16 Books Every Canadian Kid Read In High School
High school was definitely an interesting time for most of us to say the least. It was filled with cliques, the struggles of being a teenager and tons of drama. Some people floated through these years effortlessly but for most of us, high school was a pretty unpleasant time.
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Most of couldn't wait to escape the tiny halls of our home town high schools and move onto bigger and better things. No matter how eager we were to leave high school behind it's sometimes nice to look back and feel that nostalgia kick in.
So, I decided to head over to Indigo yesterday and find all the books that I remember reading in high school. And I have to say guys, I felt a little sentimental for my high school years again! Hopefully you all feel the same way flipping through this list.
1984 // George Orwell
1984 was one of those classics that we all had to read in high school that probably changed a lot of our world views. It was a dystopian world that was set in a perpetual war zone with "Big Brother" watching everyone's every move.
This book really made us think about government surveillance in the real world and how Orwell's dystopian setting may not be that far off.
Of Mice And Men // John Steinbeck
This classic novel tells the story of George Milton and Lennie Small, both migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression. Though it's criticized for it's vulgar and offensive language it's still taught in many high schools because it deals with themes such as dreams, loneliness, companionship and human interactions.
Lord Of The Flies // William Golding
This book is the definition of a page-turner. I read this book in 9th grade English class and I remember how much I loved it. The book focuses on a group of boys that become stranded on an island and basically things go very far south from there.
This book forces you to face the most primal impulses of humanity when civilization and social organization is stripped away.
Catcher In The Rye // J.D Salinger
This novel is another page-turner that I absolutely loved. It follows the protagonist Holden Caulfield through his teenage rebellions and adventures. The novel focuses on Holden's struggles with feelings of isolation, loss and companionship.
The best part of this book was the language that Holden uses calling people "phony", saying he has to "shoot the bull" or "chew the fat" with people.
Hamlet // Shakespeare
You can't get through high school without reading at least a little bit of Shakespeare. Hamlet was a classic because of the dramatic tragedy that the play faces. Prince Hamlet's is visited by his father's ghost, King Hamlet, who invokes him to get revenge of his uncle Claudius for his murder in order to seize the thrown.
The Great Gatsby // F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby is a classic novel that some people were required to read in high school but everyone should be required to read in life. It's a dramatic tale of the mysterious millionaire, Jay Gatsby and his obsession with the beautiful Daisy Buchanan.
This novel takes you through roaring parties from the 20s, explores the unrequited love story of Jay and Daisy, and ends in a dramatic death of Gatsby himself.
The Book Of Negroes // Lawrence Hill
This award-winning novel was actually written by a Canadian author, Lawrence Hill. The heart-wrenching novel follows a young girl back in the 1700s who is kidnapped from her home in West Africa and forced into slavery.
Catch 22 // Joseph Heller
This unique novel follows multiple characters describing events from each of their points of views. The book is set back in World War 2 and mainly follows Captain John Yossarian of the U.S army.
The novel focuses on the struggle of these airmen in the war to fulfill their duties, using the term "Catch 22" to describe a way out of their duties if they are mentally unfit.
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To Kill A Mockingbird // Harper Lee
This award-winning novel is one we all had to read at some point in our high school careers. To Kill A Mockingbird tackles serious issues of rape and racial inequality with a light-hearted rhetoric that makes a deep impact on anyone who reads it.
The Outsiders // S.E Hinton
This a classic coming-of-age novel that Hinton actually published when she was only 18 years old! It follows the characters Ponyboy and Johnny after they accidentally commit a murder at the beginning of the novel and have to run from the police.
Animal Farm // George Orwell
This influential novel follows the events leading up to the Russian Revolution and then after into the era of Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union. This book is very politically motivated even though it's told from the perspective of farm animals.
Wuthering Heights // Emily Bronte
This book is Emily Bronte's only novel but is considered one of the most classic novels in English literature, and for good reason. It follows Heathcliff, the orphaned boy taken in by Mr. Earnshaw, Nelly Dean the servant to the Linton's, Catherine Earnshaw and the Linton family.
The character associations are complicated but once you catch on you won't be able to put this book down!
Macbeth // Shakespeare
Another famous tragedy written by Shakespeare, Macbeth is a popular choice for high school curriculums to teach. It follows the story of Macbeth who receives a prophecy that he will one day become King of Scotland. From then on he is spurred by political ambitions to make this prophecy a reality.
Macbeth commits a murder to take the throne and is then wracked with guilt over his actions, forced to commit more and more murders to protect himself.
The Lottery // Shirley Jackson
This technically isn't a novel it's actually short story but it still made a big impact on high school readers. It's the story of a traditional "lottery" that takes place in a small town where first a family is drawn from the box, then the household of that family is drawn, and finally one family member is chosen from that household. That one family member is then stoned to death by the entire town.
It's a terrifying story meant to represent a "scapegoat" who is blamed and punished for society's evils through this deathly ritual.
The Grapes Of Wrath // John Steinbeck
The award winning novel The Grapes Of Wrath is set back in the Great Depression and focuses on a poor family of farmers driven from their home due to a drought and economic hardship. They decide to head to California to search for jobs, dignity and a future.
The Kite Runner // Khaled Hosseini
This best-selling novel became incredibly popular as a story that follows the events after the fall of the Afghanistan monarchy. It tells the story of Amir and Hazara who spend their days kite fighting.
It tells a story of friendship, betrayal, guilt, redemption and much more that constantly keeps you on your toes as you read this gripping tale.