In honour of the recent Leaving Cert, we're all feeling pretty reflective on our time in secondary school.
One thing that stayed with us all are the novels we read in English class.
From Shakespearean classics to The Field, we all have a well thumbed paperback on our bedroom shelves with highlighted quotes and notes scribbled in our teenage penmanship in the margins.
Here are some novels from the Leaving Cert syllabus that are well worth reading post secondary school.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.
This 2003 novel made it onto the curriculum for students due to its insightful storytelling and description of harrowing issues.
The Kite Runner depicts the friendship between Amir, an upper class Pashtun boy, and Hassan, a Hazara boy who is the son of Amir's father's servant, who grow up together in Taliban-sieged Afghanistan.
A horrific event happens, separating the two boys first mentally and then physically, and the novel follows their lives as they grow up in completely different ways.
Atonement by Ian McEwan
A story of a lie which shifts and shapes the lives of three entertwining characters.
Ian Mc Ewan was doing the whole Love Actually thing of overlapping, separate stories long before any movies had caught on.
The story tells of two lovers torn apart by a war and a lie told by her own little sister. The drama is real.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
While her poetry was on the syllabus for all, her one novel The Bell Jar was on the reading lists of those who enjoyed a little sombre tale.
The Bell Jar explores the issues of depression and suicide in the melancholy, distinctive way only Plath can. If you held a candle for her poetry, then this insightful novel is for you.
The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
Another classic, this novel may have merited groans of disappointment from the Leaving Cert class thanks to the length of the chunky book.
Now, the fantasy fiction can be appreciated for what it is without the lens of teenage cynicism.
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitsgerald
This iconic novel has a resurgence in popularity in recent years thanks to the epic movie adaption of the book which hit cinemas in 2013.
The book follows the story of Nick Carraway in the early 1930s, as he navigates the insane intimacies of the New York social scene.
Littered with affairs and ending in murder, this novel is a must read.
The Constant Gardener by John Le Carre
A harrowing epic that we all slogged through with many complaints during the Leaving Cert.
A British diplomat travels to Africa where his wife was murdered. Cue an uncovering of serious corruption and a fight to reveal the truth about her death.
If you are not feeling up to the book, the movie version is pretty amazing, and features Ralph Fiennes (swit swoo).
Feature image: Instagram / Faber Books