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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

We’ve all been there. You’re required to analyze yet another slow, boring novel for English class, and instead of reading it, you turn to online summaries and notes pertaining to the book. Though I have read my fair share of snooze-fest stories, I have also discovered some of my all-time favorites. Thanks to some previous and current teachers, here are some required books I was genuinely fond of. 

1984 by GEORGE ORWELL 

George Orwell uses a significant amount of irony and imagery throughout the novel, making it a rather immersive read. The story is tense and engaging, making the novel a real “nail-biter” at parts. Using sight imagery, Orwell is able to describe the dull, fear-invoking setting and the appearance of specific characters. The author’s writing additionally presents his fears of totalitarian governments to the reader by describing the lack of privacy his characters possess. 1984 conceptualizes a sad future that is a somewhat accurate reflection of the world we currently live in. However, because everything must possess a flaw, I must admit that I was not a fan of the conclusion Orwell provided. I had wished for there to be a greater sense of perseverance and resolution, and instead I was left thinking to myself, “wait… is that really it?” If you are a fan of dystopian novels and stories, such as The Hunger Games and Divergent, I highly recommend this book. If 1984 is required for your English class, I suggest actually reading it, rather than allowing it to collect dust on your desk. It is a great read and changed my perspective on important topics, such as privacy and freedom. 

THE HANDMAID’S TALE by MARGARET ATWOOD 

Margaret Atwood began writing The Handmaid’s Tale in Berlin in the mid-1980s, inspired by the strong, conservative movements against the “sexual revolution” of the previous decade. During this time of political turmoil and traditional movements, many women were afraid that their rights they had worked so hard for would be stolen. The Canadian, award-winning author incorporated these fears into her novel, creating a believable world that stems from this time in history, where religious ideals have won and stripped women of all rights, even to their own body. The novel was brilliantly composed, as the story is undoubtedly thought-provoking. The word plays and sight imagery Atwood utilizes in her writing are clearly demonstrated, which allows readers to really dive into the story. I believe that this story has major significance, that one should read it to genuinely appreciate the value of bodily freedom for women. I also should mention this is yet another dystopian novel (can tell from these past two examples how much I love them?). There are slow books you may be required to read in school, but The Handmaid’s Tale at least reflects the theme of female empowerment. 

THE 57 BUS by DASHKA SLATER 

The 57 Bus, written by Dashka Slater, does a fantastic job of reflecting on controversial topics, such as discrimination, gender, and prejudice using clear and easy-to-understand language. The book is separated into small chapters, each containing no more than 5 pages, allowing the reader to perceive deep, heavy information without much necessary analysis. I loved how the author provided us, readers, with both Richard and Sasha’s viewpoints of the story, giving us more information than the characters (especially those working for the justice system) possess. The book shows the development of confidence in one’s gender, even after the individual faces a severe and injury-provoking hate crime. I enjoyed understanding the background story of the criminal, as it helped to analyze his behaviors, remorsefulness, and feelings. I absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking to understand the topics of gender, discrimination, prejudice, and the justice system on a deeper and more understandable level. This novel has helped me to formulate an educated opinion on juvenile detention centers, prison sentencing, and gender I did not possess previously. While the book has its dark moments and scenes, it also provides the reader with light and resolution throughout Sasha’s process. If anyone is struggling to find their identity (especially gender-wise), If you are searching for captivating information regarding the non-binary spectrum, transgender spectrum, the gender binary, and steps our nation has taken towards progression, look no further than The 57 Bus. 

AUTUMN GLORY: BASEBALL’S FIRST WORLD SERIES by LOUIS P. MASUR 

Louis P. Masur’s action-packed, yet historical book, Autumn Glory: Baseball’s First World Series, can grasp the attention of even the least-passionate baseball fan. At first glance, I admit that I assumed it was going to be a boring read. I am not the greatest fan of the sport, and I sure was not enthusiastic about reading a biopic with baseball as its star subject matter. Little did I know how much I would find myself loving the piece. Masur carefully reconstructed each and every play of the first World Series, and did so in a creative, yet historical context. The writing had flavor and exciting style, maintaining my attention through every page. Louis P. Masur proved in his biopic, Autumn Glory: Baseball’s First World Series, that baseball truly has brought true happiness to fans, as opposed to false, empty pleasures while simultaneously providing readers with detailed descriptions on the fans’ reception of the sport. Although it is unlikely that I will read this book again, I would like to note it was an excellent read that taught me the overwhelming impact and influence baseball has on American pop culture. Louis P. Masur demonstrated in his book, Autumn Glory: Baseball’s First World Series, that baseball has undoubtedly provided fans with real happiness, rather than unreliable pleasures. The biopic provided detailed descriptions that taught me about the reception and control of the pop culture surrounding the sport. If you are a baseball fan, you will LOVE this book! 

EVERY FALLING STAR by SUNGJU LEE and SUSAN McCLELLAND

How would you feel if you lost everything you know over the course of one month? What would you do if your family, house, and wealth disappeared in an instant? Over this past summer I read a remarkably interesting book, Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee and Susan McClelland, that demonstrated an impactful message every individual should understand. Some major themes highlighted in the story include the idea of survival, as well as why family is worth fighting for. The main character, Sungju, goes from being very wealthy, fortunate, and completely healthy to being poor, starving, and sick. The novel helped me to appreciate the little things, such as access to food, water, and family. The human experience should be filled with happiness and freedom, and by reading this novel, you may grow a better understanding for where these concepts are stripped from the individual. By showing life from an entirely unfamiliar perspective, the authors are able to effectively show us readers how lucky we truly are. I believe that this is the most heartfelt book I have ever been required to read and suggest it for anyone looking for an engaging storyline. 

The next time you are required to read a book for English class that possesses even the slightest bit of excitement, read it! You never know what story lies ahead. It is just like your teachers and professors say, “never judge a book by its cover.” 

Sophia Lonnroth

Endicott '26

Hi! I'm Sophia Lonnroth, a freshman psychology major, and I am the current Deputy Editor for HC at Endicott College! I hope you enjoy my written work!! :)