6 Books to Read Before You Graduate
There aren’t many books I can say have changed my way of reading, let alone my outlook on the world. But I can confidently say that these six books are perfect in practically every way, and have changed my life (not only how I write, but how I think.) I believe that if you haven’t read these books before you graduate high school, you need to pick one up! Now!
1. The Giver by Lois Lowry: I read this book in seventh grade, and it was the first dystopian (or at least dystopian-esque) book I had ever read. It taught me the value of our history, and how the past can both aid and harm the present. To be different is, in the protagonist’s case, a wonderful and yet challenging thing. I can almost guarantee you that you’ll cry at the end.
2. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: In fact, read “The Lord of the Rings” when you’re finished with this. “The Hobbit” taught me how to speak to the reader, and how you’re never too old to have a story read to you. It really did feel as if Tolkien was there, telling me the story. Determination, strength, and a little laughter makes this short but fantastical story a classic. If you haven’t read this, or at least the sequel (LOTR) and yet call yourself a lover of fantasy, you need to get your priorities straight.
3.The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: Go up to anyone in a book store or a library and ask for a “good dystopia novel”, and you’ll instantly be handed a copy of The Hunger Games. The title gave me doubts at first, like it did most. But read this book, and you’ll see the value of caring (whether it’s saving someone’s life or throwing them a loaf of bread), the strength it takes to change the world, and (this will sound dumb, but it’s true) the power of love. One of my favourite books.
4. Mable Riley by Marthe Jocelyn: If you’re interested in woman’s rights, feminism, or life in the early 1900’s, then you’ll love “Mable Riley.” I had no idea what it was about when I picked it up. But as I read, I fell in love with each character. An historical work set here in Canada, it combines action, romance, drama, and comedy. No matter how small one is, Jocelyn teaches us in the book, one’s voice is of value.
5. 1984 by George Orwell: One of the greatest works I’ve ever read, hands down. Orwell is right up there with Tolkien, in my mind. “1984” is a beautiful, tragic, and realistic book that is both fortunately fictional by terrifyingly speculative. It examines society, and shows us where we’re headed. The ending is as scary as it is surprising, especially the last line. I couldn’t put it down.
6. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin: You’ve probably heard of the risqué HBO series based on the novels, but nothing beats reading them! Once you read “A Game of Thrones”, you won’t be able to resist picking up the rest of the books in “A Song of Ice and Fire.” A fantasy as wondrous as “The Lord of the Rings” yet not so straightforward. The line between good an evil is now a shifty grey area, wherein gods know who lurks, waiting to make the move that will win them the Iron Throne. A book that isn’t as simple as Elves vs. Orcs, yet is as beautiful and as fantastical. (CAUTION: EVERYBODY DIES.)