Classic Back To School Reading List

Hey guys. It’s back to school time! Or at least I think it is. I have no way of knowing. I pay attention to school now as much as I did when I was actually in school (read: not at all). And yes, I was a terrible student. We don’t have to be jerks about it. Either way, school is definitely happening at some point in September. This, I know.

In honor of back-to-school and general learning, I’d like to bring back some classic books from the time when I still had the attention span for reading a bunch. Now, it’s been a while since I read any of these books, but below are some vague “Cliff Notes”, if you will. And by the way, a big shout out goes out to Mr. Cliff of the Cliff Notes family, who basically taught me the little I learned as a teenager.


I read this book when I was fifteen. A friend of mine recommended it and described it as “totally screwed”. I don’t remember much of the story, but I do remember there was definitely some shady s**t going down in the brother and sister department… Also a lot of creepy descriptions about mouths. So, yeah. It’s some scandalous page turning. Also, maybe it was sorta scary, I think? Like Hansel & Gretel meets Dateline NBC.


I haven’t read this since the 7th grade, but this was the s**t right here. I think the chick in this did a bunch of drugs, but really maybe it was only pot. All I know is that it was back in the day when “drugs” referred to that very special episode of Saved by the Bell where Jessie Spano drank a boatload of coffee and No Doze and all that happened was that she became a better dancer. If I recall correctly, this book was written in diary form and there are few things more compelling than reading someone’s intimate journal — unless you were reading my diary entries, which were pretty much as interesting as Ikea instructions.

On a related diary note, you should read my pal Lesley Arfin’s book, Dear Diary. You won’t be able to put it down. It’s wonderfully honest and also you’ll want to hug her.


I read this for a boy when I was in 9th grade. Let me rephrase that: I read this because a boy I liked always talked about this book and I wanted to have some common interests. Turns out his only real interest was boobs, so the only use for this book would’ve been stuffing it in my A cup bra. In any case, it’s about being broke and driving and it’s definitely something you read when you’re young because after college it starts sounding like a load of bull.  We all know road trips mostly consist of indigestion and having to pee pee at a Sbarros.

I love this book. Let me count the ways: First off, it’s a damn doorstop. I mean, we’re talking 850 pages or something. By far the longest book I’ve ever read and yes, I’m still bragging about it. It was my personal “brain Olympics”. I felt like the Apollo Ohno of not watching TV. Secondly, it’s a great love story that definitely does not end well, but whatever. Maybe skip pages 725-850 and you’re all good. Thirdly, the guys act as cuckoo-loco as the women in this thing. Nice for a change.  It will also teach a lot about freezing your balls off and maybe one or two things about trains.

This is a good book if you want to learn how to be a royal a**hole.

I still have no idea what this book was about. A guy told me to read it. A cute guy. I bought a lot of books that cute guys told me to read in high school. Said guy had white dude dread locks and followed Phish, so maybe that should’ve been a red flag. From what I recall, this book was supposed to teach you something about yourself through motorcycle repair? Sorta like the DeVry Institute. Pretty sure I just carried around so that people would think I was deep.

So there you have a few books you can check off your reading list. Have fun at school and keep reading! New books! Old books! Pamphlets! Signs! Whatever it is, read a lot. You’re guaranteed to get one or two vague things out of it.

  • Noémie Faivre

    Flowers in the Attic is one of my fav books. I’ve read it a million times. Do you know VC Andrews wrote 4 sequels (3 actually, the fourth was a prequel). I Love Anna Karenina. I’ve read it only once (my brain ONU olympics too). I’m proud and Happy to have done it.

  • Iris Casarez

    Ive seen the movie to flowers in the attic (does that coubt) jk ive been meaning to read book appearently its making a comeback since i just saw it at stores front shelf…i loved reading in school, my favorite was gone with the wind…i read that every year (for fun)…(dont judge me)…i read it from time to time now…

  • Tracy Vaughn

    Re: Flowers in the Attic – “…there was definitely some shady s**t going down in the brother and sister department” << couldn't have said it better myself. This really is one creepy book. The movie didn't really do it justice, but that, too, was creepy in it's own right.

  • Kaushiki Chowdhury

    Hahaha, LOVE the description of The Fountainhead. #killingit

  • Maria Quaratino-Fulton

    I loved Flowers in the Attic. I read the rest of the books in the series and yeah, the shady brother sister thing continues through the whole thing. If I ever get the impression that my family might be a little messed up, I reread a few pages of this series.
    Also, whenever I meet/go out on a date with a guy and they tell me how much they love The Fountainhead, or any other Ayn Rand book for that matter, I pretty much run the other way.

  • Grace Eyre

    The Fountainhead review was perfect and much appreciated. :)

  • Valentina Korkes

    I just want to say that my grandfather’s name is Alberto Rizza…so seeing your name sort of blew my mind just now.

    • Albertina Rizzo

      I have to break something to you. I’m your grandpa.

  • Tyler Kendall

    Haha! I love your commentary on “The Fountainhead.” I’ve never read Ayn Rand, and maybe I’ll be enlightened if I do crack it open… but it’s not on my immediate reading list :)

    I remember Go Ask Alice, too! Great book. I kind of forgot it existed.
    One book that I’m looking forward to this fall is “What Came First” by Carol Snow ( Sounds like a great read.

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