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  • Victoria Kane

High School Reading List

Toilet paper, disinfectant, hand sanitizer, prescriptions, and non-perishable foods-- these are the things everybody is stocking up on in preparation for self-quarantine or social distancing in order to avoid the coronavirus.


But, we should also be thinking about books. Unlike toilet paper and hand sanitizer, there appears to be no shortage of books on Amazon. In light of many school closures, I have put together a reading list of books and essays for high schoolers who may be stuck at home and unable to socialize with friends.

As many libraries are closed as well, you may want to consider renting ebooks. In the Minuteman Library Network, you can rent ebooks and audiobooks through Overdrive using your library card.


The reading lists below are organized into themes.


On Solitude

Into the Wild by John Krakauer

John Krakauer tells the story of Chris McCandless, a recent college graduate who decides to “live deliberately” by hitchhiking across America and camping alone in the Alaskan wild to live off of the land.


“An Entrance to the Woods” by Wendall Berry

A personal essay on hiking and camping by oneself, Wendall Berry contemplates the movement from the bustle of society to the quietness of the woods, while reflecting on the history of the land.


Wild by Cheryl Strayed (for older high school students)

A beautiful memoir about Cheryl Strayed’s solo journey on the Pacific Crest Trail, at a moment in her life where she was looking for clarity and redemption.


To Keep You Entertained

“A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” by David Foster Wallace

A hilarious and thoughtful essay about David Foster Wallace’s experience on a luxury cruise ship, a genius critique intertwined with his social awkwardness and humor.


Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

A fictional and entertaining look into the lives of the Singapore elite, tracing the story of a young professor, who unbeknownst to her, is dating one of Singapore’s richest and most eligible bachelors.


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

A dark and fascinating page-turner that tells the story of a woman’s sudden disappearance and the consequences that fall out of it.


To Make You Cry

Turtles All the Way Down by John Greene

An empathetically written story about a high school girl struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder while trying to navigate life without her dad, on top of all of the usual high school stuff.


Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

A dystopian novel about a woman reflecting on the uniqueness of her childhood and her origins as she takes care of organ donors facing their mortality.


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

A high schooler who lives between two worlds-- her poor neighborhood and the wealthy suburban school she attends, a divide that gets even more difficult to navigate when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood friend by a police officer.


To Make You Think

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

An introduction to philosophy in novel form, about a teenage girl exploring the big questions like “who are we?” and “what is real?” with the help of her mysterious new teacher.


Words on the Move by John McWhorter

A look at the way the English language and the meaning of words evolve over time, and an argument in favor of accepting these new changes as they occur.


The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Tim O’Brien blends fact and fiction as he reflects on his time spent fighting in the Vietnam War, leaving readers thinking about storytelling and the role of “truth”.



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