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Assigned, Classic Readings in High School that You Didn’t Read, but Should Have

We’ve all been given readings in high school that we didn’t want to read, despite the possibility of our enjoyment of reading, and ended up looking up book summaries to pass exams. However, there are some books that, as adults, you might be able to enjoy. Here is a shortlist of books you should read if you skipped out on reading them when they were assigned in high school:

1984 by George Orwell

George Orwell’s dystopian novella 1984, released in 1949, follows Winston Smith, a low-ranking member of “the Party” who is annoyed by the party’s omnipresent eyes and its ominous tyrant, Big Brother, who controls every facet of people’s lives. 

Orwell deftly addresses the concepts of political censorship, totalitarianism, and how a tyrant can influence and regulate culture, emotions, and lives in such a manner that no one is exempt. You can purchase this book on Amazon

Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger

As Salinger’s most popular novel, it did not disappoint. I almost wish I had read it when it was assigned to me. It’s an entertaining and convincing read, with a plethora of brutal realism mixed in with some humorous and dismal moments.

Despite it being published in 1951, I think that a lot of young people who haven’t read it will be able to relate to the book’s varying themes. It is a contemporary coming-of-age classic. I find the main character, 17-year-old Holden Caulfield, stimulating, and it was interesting and familiar to be able to get inside the mind of the odd, rebellious protagonist as I read the novel.

You can find this book on Amazon

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Comparable to Romeo and Juliet, this novel has a beautiful love story, but there is much more to it. It is set in America during the 1920s and it is narrated by Nick Carraway, a man from a well-off family who is trying to sell bonds after serving in the war. He relocates to East Egg, a much less opulent neighborhood directly across from Gatsby’s mansion. Gatsby is wealthy and hosts lavish parties every weekend that the whole town attends. The host, on the other hand, is never seen at these parties and is never truly understood by others. Gatsby has a dark secret about his life and how he came to be so strong, a deep lust that will lead to his downfall.

This book is available on Barnes and Noble

Animal Farm by George Orwell

To close out this list, another Orwell classic set in the future; here, though, it is where animals are smarter than what they appear to be. And, as a result of their ingenuity, the pigs instigated a revolt against humans. Pigs, unlike the other species, could communicate fluently in English, giving them the authority to rule. There is much more to the story and Orwell’s telling of it is thematic and symbolic in every way possible.

This book can be found on Amazon

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