15 Classic Books Everyone Should Read Right Now
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15 Classic Books Everyone Should Read Right Now

Because curling up with a good book is just wonderful.

15 Classic Books Everyone Should Read Right Now
Oliver Sacks

Growing up, I hated to read, especially during school when the teachers would force the class to read books. It wasn't until I was out of high school when I realized just how magical books are. Not only do books take you to a new world, they open your mind to discover creativity and imagination. I wish I could have appreciated the books my teachers gave me to read. Summer is the perfect time to catch up on those books that you've been meaning to read.

1. "To Kill A Mockingbird" - Harper Lee

Truthfully, this was a book I really didn't want to read, but I did because it was a requirement to read in my junior year of high school. It looked bland and boring. I was wrong. The story captures innocence of childhood, while also focusing on a larger problem throughout the story. What is so interesting about this book is the way the author intertwines the charming naivete of the children with the adult problems throughout the novel.

2. "The Great Gatsby" - F. Scott Fitzgerald

To be honest, I didn't really like the Great Gatsby the first time I read it as a sophomore in high school. I didn't fully get it or appreciate it. It wasn't until I decided to reread it this year that I fell in love with the beautiful poetic writing style of F. Scott Fitzgerald. I was finally able to fully understand the message and symbols in the story. It is a story about hope and greed and what this virtue and sin respectively can change a person.

3. The "Harry Potter" Series - J.K. Rowling

Growing up in a strict Catholic family, I was never exposed to the magical world of Harry Potter. I finally decided to sit down and watch all 8 movies during my winter break sophomore year of college. I instantly fell in love. I then read all 7 books and fell more in love. I wish I had read the books first before watching the movies so that I could better understand some of the parts in the books that didn't make it to the movie. Harry Potter inspired me to write my own stories and it took me to a new world full of adventures.

4. "The Diary Of A Young Girl" - Anne Frank

There is no book, in my opinion, more heartbreaking than this one. However, everyone needs to read it to get a unique perspective of what it was like to be a victim in Nazi Germany. Anne Frank is a first hand account of what the Jews went through in Nazi Germany during World War II. Anne Frank appeals to young readers due to the fact that she, herself, was a child. Anne Frank's diary transports you back in time so that you can almost feel the horrors that she went through.

5. "The Book Thief" - Markus Zusak

I LOVED reading this book junior year of high school. There were parts in the book that made me want to laugh, cry, and throw the book at the wall in anger. This book has the interesting twist of being narrated by Death himself. This story follows a young girl and the struggles she faces as she grows up with a foster family in Germany during World War II. The ending, while not exactly happy, is completely moving and very poignant, and I’m not going to go into specifics for fear of ruining it for you.

6. "The Outsiders" - S.E. Hinton

This book was the highlight of my 7th grade year. This a story that portrays how difficult a person's life can be, and how different a person's life can be from someone else's life. It's a book that truly bridges the gap between the rich and the poor. It really looks inside people's hearts, and forces us to stop judging outsiders all the time.

7. "Lord of the Flies" - William Golding

Lord of the Flies is the kind of book that was hard to put down because I wanted to know what would happen next to the boys who were stranded on the remote island. While parts of the story are disturbing and intense, this novel has symbolic meanings and allegories that you just can't ignore. Every event in the story is relevant to the allegorical message. Some of these symbols were so subtle that it was a challenge for me to decipher their meanings when I first read this story junior year of high school.

8. "Catcher In The Rye" - J.D. Salinger

In all honesty, I would have never read this book if it hadn't been a requirement in my high school English class. This book is associated with several crazy incidents. For example, Mark David Chapman sat down and started reading this book immediately after he shot and killed ex-Beatle John Lennon. Holden Caulfield is one of the most intensely hated literary characters of all time. When I read it senior year of high school, I didn’t remember many details, but I do remember becoming conscious of something new and strange. As disturbing and strange as this novel is, people, especially teens, can learn and take something away from reading it. One of the most overwhelming elements that teenagers can learn is the need to forge some type of healthy connection with others.

9. "13 Reasons Why" - Jay Asher

Get ready for an emotional rollercoaster with this one. I didn't read the book "13 Reasons Why" until after I finished the Netflix series. And to be honest, I liked the Netflix series better, BUT the book is still so good and very important. Both the series and the novel opened my eyes to how one little thing can build and snowball out of control which can drastically impact a person's life. It is a great novel for high-schoolers, and I highly recommend it.

10. "The Five People You Meet In Heaven" - Mitch Albom

I LOVED this book so much. It was probably my favorite book I read freshman year of high school. I actually had a race with my friend to see who could finish the book first. It was an easy read and I loved all the symbolism and connections throughout the story that really brought everything together in the end. This story really shows how one little instance can really impact someone else's life.

11. "Charlotte's Webb" - E.B White

You're probably thinking, "'Charlotte's Webb?' That's a children's book! Why should I waste my time reading a book I read back in 3rd grade?" Despite being written for 9-year-olds, this book can teach you many things. It teaches you the importance of having a really good friend… even if he or she is different. It shows that even if we don’t believe in ourselves, one person’s belief in us can make all the difference. It teaches us that even if we don’t win all the prizes, we can still be extraordinary.

12. The "Hunger Games" Trilogy - Suzanne Collins

I read the first Hunger Games novel after I took my OGT test sophomore year of high school. I could not put the book down. It was such a captivating and compelling book. I loved the fact that Katniss Everdeen was a strong female protagonist. The story line is quite shocking and unique in the fact that it is about children killing each other in order to survive a televised "reality TV" show. The rules: kill or be killed. I mean, this book series was what really got me into reading. And any book that can make a teenager love to read is worth giving a shot.

13. "In Cold Blood" - Truman Capote

Despite the disturbing true story behind this novel, I loved reading this book in my senior year of high school. I loved how this book dissected the psychological aspects of what makes a person murder an innocent family of four in the late 1950s.

14. "Night" - Eli Wiesel

I first read this short novel in 7th grade, but I decided to read it again this year. It was a lot more disturbing, sad, and heartbreaking than I remembered. It really captures what people went through during the Holocaust.

15. "Perks Of Being A Wallflower" - Stephen Chbosky

Like some of the other novels on this list, I watched the movie Perks Of Being A Wallflower before reading the book. This book takes a look inside a teenage boy's mind as he deals with depression, friendship, loneliness and heartache. It is also a reminder of things that happen in high school that we may not be able to change, but we can make the best of it. I think one of the best things about this book is the fact that there are so many quotes that just resonate with you when the book is finished. For example, probably the most popular one from the book:

"We accept the love we think we deserve."

Reading is so beneficial for anyone because it takes you to new worlds, teaches you lessons, and can even teach you about yourself. One simple book can hold all of the answers or it can give you the ability to ask new questions.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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