Every one of us, even the most committed of nerds (pleased to make your acquaintance), entirely despised one of the classic texts on our school reading lists. For me, that was 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', a poem about an extremely rude man who ruins a wedding he wasn't even invited to by cornering a guest and telling a horrible story about a bird. Don't let that dissuade you from the literary greats, however: try one of these five classic novels you didn't read in school, then try not to rage at the authors of the curriculum for forcing you to study Lord of the Flies instead.
It should be noted that 'classics' is a rightfully debated category. Too often, the literary canon elevates only white male authors, sidelining seminal texts by women and people of colour in favour of yet another book about desultory rich people. And that goes beyond secondary school reading lists: recently, English Literature students at Cambridge, led by Lola Olufemi, called on the university in an open letter to "re-centre the lives of other marginalized writers who have been silenced by the canon." I've deemed the following books 'classic', therefore, not because they're listed on a syllabus, or because they're shelved under 'Classics' in a bookshop, but because their brilliance, and their significance, truly merits the term.