Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #12 - Top Ten Books I Was Forced to Read!!!

     Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, which allows bloggers to share lists of some of our favorite (and not-so favorite) things.  This week we’ll be highlighting the top ten books we've been forced to read over the years!  I know that usually when a teacher, parent or someone else tells you that you MUST read a certain book, all it really does is make you want to avoid it and drops your interest level to zero.  I can't wait to see what books pleasantly surprised you and share my own required reading favorites!  Happy Tuesday and have fun everyone!  Without further adieu, the books! :)

Top Ten Books I Was Forced to Read

As someone who was bullied a lot as a kid (because of how 'different', i.e. poor and uncool, I was) this book meant so much to me.  Somehow even with the depressing ending, it was still a pretty large beacon of hope and I'll always be grateful to my 7th grad English teacher for having this as required reading!  Not sure if it entirely counts though, as I had first read it 2 years previously on my own...

This is a book that I initially did NOT want to read.  And while I may have hated the teacher's tendencies for over-analyzing and the obsession she held with symbolism, I ended up truly being made to think by this book.  What would the world be like without books?  Knowledge is not easy and firemen burn instead of stopping the burn.  It is a truly scary book!  Especially for a spoiled high-school kid.

This is one that a lot of people read as seniors in high school.  I actually didn't read this one until my second year of college!  I took a Comp 2 course and the teacher was obsessed with Shakespeare.  I had heard plenty of things about Hamlet and while I respect Shakespeare immensely, it just wasn't my thing.  Until I actually read it.  Now I can't keep my hands off of re-tellings and satires.  I also loved the teacher's enthusiasm and took two more classes just to be taught by him! :)

So much unnecessary angst and torturous feeling in one doomed relationship!  I wasn't into it at first, but this is yet another one that had me completely hooked by the end.  I am now addicted to it in it's various forms and have read a couple retellings.  I also somehow own THREE DIFFERENT film versions of it and really want about three or four others still for my collection.  I have issues and yes, Heathcliff is a deranged asshole.  But somehow it still moved (moves) me anyway!

Even if only for the fact that it got me to Catching Fire, one of the best second series books I've ever read, I will always be grateful for my BFF Elizabeth.  She book talked me till she was blue in the face and I finally decided to give it another chance.  Second time was a charm!

Thank you to Mrs. Locke, my 3rd Grade teacher.  This is still one of the best books about friendship, love, death, life and imagination that I have ever (or probably will ever) read.  Reading books about real kids, in real situations is ALWAYS an awesome thing.  Some of the best required reading I actually read! :)

Do we want a perfect life, with no pain and suffering - but no love, joy or friendship either?  Black and white is okay, but where are all the colors and the music?  The idea of conformity for the greater good and the loss of something even greater through it definitely strikes at you when you're a kid.  Individuality is important and so is choosing for yourself.  My teacher definitely had us imagining with horror what it would be like to have nothing just your own.  This is definitely a model for a lot of current YA dystopian novels.

A novel about the excess of America, the truths of heartbreak and the dangers of living in the past.  Not one that I was initially impressed with in the 10th grade, but recently I reread it and Fitzgerald's prose if gorgeous.  Plus you can feels the emotions in it and this is the kind of book that can leave your stomach with a melancholy pit in it for days.  Those are my favorite kinds of books!

I feel like I was guilt-tripped and forced into reading this series by the ENTIRE FREAKING WORLD.  This was at the height of LOTR fever when the movies were in theaters.  I didn't get into them until Two Towers was on DVD and ROTK was almost in theaters.  I felt guilty about seeing the movies before reading the books, so I backtracked.  Thank you world population!  The series is great (but hard to read if you already know what's going to happen via movie- the detail becomes kind of tedious) but I am most thankful for the second one.  Lots of people don't like it, but I was enchanted by Rohan and it's tough, strong people.  Eowyn was my pre-teen idol - I was a geek in training then.  So thanks for the guilt-trip! 

As someone who generally reads YA, I was very reluctant to pick this book up.  I was eighteen, but avoiding those 'depressing' adult books like the plague!  But my librarian guilted me into it, along with all the hype surrounding the series.  I am grateful I read this, because I learned that I do like thrillers and I don't mind government espionage, etc.  It just has to be well-written and interesting.  Also, it's made me more willing to try reading foreign authors.  Before I wouldn't have done that either.  This was a turning point in my adult reading life and I'm grateful it happened!


  1. Nice picks! I've read several of these, but some of them were so long ago I can't even remember what I thought of them. Curse you, bad book memory!

  2. Good list. I've only read three of these. I read Wuthering Heights the spring I was graduating college. I realized I was an English major and had somehow gotten by without reading many of the classics at all. I enjoyed the book a lot. And later I finally read Jane Austen and fell in love!

  3. Oh, nice! I loved GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. I still haven't actually read WUTHERING HEIGHTS. (Bad me!) I was going to read it alongside my sister when she was assigned it in school and I sadly haven't done that. Haha! One of these days...

  4. I've tought about reading "The girl with the dragon tattoo" ever since it came out but I've always feared that it might be too violent for me.
    "Wuthering Heights", however, is firmly on my reading list for the Christmas holiday. I don't know why but I have this notion that it is a winter kind of book - maybe it's the moors...

    Cheers, Katarina :)

  5. You have some really good books on this list. I loved The Outsiders, Bridge To Terabithia, and The Giver!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog
    Alex @ The Book Banner

  6. It was great to see Hamlet on your list, too! You said you like retellings of it, too. Have you read Falling for Hamlet?

  7. Great list! I loved the entire The Hunger Games series and Wuthering Heights as well( though I have actually forgotten most parts of it, need to pick it up again).

    Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog! Keep writing.

  8. You captured my feelings on Wuthering Heights completely! I always find it hard to define why I like the book since it's easier for me to list reasons why I don't like the book haha! And I pretty much love every other book on this list as well (except Hamlet which I hated, The Outsiders which I haven't read, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo which I found offensively and unnecessarily graphic...until I read the rest of the series and it made sense. But I don't think I'll ever fully recover from the shock and disgust from that completely unprepared first scene. Or the second one, for that matter - you know where I'm talking about!)


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