High school summer reading lists are legendary. Many of us, however, managed to make it out of high school without being assigned some essential summer reading titles. This summer, why not pick up a book from this list? These books are so entertaining, they will make you wonder why you ever dreaded summer reading assignments.
'To Kill a Mockingbird' - Courtesy Harper Perennial
To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee is set in Alabama in the 1930s and is told from a child's viewpoint. The story deals with race, outcasts and growing up. It is a quick, well-written book that is easy to enjoy.
'Their Eyes Were Watching God' - Courtesy HarperCollins
Their Eyes Were Watching God
is a sensual novel about an African-American woman in rural Florida that was first published in 1937. While it is an important telling of the black experience, it is also a story of love and strength with a voice that will draw you in and hook you.
'1984' - Courtesy Penguin
is a gripping, terrifying and suspenseful novel that is as relevant today as when it was first written. This is definitely one of the best books I have ever read.
'Brave New World' - Courtesy HarperCollins
Brave New World
are often lumped together on reading lists, although they paint very different pictures of what the future may hold. Brave New World
is funny, clever and will help you better understand a lot of cultural references.
'The Great Gatsby' - Courtesy Simon & Schuster
The Great Gatsby
is a short book about the American dream with great characters and descriptions of life (for the wealthy) in the 1920s.
'Dracula' - Courtesy Penguin
Read the book that has inspired countless other books, movies and TV shows. Dracula
is written through letters and diary entries, and will make you feel like an intimate player in a foreign world.
'Les Miserables' - Courtesy Knopf
Although I am normally not a fan of abridging novels, I admit that I first read an abridged translation of Les Miserables
. Even abridged, it was a great book and became one of my all time favorites. Whether you try the full 1,500 pages or take a 500 page version, this is a must read story of love, redemption and revolution.
'The Grapes of Wrath' - Courtesy Penguin
In high school, half my class loved The Grapes of Wrath
and half hated it. I loved it. The Grapes of Wrath
is the story of a family during the Great Depression, but the descriptions and symbolic imagery tell a much bigger tale. This is definitely a classic in American literature.
'The Things They Carried' - Courtesy Random House
The Things They Carried
by Tim O'Brien is a collection of short stories that creates a bigger story. O'Brien writes about the Vietnam War and how it affected a group of soldiers. The writing is excellent, and the book is powerful.
'A Prayer for Owen Meany' - Courtesy Random House
Although high school summer reading is often classics, great works of contemporary literature often make the cut as well. A Prayer for Owen Meany
is one of those books. You will not be sorry if you add it to your summer reading list.