Download 20 Popular High School Books Available as Free eBooks & Audio Books

Every year, thou­sands of Amer­i­can high school stu­dents read a com­mon selec­tion of great nov­els — clas­sics loved by young and old read­ers alike. Today, we have select­ed 20 of the most pop­u­lar books and high­light­ed ways that you can down­load ver­sions for free, most­ly as free audio books and ebooks, and some­times as movies and radio dra­mas. You will find more great works — and some­times oth­er dig­i­tal for­mats — in our twin col­lec­tions: 600 Free eBooks for iPad, Kin­dle & Oth­er Devices and 550 Free Audio Books. So please give them a good look over, and if we’re miss­ing a nov­el you want, don’t for­get Audible.com’s 14 day tri­al. It will let you down­load an audio book for free, pret­ty much any one you want.

1984 by George Orwell: Read Online
Although pub­lished in 1949, 1984 still cap­tures our imag­i­na­tion gen­er­a­tions lat­er because it offers one of the best lit­er­ary accounts of total­i­tar­i­an­ism ever pub­lished. And it’s sim­ply a great read.

Ani­mal Farm by George Orwell: Read OnlineFree Ani­mat­ed Movie
Orwell’s 1945 alle­gor­i­cal novel­la took aim at the cor­rup­tion of the Sovi­et Union and its total­i­tar­i­an rule. The short book, which almost nev­er saw the light of day, appears on the Mod­ern Library’s list of the 100 Best Nov­els of the 20th cen­tu­ry.

Brave New World by Aldous Hux­ley: eTextFree Radio Drama­ti­za­tion (by Hux­ley him­self)
Lit­tle known fact. Hux­ley once taught George Orwell French at Eton. And, years lat­er his 1931 clas­sic, Brave New World, is often men­tioned in the same breath with 1984 when it comes to great books that describe a dystopi­an future.

Franken­stein by Mary Shel­ley - Free ebookFree Audio Book (MP3)Radio Dra­ma ver­sion (1938)Movie
Mary Shel­ley start­ed writ­ing the great mon­ster nov­el when she was only 18 and com­plet­ed it when she was 21. The 1823 goth­ic nov­el is arguably one of your first works of sci­ence fic­tion.

Heart of Dark­ness by Joseph Con­rad: Free eBookFree Audio Book (iTunes)Radio Drama­ti­za­tion by Orson Welles (MP3)
More than 100 years after its pub­li­ca­tion (1902), Con­rad’s novel­la still offers the most canon­i­cal look at colo­nial­ism and impe­ri­al­ism. So pow­er­ful was its influ­ence that Orson Welles dra­ma­tized it in 1938, and the book also famous­ly inspired Cop­po­la’s Apoc­a­lypse Now in 1979.

Plays by William Shake­speare

No descrip­tion need­ed. None giv­en.

Romeo and Juli­et — Free eBookFree Audio Book (MP3s)

Mac­Beth — Free eBook — Free Audio Book (iTunes)

Ham­let — Free eBookFree Audio Book (MP3s)

Julius Cae­sarFree eBookFree Audio Book (MP3s)

Note: You can find The Com­plete Works of Shake­speare here: Free eBook – Free ver­sion for the iPad

Pride & Prej­u­dice by Jane AustenFree eBook — Free Audio Book (iTunes)
Jane Austen’s 1813 nov­el remains as pop­u­lar as ever. To date, it has sold more than 20 mil­lion copies, and, every so often, it finds itself adapt­ed to a new film, TV or the­ater pro­duc­tion. A must read.

The Adven­tures of Huck­le­ber­ry Finn by Mark TwainFree eBookFree Audio Book (iTunes)
When you think Huck­le­ber­ry Finn, you think Great Amer­i­can Nov­el. It was con­tro­ver­sial when it was first pub­lished in 1884, and it remains so today. But nonethe­less Twain’s clas­sic is a peren­ni­al favorite for read­ers around the world.

The Call of the Wild by Jack Lon­don — Free eBook — Free Audio Book (iTunes)
The Call of the Wild, first pub­lished in 1903, is regard­ed as Jack Lon­don’s mas­ter­piece. It’s “a tale about unbreak­able spir­it and the fight for sur­vival in the frozen Alaskan Klondike.”

The Cru­cible by Arthur Miller - Free Audio Book from Audible.com
Arthur Miller’s 1952 play used the Salem witch tri­als of 1692 and 1693 to offer a com­men­tary on McCarthy­ism that tar­nished Amer­i­ca dur­ing the 1950s. Today, The Cru­cible occu­pies a cen­tral place in Amer­i­ca’s lit­er­ary canon.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Stein­beckFree Audio Book from Audible.com
This 1939 nov­el won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 and lat­er helped Stein­beck win the Nobel Prize for Lit­er­a­ture in 1962. It’s per­haps the most impor­tant book to give lit­er­ary expres­sion to the Great Depres­sion.

The Great Gats­by by F. Scott Fitzger­aldFree eBookFree Audio Book from Audible.com
It’s the clas­sic por­trait of the Jazz Age, a tale of deca­dence and excess. And today The Mod­ern Library has called Fitzger­ald’s 1925 mas­ter­piece the 2nd best nov­el of the last cen­tu­ry.

The Odyssey by Homer – Free eBookFree Audio Book
The West­ern lit­er­ary tra­di­tion begins with Home­r’s epic poems The Ili­ad (etext here) and The Odyssey, both writ­ten some 2800 years ago. It has been said that “if the Ili­ad is the world’s great­est war epic, then the Odyssey is lit­er­a­ture’s grand­est evo­ca­tion of every­man’s jour­ney through life.” And that just about gets to the heart of the poem.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hem­ing­way Free Audio Book from Audible.com
It was Hem­ing­way’s last major work of fic­tion (1951) and cer­tain­ly one of his most pop­u­lar, bring­ing many read­ers into con­tact with Hem­ing­way’s writ­ing for the first time.

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen CraneFree eBook — Free Audio Book (iTunes)Free Movie
This Civ­il War nov­el won what Joseph Con­rad called “an orgy of praise” after its pub­li­ca­tion in 1895, and inspired Ernest Hem­ing­way and the Mod­ernists lat­er. The nov­el made Stephen Crane a celebri­ty at the age of 24, though he died only five years lat­er.

The Scar­let Let­ter by Nathaniel Hawthorne – Free eBooksFree Audio BookMovie
Though set in Puri­tan Boston between 1642 and 1649, Hawthorne’s mag­num opus explores “the moral dilem­mas of per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty, and the con­sum­ing emo­tions of guilt, anger, loy­al­ty and revenge” that were rel­e­vant in 1850 (when the book was pub­lished). And they remain so today.

To Kill a Mock­ing­bird by Harp­er Lee — Free Audio Book from Audible.com
Harp­er Lee’s 1960 nov­el takes an inci­sive look at atti­tudes toward race and class in the Deep South dur­ing the 1930s. It won the Pulitzer Prize a year lat­er.

Note: We list­ed Audible.com as an option when books were still under copy­right.

Mean­while, edu­ca­tors don’t miss our col­lec­tion of Free Cours­es. It fea­tures many free Lit­er­a­ture cours­es, includ­ing cours­es on Amer­i­can lit­er­a­ture.


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