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Living Books List Read in High School

Living books list for high school

Living Books List

This post shows the list of living books that my son read while in high school.

Living books engage the reader and bring the subject to life. While often fiction, the subjects can include history, science, math, geography, and biographies – really, any subject CAN be a living book. Then again, almost any subject can be a dull, tedious textbook too.

Keep track of your book lists

If you love to read, try some living books of a different genre than you are used to. If you are homeschooling, be sure to keep track of the books read in high school – it becomes important if your child is considering college for transcript purposes. Believe me, if you don’t write it down, you won’t remember it later!

Actual list of living books read in high school

What follows is my voracious reader’s list of living books that he read while in high school, grouped into genres.

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My older sons took a class in 9th grade from the Ron Paul Curriculum which was called Classic Autobiographies. Many of the texts are available for free on Project Gutenburg. You can see our review of the Ron Paul Curriculum here.



We use Charlotte Mason’s methods of homeschooling, so we studied between 2 and 4 Shakespeare plays per year. In addition, Shakespeare gets covered again in World Literature, so my son enjoyed a few bonus plays. Shakespeare is important to study for many reasons, including being able to use witticisms properly.

Shakespeare plays

For Shakespeare, we like to use the No Fear versions with modern English translations. Be careful though, since they will translate the bawdy parts which can be obscure in Shakespearean English, but are rather direct in modern English. We also have a Complete Works of Shakespeare on hand for the lesser available plays and other works.

  • Hamlet
  • Macbeth
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • 1st Henriad “Tetralogy”: Henry VI, Parts 1, 2 & 3 and Richard III
  • 2nd “Tetralogy”: Richard II; Henry IV, Part 1; Henry IV, Part 2; and Henry V
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • The Winter’s Tale
  • Midsummer’s Night Dream
  • The Taming of the Shrew
  • Comedy of Errors
  • Julius Caesar

By the way, we always enjoy watching these plays since they are, well… plays. When you get to the histories, you may want to try The Hollow Crown, a fantastic rendition of the tetralogy with superb performances. As always, preview for your family since there is much bloodshed in these histories.

Western Literature

We studied history and literature for the same time periods. It helps to reinforce the content. For instance, these were the classic literature books that my son read while studying Western Civilization.


American Literature

So likewise, when studying American history, we read classic American authors.

Other Genres

Since my son was an avid reader, he read a large number of other books during his high school years. I told him to keep a list, and he would narrate the stories of the ones he liked best. Please note, high school books sometimes have language and situations which may not be appropriate for your youngest readers. Always do what works for your family.

Also (long) Excerpts

Some reading had to be shortened to keep up with the coursework. We filled out his reading list with very long excerpts to get a feel for the author and book or style if it was important to the era or genre, and if he wanted to finish the book later, that was up to him.

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