High school students in America face similar English curricula, where they read the same books written by the same authors. At Acclaim, we selected five of the greatest books included in high school classrooms. Though all of these books are well known and loved, we decided not to include any of the canonical novels for originality’s sake. All of these books are renowned for their literary merits and are excellent for furthering your analytical abilities.
- Persuasion, Jane Austen.
Similar to Austen’s acclaimed Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion is a classic Austenian romance with the archetypal characters. It is an excellent novel that highlights themes and symbols regarding social hierarchies and decisions.
- To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Harper Lee’s famous To Kill A Mockingbird is a sweet novel that also seamlessly portrays darker themes such as racism. The narrative form of the writing is critically acclaimed and certainly an aspect for students to analyze. Every character has their idiosyncrasies that one can critically think about.
- Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
As Flaubert’s infamous novel, Madame Bovary is a masterfully written French romance. Madame Bovary, the titular character, is a woman who lives in the moment and romanticizes all facets of life. Her constant romanticization and superficiality lead her to empty disappointment and tragedy. Her eyes, along with Flaubert’s specific usage of color, are interesting aspects to observe.
- Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare
What’s a high school English class without Shakespeare? Instead of the stereotypical recommendations of Macbeth and Hamlet, we at Acclaim ranked Taming of the Shrew quite highly. This is a play about two wealthy individuals romancing each other with themes about hierarchies and gender roles. There are countless academic debates and theories regarding the feminism (or lack thereof) within the play, so read it and form an opinion yourself!
- The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
Wilde’s wildly controversial novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray artfully defines hedonism through a myriad of symbols. This novel is paradigmatic for students learning about identifying symbolism. It’s a hauntingly enticing book that will have you continuously turning pages!
All of these books are phenomenal and recognized by experts in academia. Acclaim also provides English tutoring resources, along with book club sessions, to help with comprehension and analytical skills. Furthermore, these books will also help you write better essays and raise your English grade. Happy reading!