Today is my last day of high school ever. I’ve reviewed many books on this site. In celebration and commemoration of this rite of passage, here’s a countdown of the top ten books I’ve read in high school:
10: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
I read this in 10th grade. This sci-fi classic is great because of its writing style, which remains consistently engaging and impactful throughout the book. Also, Bradbury’s book oozes with bibliophilic sentiment. What’s not to love?
9: “The Great Highway” by August Strindberg
I read this in 12th grade. I loved the ending to this play. It has to do with living up to one’s ideals, which I related to immensely. Also, it’s Strindberg’s last-ever play, so it doesn’t get much better than this.
8: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
I read this in 9th grade. This book was amazing at bringing humanity to war, in a way that showed war’s futility. In other words, it juxtaposed the humanity of the soldiers with the inhumanity of war–in the face of humanity, Remarque made war seem absolutely stupid.
7: A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov
I read this in 12th grade. I loved the anti-hero in it. He was so irreverent, and served as the prototype for the Byronic hero, and many other anti-heroes throughout history.
6: The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas
I read this in 10th grade. It’s great. I planted three trees in my backyard. I named them Athos, Porthos, and Aramis after the characters in this funny swashbuckler. That should give you an idea of how impactful this book has been on my life.
5: Confessions by Jean- Jacques Rousseau
I read this in the beginning of 11th grade, and found a kindred spirit in Rousseau. Both of us loved life and didn’t feign apathy towards it. It makes me really wish I’d known Rousseau in person, but really glad I read this book.
4: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
I read this in 11th grade. I liked the book’s development and its complexity. Instead of glorifying war, it glorified the best of humanity. Books like that are rare, and well-done books like that are even rarer. Here’s to you, Anna Karenina!
3: Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe
I read this in 11th grade. It showed me that writers can write for full orchestra. Here is my review of it.
2: Native Son by Richard Wright
I literally just finished reading it and it is amazingly well-executed. As promised, here’s the link to my full review.
1: “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare
I read it in 9th grade and then reread it in 10th grade and then again in 12th grade. Because this book can be interpreted any way you want it to be interpreted, everyone can find something within that is relatable. Also, it has amazing imagery. Read it, and you won’t be disappointed.
These books were really good, and would definitely be in my top 30:
Martin Eden (Jack London)
“Long Day’s Journey into Night” (Eugene O’Neill)
Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
Seabiscuit: An American Legend (Laura Hillenbrand)
“Death of a Salesman” (Arthur Miller)
Man’s Fate (Andre Malraux)
The Tartar Steppe (Dino Buzzati)
Jonathan Livingston, Seagull (Richard Bach)
The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
The Natural (Bernard Malamud)
The Once and Future King (T.H. White)
“The Night Thoreau Spent In Jail” (Robert E. Lee and Jerome Lawrence)
4 Plays of Chekhov (Anton Chekhov)
The Man Who Laughs (Victor Hugo)
The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
The Children of Hurin (J.R.R. Tolkien)
“Cyrano de Bergerac” (Edmund Rostand)
Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Ken Kesey)
Bullfinch’s Mythology (Thomas Bullfinch)
“The Condemned of Altona” (Jean-Paul Sartre)
The Lay of the Nibelung
This Boy’s Life (Tobias Wolff)
Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
Mortality (Christopher Hitchens)
I hope you’ve enjoyed my books. If you’ve read any books on these lists, feel free to comment below about them.