10 Books to Read Before You Graduate: British Edition

Ah, England. No other country produces better tea, better biscuits, or better books than England. Plus, no other country has better reading weather; it practically rains every day across the pond!On this list of the best British books to read before you graduate, you will sadly not find J.K. Rowling, as she’s actually Scottish. I know, I know. I’m sad too. However, you will find some other amazing authors who have written beautiful masterpieces.

Okay, okay, enough with the introduction! Let’s dive right in:

10. Lord of the Flies – William Golding (Goodreads: 3.66)

Chances are you were forced to read this novel in your ninth grade English class, and chances are you thought it was rather dull. Perhaps you’ve never picked it up since to give it a re-read; perhaps you’ve never even read Lord of the Flies. Do yourself a favor and grab it off the shelf at your local bookstore. Lord of the Flies details the destruction of a small society built by schoolboys on a deserted island. Often seen as a parable for politics and modern society, it is one of the most chilling, foreboding tales you’ll ever read.

9. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte (Goodreads: 3.84)

Ghosts, love, revenge, and misty moors combine to make Wuthering Heights one of the greatest British love stories of all time. You’ll fall in and out of love with Heathcliff, you’ll sympathize with and hate Catherine Earnshaw, and you’ll imagine ghosts scratching at your window pane.

8. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime – Mark Haddon (Goodreads: 3.86)

It saddens me to rank this book so low on this list because it’s one of my favorites, but Goodreads users seem to disagree slightly with me. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime chronicles the life of Christopher John Francis Boone, a teenage boy with Asperger’s, and his search for a dog’s murderer. Filled with love, laughter, and heartbreak, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is one book you won’t want to put down.

7. Animal Farm – George Orwell (Goodreads: 3.90)

If you haven’t read Animal Farm yet, I doubt you went to public school. Don’t be fooled by Orwell’s seemingly simple writing style; there’s a lot to unpack in this novella. Animal Farm is an allegory criticizing Stalinist Russia and oppressors of freedom told through—you guessed it—animals on a farm. Just a warning: don’t get too close to the pig.

6. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess (Goodreads: 3.99)

This book is basically The Catcher in the Rye meets 1984 on crack. Anthony Burgess has created a masterpiece, inventing a (not too) dystopian world filled with teenage criminals and a too-powerful government. While the movie is fantastic, it’s nothing compared to the book. And no, Kubrick fans, “Singing in the Rain” does not make an appearance in the pages.

5. Emma – Jane Austen (Goodreads: 3.99)

Have you ever seen Clueless? If so, you get the gist of Emma—without the charms of Paul Rudd and Alicia Silverstone, of course. Jane Austen’s novel centers on rich and beautiful Emma Woodhouse, her minion Harriet, and the serious, handsome Mr. Knightley. Emma is a charming love story that teaches people the importance of minding their own damn business.

4. 1984 – George Orwell (Goodreads: 4.16)

Some readers shy away from 1984 because Orwell tends to go off on long, bracketed tangents about oppressive government institutions. I know that those rants can be rather dense, but there’s also a powerful lyricism to those grim pages. Plus, the rest of the book is—arguably—even better; 1984 follows Winston and Julia’s doomed love story and their helpless struggle to maintain free thought. 1984 is technically a dystopian novel, but in a world full of ‘fake news,’ it seems eerily relevant.

3. Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen (Goodreads: 4.25)

Ah, Darcy. To me, Darcy is the sexiest literary character in the history of all literature. Plus, Elizabeth is an excellent heroine; she’s strong, independent, and just flawed enough to love immensely but not flawed enough to be annoyed with. Emma may be heralded by critics as Austen’s best-written novel, but Pride & Prejudice takes the cake in every reader’s heart. If you haven’t read Pride & Prejudice, please do so today. If you have, please re-read it today.

2. Winnie-the-Pooh – A.A. Milne (Goodreads: 4.34)

There’s Rabbit, there’s Piglet, and there’s Owl, but most of all Winnie-the-Pooh! Winnie-the-Pooh is an adorable, charming children’s book filled with gorgeous illustrations and silly stories sure to make even the grinchiest grinch giggle. From hunting Heffalumps to getting stuck in rabbit holes, Winnie-the-Pooh keeps readers of all ages entertained. Check out The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh for maximum fun.

1. The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien (Goodreads: 4.49)

Does this series even need any introduction? The Lord of the Rings has a giant following of hardcore fans—some fans have even learned how to speak and write in Elvish. J.R.R. Tolkien has built a masterful, uber-detailed fantasy world and peopled it with hobbits, wizards, elves, orcs, and so much more. If you’re looking for an escape, jump into the pages of The Lord of the Rings and follow Frodo’s quest to destroy the Ring. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

There you have it—these are the top ten best British books you need to read before you graduate. Want more of this series? Check out “10 Books to Read Before You Graduate: Contemporary Edition.” Happy reading!