The Broke and the Bookish‘s hiatus from hosting the Top Ten Tuesday continues so I get to pick my own topic. Today I bring you….
The Top Ten Books I was Required to Read but Still Love
The books below were all required summer reading that I would not have read otherwise or were heavily recommended by someone I admire. I hate being told what to read. To this day, if I am pushed too far to read a certain book I will avoid it. These books were all required reading that I went into with a negative attitude. By the end, I loved them all. They are, in no particular order:
#1 The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. My high school English teacher tried to make this all about waking and dreaming (or something) but I knew it was just an epic love story. The lengths Jay went to in an attempt to win back Daisy….sigh.
#2 The Color Purple by Alice Walker. This was a hard book for me to read but I will never regret meeting Celie. The violence was new to me but it really opened my (then) young high school eyes. I have re-read it several times since and each time I am deeply affected by Celie’s tragedies and triumphs.
#3 The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. I was required to read this book before my freshman year of college. I have always loved history but the Civil War….meh. But this book took me on the epic adventure that was the Battle of Gettysburg. I remember finishing the book, looking up, blinking and feeling stunned to find myself safe at home.
#4 Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I did not want to read a book about boys who loose their minds when unsupervised. I think this one was before freshman year of high school. I figured this would be fairly boring. Wow. These kids loose their minds. Poor Piggy. This book is still classic novel I casually reference the most as in, “Those kids are one conch short of reenacting Lord of the Flies.”
#5 A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. A librarian I admired recommended this book to me. I know she meant it gently but I wanted to please her so much that I knew I had to read the book. I didn’t want to read it. I had seen (and enjoyed) the Shirley Temple movie version and I wanted to move along to something else. But, read it I did. I still love Sara Crewe and her riches to rags story.
#6 Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My Mom has a magical memory associated with this series and has always encouraged me to read the books. I hated the whole idea and I really despised the television show. To prove to her that I was right and she was wrong, I read the first book. Sigh. Mothers are always right. The whole series is wonderful.
#7 A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr. This was required reading before my first year of law school. Doesn’t it look bleak and boring? Well, it isn’t. The author managed to takes years of boring motions and court rulings and turn it into a procedural drama. More importantly, it is a really good look at what a class action lawsuit looks like from the civil litigation attorney’s perspective.
#8 A Separate Peace by John Knowles. This book was required summer reading during high school, maybe before sophomore year. I was beginning to realize that friendships were complicated things and this book captured that feeling exactly. I didn’t want to read it and now I can never let it go. I still have my used and battered copy.
#9 The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. My Dad would often refer to this book as the, “greatest story of revenge ever told.” He didn’t make me read it, but I didn’t want to let him down when he recommended it. Obligation quickly turned to excitement. Ol’ Dumas can really tell a story.
#10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. That’s right people. I didn’t want to read it. My Mom called me one night when I was in college and recommended it, heavily. Of course, I told her that she had no idea how much reading I was doing in college (she has a Masters in Communication and I was being stupid). Did she really think I had time for a children’s book?!? Thanks Mom. Sorry Mom. Let’s all say it together, “Mothers are always right.”
So, there you have it. Books that started as obligations and became treasured friends. Do you have any books that started as requirements and became relished reading?