I’m going to start a weekly series of blog posts that feature my top five books (and sometimes other media) that relate to a specific topic.
This week is Favorite Required Reading. These are my top 5 favorite books that I had to read in school.
1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This may be a bit of a surprise to you, but my seventh grade english teacher had us read The Hunger Games. It was honestly my first young adult book and it was what got me into reading in the YA section. I think my teacher chose this book because it dealt with hard hitting topics that middle schoolers could digest relatively easily.
2. Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck
I think this one is a common book to be on the required reading list. I read this one in my Junior year of High School. My english teacher was great and had us watch the movie as we read it. For example, we’d read the first 5 chapters and then in class we would watch through that point in the book. So we had the movie to help us stay interested in the story. I ended up really enjoying this book, even though it had 1930’s style writing.
3. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
You probably didn’t know this about me, but I love Shakespeare plays. I do prefer to watch them acted out on stage, but I do also enjoy reading the play sometimes. In High School, one of my english teachers had us read Hamlet and the copies we had included a “translation” of sorts. Basically on the right pages it had the actual play and on the left pages it had modern translations and explanations to help modern readers understand context or meanings of words. Hamlet is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays now partially because of it being required reading. We also got to watch the movie after we finished reading the book.
4. Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
I had to read this short story in one of my art classes. We had to read it and then create a painting that represented something in the story. Edgar Allan Poe’s writing is often very dark and creepy but I actually really enjoyed this short story, despite the fact that I don’t normally like creepy things. This short story is really creepy and there are aspects that are kind of nightmare material in a way. But it was definitely fun to paint a kind of creepy painting that represented a major element of the story, the heart itself and the clock.
5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Back in eighth grade, my english teacher had the class separate into a few groups and each group got to choose a book from a set list to read. My group chose The Book Thief. This was my first historical fiction novel and I think it was a great book to expose me to historical fiction. I loved the integration of German phrases since I have a lot of German ancestry. I also love that it is told from the perspective of Death. That’s something that isn’t done very often and I love the uniqueness of it.
All of these books/stories are great and I definitely recommend all of them. I never really enjoyed required reading but thankfully there were a few gems over the years. I don’t really like being told what to read, but I had some really great teachers that either recommended good books or made the experience of reading it more enjoyable.