Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Required Reading Done Right: 11 Books I Read for School and Actually Enjoyed

In honor of back-to-school, this week's Top Ten Tuesday list (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is a school-related freebie. We often remember required class reading with a groan, and while I did read many, many dull and pointless books, I also read quite a few good ones in high school and college. I'm positive there were more books I enjoyed at the time than just these 11, but the fact that they've stuck with me for over a decade is proof that I found them to be genuinely good reads. (A slight note on the "pointless" reads -- I think schools would benefit so very much from incorporating more modern books into their English curriculums. Most of the books on my list that I read in high school are likely still required reading and probably were for decades before I read them. Maybe my post today should've been on that!)

Anyway, I'd actually like to do a re-read of a few of the books on my list, especially "Jane Eyre" (which I read way back in my senior year of high school) and "1984," which my husband has never read but which I know he'll love (and I thought maybe we could read it together).

There are also some books I didn't like the first time around that I'd like to give another chance, now that I have plenty of worldly years between me and high school, like "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood and anything and everything by Nathaniel Hawthorne (I chose him for a year-long author project in high school and ended up hating every single thing he wrote). I also remember thinking "The Hobbit" was just ok (perhaps because we read it out loud as a class -- snore) but I have a feeling I'd enjoy it much more now. I also read "To Kill a Mockingbird" in high school and I know I definitely didn't dislike it, but I sure didn't feel the need to name my pets and children after it either, so it's on the re-read list too.

What required reading books made an impact on you? Which ones do you remember loving and hating years later?

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
1984 by George Orwell (love this cover!)

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
//The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japaenese by Elizabeth M. Norman

The Crucible by Arthur Miller
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut


  1. Bahahah...I named my dog Atticus. XD So it definitely made an impact on me!! Although I haven't read Go Set A Watchman and I like remember only 3% of TKAM...so I need to re-read too *nods* I do wish there were more modern picks in required school reading too, though?! All kinds of literature are important! I remember reading Huckleberry Finn but not the other ones hehe. My sister is reading The Great Gatsby for school right now though! Here's my TTT!

  2. I only read The Great Gatsby and Huck Finn for the first time this year...not sure how I wasn't required to read those in school! My life-long love for John Steinbeck, however, was started in 10th grade English.

    I found your post via Top Ten Tuesday! This was my first time participating.

  3. The only one of these I've actually read is Jane Eyre, I haven't read any of the others! My TTT

  4. I didn't read it for school, but 1984 was a favorite of mine when I was a teenager...I'm actually due for a re-read myself!

  5. All of those books are great. Everyone should read them.
    Here is my top ten Tuesday: https://coffeeandcatsblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/30/top-ten-tuesday-3/

  6. Oh wow, you were required to read Le Guin for school?! That's so awesome. 1984 and Beloved by Toni Morrison were great required reading for me!

  7. I'm probably one of the few who liked most of the required reading choices in school. Haha Except Shakespeare. Never liked reading his plays. Jane Eyre is one of my all time favorites. I could re-read that one forever. I would really like to read 1984 at some point. I enjoyed it when I read it years ago. Brave New World was one I could never get into. I need to try again. Maybe age will have improved my interest in it.

    I'm glad to see O'Brien's book on your list. I read that one a few years ago and loved it.

    Great list, Lindsay!

  8. You know, I didn't read To Kill a Mockingbird until I was an adult, and I thought it was good, but not great. I liked The Great Gatsby in high school, but I think I love it more now. Interesting list!


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