So I thought it would be cool to write a post on some of the literature/novels I read throughout high school (except for book number seven). I really wanted to add The Great Gatsby” to the list, but I feel like I mention it all the time, and I wanted to feature some other books for more variety. I hope you enjoy!
1. Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes
Synopsis: Charlie Gordon, a mentally disabled adult who cleans floors and toilets, becomes a genius through an experimental operation.
This book was completely different to the types of literature I had been exposed to before, but I enjoyed reading it so much. Charlie’s story is like reading a diary full of personal thoughts and feelings and its these little details that make the novel a good reading experience despite the fact that it’s quite sad.
2. Brave New World- Aldous Huxley
Synopsis: In a futuristic and completely different world from our own, the World Controllers have finally created the ideal society. However, our main protagonist, Bernard Marx is unhappy. He wants to be free from this perfect society and so one day he visits one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues. His life will never be the same…
This book stood out to me since the story line and characters were so far out to me. I think this novel might have been my first experience with a Utopian style setting. I give my props to Huxley for creating this new and strange world full of technologies and social oddities that are way outside of the norm (to us readers).
3. A Separate Peace – John Knowles
Synopsis: This novel tells the story of a boys boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II. The story focuses on two friends, Gene, who is more introverted and academic, while Phineas is the outgoing athlete. It explores the themes of war and friendship.
I liked how this book explores the theme of friendship and how it tackles pressing issues of war, life, and human relationships. It gets a bit intense at times, but it makes the plot even better.
4. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Synopsis: Another great dystopian novel in which a group of young British boys are stranded on an island and are forced to come to terms with their new castaway lifestyle. Who and how will they survive?
I loved this book, it’s like the classic “shipwrecked story”, but with a twist. The character relationships and human drama in this novel is what makes it’s so exciting.
5. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
Synopsis: Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is impressed by Dorian’s beauty and becomes infatuated with him, believing his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art. Dorian becomes obsessed with being young and worrying that his looks will fade, so he decides to sell his soul to ensure the portrait Basil has painted will age and not himself.
This book was really different from a lot of other books than I had read at that time. I think the reason it had stood out so much to me is because Wilde is a fantastic writer and I like how he explores the themes of gluttony and living a double life.
6. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Next – Ken Kesey
Synopsis: This novel is set in a mental ward and chronicles the life of its mental patients by our narrator, Chief. The story mainly focuses on the battle between McMurphy, who purposely gets himself admitted to the mental hospital to get out of a jail sentence, and Nurse Ratched who rules over the ward with strict control.
I could never get tired of this book! It’s got a great variety of well-developed characters. To see a more detailed review and my thoughts on the book and the movie adaptation check out my review here.
7. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz
Synopsis: Oscar Wao is different. Instead of being the ideal Dominican macho man everyone expects him, he is obsessed with all things sci-fi related and is a total bookworm And if trying to fit in, isn’t already hard enough, he has to deal with generations long fuku curse.
Probably one of my top favorite reads I have had in all of my college English classes. To see a more detailed review click here.
8. Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
Synopsis: Holden Caulfield, is our snarky and attitude filled character in “Catcher in the Rye”. He dramatically narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school.
A classic! Though Holden is has got to be one of the most arrogant characters I have ever experienced, I still managed to really enjoy reading the book. Some of the situations he gets himself in are outrageous, but it’s his so-called cynical nature, that carries the story line.
What are your top favorite books that you read in school?
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