Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Saturday 31 July |
Saint of the Day: St. Ignatius Loyola
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

5 Books you may not have read in high school but still should



Carissa Pluta - published on 04/05/19

It's never too late to catch up on these classics!

Reading in high school is practically a lost art. You probably read the Sparknotes (or Coles Notes for you Canadians) for more than a few of those assigned books, or just opted for the movie adaptation instead (for shame!). Thankfully, it’s never too late to catch up on classics. Here are five books you may not have read in high school, but should still read now:

Harper Lee | Harper Perennial Modern Classics | Amazon

To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee’s critically acclaimed novel was recently voted America’s favorite novel, and with good reason. This book is beautifully crafted and absolutely timeless. To Kill a Mockingbird addresses complex topics like racism, family bonds, and growing up. In it, we travel to the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, in the 1930s. Six-year-old Scout and her brother Jem experience first-hand the consequences of racism and prejudice, when their father Atticus Finch is appointed to be the defending lawyer of a black man facing unjust charges. Scout gives us a child-like view of the world — simple and innocent, yet unflinching in its message of compassion and justice. 

John Steinbeck | Penguin Classics | Amazon

The Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath follows the Joads as they leave their Oklahoma home and set out for California in hopes of finding work during the terrible Dust Bowl years. Hardship after hardship plague this tight-knit family, but they continue to strive for life and share all they have until the very end. This visceral story perfectly embodies the human spirit of perseverance and goodness in the face of crippling poverty and adversity.

Dante Alighieri | Berkley | Amazon

The Divine Comedy

Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy has been lauded by literary scholars, Church fathers, popes, and theologians alike. Most recently, Pope Francis encouraged the faithful to read it during the Year of Mercy. Dante’s Divine Comedy is made up of three parts — Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso — and recounts Dante’s allegorical journey through hell, purgatory, and heaven respectively. Inferno is the most likely of the three parts to be found on a high school reading list, but if you are going to commit to reading it, you’re better off reading the entire Comedy

Aldous Huxley | Harper Perennial | Amazon

Brave New World

Although written in 1931, the parallels between this novel and our world today are chilling. Aldous Huxley paints the picture of a totalitarian society in which science is god and pleasure is of highest value. Brave New World is a thought-provoking read that invites the readers to question the ideas of freedom and what makes us human. This novel is science fiction at its best and guaranteed to be a worthwhile read. 

William Shakespeare | SeaWolf Press | Amazon


I’m cheating a bit with this one as you were probably asked to read more than one of the Bard’s plays during your time in high school. His work has withstood the test of time and has gone on to inspire other writers and artists through the centuries. While the language of the plays can be challenging to modern readers, their poetic beauty continues to strike a chord in the heart of audiences. Both Shakespeare’s tragedies, like Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet, and his comedies, like Midsummer’s Night Dream or Twelfth Night, are packed with a cast of familiar characters and universal conflicts. His plays are brilliant and relatable and totally worth the read (or even better, the watch!).

So head to your library or local bookstore, and get reading!

Read more:
How many books is too many?


Read more:
3 Ways that reading benefits your brain

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
Mathilde De Robien
Did you know Princess Di was buried with a rosary?
Zelda Caldwell
German women’s gymnastics teams modest dress protests sport’s ...
Lauren Daigle
J-P Mauro
After 3 years Lauren Daigle ousts herself from #1 Billboard spot
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.