As students head back to school this fall, the BookBub team couldn’t help but feel a little nostalgic for our own schooldays. Reminiscing took us back to our high school English class and those required reading lists that delighted our inner bookworms.
Besides being classics, there’s a reason these books were required reading: they dictate lessons in empathy, strength, individualism, morality, and humor, amongst others. It is because of these lessons that they’re worth reading again and again, even when you’re long graduated from high school.
In the spirit of the season, below are our top 11 picks for books you should reread from high school. Which books would you add to the list?
1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Why you should reread it: “Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets,” writes Lee. He reminds us to follow our moral compass, no matter the situation.
2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Why you should reread it: Jay Gatsby’s tragic demise proves that money can’t buy happiness, win friends, or influence people. But his lavish parties are still fun to imagine.
3. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Why you should reread it: In high school, you were probably too busy decoding Shakespeare’s 16th century language to grasp its nuances. But now that you know the plot, you are free to enjoy the beautiful imagery, subtle humor, and lustful love story.
4. Night by Elie Wiesel
Why you should reread it: Wiesel’s memoir of his time spent in German concentration camps during World War II captures humanity’s ability to persevere in the most hopeless situations.
5. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Why you should reread it: What does it mean to be successful? In Death of a Salesman, Miller explores the risks that lie in measuring our success against the success of others.
6. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Why you should reread it: Full of abstract themes and symbolism, Vonngeut’s anti-war novel can be revisited over and over again, each time with a new revelation.
7. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Why you should reread it: Janie Crawford’s struggle to find herself through her relationships resonates with anyone who has dated. As a bonus, Hurston’s prose is beautiful and captivating.
8. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Why you should reread it: Kafka’s strange tale of a man who transforms into an insect serves as a lesson to treat others the way you want to be treated (even if others happen to turn into bugs).
9. The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell
Why you should reread it: What differentiates humans from animals? This battle between hunter and hunted shows us the role empathy plays in our lives.
10. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Why you should reread it: Much more than a coming-of-age story, Plath’s poignant, semi-autobiographical novel illustrates the importance of maintaining a sense of individuality.
11. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Why you should reread it: Who doesn’t love a good love story?
What books from your high school days would you add to the list?