Hello everyone! While I would prefer to have a book review by now, I feel like I just haven’t had the time or energy to continue reading. Closing shifts are the worst. Anyone who has worked retail can relate to how I feel. I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to do something like this. I thought about making this about my required reading in grade school but I really don’t remember much of what I read back then. I do, however, have very distinct memories of my Honors English classes in high school. I had some very interesting teachers who had some interesting teaching methods. I can get more into that in another post if you want. (Note: I’m also going to be including plays I read on this list).
The best books I read:
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (Sophomore Year)
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Junior Year)
- Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (Sophomore Year)
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Junior Year)
- Dracula by Bram Stoker (Senior Year)
- The Color of Water by James McBride (Sophomore Year)
- The Crucible by Arthur Miller (Freshman Year)
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding (Senior Year)
- Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (Freshman Year)
- Fences by August Wilson (Junior Year)
The worst books I read (with explanations):
- Anthem by Ayn Rand: I know a lot of people of Rand but I just couldn’t bring myself to enjoy her writing. This book, in particular, is very confusing as it is written without singular pronouns. That is an important aspect of the book as it is a dystopian novel but it doesn’t make it any less confusing.
- Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom: I just found this book to be way too sappy for my tastes. I understand the sentiment behind the story but it was just too depressing, even for me.
- Black Boy by Richard Wright: It always sounds bad when I tell people I didn’t like this book but it’s not because of the subject matter. This book is his autobiography and the first half of the book is incredibly interesting. The second half of the book, however, is all about Communism and it just gets super preachy. The end just felt like a let down.
- The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros: I’m not a huge fan of poetry but I can always appreciate. This book, however, was too abstract for my tastes. Again, I understand the subject matter but I just thought it was so vague.
- Seven Events that Made America America by Larry Scheikwart: This book was so bad that my teacher decided to not have us even finish it. It’s written from a very Conservative standpoint and also the events weren’t even that important. The entire book is just this guy ranting about the “liberal media.” It was not something that I cared for in high school and not something I care for now.
Let me know if you read any of these books in high school or tell me your favorites or least favorites. I had some odd experiences in high school English so my experience is probably very different that yours. I’d love to hear about it though.
3 thoughts on “The Best (and Worst) Books I Read in High School”
I read pretty much all your best books in high school myself and really enjoyed them 🙂 My favorites were Crime and Punishment and A Tale of Two Cities. Least favorites Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man- barely made it through that one. And Heart of Darkness. I was never any good at required reading though!
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Portrait was a slog, for sure. I had to approach it the same way as Ulysses. Read the words as fast as I could and let them wash over me, hoping some of them would permeate my subconscious enough to allow me to pass the tests. When all else failed, I’d sleep with the book under my bed pillow.
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I haven’t read all of the books on your list. I’ll admit, however, that I’ve never been a huge Shakespeare geek. I’m a barbarian, I know. Lord of the Flies was an eye-opener to me as a writer, as was The Great Gatsby. I was also a huge fan of The Catcher in the Rye, which was actually on the list of banned books a teacher was kind enough to pass out, and Robert Cormier’s I Am the Cheese. Least favorite? No contest: Moby Dick.
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