Throughout school I always dreaded receiving the summer reading lists; I never imagined I'd enjoy any of the books listed. However, the summer going into my senior year, I received a list of the books and plays that had been recommended throughout all four years of high school. I decided to do some research and pick out a couple of titles that stood out to me.
Looking back, I'm so happy I did this. It was my senior year of high school where I really fell in love with literature and became certain I wanted to pursue some sort of career in the communication field. It wasn't until I completed some of the books on this list that I was set on working in the book publishing industry.
While so many people believe that books are a dying industry, new technology, such as kindles and nooks, are evidence that book enthusiasts are here to stay. Fortunately for us, most of us are still inclined to paperbacks.
I've picked three classics that are truly worth reading. While these novels are recommended to high school seniors, these are great reads for just about anyone of every age!
1. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
A Raisin in the Sun, one of the most significant plays of the 1950s, tells the story of the Youngers, an African-American family living in Chicago. While the family awaits to receive a $10,000 insurance check, they begin to discuss and disagree over the best way to make use of the money. This play follows the story of a family revealing their hopes and aspirations. Hansberry creates a story that encourages audiences to reflect on their own version of the American dream and the extent they'd go to make it a reality. This is truly one of my favorite plays because it not only served to entertain a mass audience, but it used it's platform to shed a light on important issues of the 1950s.
2. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
My senior year of high school I read one of my favorite plays up to date, A Streetcar Named Desire. Streetcar is a shocking and heartbreaking story that revolves around three characters: Blanche DuBois, Stella Kowalski, and Stanley Kowalski. When Blanche surprises her sister, Stella, at her home in New Orleans, chaos erupts. This story follows the tragic journey of three clashing personalities and results in an ending that continues to astound readers even 70 years later. There's no question that this read is worthwhile.
3. A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
One of the most sincere novels I've read has been A Lesson Before Dying. While this book is considered fiction, it's loosely based on the true story of Willie Francis, a young man who was sentenced to death by electric chair. This novel follows the story of Jefferson, a young black man wrongfully accused of murder and Grant Wiggins, a teacher at the local plantation school. Gaines captivates readers in a way that not many authors know how: through character development. While this story stirs so many different emotions in its readers, A Lesson Before Dying is, undoubtedly, a journey worth taking.
Picture courtesy of macrolit.