Not all of us excelled in English at High School. Some of us didn’t even read the novels required.

To help this, reading time in English classes is becoming more popular as teachers try to develop well rounded, educated students with a love of reading. Some classes are ‘bring your own’ and others have set lists. However, some students (and teachers) simply don’t know what to read outside their favorite genre.

So what should you read in High School? What books will expand your mind, develop critical thinking and language skills? What books will show you what literature can be?

A sophomore English teacher shares the A-C authors on his summer reading list with us.

1. In Cold BloodTruman Capote

In Cold Blood

On November 15th 1959, in Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were dragged from their beds in the early hours of the morning and tied up. All four were shot in the head with a shotgun at close range. Truman Capote, traveled to Holcomb in late 1959 to investigate the killings for an article which then turned into this terrifyingly chilling book.

Also featured in: 7 Greatest Non Supernatural Horror Novels

2. Pride and PrejudiceJane Austen

Pride and Prejudice

Beautiful, sumptuous and satisfying, this book is a monumental achievement that should be on the top of your summer reading list. One of our absolute favorites.

3. Oscar and LucindaPeter Carey

Set in mid-19th century England and Australia, Carey writes with a visual richness that is at times amusing, graceful and deeply touching. An unconventional love story, the unexpected ending makes the book a masterpiece of passion and human weakness within a narrative of the social and religious mores in nineteen-century Australia.

4. The Hours: A NovelMichael Cunningham

The stories of three women in different times, Virginia Woolf writing “Mrs. Dalloway” and Laura & Clarissa reading the finished book decades later. The dark and depressing characters are painfully introspective as they examine insights into things around themselves. The writing however is a hauntingly poetic stream of consciousness. Best read with a big pot of tea, on a rainy day. Look for the hint of hope at the end to lift you out of the depths.

Read Part 2 or Part 3 of the list.