It may be easier to comprehend a novel after it’s adapted to films and television shows, but there’s something about cracking open the fresh binding of a classic novel that can’t compare to watching actors. Before you send your high school student off into the real world, make sure their brushed up on IKO Community Management’s top 10 classic books:
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (1605) – This comedic novel is staged around Mr. Alonso Quixano who reads so many chivalric romance stories that he loses his sanity. He sets out on a quest to revive chivalry and bring justice to the world alongside his trusty sidekick, Sancho Panza. Throughout their quest for knighthood, this satirical novel will make readers laugh and cry until the very last page.
Emma by Jane Austen (1815) – Emma Woodhouse is a headstrong, intelligent, and kind socialite in England who thinks she has a flair for matchmaking after attending a friend’s wedding. The story follows Emma as she sets up another friend with a man out of her social status. With the comedy of modern novels and a timeless storyline, readers won’t be able to stop talking about Emma.
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (1837) – Also known as The Parish Boy’s Progress, this satirical story tells of a poor orphan named Oliver Twist, who is trying to find his way on the streets of London. With a few bumps in the road and a handful of not-so-nice characters, Oliver learns what it really takes to make it in the real world.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865) – Before Disney got a hold of it, this story was a fantasy tale that captured the imagination and curiosity of readers around the world. Like the movie, a young girl named Alice falls through a rabbit hole into a strange land populated by even stranger, anthropomorphic creatures, including The Cheshire Cat, The Queen of Hearts and The White Rabbit. Critics have raved that this tale is “of that extremely rare kind which will belong to all the generations to come until the language becomes obsolete.”
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (1883) – This narration of “buccaneers and buried gold” is what pirate dreams are made of. Readers will follow the sea adventures of Jim Hawkins, Dr. Livesey, Long John Silver, Captain Smollett, Squire Trelawney, and Billy Bones.
The Call of the Wild by Jack London (1903) – One of the greatest adventure novels, this tale is set in Yukon, Canada during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, when strong sled dogs were a necessity. The adventure fiction is centered on a dog named Buck and his struggle for survival.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925) – This novel follows an exceptional cast of characters in the fictional town of West Egg in prosperous Long Island. During the summer of 1922, the Jazz Age grabs hold of elusive and wealthy Jay Gatsby; his long-lost love, Daisy Buchanan; and her cousin, Nick Carraway.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (1951) – This novel follows the adolescent struggles for Holden Caulfield, an icon for teenage rebellion. After being expelled from an exclusive private school in Pennsylvania, Holden catches a train for New York City and never looks back. His relatable character deals with complex issues of identity, connection and loss, making this novel a must-read for teens of all generations.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (1952) – This illustrated children’s book tells the story of a pig named Wilbur and his newfound friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte. In order to save Wilbur from an unfortunate fate, Charlotte has to persuade the farmer using her wit and charm.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (1985) – One of the first books of its genre, this military science fiction novel is set in Earth’s future, where mankind is hanging on by a thread after two wars with an insect-like alien species. To combat a potential third attack, children are trained in zero gravity games, where Ender Wiggin excels. Readers will follow Ender in his fight for mankind’s survival.
After that list, we hope you’re running out to your nearest library or bookstore to get a head start on your summer reading.
From all of us at IKO Community Management, happy reading!