20 Books You Should Read Before Turning 20
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20 Books You Should Read Before Turning 20

Read these before you're too busy.

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girl reading

Whether you have cherished a life-long love of reading, or you just want to catch up on some must-read classics, here are 20 books (and plays) you have to read before you turn 20.

1. "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White

"Charlotte's Web" is a feel-good children's novel that discusses friendship and loss. This novel is enjoyable for both children and adults, teaches valuable lessons, and proves to be an entertaining read no matter your age.

Charlotte's Web

2. "The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe" by Edgar Allan Poe

Poe created horror stories and moving poems that shocked the people of his time, creating timeless and creepy works that continue to puzzle and terrify people today.

Edgar Allen Poe

3. "The Five People You Meet In Heaven" by Mitch Albom

This novel tells a compelling story about the death of an elderly man and his interaction with five people on his pathway to heaven. It will definitely make you wonder who your five people will be.

4. "Girl, Interrupted" by Susanna Kaysen

A thrilling novel about a woman and her year-long stay in a psychiatric facility, "Girl, Interrupted" makes insanity approachable and leaves you wondering how close you are to the breaking point. After reading the book, you should check out the movie starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie.

5. "The Giver" by Lois Lowry

"The Giver" shows the consequences of removing individuality from the world. It makes the reader treasure their uniqueness, in order to prevent the world from becoming too utilitarian.

6. "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein

In this story , Shel Silverstein uses the analogy of a child's friendship with a tree to make a commentary on mans abuse of the environment, while creating a story that pulls your heart strings.

7. The "Harry Potter" series by JK Rowling

This series is arguably the most popular and wonderful book series in modern children's literature. It creates a fantasy world and teaches the importance of individuality, family and friendship.

8. "If I Stay" by Gayle Forman

"If I Stay" is a teen novel that deals with death, finding purpose and loving yourself. It makes the readers reflect on their own life and purpose.

9. "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by William Shakespeare

This Shakespearean comedy is potentially the most comedic work by Shakespeare. It creates a story that is engaging for the audience and a timeless comedic work.

10. "1984" by George Orwell

"1984" is a novel that serves as a warning against being controlled by a supreme leader. Orwell writes with the birth of television and realizes how if unregulated technology could come to rule us.

11. "The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway

This novel captures Hemingway's simple and beautiful writing style, while telling a heartbreaking story of an man's defeat and the struggles associated with human existence.

12. "The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson" by Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson wrote poems about nature and spiritually. They show some of the best poetry the American poets have to offer.

13. "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

One of the most beautiful romance novels ever written, "Pride and Prejudice" tells one of the most romantic love stories ever written.

14. "Spring Awakening" by Steven Sater

This play deals with themes of suicide, abortion and homosexuality. The tragedy teaches the importance of education and acceptance through a story centered around teenage angst.

15. "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This children's novel is heart-warming and full of twists. Following the story of a little orphaned girl it deals with loss, letting go, and moving on.

16. "The Shining" by Stephen King

A horror novel that will scare you so much you wont be able to sleep, this story is so terrifying, it is what nightmares are made from.

17. "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

One of the most influential books of its time, "To Kill A Mockingbird" documents racism in the South and how the society enabled the racism to influence all aspects of life.

18. "Tuesdays with Morrie" by Mitch Albom

"Tuesdays with Morrie" documents Albom's experiences with his old college professor as he reaches the end of his life. The story is moving and powerful, creating work everyone should read.

19. "Where the Red Fern Grows" by Wilson Rawls

A book about a boy and his dogs, "Where the Red Fern Grows" is one of the most heart wrenching stories ever written about love and loss.

20. "Where the Sidewalk Ends" by Shel Silverstein

A book of poems, "Where the Sidewalk Ends" has some of Silverstein's best works. His happy carefree poems make your mood happier and your outlook on life brighter.

Note: As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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