Top 5 Books from High School!

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High school English is a drag – just like college English. They make you read books that you’ll never read again. They have you read plays that you’ll forget as soon as the words are read. Maybe some books you’ll actually enjoy, but you can’t read them at the pace that they want you to. This was often my case – I’m sorry, but I can’t read 110 pages of Emma in two days.

However, I found not all those books to be entirely terrible though. Some of those books I found were even worth buying, and giving another read. A read without all of the analytics and essays. You shouldn’t hate a book just because of the way it was presented to you. You should like it for the story and the characters. Not all teachers have a terrible taste in books. Just a terrible way of teaching them.

Books are windows into other worlds. And, sometimes, we don’t get to experience those worlds because they ‘aren’t our style.” Or ‘they don’t look/sound good.” But I guess the good thing about school forcing you to read them – is that you get to jump into places you’d never find on your own.

These are the worlds from school I found were worth giving another look.

 

Pride and Prejudice

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I read Pride and Prejudice my sophomore year of high school. I wasn’t into Jane Austen then. I’d heard of the book, but historical novels weren’t my bag. I was far more into fantastical things. So I dreaded when Ms Spence said that that was what we were going to be reading. However, at the time, I had no idea what it was about. Although I didn’t for most of it, actually, because the language confused me and Ms Spence didn’t elaborate.

But I did come to know the story, and grasp a little better onto what was going on. Once everything clicked, I fell in love with Pride and Prejudice. It turned out it wasn’t as dry as I thought. The story wasn’t as boring as I was expecting. Instead, it was full of wonder of it’s own. Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters. The charm of Mr Bingley against the coldness of Mr Darcy. And the spark between all of the lovers in the book. (I also talked about it here!)

Along with all of the expected things that came along – but you’ll have to read to find those out!

 

Fahrenheit 451

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This was one of the first books I’d read in high school. It was freshman year, and I didn’t even know we had summer reading! But I was immediately interested when it was explained that it was a dystopian novel. – They’re my favourite. I just didn’t know to expect from it, though. I’d heard Ray Bradbury was a good author, and my teacher raved about him. I, however, had never read any of his books.

Fahrenheit 451 was definitely not, at all, what I was expecting. It had an interesting take on our future, though. And – as with all dystopian novels – a terrifying take. I won’t spoil it for you, because it’s definitely worth the read. But I was taken aback by a lot of things in the book.

Anybody who loves dystopia and rebellion – this is your book!

 

The Great Gatsby

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I cannot express my love for this book. This is a story I read my junior year of high school. I’m already a big fan of things set in the 1920s, you it tickled my fancy as soon as that was mentioned. However, like all school books, it was a mixed bag of whether I liked it or not. At first, I wasn’t really a big fan. It took a few chapters to get going. But once it got going –

It went.

The Great Gatsby is so beautiful and heartbreaking. Requited love that was never meant to be. I still haven’t seen the movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and Toby McGuire yet. I have it, but haven’t – in the years I’ve had it – watched it. I should do that. And you should go give this wonderful work by F. Scott Fitzgerald a read!

 

1984

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This is the most interesting book I read in high school. I’d almost say it was my favourite! It was assigned summer reading for – I think – sophomore year. Of the two books I had to read, I actually finished this one! 1984 is a dystopian novel by George Orwell. I read it a week. I actually went out and bought the book soon after, because I loved it so much.

I hadn’t ever heard of the book, but I originally dreaded it since it was by Orwell. I had to read Animal Farm in 7th grade, and I loathed it so much. It didn’t help we also watched the creepy film with the puppets afterwards. I was much delighted, however, when I discovered that this was nothing like that. This is another great read for any dystopian lover. It’s full of so many unexpected turns and twisted and concepts. Definitely worth the read!

 

The Poisonwood Bible

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This book is so far from my usual reads, I never ever would have thought to pick it up. Thank you, Ms Grant, for forcing me to read it senior year! This is a novel by Barbara Kingsolver about a missionary in Africa. But it’s not the usual read you might find in a religious book.

The book alternates perspective in ways beneficial to the story. It’s full of adventure and culture and struggle. The reason behind the name is entirely humourous. Even if it doesn’t seem your thing, this book – set in the late 20th century – is worth the read!

 

Bonus: The Giver

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Okay, I really wanted to throw this in here at the end. Because I love The Giver and I read it in school. It definitely made 7th grade English bearable, and got a good story out of it from a classmate! I think this is the most unique take on a dystopian world I’ve read. And, since, I’ve bought the huge anthology with all four books!

The Giver is worth a read, no matter what kind of book you’re into. This book, to me, is on a whole other level!

 

As for the story from my classmate – She – let’s call her Suzy – was really ornery, and this other girl – let’s call her Racheal – asked how the book ended for an essay (she didn’t finish reading). So Suzy told her that Jonas, the main character, gets shot and the baby dies at the end (neither of which is true). And Racheal totally believed her! So our teacher called Racheal up to ask about her absurd ending. When she told her it was Suzy, our teacher told her she was never allowed to ‘help’ again!

Not all school books are interesting. But these are the ones I found definitely keeping note of. I’m no good at summaries or descriptions, so go check them out yourself!

What books did you read in school? What ones have stuck with you?

 

Thanks for Reading!

~ Amber

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Comments (7)

  1. I was very lucky to have a stellar collection of high school English teachers, and we read so many wonderful books. I distinctly remember Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities”, Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener”, Dumas’ “The Count of Monte Cristo”, Steinbeck’s “The Pearl”, and London’s “Call of the Wild” as books that I loved. I’m also glad that we had a massive dose of poetry as well–Donne, Herrick, Lovelace, Browning, Barrett Browning, Dickinson, Service, Gray, Wordsworth, and so many more. My teachers insisted that we read poetry out loud, and I’m so thankful for that–it’s how poems should be enjoyed.

  2. One of my favorites is still ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ (I also read the long-awaited sequel but I still prefer the other the best). My high school scifi-fantasy class is still one of my favorite English courses I took – besides ‘1984’ we also got to read ‘The Hobbit’, also one of my other favs 🙂

  3. I recently read Fahrenheit 451 for the first time and it really gets you thinking. The book is as relevant now as when it was written. Just replace television with social media.

  4. Besides the ones already mentioned, really liked Brave New World, Rebecca and The Name of the Rose. Though I can’t clearly remember the plots now… future something, gothic mystery & monk mystery… lol

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