You either love or hate English class in school. When reading books, you’re asked to interpret them in ways you would never think of. What does the author mean? Does that blue curtain mean something? Or is it just a blue curtain? Sometimes, it’s enough to cause students to hate reading. But there are some books that stand out to us and become favourites.
Hmm. I read lots of books while in school. For school? Le Morte D’Arthur was always a favorite.
James and the Giant Peach comes to mind. Later on, The Odyssey.
Not a book, but a play. Once I gave Romeo & Juliet a serious chance I loved it. Knowing it’s not a love story at all went a long way toward appreciating the story and not the romanticizing of “star-crossed lovers.”
I remember reading “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes in high school. I didn’t completely get it back then. I got the main idea and what was going on and all. I really liked it regardless. Then I read it again in my twenties and it all clicked and made more sense. I loved the connection between Charlie Gordon and Algernon the mouse. It’s also a great story about mental health issues, even if it is science fiction.
I read lots and lots of books in high school that I loved. Mostly, they just weren’t the books that I was assigned to read. I think I was one of the few that enjoyed CHESAPEAKE by James Michener. And CENTENNIAL, too (although I remember the mini-series better).
Okay, this is probably going to come as a major shock to a lot of people, but…I don’t really remember reading many books in school. I mean, I read TONS of books throughout school, but as far as a book that was actually assigned to us to read? There weren’t too many. Our system was more of a personalized thing. The kids picked their own books (approved by the teacher, of course) and wrote book reports on them. Usually when we were doing a specific tale it was a play or something really old, like Beowulf.
I do, however, remember reading two specific books for class in junior high, and they were 1984 and Animal Farm. I can’t honestly say I remember that much about 1984 other than the general overall theme, but Animal Farm really stuck with me. It creeped me out when I read it (for all the right reasons), and it left me with a healthy distaste for authority and government.
I read a lot in school, especially when I wasn’t supposed to be reading. I hid fiction books in my text books in most every class, but especially in History. These poor kids with their school assigned computers in class now don’t have a chance at getting away with that anymore. While I can’t say that I loved any of the books I was supposed to be reading, I was quite into the Thieves’ World anthology series at the time. I’m happy to say I still have all those books on my shelf. I’d love to make time to read them all again someday.
There were two books that I kept reading in school, and kept writing book reports on — not out of laziness but from a constant interest in the themes! I picked new angles for each report, I swear. Anyway, they were My Antonia by Willa Cather, and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. I remember writing one essay comparing Heart of Darkness to Dante’s Inferno in themes and characters….that was a good essay.
Dracula. It’s an amazing gothic love story.
I read My Name is Asher Lev in 10th grade American Lit class. I loved the way the story was told, the characters, and also the parts about art and painting. (As a bit of an artist myself, I was fascinated.)
I didn’t get on in school particularly well for various reasons, so I don’t really remember much of what we studied. And school was a looooong time ago for me — a distant blot on the horizon. But early books that captured my attention were fun books. Nothing too serious. I’m a sucker for a good (not teenage) vampire story, so Brian Lumley’s Necroscope (and the rest of the series) was enthralling. Proper vamps, ghosts, blood and terror. Mohahahahaaaa! Dragonlance was a book I plucked from my brother’s room and loved, too. Oh – hang on. One book that does stand out — and this is from when I was in primary school — is Funny Bones. ‘On a dark, dark hill there was a dark, dark town…’ I loved that so much I bought it for my kids and it’s now my daughter’s favourite book (and I still love it, too).
We didn’t cover much in the way of novels when I was in high school. We did cover Shakespeare, and after we read the scripts, we usually saw a movie of the play. Franco Zefirelli’s version of Romeo and Juliet, with Olivia Hussey as Juliet, blew my mind, and made me fall in love with Shakespeare. Books that affected me were Native Son by Richard Wright, and two short stories I read in one of those anthologies they put together for schools. I can’t remember the title of the collection, but the stories were The Soul of Caliban by Emma-Lindsay Squier, and Brightside Crossing by Alan E. Nourse. Both of these came alive in my brain in so many ways, and fueled my thirst for for reading. Strangely enough, neither of these were selected for study in class. And I thought they were the best stories in the whole book.
Early on, remember having trouble holding in my laughter while reading Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator in grade 6. That was a favourite from elementary school. However, later on, I fell in love with Shakespeare’s plays. I especially enjoyed Hamlet. I also really enjoyed The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. That was my first exposure to far future post-apocalyptic science fiction. I found it fascinating.
How about you?
What are some books you really enjoyed reading in school? Let us know in the comments below.