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Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times

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The Viking Times


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My Favorite Books of the 23-24 School Year

Over this past school year I’d like to think I have read a good chunk of books, but there are only a few I enjoyed enough to rate 10 viking heads. This list will have some of my absolute favorites, some that came close to 10 viking heads!


1. Babel by R.F. Kuang

Babel (e-book) [eBook]
Courtesy of Barnes & Noble – NOOK
Babel is a historical fiction novel by R.F. Kuang that follows the story of Robin, a Chinese boy attending the school of Oxford in the 1800s. In this universe, silver-working is a magical process that utilizes translation and what is “lost in translation” to create what are basically spells. The story asks whether or not violence is necessary for change or if changing institutions from within is effective. The story is captivating, and though the first half of the book starts off pretty slow, the second half goes by much faster and keeps you reading for hours at a time. The book is so well written, and the characters are so well written. I rated this book 9.5/10 viking heads.


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen | The StoryGraph
Courtesy of The StoryGraph

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This book has to be one of my absolute favorite classic romance novels, and I recommend it to everyone looking to get into classics. The story follows Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, two people from very distinct parts of society who are also not very fond of one another. Mr. Darcy, a wealthy member of society, finds himself in Hertfordshire, where the main protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet, lives. The two do not like each other when they first meet, but as the story progresses, they begin to enjoy each other. This story is an iconic one and continues to inspire many retellings. I recommend watching the 2005 movie version if you read the book! I rated this book 10/10 viking heads.


Likely Stories: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
Courtesy of KWBU

3. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë 

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a fictional classic that follows Helen, a woman who has mysteriously moved to the mansion of Wildfell Hall with her son. The novel was controversial at the time of its release because it contains many feminist ideas, which was highly uncommon at the time. The story is told through a series of letters between Gilbert Markham and Jack Halford, though it revolves around Helen and her story. It was a little hard for me to get fully into this book, but I loved it so much when I did. It is a great read and, in my opinion, incredibly underrated compared to Anne Brontë’s sisters’ works. I rated this book 9.5/10 viking heads!


Secret History: A Novel by Donna Tartt - from Pine Tree Books (SKU: R00080)
Courtesy of

4. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

I’m technically cheating by including this book because I read it over the summer, but The Secret History is, in my opinion, a masterpiece that deserves to be talked about. The story follows Richard Papen, a college student in Vermont, and the challenges he must face as he and his friends, members of a small and elite classics course, must cover up the murder of his friend. The story is incredibly well-written and shows readers how “longing for the picturesque” can be fatal. The book is filled with hidden details that foreshadow the ending, though the ending will still leave you in shock. Some people think it was slow or a little long, which is a valid criticism, so if you are not one for a longer book, this might not be for you. I rated this book 9.75/10 viking heads!


The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games Novel) (The Hunger Games) (Hardcover) | Tattered Cover Book Store
Courtesy of Tattered Cover

5. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

TBOSAS is an incredibly entertaining dystopian novel by Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games. The story takes place during the early years of the Hunger Games and follows Coriolanus Snow or President Snow. The book begins with an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow before he becomes president. He and his family secretly struggle financially, which must be hidden from the rest of his upper-class school. With the threat of running out of money, Coriolanus knows he must win the Plinth Prize, a monetary award that would pay for him to go to University. To win this award, he must mentor one of the district tributes to victory in the 10th Hunger Games. The story also parallels Katniss and Lucy Gray, the female protagonist. The novel explores Snow’s mind and shows his thought process in different situations. The story is filled with adventure and hidden messages, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  If you enjoy this book, you can also watch the movie, which came out in November. I rated this book 9/10 viking heads.

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  • S

    Shannon RaneriJun 9, 2024 at 12:30 pm

    “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” was great. It was good to see the history of President Snow and you saw him in a different light. The directors of the movies do a good job of keeping the movie aligned with the books. I can’t wait for the fifth installment!

  • C

    Chris Summa c/o Winthrop High SchoolJun 7, 2024 at 8:22 am

    Hi Zaineb!
    I read the book Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen a while ago but never saw the movie!
    I totally agree with your comments on this book.
    Now, I’m looking forward to see the movie. Maybe I can rent it on Demand or Netflix. I’ll check that out this weekend!
    Great job!

    • Z

      Zaineb FawziJun 7, 2024 at 12:40 pm

      Hi Mrs. Summa,

      Pride and Prejudice is definitely a really good book, and I think you’ll really enjoy the movie. Thank you so much for reading!

  • M

    Mr. PalenJun 7, 2024 at 7:54 am

    I already had The Secret History on my “To Read” list, but I’m moving it up to the top thanks to this review!

    • Z

      Zaineb FawziJun 7, 2024 at 12:41 pm

      I’m glad! It was the book that got me back into reading, and it is such a page-turner. Thank you for reading!