Yup! You read that right! I’m cheating this week because I am so far behind on books that I want to read that I wouldn’t even have a list to compile for all of you lovely people and that would just bore you to tears. So this week I am going to cheat. I’m making up my own theme entitled: ‘Grade School Required Reading: Good & Bad’.
Grade School Required Reading: Good &
Bad Edgar Allen Poe
So many works. So much time wasted on this man’s writing. I deeply detested his works when I was forced to read it in middle school and I still do. There was nothing in his writing that interested me. I was so loathsome to continue reading his books that I almost failed my class because of it. (Ironically, I have a tendency to write in the same dark, twisted fashion that is characterized in many of Poe’s works. Go figure.)
- William Shakespeare
On the opposite end of the spectrum we have William Shakespeare, naturally. It’s required reading for high schools(at least in the US). Many people, even adults, don’t understand his language and the way he writes, which is understandable. First off, he created more than half the words he used. Second off, his form of English died centuries ago. Even so, I am one of those people who quite enjoys his works (for whatever reason).
‘Wuthering Heights‘ by Emily Broente
I have listed this book in past Top Ten Tuesdays, but I’m mentioning it again. While more contemporary than Shakespeare, it made even less sense to me. Not because of language, but simply because it existed. I never cared whether the characters got together or not, much less about their undying love for each, or what happened to them. Honestly, it never felt like a romance novel to me. Rather it felt like a bad soap opera where one character was spiraling further and further into depression. Woo. -.-
‘A Clockwork Orange‘ by Anthony Burgess
0.0 Um… yeah. This book was so twisted and grotesque that it gives Poe a run for his money and it was required literature for TEENS?! I just- no! It’s so inappropriate for teenagers even if the main characters are teenagers. I’m pretty sure that this book mentally scarred me and deterred from reading anything close to it for quite some time. Why a teacher would even think to have students read it, is beyond me.
‘Animal Farm‘ by George Orwell
Middle school! I was forced to read this highly grotesque and inappropriate book in middle school. Not only was I at an age where I couldn’t fathom what was going on and the social structure, but this book was so dark and twisted that I can’t think of anyone who enjoyed this.
‘Catcher in the Rye‘ by J. D. SalingerYeah, no. I don’t care at what age you read this, it makes no sense. The entire book was a teenage boy running around trying to ‘find himself’ in the most absurd ways possible only to come to the conclusion that he wants to catch kids from running off a cliff for the rest of his life… >.> Alright, maybe I just don’t get the underlying tones, or whatever the author was trying to say, but I still don’t like this book. I gained nothing from reading it.
‘Of Mice and Men‘ by John SteinbeckThis was another one of the books where I just went ‘um… what?’ The plot seemed… pointless. Nothing changed from the beginning of the book to the end of the book leaving me in a sense of confusion and bafflement when my class started trying to analyze it. What the point was, I’m not sure. I only remember the ending and even that left me wanting.
- ‘Brave New World‘ by Aldous Huxley
Dystopia for the win! Except not really. Honestly, I think my dislike for the book had a lot to do with the age at which I read (way too young) because I love dystopians. I love the framework of the society and the world built around it. Those are things that I can truly admire about this book, however, there are other things that I didn’t like about the book. So, while I don’t care much for the book itself, I respect the world in which it lives.
- ‘Lord of the Flies‘ by William Golding
Many a reader have declared their distaste for this novel, yet I quite enjoyed it. Perhaps it was the darkness of the plot, or the realism of what would happen in such a scenario. Whatever the case, I can say that I enjoyed reading this in school.
- ‘The Canterbury Tales‘ by Geoffrey Chaucer
I read this in my junior year of high school, a time at which I could actually comprehend some of the jokes and the witty comments. It’s for that reason that I actually quite enjoyed reading this book. Of course, my Brit Lit teacher helped with her enthusiasm. Still, it was interesting to read and one of the few books from school that I enjoyed.
I’m guessing you saw a pattern. Most books that I was forced to read in grade school were either just terrible, but were chosen because they were considered ‘classical literature’ or they were just inappropriate for the age at which I was forced to read them.
Now! Have any of you read these books, perhaps in school or after? What did you think of them? Did your perspective on the books changed if you read them again later in life? I’d love to hear from you! So, post in the comments below and tell me your thoughts.