Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Assigned Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl! This week is a back-to-school freebie! I know the phrase "assigned reading" makes some people break out in hives (there's something that immediately turns us off about being forced to read a book instead of choosing it ourselves, isn't there?), but a lot of the books they make us read are actually pretty good! Here are ten books that were required that I actually really loved.



Number the Stars: This book, which I read in middle school, about a young Danish girl whose family works to protect her Jewish best friend during the Holocaust is a well-told, engaging story.

The Giver: Another middle school read. I'd actually already read it before it was assigned in class, and even though it's pitched towards and able to be understood at that level, I still found it very solid when I re-read it as an adult.

Lord of the Flies: I think this one, about a group of British schoolboys marooned on an island who descend into chaos, was part of our tenth grade curriculum. I recently revisited it on audio and found its message about power and group dynamics still relevant and interesting.

The Great Gatsby: I hated this when I read it as a high school junior, finding it overly simplistic and boring. It wasn't until I got a little older and had more life experience under my belt that I recognized its elegance and genius.

The Awakening: I think I read this senior year in AP English, but it might have been at the end of junior year? Anyways, it's a story about a privileged Southern woman who becomes disenchanted with her life and the expectations foisted upon her as a wife and mother and it's excellent.

Cry, The Beloved Country: My AP English class led me to many wonderful books, including this powerful and poignant story of apartheid South Africa.

The Color Purple: Another AP English gem, this book about a poor black woman in the Jim Crow South coming into her own and finding happiness despite often miserable circumstances won a Pulitzer for a reason.

The Scarlet Letter: Guilt is a theme that gets explored in a lot of books, but I really did like what Hawthorne did with this one, which is much more interesting than you'd probably expect. Read this one in AP English too!

The Secret History: I've known almost no one who has failed to enjoy this twisty story of a group of Classics students who kill one of their own. It has something for everyone: it's well-written, has a suspenseful plot, and does solid character work. And it's yet another AP English selection.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: This I read in my honors Introduction to Psychology class and was so taken with it that I changed my major and got a degree in Psych instead of Political Science.

12 comments:

  1. I hated Gatsby at school, but so many people have said it's better the second time round, I'm going to have to try it again one day. Nice spin on the topic :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm definitely on the better-the-second-time train...I also didn't have much love for it when I first read it!

      Delete
  2. I've never read The secret History but it sounds fascinating. And Lord of the Flies I hardly remember, I should give that one a re- read.

    Great list! I was never huge on classics in school but there were some I really liked.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think a lot of the classics suffer from being force-read and analyzed to death...there are some great stories to enjoy in the genre! I recently revisited Lord of the Flies on audio and it held up for me. And definitely add The Secret History to your TBR, it's excellent!

      Delete
  3. I keep hearing about The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat everywhere! I have to check it out now. Yay for finding another fan of Gatsby and Cry the Beloved Country!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really love the way Oliver Sacks tells stories, I've enjoyed everything I've read from him (particularly this and Musicophilia!)

      Delete
  4. Just about the only book I haven't read on your list between what I was required to read in school, and the books my son was required to read that I read when he brought them home, is The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. I will go to Goodreads and check it out. I'm in a reading slump right now and I could use a book of short stories. 👍✨

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's non-fiction, so it's not quite short stories, but the same kind of deal. I hope you like it as much as I do!

      Delete
    2. I would consider them short stories, so it would still be great for me. 👍

      Delete
  5. I'm shocked (and delighted) that Secret History was required reading for you! I wish we'd gotten assigned books like that when I was in school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My AP English teacher was amazing. I don't think she could have gotten away with assigning it to any other class but a bunch of very dorky high school seniors!

      Delete
  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete