5 Classic Books You Hated in High School But Would Love Now

High school is a funny experience where you take your favorite books for granted, but now that you’re older and maybe even wiser, these classics are surprisingly great. These five novels will surprise readers as they rediscover the stories behind their teenage hate-sprees.

The “books you read in high school english class” is a list of five books that are not as well-known, but that are worth reading. The books include “The Catcher in the Rye,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Moby Dick,” “Of Mice and Men,” and “1984.”


Hello there, guys! Sofi is arrived!

I used to be a major geek when I was younger (I mean I still am, but like it was worse then). If my siblings and I were ever in trouble, our parents would discipline us individually. No TV programs for Libby, no video games for Alex, and no leisure reading for Sofi (that’s me).

So, you might say I’ve always been a little bit of a bookworm.


Then I started high school. I believe the majority of you can relate to this. How many lines of Shakespeare did your instructors have you read, and how many chapters of Hemmingway did they make you read? I’m betting there were too many, and many of you, like me, said “thanks but no thanks” to Moby Dick. I’ll give you the Sparknotes summary if you want it, but passage identification isn’t one of my strong suits. 

Has it ever occurred to you, now that we’re all older and wiser, that some of the books you were required to read but didn’t had something significant to say, and it’s time to give them another chance? It certainly has for me.

We’ve compiled a list of 5 novels that you previously refused to read but now wish you had.


1. Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar is a bleak and witty portrayal of one woman’s attempt to fit into the mold of 1950s feminine identity. Every time I read The Bell Jar, I’m struck by how Sylvia Plath has this uncanny ability to make you perfectly relate with her main character, Esther, before she goes insane and commits repeated suicide attempts. Plath interjects tones of comedy that cut through the dreariness, resulting in a more full main character and a more entertaining read. 

2. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre, oh Jane Eyre. If you’re seeking for a novel about female freedom as well as a joyful romance, this is the book for you. This is intended for you. There’s murder, mystery, and romance in this narrative. If you’re a fast reader, you’ll appreciate how dense this book is, with a plot that follows the protagonist, Jane (duh), from her youth as an orphaned girl sent to school by her harsh aunt to her adult life and blossoming, though tangled relationship with her employer, Mr. Rochester.

3. Ernest Hemmingway’s The Old Man and the Sea

This is, without a doubt, my favorite of Hemmingway’s works. You’re in for a treat if you’ve never read Hemmingway. There won’t be any fancy prose or long descriptions. His tales are both strong and simple to consume because to Hemingway’s straightforward writing style. It’s a short book that shouldn’t take you more than a day or two to finish. Follow Santiago, a Cuban fisherman who spent 84 days at sea and returned empty-handed. He finally captures a large marlin, but the return trip is difficult. He is constantly put to the test as he battles his catch and the water. It’s a lovely tale about tenacity and how we define success.


4. George Orwell’s 1984

1984 is for you if you enjoy thought-provoking dystopian novels. Following this ostensibly imaginary civilization in which Big Brother is permitted to observe. The narrative is especially disturbing because of the parallels it draws with our modern world: cameras in every pocket that can see and hear everything (hello iPhones), touch identification, and face recognition, to mention a few. It raises concerns about our government, society, and radical political ideologies, and it’s a fascinating read in light of the present political situation. While I don’t find the characters particularly attractive or sympathetic, the dystopian future that Orwell creates in 1984 has many similarities with our own.


John Steinbeck’s East of Eden

Okay, save the best for last. This was the first book that introduced me to classic literature. This is one of my favorite books. It’s a tale about religion, nature vs. nurture, and family history, but it’s ultimately about mankind. East of Eden has my favorite statement of all time, “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” 

An engrossing narrative of brothers, good vs. evil, duplicity, and society’s underbelly, with a tinge of romance, will have you turning the pages. Steinbeck’s writing is the kind that makes you want to mark every other page with a dog-ear. It’s a big book with a sluggish start, but I guarantee it’ll be worth your time.

What are some of your favorite classics that you recommend to everyone?



The “classic books for high school freshman” is a list of five classic novels that you hated in high school. But now, these classics are some of the most popular books out there.

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