5 Classic Books and 5 Contemporary Books to Read BEFORE COLLEGE (and 5 Ways to Have Fun Reading Them)


A Blog by Ms. Jannifer Heiner, English Department Chair 

alverno2015-77As an Alverno Heights Academy student, you are most likely concerned about preparing for college. There are the ACTS and SATS, AP classes, and personal statements, and with all of these commitments, reading gets put on the back burner. But what about reading? It’s an important way to prepare for your college career. And it’s fun. Perhaps, when you’re through your exams and have a minute to relax, grab a cup of tea (or if you’re like me, hot chocolate) and pick up a good book. Here are five classic and five contemporary books every young woman should read before college.

5 Classic Books
1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
3. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

5 Contemporary Books
1. Watchmen (a graphic novel) by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
2. The House of the Spirits by Isabelle Allende
3. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
5. Looking For Alaska by John Green

Here are five ways to read these great novels…

alverno2015-1661. On a cold day, maybe one in which there is rain, put fresh sheets, an extra blanket, and a thick quilt on your bed, and then snuggle under the covers with your book. If you want extra warmth, bring a flashlight, and pull the covers over your head.
2. Go early to your local coffee shop, and order your favorite drink and a treat (maybe two or three). Find a prominent table, either inside or out. Begin reading and wait for passersby to stop and ask you about what you’re reading. This is a great way to meet nice, local people and talk about literature.
3. Pack a picnic basket and a blanket that you don’t mind throwing on the ground. Tuck your book under your arm and walk to the local park. Spread alverno2015-190out your blanket and your food, take out your book, relax and start reading. Take breaks to gaze up at the sky, pop a few grapes in your mouth, and consider what you are reading.
4. The next time you take a road trip with your family, take a good book and read it instead of pursuing social media. Better yet, read the book over the course of the drive, and post updates about the book and your trip at the same time. That long drive will seem much shorter.
5. Read a book with a friend or family member. Plan what pages you will read every week, and then meet with your friend or family member to discuss what you read. You could meet anywhere! You could discuss over lunch at your favorite café, on a hike in the mountains, or at a party, which would show off how intelligent you are.
janniferJannifer Heiner is the English Department Chair at Alverno Heights Academy. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature with a minor in Women’s Studies from UCLA, a Master of Education degree from Loyola Marymount University, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Goddard College. This is her second year teaching at Alverno Heights Academy and she currently teaches English 12, Creative Writing, Advanced Creative Writing, ESL/Culture I & II, and AP English Language Composition. Ms. Heiner is also the moderator for Alverno’s Literary Magazine, Calliope. 

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