The Jaguar Journal

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The Jaguar Journal

The Jaguar Journal

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Books to Read Before Graduation

Jaguar Journal staff curated list of must-read books for seniors approaching graduation.
Books+to+Read+Before+Graduation

This year, as of December, I have read 48 books. As a reader who doesn’t latch on to any certain genre or writing style, I have the opportunity to explore books written by a myriad of authors for a variety of purposes. Coming up on the end of my highschool experience, I’ve found that some of the texts I’ve read have had an astounding impact on how I process the incidents and chances that come with the uncertainty of highschool. Reading is an excellent way to face the challenges of your life and determine ways to overcome them, while also expanding your horizons and growing your intelligence and scope. 

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

A lesser known, realistic fiction novel written by the popular Taylor Jenkins Reid explores the idea that in a life, everyone has the opportunity to find their only one true love. Main character Emma Blair marries her highschool sweetheart in her twenties, only for him to go missing and be presumed dead after a tragic plane crash over the Pacific. After she grapples with the tragedy and overcomes her grief, she reconnects with an old friend and begins to kindle a romance. Shortly after their engagement, Emma’s first husband, Jesse, is found. Told in a non-chronological format, One True Loves dissects the preconceived notion that everyone has only one person that is just right for them. Readers will understand that sometimes in life, a person comes along and is perfect for the time being, but ultimately it is perfectly normal and beautiful to grow out of a relationship, heal, and build something with someone new. 

 

The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

Simply written and offering transformational results, The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz combines ancient Toltec wisdom with modern philosophy and psychology to reveal how to live joyful, and demonstrates to reject needless suffering. The literature provides readers with four agreements to make within themselves, designed to guide oneself into personal freedom. After The Four Agreements, readers will develop an understanding of how to live simply, incorporating joy into their everyday lives while removing unnecessary pain. 

 

 

 

I Who Have Never Known Men by Jacqueline Harpman 

In a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world, an adolescent girl is kept in a bunker deep underground with 39 other women, guarded by armed men who do not speak. All the nameless girl has in her recollection is memories of the bunker- not of a life before. The novel explores the life of a girl whose life, although lacking men, has been dramatically altered by their non existent presence. 

 

No Mud, No Lotus by Thich Nhat Hanh

Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh lays out his philosophy for happiness in No Mud, No Lotus by understanding that the secret to fulfilment is to accept suffering in life, rather than rejecting it. He acknowledges the urge to hide from the discomfort of suffering, but instead proposes that unless suffering is faced head on, it is impossible to be fully present in life, and to experience undiluted joy. No Mud, No Lotus teaches vital life skills and mindfulness techniques necessary to survive in post high school life, which occurs in early adulthood. If you at all suffer from mental restlessness or anxiety, No Mud No Lotus is an excellent read for focusing on reducing the suffering in your life. 

 

The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin

This unconventional read written by music producer Rick Rubin dictates guidelines for living a life which welcomes creativity, and discusses the true meaning of being an artist and living artistically. The 406 pages of knowledge are divided into short chapters, each focusing on a certain aspect of creation. The novel starts by exploring how an idea becomes a creative project, and later outlines how to work collaboratively to create the best possible outcome. The novel is highly inspiring and serves as a course of study for artists to tinker with their craft, using the lifelong artistic knowledge of Rick Rubin’s career. 

 

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

Barbra Kingsolver’s newest novel based in rural appalachia tells the story of a school-aged boy, grappling with the sufferings of poverty, abuse, addiction, and loss. In common Kingsolver fashion, there are many side-plots and anecdotes weaved into the novel to add beautiful content to the text. Kingsolver utilizes her incredible storytelling skills to paint the narrative of a long forgotten, struggling community told in the eyes of an adolescent boy growing up in the midst of it. The epic novel spanning over 500 pages will keep you hooked in immediately, and after will cause you to reflect upon where you come from, and who you are now. 

 

Although all these texts differentiate in genre and structure, they all simultaneously synthesize stories of overcoming change, and provide life strategies for use in managing growth. Readers of these texts will experience increased awareness of their surroundings, and also appreciate the unique journey each individual takes. This list combines books of the fiction genre, as well as self-help and informational texts to appropriately prepare high school seniors for the triumphs and tribulations which come with growing up. 

 

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About the Contributor
Ruby Chacon, Reporter
A hardoworking NCHS Senior
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