By: Aambar Agarwal & Divya Bhardwaj

We have read lots of books during our time at HB, and we enjoyed them all in their unique ways, but some were definitely better than others. Here’s all the books we have read, ranked first by Aambar and then by Divya. 

Aambar’s list:

1. The Gate to Women’s Country

What’s not to love? The plot was incredibly original; who could ever think of a dystopian society run by women that subjugate and kill off men who fail to obey? If only there was a sequel…

2. Twelfth Night

Arguably Shakespeare’s best play, with the best character being poor Malvolio in his bright yellow cross-gartered clothing.

3. The Odyssey

Besides the lure of Greek mythology, Odysseus’ constant failures and tantrums really made the epic what it is: a masterpiece.

4. Judge Dee at Work

Full of magnificent mysteries and unguessable perpetrators.

5. The Importance of Being Earnest

Isn’t Ernest just such a perfect name?

6. Julius Caesar

While the Ides of March was a terribly depressing day, seeing Caesar’s magnificence portrayed so well by Shakespeare made the play enjoyable.

7. The Great Gatsby

I’ll admit: all the characters are trash. However, Nick’s pushover personality and Gatsby’s obsessive stalking made the book quite the read.

8. Great Expectations

Everything exceeded my expectations. The dull, monotonous descriptions of everything, from a random swamp to a large boat, truly enlightened me.

9. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Definitely an important book to read if you’re interested in science. However, the title is quite misleading…

10. The Things They Carried

To my frustration, Tim O’Brien admits multiple times that he made up everything that happens in the novel. Nevertheless, the story really does convey the impact the Vietnam War had on the young soldiers.

11. Arabian Nights

While entertaining, the idiocy of the King was the only basis for the story. How was he that enthralled in Shahrazad’s stories that he decided not to kill her? Sounds like an ineffective ruler.

12. Life of Pi

Pi was on a boat with a tiger: not unlikely at all. But apparently, that’s just a story fabricated by Pi himself. In reality, the tiger was a human that survived a shipwreck with him, and the hyena was the chef, and… you only find this out on the last three pages.

13. A Doll’s House 

Boring. 

14. Jane Eyre

Jane is the most infuriating character in the history of novels. She willingly goes back to the very man who verbally abused her. What the %&$@!

15. The Woman Warrior

Very, very, very hard to understand… and apparently half of it is made up.

16. The Girl From Everywhere

Also known as the worst book in all of history. I don’t care if someone can time travel. I really don’t. And then there’s the love triangle: a completely unnecessary element.

Divya’s list:

  1. Twelfth Night

Unlike most of Shakespeare’s work, this play is very exciting. Full of dramatic irony, likeable characters, and a rich storyline, it really has all the elements of an enjoyable read. 

  1. The Odyssey

This piece of literature is not fun to read if you look at it through the traditional lens. However, it is very easy to come up with entertaining interpretations of everything you read! Odysseus’ outbursts and tantrums are actually hilarious! The suitors trashing the palace while Penelope and Telemachus mope and complain is the height of comedy! The fact that Odysseus spent seven years of his “ten-year journey” home crying on Calypso’s island is endlessly amusing! If you’re in the right mindset, reading the Odyssey is even better than reality TV. 

  1. The Importance of Being Earnest

This is the only book I’ve read for English in which the characters and dialogue are actually funny. 

  1. The Great Gatsby 

This book is great because all the characters suck, so it’s amusing when all of their lives culminate in disaster. 

  1. A Doll’s House

I thought this would be another book about how women are clueless and need a man, but I was pleasantly surprised by the ending, which in fact suggested the opposite! 

  1. Arabian Nights

It’s so odd, but in a strange way, I felt really captivated by the story. I actually read some parts of it that weren’t assigned to us because I was so immersed in the story. 

  1. Life of Pi

I loved it until the last few pages. Why can’t he just tell us if the animals were really there or if it was actually people with whom he was on the boat? I hate when authors confuse readers just because they can. 

  1. Judge Dee at Work

This book makes no sense. I love it.

  1. Julius Caesar

Meh.

  1. The Things They Carried

Thought-provoking, but I don’t know how I feel about some/most/all of it being made up.

  1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Something rubs me the wrong way about some random girl recounting a deeply personal family story. 

  1. The Girl From Everywhere

I think they tried to give us a book they thought we would enjoy reading, but it was actually just over the top and too drama-filled. 

  1. Jane Eyre

I was so happy when Jane left Mr. Rochester. I was like, wow, this book really is about female empowerment! Then she went right back to him, so.  

  1. Great Expectations

You can definitely tell this man got paid by the word. 

  1. The Woman Warrior

This “memoir” read more like a fever dream. 

  1. The Gate to Women’s Country

I think there’s a reason they don’t make us read this book anymore. 

Alas. Let us know if you have any opinions about our choices.

Posted by:hbinretrospect

Reporting not for school, but for life.

2 replies on “All the Books We Have Read for English at HB, Ranked

  1. You try narrating a failed- before-it-started love story about an overidealistic dude who exists solely as a symbol of how the American Dream is fake and your annoying cousin, perhaps one of the most illogical characters in classic literature (there must be something in bay water).

  2. Excuse me? I am NOT “trash”. I’m one of the few ~honest~ people I’ve ever known.

    You try narrating a failed love story between people like that. NOT. EASY.

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