ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Top 3 Classic Books Assigned in School That You Should Actually Read

Updated on June 11, 2014

The Great Gatsby

I'll start off by saying that Fitzgerald is a word genius, and also where my car got its namesake, so if you are not a fan, you should skip over this section.

This book has rightfully earned the title of a classic because of the almost lyrical way it is written and Fitzgerald's way of freezing and immortalizing the Roaring Twenties. Rarely is there a book that captures the day and age it is written as a constant theme of the novel, and none to my knowledge done as well as Fitzgerald.

Not only is it a pleasant, quick read that has you clinging onto every word and phrased syllables, but it has captivating characters that entrance the readers so that, at times, the plot almost becomes background noise. In a good way.

The plot is well-written, too. Not a dull moment causes the reader to pause and the entire book flows with inspirational fluidity. The novel raises the right questions about the time period and Gatsby and Gatsby and Daisy's relationship, and answers all the right ones--what drives Daisy to dislike her husband, what kind of atmosphere the twenties had, etc.

There are a lot of twists and turns that keep the reader on the edge of their seats without using shocking events simply for the sake of surprise.

I highly recommend this novel for people searching for an easy, quick, but memorable read. It also gives good advice about relationships that teenagers especially should be wary of. Maybe in another article I'll discuss my theory about Gatsby and Daisy's not-so-lovey-dovey romance, but for now I'll just end with saying; go read it and then come back so I can say I told you so!

Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, 2005
Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, 2005

Pride and Prejudice

This book is one of my ultimate favorites. At first the length of the book and the old English language can be intimidating, especially for teenagers, but once you get past that, Austen's novel is a sweet and hilarious satirical piece dealing with feminism and misconceptions.

The heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, is one of the best written characters I've ever read. She's complex and does not become a backseat character after a love interest is introduced, as so often happens in novels with a female protagonist. Elizabeth's feelings and thoughts remain pertinent to the story and she remains throughout as a lovable role model, even through all of her assumptions made about other characters, namely Mr. Darcy.

I've heard a character like Darcy called unrealistic--namely by an English teacher of mine--but I've met a few Darcy-like characters in real life. Darcy, too, has his flaws--and this is, in my opinion, Austen's biggest strength; perfectly flawed characters.

The cast of the book is wonderfully colorful, and the story itself is sweet as honey. Also, the level of sass Austen portrays through Elizabeth and her satirical Mrs. Bennet can not be contained.

If you have not seen the 2005 version and are more of a movie-goer than a reader, I highly recommend it. It's surprisingly very close to the book, and the cast is near perfect.

Heart of Darkness

Now, typically teenagers hate to annotate. I'm one who loves it--I even get the urge to do it when I'm reading classics for fun. This book was so fun to edit. When I couldn't sleep, I'd get up, grab a red pen and a pad of sticky notes, and annotate until I was too tired to find anything more.

This book talks a great deal about imperialism and hypocrisy, the second of which being what a lot of people these days need to watch out for, and the first being what people need to see signs of.

It has lessons that readers can utilize today and for generations later on. Not to mention it has great symbolism.

Marlow is a great narrator and Kurtz is the perfect person to hate. I wouldn't exactly call him an antagonist, since he doesn't present much challenge for Marlow.

The entire idea of trying to find the enemy--whether it's the jungle and the "savages" or if it's Marlow's indifference at the happenings around him--is brilliant and really makes the reader think.


So in conclusion, school board actually somewhat knows what they're talking about when picking literature for their students to read, though I don't know if I can forgive making us read Shakespeare almost every year.

Have a problem with any of my choices? Have your own list?

Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!

Honorable Mentions

Ender's Game with Asa Butterfield
Ender's Game with Asa Butterfield
1984 by George Orwell
1984 by George Orwell

Favorite Required Reading?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)