Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books I Was Forced to Read

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today's topic is "Favorite books you were forced to read." I'm using the term "forced" somewhat loosely here. What follows is a chronological telling of my favorite forced books. Enjoy!

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme started on the Broke and the Bookish blog.
 They set the topic, we make the lists. Visit their site to see more on this topic!

It may surprise you, but I didn’t always enjoy reading. (It was a phase that I got over quickly.) In fifth grade though, my teacher had to force me to read a book for our book reports. I dragged my feet, and because of this had to eat my lunch in the hallway so I could read my book. (The ultimate humiliation in fifth grade).The book I was given? Ella Enchanted. As is well documented here, I adored it.

This was a summer reading book that I went into thinking was going to be “boy” book (I have since learned there is no such thing). This WWII book was graphic, funny, and confusing. The book made me think about things with more questions in mind, and much more philosophical thinking than was necessary at 16. It stuck with me though.

Another school book. My mother loves this book, and she gave it a lot of hype before I’d even started reading it. Because of that, I was hesitant (I don’t always trust hype). Also, it took me awhile to really get into the book. Once I did though, I felt for everybody in the book and wanted to get to the end. Then once it ended, I was disappointed it was over.

I read this book in one of my AP English classes, and it came after a string of books I wasn’t crazy about. Going into the book then, I expected not to like it. And honestly, Victorian English wasn’t doing much for me. Once the relationships actually started to develop and the lengthy descriptions slowed down, I became invested. It has since become one of my favorites.

My first ever Literature class in college was at the end of my freshman year, and it was a Women’s Literature course. I was still an undecided major and knew I really liked reading, so I wanted to be in a literature class, and it was the only one available. The Handmaid’s Tale is the only book I remember from the course. It was dystopian before there was a term for it, and it was downright creepy. I loved it.

As a literature major, I was required to take a Shakespeare class. King Lear was one of the Shakespeare plays I had not heard much about (Kenneth Branagh didn’t make it as a movie). Going into any Shakespeare play there is a period of adjustment as one gets used to the language. I never really felt that in this play, and it kept me interested. It was funny, sad, and scary, all in one.

In my Young Adult Literature class, I was given a huge list of books to read. Some of them I did read; others, I fake-read. Initially, I fake-read this book. That is to say, I read about it online, had read less than half of it, and pretended like I knew what we were talking about. Once we did start to talk about it though, I gave the book more serious attention, and I wound up loving it. In fact, I reread it recently with one of my book clubs. (They liked it.)

Another book from that YA Lit class in grad school. I saw the description and was not super impressed with the subject matter: werewolves. Even so, my professor emphasized the importance of reading this particular book because of the fantasy aspect. Now, I guess I’m a sucker for a good YA failed romance, because after reading this one book, I read all of the series.

Since I was placed in charge of an existing book club here at the library last year, the book list for the year was already set. Thus, I was forced to read selections I had no hand in choosing. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. With The Paris Wife, I went in not expecting to like it, since I thought very little of Hemingway, and this book is all about his relationship with his first wife. The book made me like Hemingway even less, but was a good read. In fact, it took me down the rabbit hole of the 1920s and had me eager for more from that time period.

Every so often, one of my coworkers becomes so enamored with a book that they force others to read it. So was the case with Eleanor & Park. Meredith loved it and insisted I would love it. I did not go in completely unwilling, but I didn’t expect to love it the way she did (see the aforementioned comment about hype). Needless to say, it turned into a stay up til 3 AM to finish it book, and then I had to read her other two books within the month.

What books did you love after being forced into them?


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