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High School Classics

Classic novels usually assigned in high school!

May 24, 2023

Check out one of these classic books usually assigned in high school!

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Maya Angelou

The author and poet recalls the anguish of her childhood in Arkansas and her adolescence in northern slums.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale

Margaret Atwood

A chilling look at the near future presents the story of Offred, a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, once the United States, an oppressive world where women are no longer allowed to read and are valued only as long as they are viable for reproduction.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury

An anniversary edition, featuring a new introduction by the author, follows the classic tale of one man’s experience of reawakening in a world beset by oppression and censorship in which books have been outlawed and reading is punishable by death.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho

A fable about undauntingly following one’s dream, listening to one’s heart, and reading life’s omens, features dialogue between a boy and an unnamed being.

Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Heart Of Darkness

Joseph Conrad

Features the English seaman Marlow who tells the story of his time as a riverboat captain for a trading company on the Congo, specifically his intense interest in investigating the mysterious Kurtz, an ivory-procurement agent with almost godlike status.

A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

A Tale Of Two Cities

Charles Dickens

Presents Dickens’ classic novel of love, courage, and sacrifice set against the cataclysmic events of the French Revolution.

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison

A Black man’s search for success and the American dream leads him out of college to Harlem and a growing sense of personal rejection and social invisibility.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald

The story of the mysteriously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank

The Diary Of A Young Girl

Anne Frank

An uncut edition of Anne Frank’s diary includes entries originally omitted by her father and provides insight into Anne’s relationship with her mother.

Lord Of The Flies by William Golding

Lord Of The Flies

William Golding

The classic study of human nature which depicts the degeneration of a group of schoolboys marooned on a desert island.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter was originally published in 1850 and was a bestseller at the time. This powerful American story of secret love and sin, of spiritual hypocrisy and moral courage, and of female bravery during a time when women were rarely respected, resonated with readers then and continues to do so now.

Beowulf by Seamus Heaney


Seamus Heaney

The Nobel Prizewinning Irish poet presents a faithful, new translation of the AngloSaxon epic chronicling the heroic adventures of Beowulf, the Scandinavian warrior who saves his people from the ravages of the monster Grendel and Grendel’s mother.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller


Joseph Heller

Set in the closing months of World War II in an American bomber squadron off the coast of Italy, Catch-22 is the story of a bombardier named Yossarian who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he has never even met keep trying to kill him.

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

The Outsiders

S. E. Hinton

The struggle of three brothers to stay together after their parents’ death and their quest for identity among the conflicting values of their adolescent society.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini

Traces the unlikely friendship of a wealthy Afghan youth and a servant’s son, in a tale that spans the final days of Afghanistan’s monarchy through the atrocities of the present day.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Zora Neale Hurston

When independent Janie Crawford returns home, her small African-American community begins to buzz with gossip about the outcome of her affair with a younger man, in a novel set in the 1930s South.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley

Huxley’s vision of the future in this, his astonishing 1931 novel Brave New World, a world of tomorrow in which capitalist civilization has been reconstituted through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering, where the people are genetically designed to be passive, consistently useful to the ruling class.

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

The Metamorphosis

Franz Kafka

When Gregor Samsa awakens one morning, he discovers that he has changed into a giant dung beetle.

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

A Separate Peace

John Knowles

An American classic and great bestseller for over thirty years, A Separate Peace is timeless in its description of adolescence during a period when the entire country was losing its innocence to World War II.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill A Mockingbird

Harper Lee

The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man’s struggle for justice, in this Pulitzer Prize-winning classic that has been translated into more than 40 languages.

Death Of A Salesman by Arthur Miller

Death Of A Salesman

Arthur Miller

An unsuccessful traveling salesman finally confronts, in his early sixties, his shattered dreams.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

The Bluest Eye

Toni Morrison

The story of Pecola Breedlove profiles an eleven-year-old black girl growing up in an America that values blue-eyed blondes and the tragedy that results from her longing to be accepted.

1984 by George Orwell


George Orwell

Portrays life in a future time when a totalitarian government watches over all citizens and directs all activities.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm

George Orwell

A satire on totalitarianism features farm animals that overthrow their human owner and set up their own government, only to develop into an equally corrupt society.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar

Sylvia Plath

This extraordinary work–echoing Plath’s own experiences as a rising writer/editor in the early 1950s–chronicles the nervous breakdown of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, successful, but slowly going under, and maybe for the last time.

All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

All Quiet On The Western Front

Erich Maria Remarque

The testament of Paul Baumer, who enlists with his classmates in the German army of World War I, illuminates the savagery and futility of war.

The Catcher In The Rye by J. D. Salinger

The Catcher In The Rye

J. D. Salinger

Ever since it was first published in 1951, this novel has been the coming-of-age story against which all others are judged. Read and cherished by generations, the story of Holden Caulfield is truly one of America’s literary treasures. Salinger’s classic coming-of-age story portrays one young man’s funny and poignant experiences with life, love, and sex.

One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

One of the most chilling novels ever written about the oppression of totalitarian regimes–and the first to open Western eyes to the terrors of Stalin’s prison camps, this book allowed Solzhenitsyn, who later became Russia’s conscience in exile, to challenge the brutal might of the Soviet Union.

The Grapes Of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Grapes Of Wrath

John Steinbeck

Depicts the hardships and suffering endured by the Joads as they journey from Oklahoma to California during the Depression.

Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck

Of Mice And Men

John Steinbeck

Laborers in California’s dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie’s unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.

Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain

A feisty young boy fakes his own death to escape his abusive father and heads off down the Mississippi River on a raft with his newfound friend Jim, a runaway slave.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Or, The Children’s Crusade, A Duty-Dance With Death

Kurt Vonnegut

An accessible paperback edition of a popular classic is a satirical social analysis that follows the haphazard life experiences of a man who is abducted by aliens and rendered a prisoner of war during the 1945 bombing of Dresden.

Night by Elie Wiesel


Elie Wiesel

A new translation of the autobiographical account of the author’s survival as a teenager in Nazi death camps seeks to preserve the author’s original intent, in a volume that includes the author’s 1986 Nobel Peace Prize presentation and acceptance speeches as well as a preface on his passionate dedication to raising awareness about the human capacity for cruelty.