High school Lit; it may have not been the most fashionable subject when we took it, but in hindsight, there really was something there to reading all of those dusty (and sometimes dilapidated) books we read. While some of them were boring, many of them were entertaining, smart, frightening, stirring, even a few were funny.
And while it was a bummer that we had to literally inhale the books in a short time, usually to complete some project or summer reading list, these books shouldn't be relegated to the annals of our memories simply because we read them once in our teens.
No, a lot of these reads deserve a second go; a fresh look by more mature eyes to truly appreciate some of the themes, nuances, character development. And, unlike what a lot of popular culture believes, there is still nothing more cool, sophisticated and intelligent as a well read adult.
So heres my list of must reads just in time for summer vacays, beach days, and days where its so hot, the only place you can go for cool and free entertainment is the library. Enjoy!
To Kill a Mockingbird: Harper Lee
This civil rights era story is told through the eyes of an intelligent (and some what rambunctious) daughter of an attorney tasked with defending an African American man in small town deep south.
Invisible Man: Ralph Ellison
Ellison uses invisibility as not only commentary on the plight of the unseen African American in the early 20th century, but to also address issues of individuality and identity.
The Joy Luck Club: Amy Tan
The story of the women of four families who immigrated from China discusses not only the value of history and culture, but of the deep worth of family and self.
Pride and Prejudice: Jane Austin
A novel of manners probably doesn't sound entertaining at first, but when issues of education (and who should get it) upbringing vs raising, and even morality emerge within the regal society of the British Gentry, it suddenly doesn't seem like such a bore.
The Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank
The collection of writings on young jewish girl pens while hidden away during the holocaust is sweet, endearing, and, ultimately, heartbreaking.
The Inferno: Dante Alighieri
There hasn't been a book like it written since. Dante is taken on a tour by the Roman poet Virgil through hell, witnessing the suffering of those who lived poor lives on earth.
Frankenstein: Mary Shelly
The story of a young scientist and the results of his grotesque foray into the creation of life shows the deep consequences one must face, even for the best intentions.
The Hobbit: J.R.R.Tolkien
The movies have nothing on the book. The journey of Bilbo Baggins, a very reluctant adventurer, explores the meaning friendship, identity, and fearlessness.
Their Eyes Were Watching God: Zora Neale Hurston
Originally not well received, this now well loved story shows the growth and development of a poor young African American woman in the early 20th century and how she chooses to chase her own destiny.
A Raisin in The Sun: Lorraine Hansberry
One African American family's experiences as the attempt to have a better life following the death of the head of their household.
I Know Why The Cage Bird Sings: Maya Angelou
This first in a seven book series, Maya Angelou talks strength in a time of public racism and personal drama.
Ender's Game: Orson Scott Card
The sci-fi military story is about more than epic fights and aliens, but about knowing and growing in ones own greatness and abilities and trusting your gut.
The Giver: Lois Lowry
This well loved fave in my own high school questions what society is willing to sacrifice for the comfortable illusion of order.
The Taming of the Shrew: William Shakespeare
"Though she be little, she be fierce." This comedy talks issues of misogyny, family, and romance in a hilarious King James sort of way.
Much Ado About Nothing: William Shakespeare
One of shakespeare's best comedies, this play (which is actually very clever and funny) mixes in humor with deeper elements of family, honor, politics, shame, and justice.
Thats my reading list. What books did you love in high school. Comment below!