What You Should Read In High School – an English Teachers List (part 5)

What You Should Read In High School – an English Teachers List (part 5)

This post of six books completes the Fiction side of our English Teachers Reading List. Several have been featured on previous lists, which just goes to show that the best books are recommended by many. Read these to complete your education and reap the benefits of reading widely.

1. ShantaramGregory David Roberts


Shantaram is a love story from start to finish: love of mankind, love of friends, love of a woman, love of a country, love of a city, love of an adversary, love of a way of life, love of a people, love of adventure, love of a father, and, most apparent, love for the reader.

Featured in our 8 Best Books to Read in your 20’s

 

 

2. The God of Small ThingsArundhati Roy

Even though English is not the authors first language, yet she writes with breathtaking poetry and vivid imagery. Set in India, in the province of the first democratically elected communist government, she tells the story of an indian family in the 1960s. Issues such as caste and racial prejudices and biases, the abuse of women and the weight of tradition are examined through the lens of a childs perspective. But is is the small things will stick with you.

 

 

3. PushSapphire

You will probably find this to be a very blunt and confrontational story. It tells the story of a verbally and sexually abused African American teenager in the ghettos on Harlem. There is no story book ending, but you are still uplifted by the perseverance and determination of Precious and her teacher, Blue Rain.

 

 

 

4. Dirt MusicTim Winton

Dirt Music is a sweeping tale of self-doubt and self-discovery, and, like the landscape of Western Australia where it is placed, it is wild and serene, replete with a music all its own. Tim Winton is one of Australia’s most acclaimed Authors.

 

 

 

5. Mrs. DallowayVirginia Woolf

Featured on many lists of the greatest novels of the 20th century. The stream-of-consciousness style is demanding, and will require you to exercise a few mind muscles. The reward of rich, imaginative language, like a literary Monet, is the reason for reading. The Hours, by Michael Cunningham, featured in our first list of this series is based on this original novel.

 

 

6. The Book ThiefMarkus Zusak

Featured in more lists than we can list here, we’ll just quote the New York Times.

BRILLIANT and hugely ambitious… It’s the kind of book that can be LIFE CHANGING.

If you have read it already, then try one of his other books, like the trilogy Underdogs, written before The Book Thief. Also highly awarded, these coming of age novels are compelling and bittersweet.

Find the previous list in this series here.

6 Books That Will Completely Exceed Your Expectations

6 Books That Will Completely Exceed Your Expectations

A book is recommended to you and you’re told that its well worth the read. You go in with the intention to give it a go, and by the time you’re done, you’re completely blown away by it. This book completely exceeded your expectations. This is a list of such books. If you haven’t read one or a few, check them out and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

6 Books That Will Completely Exceed Your Expectations

1. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

Suzanne Collins narrative here has an immediacy to it that, when combined with the very dramatic life-or-death plot, is incredibly compelling. It’s entertaining, and incredibly disturbing all at once.

2. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner” tells a heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between Amir, the son of a wealthy Afghan businessman, and Hassan, the son of his father’s servant. Amir is Sunni; Hassan is Shi’a. One is born to a privileged class; the other to a loathed minority. This story gives you a good understanding of the plight of many Afghans and it is told absolutely beautifully.

3. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

The Book Thief has been mentioned many times here on WhytoRead and it continues to bare mentioning in many more lists to come. Giving another perspective to the plight of Jewish families during WW2, this is a compelling read told from the perspective of Death itself.

4. Water for Elephants: A Novel  Sara Gruen

The main character is a cantankerous, still-sharp 93-year-old man, and his frustration at being trapped in an old man’s body is palpable. The story of his incredible life and adventures with the Benzini Brothers circus unfolds in a way that is emotionally wrenching, and yet flashes of good humor and surprises pervade throughout.

5. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler’s Wife is about Henry, who ever since he was 5 has been traveling through time. BUT, he has no control over when this happens and when it does, he has lands somewhere in time completely naked-with nothing else. Mix in some romance and surprises throughout and you have an incredible story. 

6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo  Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an international best seller and is set in Sweden. The novel is really rich in detail and quick paced — And incredibly moving in depicting the struggles faced by its female protagonist. A deep story with plenty of twists and surprises to keep you hooked and wishing for more at the end.

7 Books That Will Change Your Outlook On Life

7 Books That Will Change Your Outlook On Life

Books That Will Change Your Life

Each one of the books on this list have been recommended countless times as books that can be read over and over again. These are the books that you don’t want to finish because they are so good. By the time you are done, the way you see the world and your life will have changed.

7 Books That Will Change Your Outlook On Life

1. Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit – Daniel Quinn

books that will change your life

It is a general rule that any particular culture can only be understood by someone outside of it – a neutral observer, unaffected by prejudice or indoctrination. This is the reasoning behind Quinn’s choice of a gorilla named Ishmael as the main character of this novel, who conducts a series of dialogues analyzing the whole of civilization itself.

2. The Book Thief  Markus Zusak

books that will change your life

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids. You’ll want to read it over and over again. Just bring your tissues.

3. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

books that will change your life

The narrator is a downed pilot in the Sahara Desert, frantically trying to repair his wrecked plane. His efforts are interrupted one day by the apparition of a little, well, prince, who asks him to draw a sheep. “In the face of an overpowering mystery, you don’t dare disobey,” the narrator recalls. “Absurd as it seemed, a thousand miles from all inhabited regions and in danger of death, I took a scrap of paper and a pen out of my pocket.” And so begins their dialogue, which stretches the narrator’s imagination in all sorts of surprising, childlike directions.

4. Of Mice and Men- John Steinbeck

books that will change your life

This is a controversial tale of friendship and tragedy during the Great Depression

They are an unlikely pair: George is “small and quick and dark of face”; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a “family,” clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation.

5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

books that will change your life

This book is about a teenage boy named Charlie who writes letters to an unknown person. They are random letters about his life and what he is experiencing. He talks about a lot of things that teenagers experience today. This book confronts experiences with alcohol, drugs, sex, relationships, homosexuality, and lessons that many people don’t want to talk about; lessons about living life while you can, lessons that every teenager has experienced.

6. The Alchemist – Paulo Coehlo

books that will change your life

These are lessons that we all know in our hearts, but that we forget as we get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of our material lives. Lessons about listening to our hearts and following our dreams. Lessons about living in the moment, the transient nature of possessions and the illusion that we can even “possess” something to begin with. Lessons about freeing ourselves from fear and about understanding our lives as part of the energy of the Universe and understanding that everything will work out the way it was intended to. This book will undoubtedly change your outlook on life.

7. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

books that will change your life

Cloud Atlas is a series of six interlocked tales – encompassing a wide array of eras, locales, and genres -in which the protagonist in each story is impacted in some significant manner by the tale told in the preceding section. A very unique and beautiful piece of literature.

7 Best Books To Read In One Sitting

7 Best Books To Read In One Sitting

A book doesn’t have to take months to finish like the colossus War and Peace or even The Count of Monte Cristo. Some books just can’t be put down and this list is about those books. So call you family and friends and tell them you’re going awol for a while.

7 Best Books To Read In One Sitting

1. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

best books to read

You won’t be able to put this down after the first few pages get you hooked. Suzanne Collins narrative here has an immediacy to it that, when combined with the very dramatic life-or-death plot, is incredibly compelling. It’s entertaining, and incredibly disturbing all at once.

2. I Am Legend – Richard Matheson

best books to read

I am Legend is arguably the greatest short horror novel ever written, and its influence on the horror genre has been profound. Stephen King and many other of today’s masters rank this book highly in their personal top ten lists of favorites. It is a short novel that can be read in one sitting; it is hard to put down, building in intensity from start to finish. Matheson creates an entirely new type of vampire fiction herein.

3. The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One – Patrick Rothfuss

best books to read

This is the kind of novel that fantasy readers dream of reading. It’s the kind of novel would-be writers dream of writing. Excellent writing, deeply complex characters, careful revelations and wonderful plot twists.

4. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War – Max Brooks

best books to read

World War Z is a fictional account of a worldwide outbreak of the living dead in the near future and judging from some of the descriptions of places and events in the beginning of the book it won’t be too far in the future. It had absolutely nothing to do with the mediocre movie.

5. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

best books to read

This is the story of a two lonely and alienated men who work as farm laborers, drifting from job to job in California. Lennie is gentle giant, physically strong but mentally retarded. George guides and protects Lennie but also depends on him for companionship. Together, they have a dream to someday buy a little farm where they can grow crops and raise rabbits and live happily ever after. The fact that it’s a short book and it’s a very good story make it a great, quick read.

6. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

best books to read

This sophisticated but crude novel is the story of man’s eternal desire for perennial youth, of our vanity and frivolity, of the dangers of messing with the laws of life. When Dorian’s angelic face is captured flawlessly in paint he wishes that it was the painting which would age and that he could stay forever the same, which it does, leading to a series of tragic events.

7. The Book Thief  Markus Zusak

best books to read

Liesel Meminger is a Book Thief, living with a foster family in Germany during World War Two. Torn from everything she’s known, her foster father shows her the power of words as the two of them share late night reading sessions of The Grave Digger’s Handbook. Her love of books ties her to others, including the mayor’s wife and Max, the Jew the family hides in the basement.

7 Greatest Books Ever Written by Debut Authors

7 Greatest Books Ever Written by Debut Authors

To write an international best seller is hard enough and a great achievement, but to do it on your first book is a phenomenal accomplishment. The 7 books on this list are some of the greatest books ever written, and the fact that they are the authors first book makes them extra special. We hope you enjoy this list of 7 Greatest Books Written by Debut Authors.

7 Greatest Books Written by Debut Authors

1. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

Books Written by Debut Authors

Hosseini’s first novel — and the first Afghan novel to be written originally in English — “The Kite Runner” tells a heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between Amir, the son of a wealthy Afghan businessman, and Hassan, the son of his father’s servant. Not only was this a phenomenal debut novel, but it was made into a successful movie and Hosseini continues to write great books.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird  Harper Lee

Books Written by Debut Authors

From the opening line, “When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow…” Lee hooks the reader with a deceptively simple story of a Southern family and a Southern town caught up in a cataclysmic moral crisis, and keeps us enthralled till the very last word.

3. The Book Thief  Markus Zusak

Books Written by Debut Authors

Liesel Meminger is a Book Thief, living with a foster family in Germany during World War Two. Torn from everything she’s known, her foster father shows her the power of words as the two of them share late night reading sessions of The Grave Digger’s Handbook. Her love of books ties her to others, including the mayor’s wife and Max, the Jew the family hides in the basement. This book has been a phenomenal success as a book and a movie, which is a tremendous achievement for a debut.

If you like this, check out this post to find some similar books.

4. The Catcher in the Rye  J.D. Salinger

Books Written by Debut Authors

In J.D. Salinger’s brilliant coming-of-age novel, Holden Caulfield, a seventeen year old prep school adolescent relates his lonely, life-changing twenty-four hour stay in New York City as he experiences the phoniness of the adult world while attempting to deal with the death of his younger brother, an overwhelming compulsion to lie and troubling sexual experiences.

5. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

Books Written by Debut Authors

With this introductory novel was published in 1997, few would have predicted the unprecedented success this series would produce. And everything that made Harry Potter so successful is all first shown, though hardly fully explained, in this book.

6. The Help – Kathryn Stockett

Books Written by Debut Authors

The Help is about a young white woman in the early 1960s in Mississippi who becomes interested in the plight of the black ladies’ maids that every family has working for them. She writes their stories about mistreatment, abuse and heartbreaks of working in white families’ homes, all just before the Civil Rights revolution.

7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

Books Written by Debut Authors

There’s something for everyone in this book: Windswept castles, difficult and neurotic family members, dark secrets about tragic former lovers, good triumphing over evil, all that good juicy stuff that makes a great romantic story. What elevates Jane Eyre is Bronte’s remarkable style & skill and her sharp and complex characterizations.

The Book Thief List: 3 Must Read Books for Fans of ‘The Book Thief’

The Book Thief List: 3 Must Read Books for Fans of ‘The Book Thief’


There have been many books written about the horrors of WWII, but every once in a while, a new story is told which gives us a new perspective on life during the war.

The Book Thief describes that while being subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others.

If you liked The Book Thief, you will love the books on this list.

3 Must Read Books for Fans of ‘The Book Thief’

1. If I Stay Paperback Gayle Forman

The Book Thief books

If I Stay is a bittersweet memory of a family and their loved ones. It’s told through the eyes of Mia, who watches herself being treated in the hospital as her loved ones surround her. And she has to make the toughest choice of all..

2. The Fault in Our Stars  John Green

The Book Thief books

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is about a girl named Hazel who is living with cancer. She attends a support group and meet Augustus Waters, and attractive kid who takes an interest in her. Hazel constantly worries about her parents’s lives and the lives of her friends, while also struggling each day to just live.

3. A Monster Calls Patrick Ness

The Book Thief books

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting— he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor.