Photo: Napoleon Sarony / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

What The People Behind The Books You Read In High School Actually Look Like

Voting Rules
Vote up the novelists and short story writers who match your high school-era vision.

It's the start of summer break. You're 15. Nothing ahead of you except endless hours of sunbathing, a part-time job watching some lawyers' kids, sultry evening walks, and bonfires with friends. Well, you also have a summer reading list for your sophomore English class. The authors you read in high school represent a slice of some of the most important works of literature in the English language. And what you read in high school tends to stay with you. Who can forget dear, tragic Piggy from William Golding's Lord of the Flies, or the strange coming of age of one Philip Pirrip, AKA "Pip," in Charles Dickens's Great Expectations?

But did you ever stop to picture the people behind the words? Did you wonder: what do those famous authors look like? Or were you too busy trying to complete the supplemental questions sheet to think about what the authors looked like? Regardless, here's your chance to not only see the famous authors' photos who are behind most high school reading lists, but also to vote up the ones who match what you pictured.

Photo: Napoleon Sarony / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

  • 1
    34 VOTES
    Kate Chopin
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    Kate Chopin (, also US: ; born Katherine O'Flaherty; February 8, 1850 – August 22, 1904) was an American author of short stories and novels based in Louisiana. She is now considered by some scholars to have been a forerunner of American 20th-century feminist authors of Southern or Catholic background, such as Zelda Fitzgerald. Of maternal French and paternal Irish descent, Chopin was born in St. Louis, Missouri. She married and moved with her husband to New Orleans. They later lived in the country in Cloutierville, Louisiana. From 1892 to 1895, Chopin wrote short stories for both children and adults that were published in such national magazines as Atlantic Monthly, Vogue, The Century ...more
    • Works: The Awakening, The awakening, and other stories, At fault, Complete novels and stories
    34 votes
  • Zora Neale Hurston
    Photo: New York World-Telegram Staff Photographer / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    Zora Neale Hurston (January 7, 1891 – January 28, 1960) was an influential author of African-American literature, anthropologist, and filmmaker, who portrayed racial struggles in the early-20th-century American South, and published research on Haitian Vodou. The most popular of her four novels is Their Eyes Were Watching God, published in 1937. She also wrote more than 50 short stories, plays, and essays. Hurston was born in Notasulga, Alabama, and moved with her family to Eatonville, Florida, in 1894. She later used Eatonville as the setting for many of her stories. It is now the site of the Zora! Festival, held each year in her honor.In her early career, Hurston conducted anthropological ...more
    • Works: Their Eyes Were Watching God, Every Tongue Got to Confess, Sweat, Mules and men, Tell my horse
    31 votes
  • 3
    71 VOTES
    Jack Kerouac
    Photo: National Archives / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    Jack Kerouac (; born Jean-Louis Kérouac (though he called himself Jean-Louis Lebris de Kérouac); March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969) was an American novelist and poet of French-Canadian descent.He is considered a literary iconoclast and, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, a pioneer of the Beat Generation. Kerouac is recognized for his method of spontaneous prose. Thematically, his work covers topics such as Catholic spirituality, jazz, promiscuity, Buddhism, drugs, poverty, and travel. He became an underground celebrity and, with other beats, a progenitor of the hippie movement, although he remained antagonistic toward some of its politically radical elements.In 1969, at age ...more
    • Works: On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Visions of Cody, Big Sur, The Town and the City
    71 votes
  • 4
    41 VOTES
    Ray Bradbury
    Photo: CBS Television / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    Ray Douglas Bradbury (; August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012) was an American author and screenwriter. He worked in a variety of genres, including fantasy, science fiction, horror, and mystery fiction. Predominantly known for writing the iconic dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953), and his science-fiction and horror-story collections, The Martian Chronicles (1950), The Illustrated Man (1951), and I Sing the Body Electric (1969), Bradbury was one of the most celebrated 20th- and 21st-century American writers. While most of his best known work is in fantasy fiction, he also wrote in other genres, such as the coming-of-age novel Dandelion Wine (1957) and the fictionalized memoir Green Shadows, ...more
    • Works: Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings, Moby Dick, Something Wicked This Way Comes
    41 votes
  • 5
    35 VOTES
    Ralph Ellison
    Photo: United States Information Agency staff photographer / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    Ralph Waldo Ellison (March 1, 1914 – April 16, 1994) was an American novelist, literary critic, and scholar best known for his novel Invisible Man, which won the National Book Award in 1953. He also wrote Shadow and Act (1964), a collection of political, social and critical essays, and Going to the Territory (1986). For The New York Times, the best of these essays in addition to the novel put him "among the gods of America's literary Parnassus." A posthumous novel, Juneteenth, was published after being assembled from voluminous notes he left upon his death.
    • Works: Invisible Man, The collected essays of Ralph Ellison, Shadow and Act, Living with Music, Juneteenth
    35 votes
  • 6
    63 VOTES
    Jack London
    Photo: The Book of Jack London by Charmian London / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    John Griffith London (born John Griffith Chaney; January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916) was an American novelist, journalist, and social activist. A pioneer in the world of commercial magazine fiction, he was one of the first writers to become a worldwide celebrity and earn a large fortune from writing. He was also an innovator in the genre that would later become known as science fiction.His most famous works include The Call of the Wild and White Fang, both set in the Klondike Gold Rush, as well as the short stories "To Build a Fire", "An Odyssey of the North", and "Love of Life". He also wrote about the South Pacific in stories such as "The Pearls of Parlay" and "The Heathen". London was ...more
    • Works: The Call of the Wild, White Fang, John Barleycorn, The Iron Heel, Martin Eden
    63 votes