Sunday, October 7, 2012

TSS: High School Reads

book cover collage

I've been seeing a lot (well, maybe two) mentions of high school books on twitter and the blags recently. I think everyone has issues with assigned reading, even people who enjoy books--perhaps particularly people who enjoy books! If you know what you like, you want to be reading it and not something you don't enjoy. Sometimes books can surprise you, though, and that makes a big impact, especially when you're at an impressionable age.

The following books are ones I read in high school that I found surprisingly enjoyable.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas  I had no idea what to expect from this novel, but how can anyone not love this tale of adventure and revenge? The Count is super-sexy, and hangs out with awesomely exotic people. This is definitely one of the best books I had to read for high school.
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck  Honestly, this seems exactly like the type of book I would hate out the wazoo, but I really connected with the characters and the sense of being completely displaced. I still wonder what happened to Tom. I loved him.
  • The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton  When we did a unit on American literature, our English teacher said we could pick out some of the books. Naturally I had ideas! The Age of Innocence was one of the books I suggested, and I was the only person in the entire class who liked it. I didn't just like it, I loved it! I literally read the whole thing in one sitting. The rest of the class, not so much. Even my friend told me she gave up and just watched the movie. WTF. Sorry you don't like awesome, friend.
  • A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs  Another book I suggested for American literature was something by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I was actually thinking of Tarzan when I mentioned him, but our teacher assigned A Princess of Mars instead. The plot of this book sounds super-cheesy when it's summarized, but it's extremely entertaining and totally worth picking up. Way better than the movie John Carter, fyi.
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe  This is another book I normally would never pick up, but was part of our unit on African literature in high school. I'm not sure I would say I enjoyed this novel, per se, but it was one of the most affecting books I've ever read. It's all about how fear influences people's actions, and it gave me a lot to think about in my own life. This is the type of novel I would recommend as required reading for everyone.

What were some reads from school that surprised you? Are there some books you wish had been required reading?


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