famous books read in high school
Things change more often than they remain the same in any given situation. Finalists for our list of essential high school books were chosen based on reader feedback, and it is dominated by perennial favourites such as George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Every single one of the top five most popular entries was published within 15 years of the original submission. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was the first novel to be published after the novel was first published in 1960. It is reasonable to consider three of the entries on the list to be recent, having appeared within the last 20 years. In particular, Stephen Chbosky’s epistolary novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower (1999); Marjane Satrapi’s graphic memoir Persepolis, about growing up during the Iranian Revolution (2000-03); and Cormac McCarthy’s dark, brutal novel The Road (2001). (2006).
Some of today’s most popular novels are dominated by the spectre of World War II, with its themes and ramifications of social division, mass surveillance, and totalitarianism, among others. Orwell’s Animal Farm is a dystopian novel that belongs to a large group of dystopian novels. Along with The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and Kurt Vonnegut’s absurdist comedy Slaughterhouse-Five, other notable works include This category includes works such as Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. It appears that I squandered an opportunity to teach dystopia when I was a high-school English teacher. Material that can be used is plentiful, and it is of high quality and easily accessible to a diverse group of high school students.
Teachers participated in the discussion to address a recurrent pedagogical issue: how can educators strike a balance between difficult books, such as Shakespeare’s plays, and students’ desire to choose their reading material? Is it possible for teachers to create rich, shared learning opportunities that will not discourage their students from reading in the future? These aren’t just unimportant concerns. To instil a lifelong love of reading in your students, rigid adherence to the classics is a recipe for disaster.
Edutopia’s “Start A Reading Revolution” has some heartbreaking student feedback. And Kelly Gallagher (literacy educator) recently tweeted: “For 3 years in a row, 90%+ seniors have admitted that they fake-read their way to the 12th Grade. It is time for schools to change!” This question was asked of my English class freshmen many years ago. I got the same disappointing response. My incoming freshmen had barely finished any book over the past three years. Brian Sztabnik recently wrote Edutopia’s “Igniting A Passion for Reading” to show how to balance student choice and curated texts.
THE LIST OF INDISPENSABLE BOOKS
1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The setting for Harper Lee’s classic coming-of-age storey is the Alabama town of Maycomb. High school students are most interested in the primary themes that are discussed below: Racial injustice, moral, spiritual, and ethical development, courage, integrity, innocence, and life experience are all topics that have been discussed.
2. The novel Nineteen Eighty-Four
Following the Atomic Wars, George Orwell’s vision of a totalitarian world reduced the world’s geopolitical map to three superstates: Eurasia, Oceania, and the United States of America. Primary themes that high school students are most interested in are the following: totalitarianism; state power; surveillance; and individual liberty.
Three. The Lord of the Flies
The storey of child castaways on a deserted island, as told by William Golding, who establish a violent social order. Human civilization and governance, social and moral order, savagery and primitivism, cruelty, leadership, and injustice are among the primary themes that high school students are most interested in learning about.
Animal Farm (No. 4)
The storey of the formation of Soviet Russia as told by George Orwell. Individual freedom, totalitarianism, state power, and the mutability of historical truth are among the primary themes that high school students are most interested in. Propaganda’s influence, as well as the celebrity cult, are well documented.
5. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
J.D., the reclusive J.D., is back in town. It is through the eyes and experiences of the notoriously irreverent teenage Holden Caulfield that J.D. Salinger’s most famous novel, Catcher in the Rye, is told. Individuality and identity, social alienation and rebellion, social mores and rules, and unreliable narrators are the primary themes that high school students are most interested in.
6. The Vinegar of Sorrow
The journey of Dust Bowl refugees fleeing westward to California is chronicled in John Steinbeck’s classic novel from the Depression-era. The following primary themes pique the interest of high school students: poverty and wealth, injustice, political and social policy, governance, and biblical themes such as judgement and redemption.
The Invisible Man (number 7)
The storey of an African American narrator, whose skin colour makes him invisible, is told through the eyes of Ralph Ellison’s meditation on the effects of race. Primary themes of interest to high school students include race and racial justice, identity and ideologies, and belief systems, among other things.
8. In The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho tells the storey of a Spanish shepherd who embarks on a journey to Egypt in the hope of discovering his true destiny. High school students are particularly interested in the primary themes of courage, adventure, hope, and destiny.
Slaughterhouse-Five (number nine)
Kurt Vonnegut’s dark and absurdist comedy was inspired by the firebombing of Dresden, Germany, during World War II, which resulted in the death of thousands of people. Nonlinear narratives, unreliable narrations, existentialism, and the true nature of war are among the topics that high school students are most interested in.
The Handmaid’s Tale (number 10)
It depicts the rise of a government in America that is committed to the oppression and abuse of women in her dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, written by Margaret Atwood. Totalitarianism, patriarchy, and misogyny, surveillance, politics, and governance, as well as gender roles, are the topics that high school students are most interested in learning about.
The Great Gatsby (No. 11)
The Great Gatsby is a lyrical and poetic novel about James Gatsby, an idealist, and the nature of the American Dream written by F. Scott Fitzgerald during the Jazz Age. High school students will be interested in the primary themes that are discussed below: The Jazz Age, the American Dream, wealth, social class, and idealism are all mentioned.
The Bluest Eye (number 12)
Toni Morrison’s novel Pecola Breedlove tells the storey of a young, often abused African American girl whose dream is to have blue eyes like her mother. A sign of acceptance in a world dominated by white notions of beauty and belonging would be a significant step forward. Identity, race, racial justice, the effects of abuse, beauty, ugliness, and insanity are among the topics that high school students are most interested in.
13. The novel Of Mice and Men
The storey of an unlikely friendship between two men who have remarkably different intellectual abilities, as told by John Steinbeck. Friendship, loyalty, character, cruelty, and mercy are the topics that high school students are most interested in.
Macbeth, Act IV, Scene IV
a portrayal of a Scottish warrior who aspires to the position of the king by William Shakespeare He is compelled to kill to achieve his objective. Among the primary themes that high school students are interested in are power and ambition, evil’s nature and its manifestations, chaos and disorder.
Brave New World (number 15)
As a result of the human race’s inability to resist excessive pleasure and amusement, Aldous Huxley’s short novel imagines a utopia with perverse characteristics in the future. The following primary themes pique the interest of high school students: genetic manipulation, state power, and drug abuse.
The Road (number 16)
Cormac McCarthy’s dark novel tells the storey of a young boy who seeks refuge in a post-apocalyptic environment. Death, the apocalypse, cruelty, as well as hope and despair, are among the primary themes that high school students are most interested in exploring.
17. Their gaze was fixed on the Almighty.
An African American female living in the Jim Crow South during the twentieth century, Janie Crawford is the protagonist of Zora Neale Hurst’s novel, which is heavily based on the vernacular. Female and male roles, race, racial injustice, child abuse, the effects of child abuse, and the representation of American dialects are the main themes that high school students are most interested in exploring.
The Advantages of Being a Wallflower
The protagonist of Stephen Chbosky’s epistolary and coming-of-age novel, Charlie, is an introverted and emotionally scarred high-school freshman who struggles to fit in. Teens, introverts, extroverts, teenage romance, drug and alcohol abuse, and the consequences of abuse are among the primary themes that high school students are interested in exploring.
Marjane Satrapi’s graphic book, an autobiography, describes her childhood in Tehran, Iran during the period of the 1979 Iranian Revolution. High school students are most interested in graphic novels, Iranian culture and politics, religion, and war.
This memoir novel by Elie Wiesel is a spare account of his time in concentration camps during World War II. High school students will be interested in the following primary themes: Good and Evil, Holocaust, Faith and Faithlessness, and the Jewish Experience.
We’d love to have your suggestions for more essential high school books. Teachers will be more motivated to help students learn literacy if they have more choices. Let us know if you think we should create lists for elementary or middle school. . .