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What were some of the books you had to read in school?

Last posted Apr 29, 2016 at 04:48PM EDT. Added Apr 14, 2016 at 05:19PM EDT
39 posts from 28 users

I hated The View From Saturday. It was one of the worst books I have ever read. Maybe it was just because I was in the sixth grade when I read it, but I still don't know what the point of the book was. It was a book about a group of students on a quiz team and their paraplegic teacher. The book liked to shove the fact that the teacher was paraplegic down your throat, and it really took away from my enjoyment of my English class.

A Lesson Before Dying and Of Mice And Men were both emotional roller coasters. The climax and falling action of A Lesson Before Dying left me heartbroken and suddenness of the end in Of Mice And Men left me emotional.

It was very rousing story of a single mother trying to fight adversity…probably.
The problem however was I couldn't read it. No one in our class could. It's written in that very strange Old-English language that had about 50 words mean the same thing and sentences that took almost entire paragraphs. Most of us just ended up searching up the plot on the internet. I at least tried reading it, but after failing 2 reading tests about it I decided my grade in the class was worth more than actually reading it, which is sort of ironic.

The ones I can remember off the top of my head are: The Good Earth (good), Of Mice and Men (good), The Life of Pi (passable but overrated), Animal Farm (good), Angela's Ashes (good), Black Boy (good), The Scarlet Letter (terrible), Pride and Prejudice (bad), The Great Gatsby (meh), The Awakening (bad), Frankenstein (good), and Beloved (absolute fucking trash).

The Five People You Meet in Heaven was probably the only book I read in school that I actually enjoyed. My problem with class-assigned books is not exactly the books themselves, but the overanalyzation, testing, and discussion related to it. I want to enjoy the writing by myself, not discover some hidden meaning that the teachers are so intent on.

Five People works so well because it observes human nature so gracefully. It handles heavy topics, like straining of relationships, love, forgiveness, and shame. We go through the eyes of an old man, weary and withered, and when he finally passes, he begins to really reflect.

Wonderful story. Really something I was happen with reading.

>author of: Tuesdays with Morrie

I remember that. I recall that it was rather heartbreaking and sad at first, but then on further reflection I realized it was just hallmark gift card sayings dolled up with a generic illness story. I really wonder if that was intended or not.

We read the Flowers for Algernon short story instead of the novel, that's the only one that really stands out from everything else I was made to read. It was one of my favs.

Enjoyed to the point where if I wasn't forced to I'd read it for pleasure anyways: Jane Eyre, Slaughter House 5, Poisonwood Bible, Lord of the Flies, And Then There Were None, Macbeth

Eh: Heart of Darkness, Red Badge of Courage

Bleh: Great Gatsby (might read again someday and see if my perspective changes and I end up liking it)

Special category of being great but having to be translated sentence by sentence: Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Oedipus, Antigone, Odyssey, Caesar

I actually had not gotten assigned anything bad my teachers generally had good taste within the curriculum. I thought some would be dry before starting like Jane Eyre and Poisonwood which ended up being actually good. On the other hand I thought Gatsby would be dry and it was.

Last edited Apr 14, 2016 at 06:48PM EDT

A Separate Peace:
Possibly the worst of the bunch, I just found it so boring.
Jekyll and Hyde:
It lost my interest and I ended up just dropping it altogether.
To Kill a Mockingbird:
After reading it, it easily became my favorite book overall.
Their Eyes Were Watching God:
Eh. I chose it because it took place in the 20's, but I really remember next to nothing other than the fact that it took place in the 20's
Catcher in the Rye:
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
A really good read and the fact that I actually learned about a culture I didn't know existed (stupid white American and what not) and seems fascinating in it's own right.

I would have to agree with the fact that if we didn't have to over-analyze every single sentence in every single book, I probably would have enjoyed some of these a bit more.

Hmm, the ones I can think of off the top of my head are Tuck Everlasting (good), Animal Farm (great), and the abridged version of Frankenstein (kill it with fire).

…Seriously, Frankenstein is a poorly written, heavy-handed mess. Why do people think it's so good?

Also, is weird that I kind of enjoyed analyzing the books (and when I say books, I just mean Animals Farm really, cuz that's the only book we were made to analyze)? I felt like understanding the history and all the parallels made it better. Although, I might just be saying this cuz I'm only in Seventh Grade, and therefore wasn't made to write a super in-depth essay. Instead I was just given a packet and some worksheets that had me identify all the symbolism and themes in the book, but that was really it.

Last edited Apr 14, 2016 at 07:14PM EDT
Seriously, Frankenstein is a poorly written, heavy-handed mess. Why do people think it’s so good?

I don't know what the abridged version is like, but I liked the original novel for being an interesting science fiction tale that's secretly a metaphor for the author having bad experiences with childbirth or whatever. There's moral complexity and it has that melancholic feel I like in books but I'd imagine many people hate.

I also liked the writing for being generally legible (especially given it was written during the 19th century) and being mostly to the point (minus the pointless chapter that involves the story of how the family the monster was observing ended up in their cottage).

I read it years ago girlie and it wasn't for school and I can't exactly defend it since it was so long ago. I just remember liking it because I liked the subtle horror as well as the constant despair. I thought it captured a realistic view of some parts of the human race while still being fictional and entertaining. The monster being rejected after so much introspection and hope was really powerful to me and something most could identify with at some point in their lives, some more than others.

As well as the theme of revenge and the horror at the end with Frankenstein when anything and everything could get stolen from him at any moment, which it did. Especially how both of them die by the end with absolutely nothing. Sounds like you just didn't like the writing style which I honestly cannot remember but I could read it when I was like 13 so I didn't mind. Everyone has their preferences.

Flowers for Algernon
This is one of the few novels short stories that I actually enjoyed. Ending was very depressing.
The Giver
I hated this damn book, it was so dumb and predictable and one of the most boring dystopias ever. I never understood my English teacher adored this book so much, even with that terrible ending.
Much Ado about Nothing
I've read a lot of Shakespeare's work in high school, but this is the absolute most boring one of them all.
The Kite Runner
This wasn't very interesting and it doesn't help much that main character is so unlikeable.
Catcher in the Rye
It was alright, Ghost in the Shell made this book way more interesting than my school could ever hope.
The Great Gatsby
Old sport, Old sport, Old sp-[gets shot]. I never understood what made this book so appealing to people.

Man, I really, really wish I had the book to refer to…

Yeah, the themes of Frankenstein were fine and had potential, but I thought the writing itself was so bad it squandered it all. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that all the events were told through letters. Now, I actually read a book or two where I thought telling a story through letters worked just fine, but in this story, it made it so that there was far more telling than showing. There wasn't a lot of imagery, and the majority of chapters were just bare-bones summaries of
past events. Victor (the monster too, I think) also liked to tell you how to feel a lot. Of course, he's both an opinionated narrator and he's retelling his story to another character, but the whole: "this story will make you shiver in fear" stuff felt kinda cheesy…

Not to mention the monster's transformation from naive to murderous felt too sudden, and his actions too extreme, but this could be just the abridged version's fault.

I feel like if I read the full version, I'd dislike it less but ultimately I'd still hate it.

Oh, and the last post just reminded me: I read the Giver and I liked it. I still didn't like how I predicted some of the twists though. It's also not that deep or shocking. Especially not that shocking. Some people sent the author emails and letters saying she's disturbed and needs Jesus or something for writing the book and I think that's just absurd.

Last edited Apr 14, 2016 at 07:42PM EDT

The Golden Compass

This was in junior school, I liked it but never finished it.

Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief

In junior school this was really great, disappointed with the film that came out years later.

Kensukes Kingdom

I'm a sucker for 'a boy and his dog' stories and this is one of the reasons why. Arguably my favourite junior school book

Private Peaceful

This is the contender with Kensukes Kingdom. This was heavy stuff for a child, and honestly fits well as an all ages read.

Romeo and Juliet

Initially when we first read it, I thought it was dumb and I hated the ending, now I actually enjoy it

Of Mice and Men

Terrible. I hated it and still do. There's nothing I like about this boring book.

Blood Brothers (The Script of the Play)

I liked this, it was actually pretty enjoyable.

The Lord of Flies

I love this book. I love the story, the characters, the themes and just everything about it.

Also damn Sam, you read those in school? I wish we read Oedipus and Odyssey over shitty Of Mice and Men.

Off the top of my head are:

The Hobbit: Among my favorite assigned reading books. It was a great read as a kid, and the only Lord of the Rings book I've read.

Holes: Was a good book and very interesting to read after the movie came out. I remember we had to do a report in class about it and you could tell who was going off the movie's details and who was going off the book's details.

The Hiding Place: Was probably my first in-depth exposure to the Holocaust, pretty eye-opening stuff on the terrors people had to go through.

The Scarlett Letter: I "read" it. And by that I mean I looked up a synopsis to filled out the answers.

The Golden Goblet: I was so terribly uninterested in it. It just didn't connect with me at all.

I'd also throw in Bible verses and Bible Study books my parents tried to get me to memorize. The verses were easy to memorize (for a time) but the Bible Study books my family tried to get everyone on to read NEVER got past a few weeks, even though I keep telling my parents we're all gonna be too busy for that shit they never listen.

I have Dracula, Invisible Man, and Frankenstein on my to-read list. I may go read those sooner as opposed to later based on their recommendations here.

These are some books I read for highschool.

An autobiography of a Holocaust survivor. It was very interesting.
Stuck In Neutral
A book narrated by a completely paralyzed kid who can't talk. Although it was an interesting concept, I felt like some parts weren't realistic.
Of Mice and Men
A very good but depressing book.
Romeo and Juliet
A good story when read correctly. It seems like a sarcastic comedy about how kids in love and how "feuding families" can be stupid, and I along with many others believe that it's a misinterpreted satire. (The book literally starts out with Romeo going crazy over another girl that isn't Juliet and he and Juliet get a bunch of people killed over their teen love, which only happens because the families irrationally hate each other.) It annoys me when people refer to it as a tragedy.
Lord of the Flies
A great book.
To Kill a Mockingbird
Also a great book.
Julius Caesar
I personally thought that this was a little boring, but I can see how it can be interesting to other people.
The Catcher in the Rye
I did not like this book. I thought the protagonist was a bit annoying. Maybe I didn't understand it.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
A great book.
The Great Gatsby
Also a great book.
The Crucible
A play about the Salem Witch trials. It was okay.
The Things They Carried
A very good book.
The Kite Runner
A book about an Afghan's childhood in Afghanistan and adulthood in America. It was good from an entertainment standpoint, but the book seemed too cliche.

Forgot to add something about this book (people who read it will know what I'm talking about; there may be spoilers in this.)

I remember that Amir (the protagonist) did a lot of bad things and the teacher asked the class whether Amir or Assef (the antagonist, literally Hitler) was worse. The majority of the class kept saying Amir. Assef KILLED PEOPLE. He was literally Hitler; of course he was fucking worse. It annoyed the hell out of me when the class kept treating it like some kind of trick question.

In Cold Blood
Some parts of the book were a little boring, but overall it was a good book.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
One of the best books that I have ever read.

Last edited Apr 14, 2016 at 09:26PM EDT

Back in high school, I had to read this book:

I despised this book and I came to despise Edith Wharton and whoever gave her a Pulitzer prize for another one of her novels, Age of Innocence

Old Man and the Sea
For a guy who wrote about really interesting topics, Hemingway had a really boring way of writing about them. That's more or less all I have to say about this one.

Now that I think about it, I didn't really like any of the books I was forced to read back then. Back when I was in high school and well into college, I was reading almost exclusively fantasy and science fiction. I think Lord of the Flies, Inherit the Wind and The Crucible were the only books I was forced to read that I really liked.

Another book that I remember reading and "liking" it, as in it kept me hooked (there is no joy in this book), was Daniel's Story, about a Jewish boy growing up during the Holocaust with his family. I don't think I need to say that it wasn't exactly a happy story and it left me in a funk for a while after finishing it.
What was especially interesting was the fact that this thing was barely over 100 pages and had the stupidest cover you could give it.

Here's where The Giver truly belongs:

Can we all take a moment to talk about how much of a shitty story Catcher In The Rye is?

Cause I've gone on saying several times before, but FUCK THAT BOOK. I absolutely hated how much people praised that book sometimes. Like the only "merit" it had was its supposed deep meaning, and (sarcastically) meaningful symbolism. Hell if it weren't for the symbolism for dummies aspect of it there would be no reason to read it in school.

But completely ignoring the symbolism aspect of the book, it's just an awful story with an even more god-awful main character. Holden is no joke my least favorite character in any form of media, PERIOD.
He's a pretentious hack who thinks that the world is so fake and nobody is 'real' yet he is more willing to condemn others rather than address how huge of a hypocrite he is. Not only that, but when push comes to shove he's a huge pussy who thinks he can handle the 'real world', but finds out running away to the big city is a horrible idea along with trying to have sex with a prostitute and underage drinking in a club. Worst of all though is the fact he was willing to commit suicide cause he can handle living in a world that he doesn't agree with.

Holden is by far the worst main character in a book I've ever read and his plight/story is so pointless, and unimportant that the whole book feels like a waste of time.
Rant over

Last edited Apr 14, 2016 at 10:46PM EDT

Some of you guys reminded me of books I've read that I gotta mention. I did indeed read Outsiders at school and then saw the movie in class and it was pretty great. Easy to read, dramatic, good development, I only remember enjoying it.

I read Holes and like saw the movie in 2nd grade. Was massive for a kid's book but I remember good things.

I read Crucible and as the person who read it above said it was just kinda okay. Nothing terrible but it was dull and generic as hell. Had no investment in any of the characters and sooooo predictable.

I'm Chinese so,

From top bottom in English, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Dream of the Red Chambers, Journey to the West and The (True) Story of Ah Q.

The first two were as long as Fallout: Equestria, I shit you not. Red Chambers is about sorta-incest love story, like an ancient Oreimo but with cousins.
We only need to read the simplified version, thankfully, they took about a month to finish.

Didn't have to read it, but I read the Great Gatsby mostly because of the movie coming out in 2013. I did like it and the movie. Makes me wanna travel to the Roaring 20's.

To Kill a Mockingbird. Definitely a good book and movie. May Harper Lee rest in peace…

Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet are probably the only Shakespeare plays I've liked. I felt they were easy to follow (especially since we read the Sparknotes versions)

Persepolis is another one I really liked. I do like how Satrapi inserted some humor into a pretty serious situation.

Night by Elie Weisel is also pretty good. As morbid as it is, it's pretty interesting to read his experiences during the Holocaust. Honestly, i think I liked this better than Anne Frank.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I'll admit, I mostly remember the movie, but it did help me understand the book a bit better and put it in a better light for me. That said, I did like the story a lot.

Frankenstein, but it was a visual novel. Really good way of portraying the story.

The Lord of the Flies was interesting for me. It certainly escalated quickly among the kids.

Two of George Orwell's famous novels, 1984 and Animal Farm. Both are great allusions towards communism and how it's malevolent for people.

Catcher in the Rye. It was okay in my opinion, but I truly understand why many people don't like it.

The Stranger by Albert Camus. First half was pretty interesting, but the second half was just bleh.

The Hobbit. I'll be honest, I can't really get into Tolkien's stories, idk why.

Flowers for Algernon was good too, especially in how the text is written.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. It's about a girl in high school who got raped at a summer party and has trouble fitting in. Don't remember much about it, but it wasn't too bad from what I remember. I didn't like this one part of the story where the high school kept changing the mascot every quarter.

And the Alchemist. I was actually going into this with Fullmetal Alchemist in mind (not like the exact same story, just had the anime in mind when I hear the word alchemist). As for the book, I felt it was kinda boring.

And if we're counting summer readings, I'll add Slam by Nick Hornby. Pretty weird story about a teen who gets a girl pregnant and talks to his Tony Hawk poster.

And also Stephen King's The Long Walk.This is a really good story. It's a story about how a bunch of boys are forced to walk along the East Coast (dystopian reasons). They must keep walking at an exact pace of 4 miles per hour, no more, no less, no stopping. This walk affects them psychologically. It gets pretty tense.

Last edited Apr 15, 2016 at 12:55AM EDT

When the Streetcars Come Back and it's sequel
For some reason the school districts in our state have total boners for books authored by people who come from their state. Those two books, along with one super postmodern one about PSTD from the vietnam war scarred me a little. Let's just say not all teenagers are ready for in depth descriptions of puppies being blown up by grenades or opening a freezer to find a dead baby inside to learn that it was the incestual offspring that resulted in a father raping his high school daughter. (I'm all for serious, unhappy topics but I don't think they were treated very well in those books, at least if they were intended for teenagers to read.)
Seriously, if those scenes had been in a portable video game the school definitely would have confiscated the device and maybe even punish the student even if it was discovered during lunch.

Most of the ones Spider-Byte had to read and…
Stone cold: Shit book, one of the worst I've ever read. The main characters are morons, the only thing they do to try and progress the story is buy cheese rolls and apparently the edge of a tin can lid can kill someone if you tap them in the neck with it.

Middle School:
Diary of Anne Frank
Flowers for Algernop

High School:
Romeo and Juliet
Life of Pi (killme)
To Kill a Mockingbird
One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest
Grapes of Wrath (Literally the only way of getting through this was imagining the characters as ponies)
Great Gatsby
Catcher in the Rye (killme)
Death of a Salesman
Oryx and Crake (killme)

I heard one teacher made the kids read Jurassic Park….lucky bastards

I read a lot of books that were quite common like To Kill A Mockingbird, Catcher In The Rye, The Great Gatsby, Fahrenheit 451, etc., but my favorite was probably The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. Basically, it's a series of short stories that revolve around a platoon of soldiers during the Vietnam War. We only had to read small sections of it, but I was curious enough to read the whole thing outside of class. Needless to say, I enjoyed it a lot.

In high school most books we read weren't that notable, except the one we read in grade 12.

At the time the Snowden leaks were happening so the teacher let us vote to read 1984 or Kite Runner. Majority chose 1984 and we got a nice lesson.

Elementary school I was given an interesting book to read called The Thief Lord

Made me a little interested in Italy and Venice, and effectively replaced me saying "excuse me" with "scusi"

Takadini is set in ancient Africa and tells the story of a boy born as an albino. In Africa, children bron with any anamalous traits such as albinism or other deformities were considered evil. These children were often killed by placing them in a pot and setting the container alight.

The boy (Takadini) was spared by his mother who was the favourite wife of a chief. When she gives birth, she runs away with the child and into another village. The entire book explores Afican culture through the eyes of the albino, the women and men. A bit of surprisingly erotic content in it but nothing awkward. I liked the book…sort of but these stories don't really interest me.

Oliver twist was really heavy but I liked it a lot because of the descriptions of the environments and clothing. I have a fascination with early industrial stuff.

…I never want to read 1984 again.

1984 and Brave New World: I had to read these two books for a big-ass research paper about how they're similar, different, yadda yadda and all that crap. Never again. Far too dark with unlikable characters for my taste. The fact that I had to read both a billion times to get everything for my paper, I hate them even more.

Tuck Everlasting: Don't let the trashy romance premise fool you; it's creepy due to the whole "living forever" thing, and it really disturbed me as a kid. Never again.

Raisin in the Sun: Ha ha, no. Boring and my teacher was incredibly excessive about explaining everything and how it's "meaningful".

Huckleberry Finn: Why is this considered infinitely meaningful and symbolic? It's just random satire that's not supposed to be taken seriously, which the author said at the very beginning of the book! "Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot." And teachers and scholars ignore that fact.

A Separate Peace: Unlikable characters (especially the protagonist), boring plot, boring everything… (zzzzzzz)

The Sun Also Rises: What's the point of this again?

Scarlet Letter: More boring junk, and now featuring witch hunts and people who are overly mean spirited, which might be the point, but it's not enjoyable for me. The fact that the author has the same first name as me, Nathaniel, led to me being my English teacher's (as well as the rest of the classes') punching bag during our time reading it.

Their Eyes Were Watching God: No.

Mecha Harambe wrote:

Lot of people here don't seem to like 1984. I really liked it, but part of that could be because I read it on my own time instead of being assigned to read it.

As someone who just finished reading it for my politics class, I will say it seemed slow and boring at some points, but I found a lot of it interesting, mostly from a governmental and power perspective, which is the aim of the book. I also find it interesting yet horrifying how familiar a lot of what Orwell says about the Party feels today.
And the descriptions of the torture sessions at the end… fun

Smiley Dog wrote:

As someone who just finished reading it for my politics class, I will say it seemed slow and boring at some points, but I found a lot of it interesting, mostly from a governmental and power perspective, which is the aim of the book. I also find it interesting yet horrifying how familiar a lot of what Orwell says about the Party feels today.
And the descriptions of the torture sessions at the end… fun

The whole 2+2=5 really struck a chord with me when I read it. The idea that the government could make people believe something so obviously wrong was actually right was scary to me, partly because it felt plausible. I feel that 1984 is just one of those books you need the right state of mind to read. It's better enjoyed on your own terms

One of my favorite books of all time was read in class in the 5th grade, which was the best school year of my elementary school days.

Things Not Seen – The gist of the story is a high school guy turns invisible one morning and befriends a blind girl, I love love it. I recently found out there are sequels to this book I haven't read yet.
This is probably the only book on this list that I remember the most amount of details
The author Andrew Clements made some of my favorite books like Frindle another great book.

This thread helped me remember a few books, I barely remember much about them though, I read just about the same as everyone such as:

Of Mice and Men – Sad book. I liked the movie and it helped me like the next movie we watched Cool Hand Luke even more.

Catcher In The Rye – A lot of people people seem to hate this book but I completely forgot what even goes on in the book, aside from a few details.

The Great Gatsby- I remember more of the movie that we saw afterwards, it was..ok?

The Things They Carried- Don't remember much, homework assignments for this book weren't so great

The Kite Runner- Again more of the movie I remember, I showed the movie to my mother and she was left completely distraught after it ended, red eyes and everything

A Boy Called IT- Pretty messed up book about the accounts of a persons child abuse.

Please Stop Laughing At Me – The author's accounts of bullying that she faced in school, she actually came to our middle school fora public speaking, students didn't care. Middle school was a god awful time of my life.

Hatchet- Boy surviving the depths of the woodlands with the hatchet dad gave him. Pretty nice book

Touching Spirit Bear – Boy surviving the depths of the woodlands with the hatchet dad gave him as a way to "find himself" after he severely beat up a kid at his school, he was exiled to an island for one year. Pretty nice book

Othello – Hey it's me Shakespeare, you are going to read one of my stories whether you like it or not. I remember more of the movie and the modernized movie version

The Handmaid's Tale – Barely remember the story, I think it was ok

Ten mile river – This one dealt with two homeless kids, also barely remember

Back to the wild – I hated this book, the author built up the accounts of Christopher McCandless as if it were really inspirational, I think he was a real piece of work. This guy was an awful person

Freaks like us – Pretty "meh" book, I think this was the last book I ever read for school

A couple of you guys have already mentioned the books that I've read in school (To Kill A Mockingbird, Hatchet, Lord of the Flies, Of Mice and Men,etc.). Still, I think the best book I read in high school was the abridged version of Les Miserables. I actually really enjoyed reading it.

The books that I had to read before I entered in the University were

Uma aventura em Cabo Verde(lit:an adventure in Cape Verde) by Ana Maria Magalhães and Isabel Alçada in primary school, it's a book about youngsters resolving a mystery while having a vacation in Cape Verde

Quem me dera ser onda(lit:I wish I was a wave) by Manuel Rui in high school, talk about a family in Angola taking care of a pig in an apartment building years after the independence.

I only got to read these books because the reform in Capeverdian education that happened in the 90's almost eradicated the obligation to read books and became normal to read excerpts of certain books


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