Friday, March 6, 2020

12 books you should have read in high school

Luckily, I was blessed to read a lot of books while I was in high school. Throughout my whole schooling career, I was either in honors language arts or AP once I was a junior in high school. We had to read a lot of books. No pun intended. Most of the books that I was assigned to read are still some of my favorites to this day. I love classic books. They are classics for a reason.


I am very grateful to a lot of my teachers over the years for making me read a lot. I do believe my love for reading has something to do with the teachers that I had. 



1. To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic. Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.
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2. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare creates a violent world, in which two young people fall in love. It is not simply that their families disapprove; the Montagues and the Capulets are engaged in a blood feud. In this death-filled setting, the movement from love at first sight to the lovers’ final union in death seems almost inevitable. And yet, this play set in an extraordinary world has become the quintessential story of young love. In part because of its exquisite language, it is easy to respond as if it were about all young lovers. 
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3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story is of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his new love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted "gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession," it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s. The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.




4. The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

A murderer is convinced that the loud beating of his victim's heart will give him away to the police.
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5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie Bucket's wonderful adventure begins when he finds one of Mr. Willy Wonka's precious Golden Tickets and wins a whole day inside the mysterious chocolate factory. Little does he know the surprises that are in store for him!
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6. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Sara Crewe, an exceptionally intelligent and imaginative student at Miss Minchin's Select Seminary for Young Ladies, is devastated when her adored, indulgent father dies. Now penniless and banished to a room in the attic, Sara is demeaned, abused, and forced to work as a servant. How this resourceful girl's fortunes change again is at the center of A Little Princess, one of the best-loved stories in all of children's literature.
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7. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

The compelling story of two outsiders striving to find their place in an unforgiving world. Drifters in search of work, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other and a dream -- a dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually, they find work on a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley, but their hopes are doomed as Lennie, struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy, becomes a victim of his own strength. Tackling universal themes such as the friendship of a shared vision, and giving voice to America’s lonely and dispossessed, Of Mice and Men has proved one of Steinbeck’s most popular works, achieving success as a novel, a Broadway play, and three acclaimed films.
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8. Macbeth by William Shakespeare

One night on the heath, the brave and respected general Macbeth encounters three witches who foretell that he will become king of Scotland. At first sceptical, he’s urged on by the ruthless, single-minded ambitions of Lady Macbeth, who suffers none of her husband’s doubt. But seeing the prophecy through to the bloody end leads them both spiraling into paranoia, tyranny, madness, and murder. This shocking tragedy - a violent caution to those seeking power for its own sake - is, to this day, one of Shakespeare’s most popular and influential masterpieces.
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9. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep. J.D. Salinger's classic novel of teenage angst and rebellion was first published in 1951. The novel was included on Time's 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923. It was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. It has been frequently challenged in the court for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and in the 1950's and 60's it was the novel that every teenage boy wants to read.
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10. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the original title of a novella written by the famous Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson that was first published in 1886. The work is commonly known today as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or simply Jekyll & Hyde. It is about a London lawyer named John Gabriel Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and the evil Edward Hyde.
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11. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

The Outsiders is about two weeks in the life of a 14-year-old boy. The novel tells the story of Ponyboy Curtis and his struggles with right and wrong in a society in which he believes that he is an outsider. According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy's skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser.
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12. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.
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Are any of these books your favorites? My personal favorite of all time is To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. The first time I read it I was a freshman in high school and my life was never the same after that. 

xoxo,

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12 comments:

  1. I’ve read a few.. but the one that I remember the most, for some reason, is the tell-tale heart.

    I had lots of problems with learning english back then, so some of them- like the outsiders, I know we’ve studied and watched the film .. but I didn’t actually read it as I didn’t understood a thing xD

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  2. These are great picks. I read To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, The Outsiders, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and The Great Gatsby around the time of high school and loved all of them. I finally read Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and reviewed it last month!

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  3. Definitely did a few of these in school - was trying to work out what 'school' classics have in common and this list made me realise - they pick the short ones! I love To Kill a Mockingbird :)

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    1. Yes, I would agree. It is because young students don't have the greatest attention spans. However, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is on the longer side.

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  4. Nice list! Catch 22, Catcher in the Rye, pick a Faulkner, Byron, Toni Morrison. I had a "Great Books" elective in high school and she flooded us with lit from all over the world from the treatises of Catholic Saints to John D MacDonald to early French and Italian feminism, Buddhism, the Koran, myth...
    I'm not sure about the attention span thing. I vote relevance, and the teacher's ability to make the Bible or Archie Comics into interesting, relevant literature. I mean kids think they invented everything from deceit to sex and when something going back to ancient greece or the 15th century has better lines and more sex than they ever thought about is presented as Jack and Diane it gets their attention.

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    1. Thanks for sharing. That sounds like it would have been an interesting class. I love classes like that that make you think outside of the box. Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. I've read most of these but the ones I've not read seem particularly American based, so maybe in our school they substituted with England based stories.

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    1. Yeah, probably. You should look into a couple of these and try them out. They are really good!

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  6. I read most of these in high school---I actually loved the classics back then!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. Same, I have been better about trying to read more classics lately. However, lots of these I read in HS too.

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