Books that we read in high school generally are associated with a negative stigma, as high school isn’t necessarily the best experience of everyone’s lives. The over-analyzing and turning every other word into a symbol doesn’t help matters either. English class seems to be a competition of who can use SparkNotes best, and not an opportunity to enjoy literature as it should be.
However, I’m asking you all to reconsider these books if you’ve already read them and hated them. And if you haven’t read them, well, I hope you stumble across your next great read.
Here are some amazing books, despite the fact they’ve been read in school:
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is definitely the best book I’ve read in my high school career so far. This is the story of a black man who, wherever he turns, he’s not seen as a person but “just another black person.” Because of this, many groups exploit him and attempt to shape his identity. A story of both racism and self-discovery, you will travel through the realities of racism in the 1940s-1950s as well as discover important lessons about self-reliance through another’s mistakes.
Although this book contains many long monologues, the best part about reading books for fun is that you get the option of skimming. If you feel bored, the solution is simple: skip to the next part!
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is probably the most entertaining classic you’ll ever read. Through Nick Carraway, it explores the reality of economic classes, and degree at which money can change society’s impression of you, as well as delving into the world of the materialistic Roaring 20s. If you’re looking for a tragic romance, this is the book for you.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Animal Farm is a satire that simplifies the corruption of the Soviet Union into farm terms. This book parallels to the events during the Russian Revolution of 1917 and to the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union. A world where “all animals are equal but some are more equal than others”, George Orwell shows how communism is not the answer to equality issues.
All the books make a vivid display of worlds we can’t go back to. Even if you’re not into history, they’re all entertaining books that are more than just a plot.