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Animal Farm. Move over, Babe and Wilbur: there's a new talking pig in town.

Animal Farm

In fact, there are a lot of talking pigs. And talking horses and birds and cows, for that matter. But George Orwell's Animal Farm is no Jim Henson-inspired comedy about a pig who just wants to be a sheepdog, or bittersweet tale about interspecies love—it's a biting satire about tyrannical governments and a dark warning about the perils of Russian communism. Today, Animal Farm is a classic. (In fact, we have a sneaking suspicion that you're here because you're being required to read it.) Lord of the Flies. Before The Hunger Games, there was William Golding's 1954 Lord of the Flies.

Lord of the Flies

Well, okay, before there was The Hunger Games, there was reality TV and the 1996 Japanese novel (and later move) Battle Royale. But you have to admit, the premise is similar: a bunch of kids end up on an island/ arena and turn into vicious savages in about, oh, five minutes. Just like The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies was a great success—although we're not convinced that Suzanne Collins is going to follow in William Golding's steps by winning a Nobel Prize for Literature for "illuminat[ing] the human condition of the world today. " (Love ya, Suze.) Lord of the Flies is an allegory (essentially a story with a moral), about…well, something. The Diary of Anne Frank. Anne Frank wanted to be a writer.

The Diary of Anne Frank

It’s both wonderful and tragic that Anne indeed became a well-known writer around the world, but only after her death in a Nazi concentration camp. This diary is the story of Anne’s life as a young Jewish girl in hiding from the Nazis. All Quiet on the Western Front.