10 Books You Read at School That You Should Totally Read Again

Without the pressures of academic study, exploring these literary masterpieces once again may be a completely different (and better!) experience. Featuring enthralling adventures, moving stories and canon classics, see below for 10 books you read at school that you should totally read again.

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1. An Inspector Calls

J. B. Priestley

This riveting read is both a gripping detective thriller and a philosophical play about social conscience and the collapse of middle-class values. A respectable household is stunned when a mysterious man visits them shortly after dinner - and proceeds to unravel their prejudices and lies...

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2. Of Mice and Men

John Steinbeck

This touching tear-jerker tells the story of two American drifters: the sharp, small George and his big, childlike friend, Lennie. Both are searching for work in the fields and valleys of California, dreaming that they'll find a place of their own one day and realise the American dream. But gentle giant Lennie doesn't know his own strength and lands himself in a lot of trouble, especially with the boss's daughter-in-law. It is up to George to protect his friend - but even he will struggle to save him. 1920s America is vividly brought to life, as is the unique friendship of two unforgettable characters.

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3. The Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini

Afghanistan, 1975. 12-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament alongside his faithful friend, Hassan. But neither of the boys can foresee the terrible things that will happen to Hassan that afternoon, an event that will shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises one day that he must return to Afghanistan under Taliban rule to seek the one thing his new world cannot offer him: redemption. This novel will grip you from first page to last.

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4. Lord of the Flies

William Golding

This classic novel has proved controversial in its time, but is nonetheless an iconic and exhilarating read. Join a group of boys on an uninhabited island, the only survivors of a tragic plane crash. The boys must try to work together, but it's not long before cracks appear in their friendships, their primal impulses take over and their memories of home and family vanish. This story offers a sharp commentary on society, posing many questions about how we live and what our ideals should be.

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5. Wuthering Heights

Emily Bronte

This tumultuous love story takes place in the wild and desolate Yorkshire moors, a darkly meaningful and ominous setting. It follows Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine's father. Heathcliff, bullied and humiliated by Catherine's brother Hindley, falls deeply in love with Catherine. Believing this love to be unrequited, he leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later - determined to wreak a terrible revenge for his former miseries and enduring anguish. This haunting masterpiece is sure to shock and thrill its readers.

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6. To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee

This inspiring and engrossing story is told from the perspective of six-year-old Scout, a little girl who lives in the American Deep South. Her father, lawyer Atticus Finch, is determined to defend a black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman. Animosity and prejudice against Scout's family inevitably follow, and Scout comes to truly comprehend the magnitude of the injustice present in her own hometown. Powerful and thought-provoking, this novel is simply a must-read.

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7. Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen

This beloved book follows the provincial middle-class Bennet family. When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks he's an arrogant, narcissistic individual, and has no interest in him. Similarly, he is indifferent to her beauty and vibrant mind. When Darcy starts to interfere in the relationship between his friend Bingley and Elizabeth's sister Jane, Elizabeth is determined to loathe him more than ever - but instead ends up falling in love. When it comes to romance, you can't beat this much-loved classic.

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8. Frankenstein

Mary Shelley

Victor Frankenstein, obsessed with the idea of creating life itself, ransacks graveyards for the material necessary to fashion a new being. He shocks the creature into life with electricity, but his botched being, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy its creator and all that he holds dear. This spine-chilling Gothic novel is full of moral quandaries, and remains one of the world's most famous horror stories.

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9. Goodnight Mister Tom

Michelle Magorian

This shocking and illuminating tale follows Willie Beech, a deprived child who lives in London with an abusive mother. When war breaks out, Willie is evacuated and taken into the home of Tom Oakley, an old man whose initial cold facade soon gives way to his kindness and compassion. Willie makes a close friend in fellow evacuee Zach, who loves to go cycling. But what will happen when Willie's mother demands he come home - and tragedy strikes? This heartrending book features trauma and loss, but ends with Willie's realisation that those who die will always be alive in his mind and memories.

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10. Great Expectations

Charles Dickens

Join young orphan Pip on all his adventures in this timeless classic. Pip couldn't have imagined how a terrifying encounter with a convict would later transform his life. But he's even more troubled by his visits to the strange old Miss Havisham, whose house full of memories disturbs him, and the beautiful Estella, who makes him feel ashamed of his country manners and coarse hands. Surely a young blacksmith's apprentice could never dream of winning Estella - but Pip's future may not turn out quite as he expected...

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Looking for more literature you can lose yourself in? Check out our full range of the very best children's books.

  • AAASQ 14 years +
    14 years +
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    Classic, challenging, controversial, iconic, dazzling... There are just not enough adjectives to describe William Golding's classic 1954 novel, Lord of the Flies.

    Telling the story of a group of boys who are stranded on an uninhabited island after a plane crash, the book offers a commentary on society that still stands up today, posing many questions about how we live...

    After setting up a community on the island, cracks do not take long to appear. The boys' primal urges take over and all memories of home and family vanish as they become excited by pig hunts and regress into a primitive, dangerous way of life...

    This book has been hand-picked for the Book People's FaberShop, in partnership with Faber & Faber.
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    Of Mice and Men tells the story of streetwise George and his big, childlike friend Lennie. A pair of drifters searching for work in the fields and valleys of California, they have nothing except the clothes on their back, and a hope that one day they'll find a place of their own and be able to live the American dream. George owning the land, and Lennie tending to the rabbits. But dreams come at a price. Gentle giant Lennie doesn't know his own strength, and when they find work at a ranch he gets into trouble with the boss's daughter-in-law. Trouble so bad that even his protector George may not be able to save him. John Steinbeck brilliantly brings 1920s America to life in this life-affirming tale of a special friendship.

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    THE ORIGINAL TEXT. 'Shoot all the Bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a Mockingbird.' A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel - a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with both compassion and humour. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, Atticus, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy.
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    Afghanistan, 1975: Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament and his loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. But neither of the boys can foresee what will happen to Hassan that afternoon, an event that is to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return to Afghanistan under Taliban rule to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.
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    Jane Austen's classic 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice has been adapted into an extremely popular BBC series starring Colin Firth, and an Oscar-nominated film starring Keira Knightley. Based in Longbourn in Hertfordshire, the story follows the provincial middle-class Bennet family and shows the folly of judging by first impressions. When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks he is arrogant and conceited, while he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she discovers Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever.

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    "An Inspector Calls", first produced in 1946 when society was undergoing sweeping transformations, has recently enjoyed an enormously successful revival. While holding its audience with the gripping tension of a detective thriller, it is also a philosophical play about social conscience and the crumbling of middle class values. "Time and the Conways" and "I Have Been Here Before" belong to Priestley's 'time'plays, in which he explores the idea of precognition and pits fate against free will. "The Linden Tree" also challenges preconceived ideas of history when Professor Linden comes into conflict with his family about how life should be lived after the war.
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    Obsessed by creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life by electricity. But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear. Mary Shelley's chilling gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley near Byron's villa on Lake Geneva. It would become the world's most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity.
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    Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian won the Guardian Children's Fiction Award. Mum said war was a punishment from God for people's sins, so he'd better watch out. She didn't tell him what to watch out for, though. When the Second World War breaks out, young Willie Beech is evacuated to the countryside. A sad, deprived child, he slowly begins to flourish under the care of kind old Tom Oakley. But then his cruel mother summons him back to war-torn London...Will he ever see Mister Tom again? "Everyone's idea of a smash-hit first novel: full-blown characters to love and hate, moments of grief and joy, and a marvellous story that knows just how to grab the emotions." (Guardian).
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    This is the "Penguin English Library Edition" of "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte. "May you not rest, as long as I am living. You said I killed you - haunt me, then". Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before: of the intense passion between the foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and her betrayal of him. As Heathcliff's bitterness and vengeance is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past. "The Penguin English Library" - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
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    Considered by many to be Dickens' finest novel, Great Expectations traces the growth of the book's narrator, Philip Pirrip (Pip), from a boy of shallow dreams to a man with depth of character. From its famous dramatic opening on the bleak Kentish marshes, the story abounds with some of Dickens' most memorable characters. Among them are the kindly blacksmith Joe Gargery, the mysterious convict Abel Magwitch, the eccentric Miss Haversham and her beautiful ward Estella, Pip's good-hearted room-mate Herbert Pocket and the pompous Pumblechook. As Pip unravels the truth behind his own 'great expectations' in his quest to become a gentleman, the mysteries of the past and the convolutions of fate through a series of thrilling adventures serve to steer him towards maturity and his most important discovery of all - the truth about himself.