While we’re all doing our part to contribute to the health and safety of our community, at-home activities like family time and reading take center stage.
We asked our team of avid readers for some top recommendations. The only requirements were that the books be appropriate for high-school-aged readers, and that they not be books that regularly show up on high school reading lists. Fiction and nonfiction, memoir and sci-fi—it’s all here.
Stay safe, and happy reading!
Breaking out of Beginner Spanish by Joseph Keenan
Recommended by James Backlund
This is THE book that takes all the Spanish you learned in the classroom, and makes it actually USEFUL as a language you can use to communicate with other people.
Circe by Madeline Miller
Recommended by Sebastian von Zerneck
Circe is the riveting tale of monsters, quests, and Olympian gods & goddesses. Circe, the narrator, is not your average storyteller: she’s powerful, dangerous, and immortal! For a transgression against the Olympians, she is banned to a secluded island where she resolves to live a meaningful existence regardless. Her adventures get her involved with some of our favorite characters from Greek mythology. If you liked the Percy Jackson books, you’ll love this novel!
Naive. Super by Erland Loe
Recommended by Jacob Schott
I think the title says it all. A bored, slightly naive young adult in Norway navigates their way through daily life before taking a trip to New York to confirm or disconfirm whether or not it is true that time moves slower at the top of the Empire State building than at street level. Trust me, this blurb doesn’t do the book justice…
Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy
Recommended by Matthew Downhour
Resurrection is shorter and more readable than Tolstoy’s more famous books, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, so it’s a good introduction to one of the giants of the classical literary canon. It is also a strong book in its own right, delving more directly into Tolstoy’s unique social and religious philosophy, which would inspire such historical figures as Mohandas K Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Recommended by Andrew Houghton
This brilliant book revolves around a Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, who is commanded by a Bolshevik tribunal to spend the rest of his life in a luxury hotel in Moscow. In my view, the count is a great guy whose life just keeps getting smaller and smaller. If he can survive and be happy in the hotel, what does that mean for us in our lives?
McTeague by Frank Norris
Recommended by Noah Larson
A Scottish dentist whose dream is to get a sign outside of his dental practice (the sign will be a massive tooth). His wife, Trina Sieppe, whose frugality leads her to obsessively craft Noah’s ark figurines and horde every penny. Marcus Schouler, McTeague’s best friend turned mortal enemy, whose desire to find and get even with McTeague leads them in a harrowing journey into the desert. One of the strangest but most interesting novels you will ever read!