Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Was "Forced" To Read

Today I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Books I Was "Forced" to Read

"Forced" by the (school) District

1. Beowulf by Unknown.  I am sad to say but I did not like this book one bit.  For me it was grotesque and a bit violent from what I remember.  The semester after I had to read this, one of my classmates's parents complained about this book and after that there was an option between this book and 1984 by George Orwell.  I am still upset (ok not really, but I was at the time) that I had to read Beowulf and did not get the option to read another book.  

Beowulf: A New Verse Translation

2. Animal Farm by George Orwell.  Again this book was not one of my favorites.  I do not think I was really mature enough or worldly enough at the age I read this to truly enjoy it.  I have thought about rereading it to see if my opinion changes, but the first experience was not pleasant and I am not sure I can get over that.   

Animal Farm

3.  The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.  We read this book in eighth grade and I absolutely loved it.  I felt like I was in a game of clue and had to figure out who did it.  This one brings back such happy memories for me that I wish I could go back and thank whomever decided this was required reading.

The Westing Game

4. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.  This novel I actually read while I was on vacation in Florida during my freshman year of high school.  I sat by the pool, soaking up the sun and Dickens, imagining this is what college would be like (ha...I was sorely mistaken).  While I did enjoy this novel, there was a bit of a communication error where I though my teacher said we were reading the entire book during the 2 weeks I was gone and instead the class barely read two chapters.  Needless to say I was quite bored in lit class the rest of the semester.  

Great Expectations

"Forced" to read in College Lit

5. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.  I read this novel for my African American lit class, which happened to be full of the baseball team because they heard it was an easy A (which I have to admit it was).  However, while I did read this novel I'm pretty sure I was only 1 of 3 people who did out of a class of 30.  I quite resented the rest of the class for just restating what the 3 of us talked about during discussion or saying they either couldn't think of anything or that they didn't have anything to say (hello...what a cop out!).  Anyway because of that experience I have a bad connotation with the book.  Horrible I know, but that's life. 

Invisible Man

6. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.  Another book for African American lit, but this one I loved.  It brought me to a place that I had never been and opened my eyes in a way I will forever be grateful for.  It was a beautiful novel and it makes me sad that I didn't get a meaningful discussion in my class for this novel.  

Their Eyes Were Watching God

"Forced" to Read for Book clubs 

7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  My bestie and I were in the same book club when this book was "assigned" and while she hated it and did not finish it, I fell in love.  Seriously, I know many people do not like this book, but I could not (and still cannot) get enough of it.  The crazy, messed up love that Catherine and Heathcliff had breaks my heart and gives me hope at the same time.  Were they certifiably insane?  Maybe, but the love they had for each other was all-consuming, fierce, and unlike anything I've seen before.          

Wuthering Heights

8. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  This may come as a surprise to many of you, but I did not read this beloved YA favorite until I had to for my young adult book club.  The first time I read it I did not enjoy it.  I appreciated all the underlying themes, but I could not get passed the part about the government forcing children to kill children for sport.  

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)

9. The Life You Longed For by Maribeth Fischer.  This novel was amazing.  I cannot describe to you how wonderful I thought this book was.  Then on top of it she came to our book club discussion.  Essentially this book is about the choices we make and how we have to live with the consequences.  Here is a little blurb from Goodreads: 

 "Grace's son Jack is a miracle. At three years old, he's fighting a mysterious, deadly disease that his doctors predicted would kill him as a baby. To the world, Grace's fierce dedication is the sole reason for her son's survival. But someone suspects that perhaps Jack's disease is not what it seems. When an allegation of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy is leveled against Grace, she begins to live in constant suspicion of everyone -- from the doctors and nurses surrounding her son in the hospital to her own husband. Who could possibly think that she has been purposely making her son ill to gain attention for herself?"

I am so happy that I was introduced to this novel because I don't think I would have read it otherwise.  

The Life You Longed For

10. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.  This novel started my love affair with Melina Marchetta and I couldn't be happier.  This is one of those untouchable books for me and one that holds a special place in my heart.  It reached me in a way not many books do and introduced me to the notion of characters being beautifully flawed.  

Jellicoe Road

What about you?  Were you forced to read any of these novels?  If so, what did you think of them?


  1. I wish we'd had to read THE WESTING GAME for school. I love that book!

    1. I don't find many people who have read The Westing Game. I'm so happy another person loves it as much as I did.

  2. Some really great books here! I loved Great Expectations too, it revived Dickens for me after Hard Times.

    My TTT

    1. I have only read one or two other Dickens novels, but hopefully some day I will get around to reading more. Thanks for the warning about Hard Times...maybe I'll skip that one.

  3. Ha, my African American History class was exactly the same--Easy A, zero meaningful discussion. So let's discuss Their Eyes Were Watching God sometime, because that book was awesome! I also looove Wuthering Heights. Yes, it's a bit disturbing. But also so unique and entrancing and strangely beautiful.

    1. I'd love to have a discussion; I almost feel cheated for not having that in-depth analysis of these books. Plus I'm so happy to meet another who has love for Wuthering Heights.

  4. I was forced to read Beowulf, too. But my AP Eng teacher followed it up with Grendel, which kind of put it into perspective. I read Invisible Man on my own and really loved it. In fact, it goes down in history as one of my favorite books. And, I'm a Wuthering Heights hater. Jane Eyre, I adore. Heathcliff and Catherine make me want to scream and possibly slap them both. As for The Westing Game, I really have to read that. One of my absolute favorite books as a kid was Raskin's The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon, I Mean Noel, which I've always suspected that no one but me has ever read.

    1. I can see how Heathcliff and Catherine can evoke those emotions. I'm sure I felt that at one time or another when reading the book. I haven't read Jane Eyre yet, but it is one I'd like to get to someday.

  5. Yay for The Westing Game! I think a teacher recommended it to me and I ended up LOVING it so much! Animal Farm freaked me the heck out, but I was a fan of it when we read it in 7th grade English. Their Eyes Were Watching God I read after seeing the TV movie with Halle Berry, but the book is so much better. It's an emotional wrecking ball though! Wuthering Heights is on my list too. Great choices!

    My TTT:


    1. I'm really glad we didn't actually read this out loud in class or I would have been bawling (attractive I know). I did love it but it definitely played with my emotions.


I love love love hearing your wonderful thoughts! Thanks for stopping by and happy reading.