Top Ten Tuesday, a concept started by The Broke and the Bookish, is a themed post that connects bloggers to bloggers, bloggers to readers, and readers to readers. Every Tuesday has a special topic, and this Tuesday is Top Ten Book Books I was Forced to Read.
1. Jane Eyre — And I’m so glad I read this! Freshman year of high school in my Honors English class, we were covering nineteenth-century literature (I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back it’s very obvious what the theme was). I was new to the school and felt a bit like an outcast, similar to Jane. Soon enough I was participating in discussions and acing the quizzes, and went far beyond our report project requirements. I re-read the book every winter, and it’s a dear favorite of mine. Thank you, Ms Clark, for inspiring me and guiding me towards my favorite genre.
2. Great Expectations — Again, this was in my Honors English class freshman year. I was curious as to why everyone — adults, students, pets — complained about reading Dickens. “He’s wordy, he has too many characters, the settings are dark.” One complaint after another, and I just plain didn’t understand why. His descriptions are marvelous, his characters are…caricatures, and the settings are reflective of the time! I loved it.
3. Dante’s Inferno — The AP Language and Composition project required that we create 15-minute video of the circles of hell. My group read Inferno deeply and literally, and placed Harry Potter characters in the levels. It was fascinating, entertaining, and what’s more: my teacher pointed out all the fart jokes. He made epic poetry fun.
4. The Awakening — My AP Literature and Composition class theme focused on transcendentalism. You know, Walden and the like. I was bored to tears and worried that maybe literature wasn’t my forte when we began reading Kate Chopin’s book. And then everything changed back again. I love it. I haven’t re-read it recently, though I should.
5. Brave New World — Soma holidays? Commentary on the nature of technology and genetic enhancement? Not my cup of tea…till my Honors English teacher my sophomore year created a fantastic unit that mirrored the book. For a week we were divided into the different castes, assigned different tasks, and somehow, someway, we ended up experiencing the book in real life. It was a wonderful week (even though I was Epsilon), and I’ve never understood a book or genre so fully till this.
6. Grapes of Wrath — Honestly, the turtle chapters were my favorite. And even then I hardly skimmed.
7. Oroonoko — Or any 18th-century British literature. Shoot me now.
8. Ethan Frome — This unit in freshman Honors English was torturous. Edith Wharton and I are not friends.
Surprisingly Never Read for My Education!
I’m tossing this in here because most students are forced to read these books, but I never had to.
9. Frankenstein — I’ve only just recently read it for my graduate thesis. I wanted to see how long I could go in my education before I read the book, because somehow I missed it throughout high school and in all of my British literature / Victorian literature / Gothic literature classes. The professors always said, “I know you’ve read this book so I didn’t add it to the syllabus.” Little did they know…
10. Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird — Never read them. Don’t even have a desire to read them.
Which books were you forced to read by teachers, friends, or family members?