10 Books I Read in High School That I Loved

articles, book lists, top 10 Tuesday / Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Ahh high school, nothing makes me remember how old I am then remembering I’ve been out of high school for almost a decade now. Since, I had honors/AP English Literature classes throughout my high school career, the books on this list are more on the classical side.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley-I was obsessed with this dystopian novel so much as a teenager. For almost my whole high school experience, I would quote lines from the exploits of John, Bernard Marx, and Lenina Crowne. As an adult, my fervor for Brave New World has died down for the most part, but this novel holds a fond place in my little dark heart.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë-For the Jane Eyre section, I was very tempted to just copy and paste from last week’s Top 10 (“10 Books for People Who Don’t Normally Like Victorian Novels”). Sorry, I just really like Jane Eyre that much. Since, last week, I gave the SparkNotes version of the novel, I’m not going to cover the plot. Instead, I will pose the question, if Mr. Rochester, the studly employer, kept one wife in the attic, why don’t you think he would do the same thing to you, Jane?

Macbeth by William Shakespeare-In my junior year of high school, I was obsessed with this classic tale of ambition gone awry. The witches, the ghosts, people who descend into madness, and the massacre of a whole family are only a small portion of the treats of this tragedy. Good stuff, Billy Shakespeare comes up and Macbeth, or the “Scottish Play” is only a step down from the violent blood bath that is Titus Andronicus. And people think Shakespeare is boring. Pfff.

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How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster- Foster’s book was my first introduction to literary criticism. This book is a series of Foster’s suggested interpretations of themes, motifs, and a sprinkle of symbols. All things a budding academic needs to know! The first time, I read it was for summer reading on a beach. I happily read through it and must say it was one of the few summer reading assignments I understood every word of.

Animal Farm by George Orwell-One of the best political satires, I ever read in school. Come to think about it, I think it was the only one I read in school. George Orwell basically takes the Russian Revolution and for our enjoyment changes the setting to that of a farm. The Communists in this telling are the pigs on the farm who revolt against the farmer. This lovely fairy tale depicts the hypocrisy of the Communist party.

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams-This classic American memory play is based on Williams own experiences with his mother and sister. In the play, Amanda, Tom, and Laura Wingfield live together in one apartment. In high school, I related a lot to Laura’s character. She isolates herself from the outside world due to her limp and is shy in the company of others. Then, her mother conspires with Tom to find her a gentleman caller. Tom brings home her high school crush Jim. She has tender romantic and optimistic moments with him. However, it all comes crashing down when he admits he’s engaged. The whole scene was probably one of the saddest moment I ever read.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller-I adored the way Miller uses the events of the Salem Witch Trials as allegory to McCarthyism. As a major history buff with a particular interest, I found this drama to be an interesting dramatized and fictional account of the actual trials. Yet as a teenager, it was one of the few plays, I had to read that had some really strong and powerful characters driving it along.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyFahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel based on the threat of McCarthy eara book burning. Yes, the McCarthy era America was pretty much a gold mine when it came to literature against it. Fahrenheit 451 was my first taste of high school summer reading. The novel hooked me and made me feel optimistic for the next four years.

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Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare– Shakespeare’s famous play bears Julius Caesar’s name, but you know who the tragedy is really about: Brutus. Yep, “et tu brute” spends most of Julius Caesar wondering if he should follow in his ancestors footsteps and kill Caesar before he becomes a tyrant. Also, this book made the list because all of the awesome quotes and when my class watched the movie version of this play, I turned to my friend and told her if I had a son I would name him Octavian. I have since scrapped that idea.
A Separate Peace by John Knowles-This coming of age novel following Gene Forrester made me want to get my mom angry and send me off to an all boy’s boarding school. Of course, I know it’s physically impossible for that happen, but I was hoping maybe a She’s the Man events would happen to get me there. A high school girl could dream being surrounded by a bunch of boys. Like any other book I’ve read in my entire life, my favorite character dies in the end.

Honorable Mentions:

As I was compling this list, I began to remember so many books I had to read for school that I actually liked. Shocker. In honor of those few books, I did not add straight to the list, I’m including a section honoring them here. These are the honorable mentions:

What are some of your favorite books, you read in high school?

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