Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Books I Read in School

Top Ten Tuesday is weekly book blog meme hosted by the lovely girls over at The Broke and the Bookish

This week's topic is anything book related, so I decided to go with my top ten favorite books I read in school. Some of these are ones that were assigned, and some were ones that I chose to read from a list of suggested titles that was required for either a project or something like SSR. 

A Separate Peace
It was my freshman year and we were given a list of titles that we were allowed to read for SSR. I had heard of most of the titles on the page, as most were big classics, but then I saw A Separate Peace and thought, 'huh, I've never heard of this one, let's look it up.' And then I read the summary, and then I picked it up, and then I fell in love. This is heartbreaking, beautiful, and all around perfect. 

The Things They Carried
This was also on a list of suggested titles, though to be honest, I'm pretty sure I just chose to read this one on my own because I don't recall using it for an assignment.. Regardless, this is an extremely raw and intense book about a man in the Vietnam War. I'm a bit surprised it was on the list now that I think of it, but I'm more impressed that my school didn't shy away from heavy topics and somewhat graphic books. I really loved this one and even went on to pick up more of O'Brien's books!

The Hungry Tide
This was assigned during an introduction to critical methods course by a really great (though intense) professor. This was an interesting book, but I enjoyed the writing style and incredibly unique atmosphere that Ghosh created.

Technically I read this before I read it in school, but since it was also eventually assigned while I was at school, I feel that it is okay to include it (mainly because, you know, I just really enjoyed it). Reading this was a total eye-opener for me; I was so used to the traditional stereotypes of Frankenstein that I was shocked and excited to find out the true story of Frankenstein and his monster. 

The Indian in the Cupboard
Okay, so in recent years there has been a bit more backlash against this book for encouraging racial stereotypes, but I still can't help but love this book. I have distinct memories of my fourth grade teacher reading this book to us every afternoon, and it was easily one of my favorites times of the day. I loved this magical story of a boy's toys coming to life in a magic cupboard and all the chaos and fun that ensures. I just loved this one.

Pride and Prejudice
This was assigned during an introduction to Britsh literature course, and also my first introduction to Jane Austen. I was incredibly skeptical that Austen's work would be too romantic and flowery, but wow was I wrong! Austen is hilarious and I absolutely love her work now. If you have never experienced Austen, please do not be fooled by the perceived stereotypes - go check her out!

Brick Lane
I'm honestly not sure how much I enjoyed this one while I was reading it, but now whenever I look back on it I have fond memories of the themes and lessons explored throughout. I read this as part of an introduction to critical methods course (yes, the same one that I read The Hungry Tide for), and I am incredibly grateful that this book was assigned by my professor.

I was never a huge Shakespeare span until I read "Macbeth." Prior to "Macbeth," I had only read "Romeo and Juliet" and "Othello," both of which were assigned reading. I enjoyed both, but neither really grabbed me. Then I read Macbeth and was super entertained by the antics of the characters and the entire storyline, and suddenly the whole world of Shakespeare opened up for me. I realized how witty and exciting his work is, as well as all the allusions and various intricate details thrown in, and I have since tried to expand my Shakespeare reading.

The Turn of the Screw
I also picked The Turn of the Screw off a list of suggested titles for SSR (I think it was SSR...), and I really enjoyed it! I was hoping for a bit more of a 'creepy' factor, but it was still great. It was moreso the writing and atmosphere created that really enticed me, and in fact I would say  that James' bleak and somewhat haunting writing is what made the book somewhat creepy and so intriguign.

Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes
I feel like most people had a run-in with this at some point throughout their educational careers. For me, this book opened up the world of Greek mythology and in turn the world of the Ancient Greeks themselves. Although it is a bit outdated now, this is still a really complete yet concise introduction to the biggest myths from Greek mythology. As some of you may or may not know, I am entering my final year at university as a Classics major, so, yeah,  I might be a bit biased, but it's still really great. 

Have you read any of these? What are some of your favorite books from school? Did you hate any? Leave a comment below!

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  1. I only read Pride & Prejudice when I was in school and it wasn't even required reading. I loved it ♥ Wish my school would have made us read Shakespeare!

    1. I'm so glad you love it, too! It's such a great book.
      And wow, I'm so used to schools assigning them, that's really interesting yours didn't! Part of me is glad that we did, but part of me wishes I had chosen to read them on my own first - but then who know if I ever would have picked him up in the first place, so I guess it's good! :)

  2. Great list! Pride and Prejudice is definitely one of my favorite school readings. I also loved Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, and Jane Eyre. All books that I probably never would have chosen on my own but ended up becoming favorites.

    1. Oh my, I completely forgot about Catcher in the Rye and Lord of the Flies! Lord of the Flies was definitely one that stuck with me for a while. I've yet to read Jane Eyre, but I hope to one day. I definitely know what you mean - sometimes the required reading for school isn't great, but for the most part it's nice to have a chance to read books that we might never have chosen for ourselves.

  3. The Indian in the Cupboard was one of my favorite books as a kid! I read the whole series and loved them.

    1. Yes! It's such a wonderful series, I had so much fun with them. :)

  4. I completely forgot about The Indian in the Cupboard! I liked the movie too growing up. I bought my own hardcover edition of Frankenstein too in high school, along with Lord of the Flies. I enjoyed a lot of my required reading in school. I read some of these books as well, but I haven't heard of the first three books.
    I bought my own mythology book because I loved it in high school. That's so awesome you are a Classics major!!! I did Classical Archaeology for my masters and had to tackle Ancient Greek and Latin. :)
    Good luck with your final year!

    1. Ooh, I don't think I ever saw the movie! I might have to dig that up somewhere and get nostalgic.
      I think it's so awesome you got your masters in Classical Archaeology, I would love to do something like that one of these days! Ancient Greek and Latin are so complicated and frustrating at times, but so rewarding and I love them.