I think we can all agree that we love reading novels. And part of school is having to read novels. So it seems like that would awesome for us bookworms, right?
Well, no. At least not in my experiences. While there were a few required reading books that I loved, I hated or felt apathetic toward most of them. I think most of them just weren’t to my reading tastes, but I do wonder if I might’ve enjoyed a few of them more had I not been FORCED to read them at a specific time and then quizzed on the minutest of details and told there were only certain correct interpretations when we had to analyze things. And don’t even get me started on all the symbolism because I honestly believe that sometimes the color of something is just the color of something.
I know some of you are teachers, so I don’t mean to say anything about how YOU are as a teacher, just that the system seemed rather flawed in my experience because it wasn’t the type of environment that actually allowed me to enjoy a book and take my own messages from it. But I kind of ended up on a side rant since that’s not what this post is supposed to be about.
What this post is supposed to be about is the actual books. I don’t even remember most of them, but these are the ones that have stuck with me for one reason or another. So here are the required books that were my favorites and least favorites, and then I’d love to hear about yours!
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (Elementary School)
This was my favorite book as a child, probably the first novel I ever really loved. I just really enjoyed all the word play.
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (Middle School)
I don’t remember this one much, but I remember enjoying it.
Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare (High School)
It’s cliche and full of teenage angst, but it’s a classic, and I just liked reading it.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (High School)
Despite the teacher’s comment that this was the book the boys liked and The Awakening was the book the girl’s liked, I loved this book when I read it. It was hilarious but also intense.
My Least Favorites
Animal Farm by George Orwell (Middle School)
Yeah, I didn’t even remotely understand the political allegory in this book at the age I was when I read it. I did, however, learn what the word allegory meant. So that’s something, I suppose.
The Awakening by Kate Chopin (High School)
Sorry, teacher, I’m a girl, and I didn’t like it.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (High School)
Ugh no. I feel like I should’ve liked this one, and maybe I’d appreciate it more if I read it now, but I just remember having to slog through it.
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (High School)
*SPOILER ALERT* ALL THAT HAPPENED WAS HE CAUGHT A FISH AND THEN DIED. HOW IS THIS A BOOK. *END SPOILER ALERT*
Not Necessarily Favorites or Least Favorites, but I Still Need to Mention These Anyway
Bunnicula by James Howe (Elementary School)
This book was about a vampire rabbit. This was seriously required reading for me in 3rd grade.
Sounder by William H. Armstrong (Elementary School)
I just remember this book being incredibly sad and kind of horrifying to my little 10-year-old mind.
Hamlet by William Shakespeare (High School)
Honestly, I really only included this book so that I could share this (just for reference, the characters’ names are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern):