The topic of this post comes from a past Top Ten Tuesday prompt at The Broke And The Bookish. What are my favorite books that I was made to read?
Books For School
1. Animal Farm by George Orwell. At first I disliked this book because it featured talking animals as characters. Like, seriously? Eventually, I realized just how clever it is. A novel about a corrupt human revolution would be boring – it’s been done before – but a story with animals makes the message more unusual and subtle. I still stand by my opinion of the animated film adaption, though. It’s terrible!
2. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Again, I disliked this book at first. It tells how a group of boys stranded on an island begin to turn on one another. The story became much darker about two-thirds through and that’s when I became interested. The last scene is as far from a horror film as one can get, yet somehow it’s just as terrifying.
3. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Now, this I liked right away. Anne tells us of the huge and the mundane, the hilarious and the somber. She was an amazing writer not only for her age, but in general. By the end of this book, I felt like I’d actually known her.
4. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. I hated this at first – is there a theme here? This is about the author’s experiences while serving in Vietnam and when I read it I was tired of stories about war (we’d spent an entire year covering World War II and several months on the Vietnam War). I guess the reason I changed my opinion on The Things They Carried is that it’s a collection of short stories. After I read something sad, I could skip around and find one that wasn’t that way.
Books For Book Club
5. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. Aaaah, this book. Forget Rowling or Pratchett; I want my fantasy stories to be like Levine’s. I adore retellings – this one’s about Cinderella – and Ella is the definition of “spunky heroine”.
6. The Wright 3 by Blue Balliett. I was ecstatic upon learning that this was the sequel to Chasing Vermeer, a lovely mystery set in Chicago. It’s about art and architecture and a little bit of math. It made me want to visit the Robie House and thanks to it, I now point out any and all designs reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s.
Books I Read Because My Friends Wouldn’t Shut Up About Them
7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I actually read this soon after it was published, but wasn’t that impressed and soon forgot about it. A few years later, it was a Big Thing and there was even a movie – naturally, my friends pestered me to read it. It’s quite good for YA dystopian and now I’m the one pestering my friends about going to the midnight showing of Catching Fire.
8. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. I prefer her The Thief Lord and didn’t pay too much attention to this book’s sequels, but I’m still glad I read it. The best way I can describe it is to say that it’s a love letter to books, where characters can be read out of stories.
9. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Actually, Maggie Stiefvater in general. Her books were recommended to me by Miriam Joy and various other Internet Beings, to whom I am eternally grateful. Read this, people. It deserves to be just as popular, if not more so, than Harry Potter.
10. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. If Inkheart was a love letter to books, then Artemis Fowl is a love letter to all things geeky. At only twelve years old, Artemis is the ultimate evil genius but as the story progresses he begins to change. Huge thank-you to Alex for introducing me to this series.
If there’s a theme here, it’s that books I absolutely had to read were often dull, at least at first. Interesting. I have a few ideas about why that might be so; the main one being that your choice is taken out of the equation. When a friend says, “Ooh, you have to read this!” I’ll likely consider the book, but am not obligated to read it or even try it. And sometimes that makes all the difference.