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Classics From High School English to Read or Reread

Raise your hand if you have a few literary blind-spots – those classic books that you know you should have read, but for whatever reason have not. Fortunately, there’s no time like the present to remedy those blind-spots. Here are a few of those high school classics you may have skimmed the first time around, but most definitely deserve a second look.

  1. 1
    Wuthering Heights Book Cover Picture
    Wuthering Heights Book Cover Picture

    Wuthering Heights

    by Emily Bronte

    Wuthering Heights was Emily Brontë’s only novel — a real tragedy given the pathos and insight it contained. As a tale of complex relationships, lurid passions, and vengeance, this novel shocked readers upon its initial publication, but has since become an unquestioned classic. Between its well-drawn characters and vivid imaginary, it’s easy to see why.
    Wuthering Heights Book Cover Picture
    Wuthering Heights Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $8.00

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  2. 2
    Lord of the Flies Book Cover Picture
    Lord of the Flies Book Cover Picture

    Lord of the Flies

    by William Golding

    While it’s a necessary read for younger readers, the themes that underline Lord of the Flies only deepen when revisited with fresh eyes. While the violence can be shocking, particularly given that it takes place almost entirely between children, the themes of the corrupting influence of power and the potentially innate savagery lurking within human nature are both unsettling and profound when revisited with an adult perspective.
    Lord of the Flies Book Cover Picture
    Lord of the Flies Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.00

    Also available from:

  3. 3
    The Grapes of Wrath Book Cover Picture
    The Grapes of Wrath Book Cover Picture

    The Grapes of Wrath

    by John Steinbeck

    John Steinbeck was inarguably one of the most gifted storytellers of the twentieth century and The Grapes of Wrath was his masterpiece. It can be easy for our high school selves to overlook, but this sprawling and award-winning tale of the Great Depression, poverty, and family is an extraordinary and moving read.
    The Grapes of Wrath Book Cover Picture
    The Grapes of Wrath Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $18.00

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  4. 4
    Go Tell It on the Mountain Book Cover Picture
    Go Tell It on the Mountain Book Cover Picture

    Go Tell It on the Mountain

    by James Baldwin

    James Baldwin’s 1953 semi-autobiographical novel is told through the voice of a fourteen-year-old minister’s son in 1935’s Harlem. According to Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain is “the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else.” It is an essential read for its take on spirituality, sexuality, and morality.
    Go Tell It on the Mountain Book Cover Picture
    Go Tell It on the Mountain Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $15.00

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  5. 5
    The Outsiders Book Cover Picture
    The Outsiders Book Cover Picture

    The Outsiders

    by S. E. Hinton

    The Outsiders is a young adult classic. It’s a surprisingly nuanced portrayal of socioeconomic inequality told through the perspective of rival teenagers in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Given that S.E. Hinton wrote the novel when she was just sixteen, the strength and surprising depth of its narrative is all the more impressive. This one laid the groundwork for a lot of the YA fiction that followed in its considerable wake.
    The Outsiders Book Cover Picture
    The Outsiders Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $15.00

    Also available from:

  6. 6
    Beloved Book Cover Picture
    Beloved Book Cover Picture

    Beloved

    by Toni Morrison

    More recent among the classics set, published in 1987, Toni Morrison’s Beloved immediately found its place as an essential addition to the American classic canon. This Pulitzer-winning tale, set during the 1860s, brings to life a former slave named Sethe and the ghost that haunts her.
    Beloved Book Cover Picture
    Beloved Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $28.00

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  7. 7
    The Scarlet Letter Book Cover Picture
    The Scarlet Letter Book Cover Picture

    The Scarlet Letter

    by Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale of sin, guilt, and vengeance is a classic of American literature. Unfortunately, a fresh read with adult eyes also shines a light on its continued relevance, particularly in the Me Too era. The realization that we aren’t far removed from the double standard at the heart of Hawthorne’s novel, now well over a century old, adds an entirely new and devastating layer to the story.
    The Scarlet Letter Book Cover Picture
    The Scarlet Letter Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $8.00

    Also available from:

  8. 8
    Moby-Dick Book Cover Picture
    Moby-Dick Book Cover Picture

    Moby-Dick

    by Herman Melville

    For all of its narrative strength, there are portions of Moby-Dick that can be more than a little difficult to get through, and they’re likely the same ones you skimmed in high school. Melville spends dozens of pages digging into the minutia of whaling and whale anatomy. As unnecessary as they may initially seem, they’re nonetheless a crucial narrative device for taking readers into the purely obsessive mind of Captain Ahab.
    Moby-Dick Book Cover Picture
    Moby-Dick Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $20.00

    Also available from:

  9. 9
    Animal Farm Book Cover Picture
    Animal Farm Book Cover Picture

    Animal Farm

    by George Orwell

    1984 tends to get most of the attention when it comes to Orwell, and rightly so, but Animal Farm is just as fascinating and nearly as devastating. You can also read it in an afternoon. Orwell’s allegorical exploration of the corrupting influence of power and the potential dangers of populism is biting satire at its very best.
    Animal Farm Book Cover Picture
    Animal Farm Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $20.00

    Also available from:

  10. 10
    Great Expectations Book Cover Picture
    Great Expectations Book Cover Picture

    Great Expectations

    by Charles Dickens

    Great Expectations may be the most Dickensian of Dickens’s novels and as a result it can be pretty easy to get lost in the narrative weeds. Even still, this coming-of-age tale is a fascinating examination of the social landscape of nineteenth-century England, and as a coming-of-age tale is second to none. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it features some of Charles Dickens’s best characters.
    Great Expectations Book Cover Picture
    Great Expectations Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.00

    Also available from:

  11. 11
    The Count of Monte Cristo Book Cover Picture
    The Count of Monte Cristo Book Cover Picture

    The Count of Monte Cristo

    by Alexandre Dumas

    There are few tales of revenge and redemption that can match the daunting complexity of The Count of Monte Cristo. The decades-spanning story of Edmond Dantes and his quest for vengeance features a cavalcade of characters and side-plots that can be dizzying to follow. It’s also a thrilling adventure that distills everything that made Dumas such a captivating writer.
    The Count of Monte Cristo Book Cover Picture
    The Count of Monte Cristo Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.00

    Also available from:

  12. 12
    Pride and Prejudice Book Cover Picture
    Pride and Prejudice Book Cover Picture

    Pride and Prejudice

    by Jane Austen

    We’ll take any excuse to re-read Jane Austen. If you’ve not yet experienced the joy that is her second work, Pride and Prejudice, take this moment to get to know Elizabeth Bennet in all her coming-of-age, lesson-learning glory.
    Pride and Prejudice Book Cover Picture
    Pride and Prejudice Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $8.00

    Also available from:

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