Power Ranking of AMHS Required Reading Books

What are the most iconic books the students of AMHS have read?


Ms. Hurt’s bookshelf features literature textbooks and a few of her famous stuffed animals among other books.

Each year, the students of AMHS procrastinate reading books for English class until the night before it’s due and then typically cram to finish them (or read SparkNotes) to complete assignments before class begins. There’s some controversy over whether or not required reading is important in schools as a result, and some schools are leaning more towards allowing students to choose what they read. Anna Clifford (9) believes that required reading books are not very beneficial, especially when they’re not very intriguing to students. Some English teachers at AMHS have begun allowing students to read choice novels throughout the school year in combination with required reading. When asked what he thought about the required reading books, Kevin Boyd (12) stated, “Wait, we were supposed to read them?” The following is a review of some of the most iconic required reading gems that the students of AMHS read each year.

Disclaimer: Potential spoilers ahead!


10. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

For being the first required reading book I ever read for summer reading at AMHS in 9th grade, it definitely ranks as the worst. Mariane Jenkins (9) thought that Siddhartha was super boring, along with the rest of the Magnet student body. Needless to say, I don’t think anyone reached Nirvana after reading this book.

9. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Hawthorne took the common writer’s proverb “show don’t tell” to the next level with this book. “It was good for not understanding anything,” says Kate Kuisel (12). Pauline Wang (12) also made a revolutionary discovery about the symbolism of the scarlet letter while reading this book. “So that’s what those Taylor Swift lyrics meant!” she exclaimed in reference to Taylor Swift’s song “Love Story.”

8. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

Abby Keating (12) commented, “If I wanted to read about a bunch of stuffy old white guys conspiring to kill each other, I would just read the news.” At least after reading this book we can now all use the phrase, “Et tu, Brute?” as an allusion when our best friend stabs us in the back. Literally.

If I wanted to read about a bunch of stuffy old white guys conspiring to kill each other, I would just read the news.”

— Abby Keating

7. Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

Although Oedipus Rex is not exactly a book, I felt that it deserved a spot on the list. Who can forget about the guy who slept with his mother and killed his father before stabbing his own eye out?

6. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

“What a lousy book written by a complete phony,” stated Caroline Young (12). While some people related to the stream-of-consciousness style of writing that Salinger used to depict Holden Caulfield’s thoughts, many just thought he was annoying and needed to take some Prozac. 

5. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Sarah Romagnuolo (12) absolutely loved reading Catch-22. She commented, “Catch-22 was my favorite book because I love reading long books that make no sense.” Stuart Philp (12), however, was disappointed in Catch-22. “I didn’t think there were enough deaths in Catch 22,” he said. “If I had it my way every character would’ve been dead by the end of the book.”

Catch-22 was my favorite book because I love reading long books that make no sense.”

— Sarah Romagnuolo

4. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

“I totally studied for this test,” Lilly Ku (12) said confidently. So it goes.

3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Well, old sport, after watching the movie featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan I had a sudden inclination to run around my house throwing clothes everywhere just for the fun of it.  Also, protip: if you want your crush to notice you, throwing a huge party every night is an effective method. It has also been discovered that Daisy actually had a child in the book. Who knew?

2. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

My impression of the classic horror story Frankenstein has been altered by my memories of watching the iconic movie parody Young Frankenstein in Ms. Novinger’s English class sophomore year. But you also have to give Shelley credit for jumpstarting the infamous career of Frankenstein’s monster. It’s actually pronounced “Fronkensteen,” by the way.

Yams are the basic unit of life.”

— Dylan Carter

1. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Zinnia Harris (12) claims, “Things Fall Apart jump started my depression.” I don’t know a single person who enjoyed this freshman year summer reading staple, but it gets a 100000/10 just for the yam memes, which bumped it up to first place. According to Dylan Carter (10), “Yams are the basic unit of life.” I remember very little of what actually occurred in this book, but I still remember the yams. They have changed the lives of the Magnet student body forever.