Stillness at Appomatox, A

Won the Pulitzer prize. Describes the campaigns of Grant in Virginia during 1864 to the end of the war in 1865.

Crowley, Roger

Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World

Excellent narrative of the momentous struggle against the Turks in the 16th century.

Fischer, David Hackett

Paul Revere's Ride

Story of Paul Revere and his famous exploits, much more interesting than the popular myth about him. Good companion book to Birnbaum’s above.

Fischer, David Hackett

Washington's Crossing

Well written account of Washington’s crossing the Delaware River and the New Jersey campaign of 1777, a turning point in the American Revolution.

Ketchum, Richard


Excellent narrative of Britain’s campaign in upper New York (1777) leading to the decisive Battle of Saratoga, a turning point in the American revolution.

Klein, Maury

Days of Defiance

Gripping, detailed narrative of events leading up to the Southern attack on Ft. Sumter in Charlestown harbor, the spark that ignited the American Civil War.

Lafore, Lawrence

Long Fuse , The

The very best popular, one-volume study about the origins of World War I.

Lord, Walter

Night to Remember, A

Sinking of the Titanic.

Mattingly, Garrett

Armada, The

Incomparable narrative about the ill-fated Spanish armada and its defeat against the British in 1588.

McCullough, David

Great Bridge, The

Engineering feat: building of the Brooklyn Bridge.

McCullough, David

Path Between the Seas, The

Excellent account of one of engineering’s greatest achievements: the building of the Panama Canal.

McPherson, James

Battle Cry Of Freedom

Pulitzer-Prize winning 1-volume history of the American Civil War: causes, events, personalities, outcome. A great book.

Moore & Galloway

We were Soldiers Once... and Young

Detailed, very moving narrative about the La Drang Offensive during the Vietnam War, 1965.

Moorehead, Alan

Blue Nile, The

History of a 19th century exploration in East Africa to headwaters of the Nile.

Moorehead, Alan

White Nile, The

History of a 19th century exploration in East Africa to headwaters of the Nile.

Sears, Stephen

Landscape Turned Red, The

History of the Battle of Antietnam.


Adler, Mortimer

Ten Philosophical Mistakes

Simple, clear account of ten mistakes made by modern philosophers.

Kreeft, Peter

Refutation of Moral Relativism, A

Entertaining and helpful refutation of moral relativism, written in dialogue form.

Lewis, C.S.

Abolition of Man, The

Reflections on modern education; defends objective values and natural law, and their compatibility with science.


Apology of Socrates

Dialogue with the defense speech of Socrates against the charge of impiety and corrupting the youth; the trial took place in 399 B.C.

Spiritual Reading

Canals, Salvador

Jesus as Friend

Great, short chapters about fundamental aspects of the spiritual life.

Escriva, St. Josemaria

Christ is Passing By

Collection of homilies given on major feasts throughout the year.

Escriva, St. Josemaria

Forge, The

Collection of 1055 aphorisms designed to help and foster personal prayer, and tracing the soul's journey through life.

Escriva, St. Josemaria

Friends of God

Collection of homilies covering major themes of the Christian life.

Escriva, St. Josemaria


Collection of 1000 aphorisms designed to help and foster personal prayer, and focusing on all the human and Christian virtues.

Escriva, St. Josemaria

Holy Rosary

Commentary on each mystery of the rosary.

Escriva, St. Josemaria

Stations of the Cross

Commentary on each station of the cross.

Escriva, St. Josemaria

Way, The

St. Josemaria's most famous and best-selling book. Collection of 999 aphorisms designed to help and foster personal prayer, tracing one's path through the spiritual life.


Bible, The

The 46 books of the Old Testament, and the 27 books of the New Testament.


Scepter booklets #s: 15, 18, 20, 43, 61, 62, 89, 92, 118, 122, 125, 147, 158, 168, 179, 184, 188, 208

Excellent short pamphlets written to help one grow in living the Christian life. Available at


Scepter booklets #s: 4, 8, 66, 96, 123, 124, 136, 140, 152, 159, 169, 172, 174, 180, 187, 201

Excellent short pamphlets written to increase your knowledge on foundational and pertinent issues in Catholic doctrine and philosophy. Available at

Sheed, Frank

Map of Life, A

Gives great insight and perspective on one's struggle for sanctity.

Sheed, Frank

To Know Christ Jesus

Using insightful commentary on the gospels, a great book for learning about Christ.

Suarez, Federico

Narrow Gate, The

A straight-forward look at the necessity for struggle in the Christian life.

Casciaro, Pedro

Dream and your dreams will fall short

First-hand account of a man who lived with St. Josemaria in the early years of Opus Dei.


Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Official summary and handbook of Catholic doctrine, broken into four parts: the creed, the sacraments, the moral law, and prayer.

Trese, Leo J.

Faith Explained, The

Classic, systematic explanation of the teachings of the Catholic Church.

secondary list


Mary Queen of Scots

Baldwin, Neil

Edison: Inventing the Century

Chesterton, G.K.

Charles Dickens: The Last of the Great Man

Massie, R.K.

Nicholas and Alexandra

Mattingly, Garrett

Catherine of Aragon

McCullough, David


Morison, Samuel Eliot

Christopher Columbus: Mariner

Morison, Samuel Eliot

John Paul Jones


Hazlitt, William

Selected Essays


Bradbury, Ray

Fahrenheit 451

Bradbury, Ray

Illustrated Man, The

Bradbury, Ray

Martian Chronocles, The

Bronte, Charlotte

Jane Eyre

Bronte, Emily

Wuthering Heights

Browning, Robert

Selected Poems

Cather, Willa

O Pioneers

Cather, Willa

Shadows on the Rock

Cervantes, Miguel de

Don Quixote

Christie, Agatha


Christie, Agatha

Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Christie, Agatha

Tuesday Club Murders, The

Conrad, Joseph

Heart of Darkness, The

Conrad, Joseph

Lord Jim

Cooper, James Fenimore

Deerslayer, The

Cooper, James Fenimore

Leatherstocking Tales, The

Cooper, James Fenimore

Pathfinder, The

Cooper, James Fenimore

Spy, The

Crichton, Michael

Andromeda Strain, The

Dickens, Charles

Great Expectations

Eliot, George

Silas Marner

Forester, C.S.

Horatio Hornblower Series, The

Forester, C.S.

Last Nine Days of Bismarck, The

Hemingway, Ernest

Old Man and the Sea, The

Kipling, Rudyard

Light That Failed, The

Kipling, Rudyard

Man Who Would Be King, The

Kipling, Rudyard

Plain Tales from the Hills

Lewis, C.S.

Out of the Silent Planet

Lewis, C.S.


London, Jack

Call of the Wild, The

London, Jack

White Fang

Malory, Thomas

Le Morte D' Arthur

Melville, Herman

Billy Budd

Mitchell , Margaret

Gone with the Wind

Paton, Alan

Cry the Belowed Country

Roberts, Kenneth


Roberts, Kenneth

Northwest Passage

Roberts, Kenneth

Oliver Wiswell

Roberts, Kenneth

Rable in Arms

Sabatini, Rafael

Captain blood

Schaefer, Dorothy


Scott Card, Orson

Ender's Game

Scott, Sir Walter


Scott, Sir Walter

Talisman, The

Steinbeck, John

Pearl, The

Stowe, Harriet Betcher

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Tolkien, JRR

Silmarillion, The

Verne, Jules

Around the World in 80 Days

Verne, Jules

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Verne, Jules

Mysterious Island

Waugh, Evelyn


Wells, H.G.

Invisible Man, The

Wells, H.G.

War of the Worlds

Wodehouse, P.G.

Virtually all his Works

Wren, P.C.

Beau Geste


Bullock, Alan

Hitler: A study in Tyranny

Churchill, Winston

Crisis, The

Churchill, Winston

Gathering Storm, The

Churchill, Winston

History of the English-Speaking Peoples, A

Churchill, Winston

Their Finest Hour

Costain, Thomas B.

Conquering Family, The

Costain, Thomas B.

Last Plantagenets, The

Costain, Thomas B.

Silver Chalice, The

Costain, Thomas B.

Three Edwards, The

Costain, Thomas B.

Tontine, The

Costain, Thomas B.

William the Conqueror

Diaz, Bernal

Conquest of Mexico, The

Hamilton, Edith


Hunt, Sir John

Conquest of Everest

Kennedy, John F.

Profiles in Courage

Parkman, Francis

Oregon Trail, The

Tuchman, Barbara

Guns of August, The

Tuchman, Barbara

Zimmerman Telegram, The

White, Theodore H

Making of the President 1960, The

Spiritual Reading

Scupoli, Lorenzo

Spiritual Combat

Suarez, Federico

Joseph of Nazareth

Suarez, Federico

Mary of Nazareth

Casciaro, Jose Maria

It is worth while

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