Four high school books that don’t suck

We all had to read a lot of the same books in high school. Via Flickr user MikeWhit.

We all had to read a lot of the same books in high school. Via Flickr user MikeWhit.

When you’re in high school, people often tell you, “Someday, you’ll miss this.” I guess it’s their way of saying not to take high school for granted, enjoy it while you can, etc.

I have found this advice to be hollow. I haven’t once longed for the days of high school. Do I miss immature students and not being able to drive? Nope.

But one aspect of high school I do want to revisit is the reading list. There are some books that we’ve all read because of high school English class. (Or pretended to read. I still remember skipping the last third of Malcolm X because I got bored. I then wrote a misguided essay on it and still got a B. The teacher must have felt sorry for me.)

There are a lot of books we’re forced to read in high school that were dull. (Don’t get me started on Pride and Prejudice.) This list comprises that ones that aren’t. In no particular order, I’ve identified some often-assigned high school books that were worth the $2 at the used library book sale.

Whether you’re still in high school or you just want to revisit some classics, this list is for you. Here are four high school books that were worth reading.

  • The Great Gatsby. The book has gained popularity because of the recent film, and deservedly so. F. Scott Fitzgerald knows how to write. Plus, the book is short, making for some light reading.
  • Crime and Punishment. I remember it was difficult to get through this novel because of its length, but it’s full of murder, guilty consciences, and the notion that some people have the right to kill. I’m not sure why Hollywood hasn’t made this into a big budget movie — yet.
  • Invisible Man. I always loved the imagery in this one. “The yams, some bubbling with syrup, lay on a wire rack above glowing coals that leaped to low blue flame when struck by the draft of air.” I always remembered the yams — and I don’t even like them.
  • Slaughterhouse-Five. This is one of Kurt Vonnegut’s most popular works. The book still feels novel after more than 40 years, and I always have a soft sport for dark comedies.

What are some high school books that you enjoyed? Any that were terrible?


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