An English Teacher's Favorites That Really Are That Good

Article by mark

These books are all but inevitable parts of an American education. However, they’re also genuinely great! Take it from a former high school English teacher: there’s much to love in these oft-assigned reads. We perennially recommend them to scholars of all ages.

The Handmaid's Tale Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385490818
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - March 13th, 1998

A dystopian tale of a future where women are forbidden to read and, due to a declining birthrate, the female body is looked upon as property. Horrifying and brilliant, this is a parable of our modern world that touches on issues as diverse and current as politics, gender roles, and living under surveillance.

Hamlet (Modern Library Classics) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812969092
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Modern Library - August 12th, 2008

Everyone knows Shakespeare, and this is his most popular play for good reason. A tragedy bursting with juicy bits: murderous revenge, ghosts and serious family dysfunction, not to mention Shakespeare’s incredible dialogue. Welcome to Denmark!

The Great Gatsby Cover Image
ISBN: 9780743273565
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - October 1st, 2004

No movie adaptation can not compete with this American classic. Set in 1920’s New York, Fitzgerald’s novel focuses on the enigmatic Jay Gatsby through the sober lens of his reluctant friend and narrator Nick Carraway. Beyond the flashy parties and shocking crimes, this is a story about class in society, the American Dream, and lost love.

Beloved (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400033416
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - June 8th, 2004

In this haunting novel, Morrison tells the story of Sethe, a slave girl who escapes to Ohio but can’t find release from her painful memories. Rendered with beautiful, haunting language and the notion that what happens in the past can never fully rest, this magnificent novel will nourish your soul.

Slaughterhouse-Five: Or the Children's Crusade, a Duty-Dance with Death (Modern Library 100 Best Novels) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385333849
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Press - January 11th, 1999

This may be one of the strangest books that’s regularly assigned in high school. Vonnegut shows us in this masterful novel that war may be the least logical of all human activities. The novel jumps around in time, from the present to World War II and back. There are even aliens! Vonnegut brilliantly and persuasively illustrates the total absurdity of war.

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