1. The Crucible (Arthur Miller)
I read this book based on the Salem witch trials back in 11th grade and actually liked it, considering that I basically never like books I have to read for class. I think that if I reread this book, with its connections between the Salem witch trials and McCarthyism and the Red Scare, I would enjoy it – especially since it’s a play and they’re pretty quick to read and enjoy.
2. Death of a Salesman (Arthur Miller)
Another play from Miller, but this one was a little more confusing when I read it back during my senior year. I think I’d get more out of it now that I’ve taken two years worth of college English classes, plus I did kind of enjoy it.
3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
This was one of my freshman reads, so I was really tough on books back then. This book kind of interested me at the time, which is a really big deal for a required reading book. I don’t remember much about this story other than being set in the early 1910s or so and about a poor daughter of second generation immigrants, but I’d sure like to remember with a relaxing reread without worrying about writing a scary high school essay (hey, your first or second or whatever high school essay really is scary!).
4. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Tom Stoppard)
This was another play that I read my senior year and I think it’s safe to say that I actually did like it. It takes two minor characters from Hamlet and is all over the place and really existentialist and kind of makes no sense and that’s why I like it and am rambling as I talk about it. I think one of the reasons that one of my friends and I really liked it was because another kid from our class, one of the serious and future valedictorian types, kind of hated it and we liked talking about it in our small Latin class – quite entertaining watching him roll his eyes and disagreeing.
5. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
I know this is a classic and pretty much everyone loves it, but when I read it back in eighth grade, I definitely wasn’t in love with it. I think I was a little too young for it plus the whole never-truly-like-required-reading thing, but anyway, I think I would hopefully like and appreciate this book if I gave it a second chance.
6. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
This is another one of the books that I actually did kind of like, but I can’t help but wonder if it was a bit of a clichéd high school choice and if I would change my mind rereading it now. Not that it’s clichéd to like it, but I’d just like to make sure.
7. Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
Another book that I kind of liked and think I would like even more since I know what to expect and that it’s really quite creepy at times (they hunt and kill a poor pig simply because they can and think they’re great big warriors or something).
8. The Comedy of Errors (William Shakespeare)
Some of my friends and I discovered this little-known Shakespeare play when we were assigned a class project to make a play of a Shakespeare comedy and we kind of fell in love with how silly and entertaining it was. I mean, it’s full of twin shenanigans thanks to two sets of twins and a lot of cases of mistaken identity. So, I did actually like book, but that’s mainly because we chose it on our own and didn’t have to write an essay or take a test on it or anything like that.
9. Macbeth (William Shakespeare)
Another Shakespeare play! This was another book from freshman year, which is why I’d like to reread it and see what I think of it over five years later (oh my god, freshman year was over five years ago).
10. Tempest (William Shakespeare)
This is the only book on this list that I haven’t already read. I’m trying to read some more Shakespeare plays simply because I can and want to see if I understand them on my own. This is one of the major Shakespeare plays that I never read back in high school, so I’m curious to know what it’s about other than a fairy or sprite or something named Ariel (thank you, Eyes Like Stars!).