Top (Seven) Books I Need to Reread That I First Read in High School

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted by The Broke and Bookish, is a Back to School-related freebie, so we had a lot of leeway in the direction our lists could go this week.  I feel like there are some books that I read in high school (which, ahem, was 20+ years ago for me!) that I would really like to reread as an adult.  I know that as I change and grow as a person, so do my reading tastes change and grow.  I feel like these books deserve an adult eye.

  • Beloved by Toni Morrison.  I was a sophomore in high school when I was assigned this, and I feel like I was waaaaay too young to appreciate it.  Since I’ve been reading Morrison in the past year, I know that I MUST reread this from an adult perspective.51srBOCdgBL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
  • Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.  My mom was a big fan of the movie and the book, and I saw the movie at a fairly young age and fell in love with it.  I read the book probably somewhere around 9th grade.  Since then, I’ve become more aware of its problematic content.  So I definitely need to reread this through the prism of a more adult understanding of race in American history.
  • The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver.  She’s one of my favorite authors.  I read this as assigned reading in high school and I’m grateful that I got that opportunity.  I want to reread all of her earlier novels and her books of essays.
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  I have NO excuse for not having read this since the 9th grade.  None.
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.  This was assigned at some point, possibly as a summer reading choice, I can’t remember.  I remember really enjoying it, but I don’t remember much else about it.  Worth a reread for sure!51KEr5saI2L
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  I didn’t read this in school, but read it as a child, and was drawn to it again after the Winona Ryder/Christian Bale/Claire Danes version came out in 1994.  But it’s been a very long time since then, so it made my list.
  • The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy.  This was an assigned book, perhaps for summer reading.  It’s a memoir about Conroy’s experience teaching on Daufuskie Island, SC (which he calls Yamacraw Island in the book.)  His one year teaching children of Gullah heritage in the late 1960’s was really interesting.

Here are three works I wish I’d been assigned in high school or college but never was:

  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

I swear I’m going to read these – sometime!

Have you read any of these?  Has it been a while since you read them?  What are some titles that you think deserve a reread since your own school days?



28 thoughts on “Top (Seven) Books I Need to Reread That I First Read in High School

  1. I can’t imagine reading Beloved as a teenager! My school would have never assigned it. The book definitel
    Fahrenheit 451 is still one of my favorite books. It kind of blew my mind when I was in 8th grade! It was my introduction to dystopian fiction, I believe, so it will always have a special place in my heart. I definitely SHOULD reread it to see how it holds up, though.

    I’ve read 5 of the books on your list! Not bad 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. oooh – I read Gone With The Wind in school — and loved it fiercely… but now? I think I am a little afraid to pick it back up, I don’t think I would feel the same way about it at all. Sometimes leaving books in childhood can be safer…

    Jane Eyre – one of my total favourites – I re-read it as least once a year, along with North & South. They are the books that made me LOVE classics.

    Little Women on the other hand: I raged for an entire week that Jo didn’t end up with Laurie (I think I was 12) but re-reading a couple of years back? Totally agreed with Alcott – they would’ve have driven each other cray-cray…

    Huh – perspective really IS everything!


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  3. I want to reread Little Women now that I’ve read March. I recently read The Bean Trees and found it… interesting. I don’t think it wore well over the years but it would make for great discussion about those times, I suppose. I only remember being assigned Dickens and Steinbeck and Shakespeare. I wish I had a better list of all the books I read in HS.
    I have a friend who has big love for all books by Pat Conroy and I couldn’t get into the one I tried (and I had never heard of him – obv I am not from ‘the South’) – is this a good book to try? Maybe I would like his nonfiction better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hesitate to recommend The Water is Wide since it’s been so long since I’ve read it, but I do remember enjoying it as a high schooler, and it’s a quick read. It deals with the racial prejudice in the late 60s and also interesting details about this isolated community on the island, and their Gullah heritage. I say give it a shot.


  4. I’ve read four of these, but none of them was assigned as a school text. I’d like to reread a Canadian classic, Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O. Mitchell. I read another of his lesser-known books (he’s known for stories about coming-of-age on the Canadian Prairies) last summer and was surprised to find myself just loving it (even though some parts of it are a little old-fashioned) so I think that I’d find a lot to enjoy in a reread of his classic. Similarly, I’d like to reread Robertson Davies’ Fifth Business, which I also enjoyed as a teenager but would probably appreciate differently now.

    As for the question of rereading GWTW; I did that three summers ago and it was an amazing experience. I’d been a confirmed lover of the book and film and it was a real eye-opener to spend time with it from a different perspective. Also, there is the treat of reading Alice Randall’s The Wind Done Gone afterwards (a wickedly clever parody) which now awaits modern readers/rereaders. Revisiting it allows me to speak very differently about the book now and I’m glad I took the time to experience it a second time (although I remain ashamed for having been so uninformed as a younger reader).

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  5. I only read Beloved last year for the first time and was totally blown away by it – definitely worth re-reading as an adult! And Macbeth is my favourite Shakespeare play by miles, but I must admit I always prefer watching Shakespeare to reading him. I highly recommend the Judi Dench/Ian McKellen production if you’ve never seen it – for me it’s the definitive version… 🙂

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  6. I want to try another Toni Morrison book — Beloved was more than I can handle and is in fact the origin of my policy to read nonfiction books about slavery ONLY and no fiction, but I’d like to see if I can get on with Morrison as an author generally.

    You should DEFinitely reread Jane Eyre! It’s so good! Plus, you can read Wide Sargasso Sea to go with!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You read those books in high school?? I’m so jealous. When I was a freshman we did Frankenstein (I didn’t understand a word of it thanks to the complex grammar), Fahrenheit 451 (I got some of it), Romeo & Juliet (14 year olds? really??), and that’s all I remember. In 10th grade I remember reading A Separate Peace, which I understood but didn’t “get.” It was set during war time when boys didn’t have to enlist if they were in school, but they’re patriotism would be questioned. This is a book I want to re-read, especially since I am currently reading Rilla of Ingleside. The setting is WWI, so everyone is happy and excited about signing up for war because we hadn’t had one in a while, but by WWII people are a bit more jaded and remember the deaths and horror of WWI.

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    1. We did read some good books – but I also read some duds like Billy Budd and King Lear! I also read Frankenstein (okay), Romeo and Juliet (tooo much drama) and A Separate Peace (which I don’t remember at all.) Sometimes good books are wasted on the young, and sometimes the young waste good books!

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      1. Billy Budd was just the worst. I was assigned that book in college, but I never finished it. Every day in class we would analyze what we had read for homework, and the teacher saw penis imagery in everything. If you didn’t see the penis imagery, well, your reading skills just weren’t up to par, and neither was your imagination.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And this crazy professor would often SING and DANCE in class. You remember that movie Billy Madison? You remember his teacher, Miss Lippy, who would do interpretive dance? My professor was a bit like that. Apparently, brilliance goes mad.

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  8. I always think Pat Conroy SOUNDS like something I might like but I just never feel like actually READING something by him! I did see the Barbara Streisand movie adaptation of Prince of Tide, many, many moons ago!

    Little Women, I’d love to re-read! My intro to it was one of the chapters from it as a short story somewhere in middle school I think. Btw, have you seen The March Family Letters, a modern-day adaptation in the form of web series? It’s quite fun!

    My own high-school readings included Shakespeare, Dickens, Galsworthy, a ton of poetry, and short stories that included Tagore, Arthur C. Clarke, O’ Henry, and other interesting authors. Of all, I’d probably love to re-read all the short stories. . . which is surprising considering how I don’t read any now! Hmm, something to think about! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Juhi, this was the only Conroy I’ve read, and it’s nonfiction! For some reason I’ve never been tempted to pick up his fiction. Oh well! I have not seen the March Family Letters, I’ll have to look for it!

      Perhaps if you revisit some favorite short stories from high school you’ll have a renewed interest in them? The only one I remember from high school was Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery. Which freaked me out then, but now I’m a huge fan of hers.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love this list! The summer after freshman year of college, I went back to reread some of the books I failed to REALLY read in high school. It was such a great idea. You know, I’ve never read/watched Gone with the Wind. We had an in class viewing during our high school cinematography course, but I fell asleep, haha. I would love to read it with my adult understanding, and see if I can understand the allure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Whitney. That’s amazing that you took it upon yourself after freshman year to reread those high school books! I think the allure of GWTW for me was viewing the movie at a young age, and the DRESSES were just amazing, and the drama. And it’s such an interesting time period. But there are ALL kinds of problems with this movie and book that now I can’t help but think I would feel differently reading it.


  10. I just reread Jane Eyre this year and loved it so much. Fahrenheit 451 is awesome, have read it a few times and never while in high school. Macbeth is also awesome. Read it once say it once. been awhile though so there might be a reread coming on 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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