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KatieBelle

Books "Required reading" that you actually enjoyed?

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(edited)

Sure, some books that you read in literature were absolutely disgraceful, like... The Metamorphosis. Of course that's just my opinion. But occasionally, we actually enjoy a book that we didn't think we would. For example, The Book Thief is an outstanding novel. An much older classic that I enjoyed was A Tale of Two Cites by Charles Dickens. While it's very easy to complain about to your classmates when reading it, everyone seems to really enjoy the conclusion.

So... what books did you actually like from school? Feel free to complain about some of the awful things you had to read as well. (So many Holocaust books... Like I said, The Book Thief was great, but... Literally ALL OF THE HOLOCAUST BOOKS!)

 

Discuss. ^_^

Edited by KatieBelle

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I actually really liked reading both the Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby.

Although it took until chapter 7 for the latter to really pick up.

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(edited)

To Kill a Mockingbird was good... ermm... I guess Othello was alright, although it didn't really grab me. GCSE English Literature (ages 14-16) was the last time I had required reading*, and not much of it sank in. I did well at it, as I really enjoy reading, but there was nothing in it that I enjoyed as much as books I read of my own accord (I think I first read Dune around that time, or maybe a little earlier, which got me into sci-fi.)

 

That said, my history textbook was really interesting. We only studied certain sections of it for the exam (Europe 1919-39, for example), and I remember flicking through other sections and finding them fascinating - particularly the Cold War, which I never had the opportunity to learn much about (Romans, First and Second World Wars? Check. Détente, Cuban Missile Crisis and the Falklands War? Nope.) That wasn't required reading though.

When it comes to reading, I've learnt that I have far better judgement of what I would like than any syllabus. I don't resent required reading for academic purposes, but not much of it is that enjoyable. 

 

*scrutinising some lecturers' handwriting felt like foreign language reading at times though.

Edited by Once In A Blue Moon

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To Kill a Mockingbird and Perks of Being a Wallflower. I would willingly reread those ones  :proud:

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Fahrenheit 451. I really like that book. Finding myself rereading that book time and time again.

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Lord of the Flies was a great book, personally. I also enjoyed reading Romeo and Juliet, even though reading the original old English version was painful.

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A book that was required to be read that I enjoyed was The Five People you Meet in Heaven. At first I didn't want to read it because I thought it was boring and not interesting. One day during the summer, I decided to give it a read because there was a test on the book the first day of school. While reading it, the book became very interesting and it made me wonder more and more about what would happen next. If given the opportunity, I would definitely give it another read.

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Fahrenheit 451. I'm not that into sci-fi but the story was so engaging and the characters were interesting.

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Catcher and the Rye and All Quiet on the Western Front

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Book called Ten Little Indians/And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Great book read by great teachers, and I've never been one for reading books. Goes to show that a good teacher makes all the difference in the world.

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Lord of The Flies was a great read, and one that asked some deep questions about morality and made the great choice of starring only children to explore it to the fullest.

 

On a lighter note, The Scarlet Letter was sort of enjoyable, too, but for just how bad it really was. I mean, c'mon, I thought authors worried about subtly back then, but instead, in this realistic romance about adultery in the 17th century, suddenly a f***ing meteor appears out of nowhere that looks like an "A"! Micheal Bay's more subtle than that!  :-o

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The Adventures Of Huckleberry Fin. I didn't want to read it in high school, cause high school can't tell me what to do outside my own home. Luckily there was plenty of in class reading, but the book got interesting later on and I liked it. 

 

Also I read Plato's Apology for Intro to philosophy. And it was quite the riveting read. Even continued reading it during my next class. 

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"The Pearl" by John Steinbeck

"Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck

"The Lord of the Flies" by William Golding

"A Canticle for Leibowitz" by Walter M. Miller Jr

 

If I think of more, I'll add them later.
 

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(edited)

There was very little required reading I disliked. The merchant of Venice got me into Shakespeare, so I suppose it would be that. Our teacher made it fun and I really enjoyed the story too. It's not a complex story to grasp once you get a handle on the characters and plot, but it has some deeper elements under the surface too if that's your kind of thing.

 

As for the book that... displeased me, it's the great Gatsby. I've ranted about it before, I'm not opening that can of worms again.

Edited by Celtore

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Alas, Babylon and The Count of Monte Cristo

 

The latter we only read part of, but I ended up finishing the rest of it on my own... in gym class, no less.

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The Scarlet Letter was a fav of mine for reading in class,  I read the book in two days.  Not a fan of the Catcher of the Rye or Lord of the flies at all :diamondtiara: .  The Hobbit was of course,  a love of reading and My Side of the Mountain.

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@@KatieBelle, Ha!  I didn't care for The Metamorphosis, either!  That's funny.

 

 

I actually somewhat enjoyed The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer, but only the modern, translated version.  I don't speak Ye Olde English.  But the required school reading that really stood out for me what Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle.  Excellent book.  Let's see....Conrad's Heart of Darkness is kind of a curious case.  I file that one under "didn't really enjoy, but really glad I read it" because of how many media references I get now.  (Pulp Fiction is in that same category.)  I also enjoyed most Steinbeck stuff.  Seems that a lot of students like him, or at the very least don't mind him.

 

To contrast, just for fun, some of my most hated books in school were Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, Tan's The Joy Luck Club, and Austen's Pride & Prejudice:eww:

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I really liked "The Book Thief" too. I don't usually like Holocaust books since they're usually just torture scenes, but I liked "The Book Thief" since it looked at the Holocaust from a different angle and wasn't about concentration camps.

 

I didn't like Gatsby or Fahrenheit or Huck Finn, but I did like "Of Mice and Men."

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(edited)

Where the Red Fern Grows-still tears me -

 

Treasure Island - fantastic adventure!

 

Timothy of the Kays

 

Summer of My German Soldier

 

Isle of the Blue Dolphins

 

White Fang

 

Call of the Wild

 

The Secret Garden

 

There was this one book my teacher required us to read, that really drew me in. I can't remember what it was called but it was a historical fiction about an Italian city that first got hit by the black plague. Very chilling.

 

Animal Farm was very chilling too.

 

The Magic Tollbooth love this one.

Edited by Leave a Whisper

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I remember for my AP English class in high school where I read Brave New World and Crime and Punishment. Those two stuck out to me.

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This list would likely be longer ... but here are some I come back to time and again for one aspect or another. 

 

Required Reading Long Form Excellence 

 

Catcher in the Rye

Slaughterhouse Five

Adventures of Huck Finn

Of Mice and Men

Great Gatsby

Things Fall Apart

Hamlet

Rabbit, Run

Where the Red Fern Grows

To Kill a Mockingbird 

 

Required Reading Short Form Excellence 

 

A&P

To Build a Fire

Walt Whitman poetry

Emily Dickinson poetry

I, Robot

Rikki Tikki Tavi

The Dubliners

Good Country People

 

I could go on. I suppose I am an elitist when it comes to literature, I read a lot. I  read some of these for fun, not enlightenment. Not in the fact that I look at the greats as publications to be positioned above all else, but in the fact that I routinely see amazing truths in them ... that are often overlooked. Too often are these pieces thrust upon youth with the mind that there is only one answer or interpretation. Bullshit. I will say this again - The birth of the reader must come at the expense of the death of the author. 

 

Note that I did not include many of my favorites from the last 30 years. It would not be as typical to see them included on any required reading list in school.

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Since most of my reading experiences were awful, I was expecting the same with Animal Farm by George Orwel. How wrong I was. I liked that so much that I watched the film adaptations in a single day 

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