If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads – Ralph Waldo Emerson

In The LibraryIn my second instalment, I have compiled the last batch of 25 must-read novels for every High School student. The first 25 must read books can be accessed here:

READING: The 50 Must-read Novels Before Leaving High School


Here are some more internet reading applications that one can access on the click of a button. My best reading applications also include:

 Audiobooks             Price: Free / Pay a subscription

Audiobooks is another subscription audiobook service. It works a lot like Audible does. You pay a subscription for month for one free book. You then get discounts on other books. From there, just download and listen to the book.

Comixology               Price: Free / Pay a subscription

Comixology is among the best comic book reader apps. It features a collection of over 100,000 comics and that includes manga. The app syncs your collection between devices as well. There are two ways to experience this one. You can go the free route. That gets you a basic experience. You buy comics, you read them, and that’s that. Comixology Unlimited gives you access to hundreds of comics anytime for a monthly subscription.

Google Play Books            Price: Free

Google Play Books is a fairly large ebook platform. It boasts a catalog of millions of books, comics, manga, newspapers, magazines, and more. Everything you buy is synced between all of your devices. Additionally, it comes with various read modes for normal books, comics, and more.


26. WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Brontë

This is a straightforward, intense, love story coupled with revenge on the Yorkshire Moors in England. It follows the life of Heathcliff, a mysterious gypsy-like person, from childhood and the lifestyle he adopts.

27. DAVID COPPERFIELD by Charles Dickens

The novel traces the life of David Copperfield from the time of his birth to his mature manhood, when he is married and familiar with the vicissitudes of life.

28. ROBINSON CRUSOE by Daniel Defoe

Robinson Crusoe, as a young and impulsive wanderer, defied his parents and went to sea. He was involved in a series of violent storms at sea, got shipwrecked on a remote island and had to carve an existence for himself out of the few resources that are available to him.

29. PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen

The story charts the emotional development of the protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet, who learns the error of making hasty judgments and comes to appreciate the difference between the superficial and the essential.

30. HOLES by Louis Sachar.

A story of a family curse, fancy sneakers and poisonous lizards moves forward and backward through time, telling of how Stanley Yelnats IV ended up in a juvenile prison camp. It’s an introduction to complex narrative, suffused with fun, warmth and a truly memorable villain.

31. THREE MEN A BOAT by Jerome K Jerome

This is a humorous account of a two-week boating holiday on the Thames. The jokes and fun seem fresh and witty even today.

32. UGLY by Constance Briscoe

Despite her mother’s constant physical and psychological abuse, Constance gained a place at university to study law – a long-held ambition. She finances her studies by several jobs at weekends and during the holidays.

33. HARRY POTTER (series) by J.K Rowling

Orphan Harry learns he is a wizard on his 11th birthday when Hagrid escorts him to magic-teaching Hogwarts School. With seven books in the series both readers young and old still go crazy at the slightest rumor of a new Potter story.


This is a classic portrait of a mischievous twelve-year-old Tom Sawyer living a small-town life and getting into a lot of trouble with his friends. The book is loosely based on Twain’s childhood exploits.


Frank’s innocuous and relatable musings while hiding under Nazi occupation captures the tragedy of the Nazi regime.

36. THE HUNGER GAMES (series) by Suzanne Collins.

In a dystopian society where a group of children is annually required to battle to the death in a televised spectacle, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to fight in her sister’s place.

37. NOT QUITE WORLD’S END by John Simpson

I love his novels. This is a veteran BBC journalist and traveller’s tale with a lively and upbeat look at the challenges and the changes the world has gone through in his life and long career. The clear-sightedness and wonderful anecdotes in his novels are bound to be interesting. I would also encourage you to read another BBC newsreader, George Alagiah’s two books: A Passage to Africa or A Home From Home.

38. TWILIGHT (series) by Stephenie Meyer

Bella Swan discovers her crush comes with more complications than the average teen romance—her beau, Edward Cullen, is a vampire.

39. ROMEO AND JULIET by William Shakespeare

This is a tragedy about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families.

40. OF MICE AND MEN OF MICE by John Steinbeck

This is a story of an unlikely—and tragically fated—friendship between two men of remarkably different intellectual abilities. Primary themes of interest to high scholars: friendship and loyalty, character, cruelty and mercy.

41. A TALE OF TWO CITIES by Charles Dickens

The story is set in London and Paris, and the French countryside at the time of the French Revolution. The book is sympathetic to the overthrow of the French aristocracy but highly critical of the reign of terror that followed.


Gandhi is one of the most inspiring figures of our time. In his classic autobiography he recounts the story of his life and how he developed his concept of active nonviolent resistance, which propelled the Indian struggle for independence and countless other nonviolent struggles of the twentieth century.

43. THE SCARLET LETTER by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The adulteress Hester Prynne must wear a scarlet A to mark her shame. Her lover, Arthur remains unidentified and is wracked with guilt, while her husband, Roger seeks revenge.

44. OLIVER TWIST by Charles Dickens

An orphan named Oliver Twist meets a pickpocket on the streets of London. From there, he joins a household of boys who are trained to steal for their master.You won’t have gone wrong by reading Hard Times too or any works by Dickens. Master of descriptive writing!

45. DEATH OF A SALESMAN by Arthur Miller

An aging traveling salesman recognizes the emptiness of his life and tries to fix it. Also consider, All My Sons and The Crucible – masterpieces of heart-warming drama by the same author.

46. LONG WALK TO FREEDOM by Nelson Mandela

An autobiography of Nelson Mandela’s life journey from his childhood in a rural village through to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. Other African authors worth taking a pick on include the Kenyan, Ngugi wa Thiong’o (Weep Not Child, Matigari and The River Between); Zimbawean author, Dambudzo Marechera’s House Of Hunger and Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions.

47. JULIUS CAESAR by William Shakespeare

The tragedy of Julius Caesar is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1599 demonstrating the struggle between conflicting demands of honour, patriotism, and loyalty. Surely, any Shakespearean text you will come across will be interesting: Macbeth, Coriolanus, Twelfth Night, and The Merchant of Venice, etc.

48. BLACK LIKE ME by John Griffin Howard

This is a mind-gripping, thought-provoking novel about the changes that occur to heart, body and intelligence when a so-called first class citizen is cast on the junk-heap of second class citizenship. Very compelling read.


If there was any one man who articulated the anger, the struggle, and the beliefs of African Americans in the 1960s, that man was Malcolm X. He expresses like none other, the crucial truth about our times.

50. GREAT EXPECTATIONS by Charles Dickens

This is a bildungsroman novel that depicts the personal growth and development of an orphan nicknamed Pip. A series of events change the orphaned Pip’s life forever as he eagerly abandons his humble origins to begin a new life as a gentleman.


That is my 50 Novels take! There are countless other novels I have left out. Do you have any other books that you have read that you think our students should read before leaving High School? If you do have, please share them here. Thanks.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!


  1. Farai Savanhu says:

    Those books are indeed a great read .l love Great expectations by Charles Dickens not only because you taught me English in Literature back then but also because its got great lessons too.A must read before leaving High School indeed!

  2. andrew mutyavaviri says:

    Mi form.two daughter hs read mo thn ten of those listed books.u forgot The Autobiography by Bear Grylls-Mud Sweat nd Tears.

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