16 "Assigned-Reading" Books You Loved in High School

Posted by Hayley on August 17, 2016
Remember when reading books was homework? Sometimes we wish we could travel back in time and tell our younger selves to cherish those years more. As a new batch of fresh-faced students traipse to their classrooms, let's hope they take their required reading seriously. Resist the urge to look up book summaries on the Internet, kids! It'll be worth it—even for The Old Man and the Sea. (Well, no promises on that one.)

Last week we asked on Facebook and Twitter: What was your favorite "assigned-reading" book in high school? Check out your top answers below.

The Catcher in the Rye
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To Kill a Mockingbird
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A Tale of Two Cities
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The Outsiders
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Brave New World
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The Great Gatsby
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Pride and Prejudice
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Wuthering Heights
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Things Fall Apart
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The Handmaid's Tale
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The Martian Chronicles
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The Lord of the Flies
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The Picture of Dorian Gray
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The Good Earth
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Did we miss your favorites? Were you the rare high school student who adored The Old Man and the Sea? Share your "assigned-reading" thoughts in the comments!

Comments Showing 1-50 of 196 (196 new)

message 1: by Asagi (new)

Asagi At school I had a lot of Gabriel Gracia Marquez books, like two for year (and I didn't like any of them).

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

The books i remember studding for my GCSE's (2 years ago) were...

Of Mice And Men
An Inspector Calls

The rest was just poetry. I did also study Romeo And Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing and Millions pre GCSE.

message 3: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Vaught Dorian Gray <3

message 4: by Sara (last edited Aug 17, 2016 03:04PM) (new)

Sara Jesus At school I read Fernando Pessoa, Saramago, Dickens, Dumas and other classics writers. In these books the only I read in my high school times was " The tale of two cities"

message 5: by Will (new)

Will Night by Elie Wiesel. Martian Chronicles wasnt on our H.S. required reading, but ive read it a few times. and yes, i loved the Old Man and the Sea; in fact, i re-read last year.

message 6: by Marsha (new)

Marsha Copeman-smith A Tree grows in Brooklyn and Cue for Treason were two assigned books I enjoyed.

message 7: by Agnes (new)

Agnes DiPietrantonio I read The Picture of Dorian Gray at least once every five years. It takes on a new meaning as I get older.

Zombieslayer⚡Alienhunter I've read and loved The Outsiders, but it wasn't assigned to me.
I was assigned Tex, which was how I wound up loving Hinton so much later.

I was assigned the Orwell duo, which I hated.

My favorite school-assigned books are Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, Alice Walker's The Color Purple and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.
I also read Mark Baker's Nam for a history course and I loved it.

message 9: by Jill (new)

Jill Milne I didn't really appreciate the books we had to read at school though I enjoyed The Grest Gatsby. I remember we had to read The Day Of The Triffids and really struggling with it

message 10: by NattyD (new)

NattyD Crime and Punishment completely altered my perspective on life.

message 11: by Laura (last edited Aug 17, 2016 03:19PM) (new)

Laura We had To Kill a Mockingbird, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer nights dream, Macbeth, Othello, Beloved, Northanger Abbey, and Wuthering Heights. loved to kill a mockingbird, beloved and northanger abbey! Still got Beloved on my bookcase complete with annotations!

message 12: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte Tracey The book I most loved reading from school was The Giver by Lois Lowry. I still reread it on occasion, my sister has read it, I got my mom into reading because of that book, and now I'm trying to get my dad to read it (he's more of a true movies guy, but I think I can crack him).

message 13: by Danni (new)

Danni Of Mice and Men and Flowers for Algernon were assigned reading and I loved them. Still a couple of my favorites!

message 14: by Elliot A (new)

Elliot A I don't think my high school had the greatest English curriculum, since we were only assigned to read three of the above 16 books. I find that rather sad :(

message 15: by Mitchell (new)

Mitchell Ray Animal farm. I loved it.

message 16: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca W. Chester Of Mice and Men and A Separate Peace. Both were phenomenal, and I never would have read them had they not been assigned.

message 17: by Alissa (last edited Aug 17, 2016 03:53PM) (new)

Alissa I was assigned Animal Farm by my Sophomore English teacher. After we'd read the book and written a paper analyzing it, we were shown the movie. And a very trippy movie at that! Charlotte's Web it was NOT!

Also was assigned Ethan Frome by another teacher, which I hated.

message 18: by Bill (new)

Bill Catch-22. I remember it being very difficult to get into, but after about a 100 pages, I was deeply into it. Remains my favorite book to this day.

message 19: by Lori (new)

Lori I don't see Of Mice and Men, Grapes of Wrath, Old Man and the Sea, Ordinary People, Flowers for Algernon... I am sure I missing some others.

Would you believe the first time I read 1984 and To Kill a Mockingbird was as an adult? I moved twice in High School though so maybe I just missed it?!

And I still haven't read The Great Gatsby. That was another one I missed due to the move.

message 20: by Jack (new)

Jack Pramitte How to remove this from my homepage?

message 21: by Marian (new)

Marian Asagi wrote: "At school I had a lot of Gabriel Gracia Marquez books, like two for year (and I didn't like any of them)."

This seems to be a trend. I am much older, so i didnt have to read his works.

message 22: by Rachael (new)

Rachael Two of my favorites are missing:
Of Mice and Men and Flowers for Algernon

message 23: by Marieskinner (new)

Marieskinner Alas Babylon, Rebecca and Mrs. Mike

message 24: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Bonner My favorite book of all time is The Outsiders. I read it in high school as required reading. I've read it every year since I've graduated from high school in 1973 and will start reading it again this year in November on my 61st birthday!

message 25: by Keiry (new)

Keiry Ko Pride and Prejudice <3

message 26: by Amy Rhoda (new)

Amy Rhoda  Brown We read Black Like Me in high school (20 years ago) and I honestly think it changed my life. Even though the way the book was researched and the fact of its publication is dubious, it opened my 15-year-old eyes to the kind of crap that people who deal with racism face every single day.

message 27: by Kendall (last edited Aug 17, 2016 08:04PM) (new)

Kendall Moore Hamlet was hands down the best required reading in my High School experience.

message 28: by Sandy (new)

Sandy We read 1984, the Outsiders and Les Miserables in 1974 Loved Le Miz then and when I read it again as an adult.

message 29: by James (new)

James Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain

message 30: by Lynn (new)

Lynn Crime and Punishment was my favorite. And Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

message 31: by Suzanne (last edited Aug 17, 2016 05:34PM) (new)

Suzanne The ones I read in school and recall enjoying are Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies. The most awful was Alvin Toffler's Future Shock and boy did I hate reading Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. I was not a Steinbeck fan either.

message 32: by Karen (new)

Karen Ivanhoe, A Separate Peace and All the King's Men of all things! Loved them all! Liked Spoon River Anthology too.

Hated (still not a fan) Shakespeare!

message 34: by Morgan (new)

Morgan According to this list, I only read Macbeth and the Great Gatsby in high school. The other books I either haven't read yet or I read after college. In high school my favorite on this list was Gatsby, but overall I still like Wuthering Heights a lot (even though I read that after college).

message 35: by Megan (last edited Aug 17, 2016 06:27PM) (new)

Megan In 11th grade, I had to read mice of men by John Steinbeck

message 36: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Hoenig My favorite high school read was The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. Re-reading it years later it was a very different (but still wonderful) experience. Also loved A Tale of Two Cities.

message 37: by Kathy (new)

Kathy I actually liked many of these books, although I was not assigned all of them. I hated having to read David Copperfield, just could not get through it. We read lots of Shakespeare though and it seemed we had to write reflections on every single line...grrr! I liked Portrait of Dorian Gray, 1984, The Great Gatsby, and The Good Earth.

message 38: by Debra (new)

Debra Sambuco My favorite "assigned reading" book in high school was The Once and Future King. I also loved The Martian Chronicles, but that one was never assigned reading for me.

message 39: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Two Solitudes by Hugh MacLennan , Barometer Rising by Hugh MacLennan & The Diviners by Margaret Laurence

for a class on Canadian literature. Still favourites.

message 40: by Rut (new)

Rut Our Teacher in 7th grade let us choose what to read (loved him for that). Still he asked us to include these in our list:
The Diary of a young girl by Anne Frank, Heart - A school's boy journal, The mysterious island by Jules Verne.
These are some others I do not see in your list above and which I was told to read as a young student:
Twenty thousand leagues under the sea, The Secret Garden, Around the world in Eigthy Days...

Weird, I was one of those rare students who adore The old Man and the Sea. I do not why, but I felt related to it. Maybe because of my grandpa, who lived with us back then.

message 41: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Canfield There were very few assigned books that I liked, and some I despised. I hated "Of Mice and Men" and especially hated "Lord of the Flies." Most assigned books and those two especially are so male oriented that I couldn't relate to them or even get interested in them. I have read some classics on my own that I liked a lot. Robinson Caruso and Jane Eyre for starters. My sixth-grade teacher read us some great books: "A Wrinkle in Time" and "Gulliver's Travels."

message 42: by Mary (new)

Mary Remember in honors senior English being assigned Canterbury Tales. We had to memorize the Prologue in the original Olde English and then recite it for a grade. We were assigned certain tales to read but our very wise teacher said "I can't assign you the Low Earthy Tales to read. These are tales #......" and of course we read those first. It was the 70's. Great fun!

imthedoctorbasicallyfunreads I've read 7 from this list, 6 were assigned reading, but I picked up Dorian Gray on my own. The other books are on my TBR.

message 44: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca I knew The Outsiders would be on the list. I remember reading it in 7th grade English.

message 45: by Robin (new)

Robin Henrie I would definitely add Catch 22!

message 46: by Arta (new)

Arta It's interesting how students are "required" to read these books in school here and some people are ungrateful and don't appreciate it, whereas where I went to school, I had to read these furtively!

message 47: by Greg (new)

Greg Dill Of Mice and Men was one we read in high school and one that I actually enjoyed.

message 48: by Miri (new)

Miri I loved several of the ones that made the list, but I'll always remember Rebecca as the only book that my entire freshman English class liked.

message 49: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Jill wrote: "I didn't really appreciate the books we had to read at school though I enjoyed The Grest Gatsby. I remember we had to read The Day Of The Triffids and really struggling with it"

I agree, I feel like now that I have experienced more of the world and am more mature I actually understand what the books are getting at. I tried in high school but often had to cliff note it just to get the basic premise of the story...

message 50: by skw (new)

skw I loved The Scarlet Letter. It taught me a lot about the power of judgemental people and how they can be wrong.

I really tried to read Moby Dick, but about 1/3 the way through it, I hit a sentence that rambled on for 3 pages. That's when I quit.

What I remember most is that by the time I got to high school and was assigned all these things to read, I had already read most of them. My grandmother had more books than bookshelves and never stopped me from picking up a book.

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