Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Books I had to read throughout my education.

I got this idea from Alison Can Read's feature 'What Books?' (check it out - she has a lovely blog) and I thought it was such a fun and original idea. So, sorry Alison but I'm copying this a little bit because I loved the idea so much!

So, for many MANY classes throughout my school life since Year 9 (8th Grade), I have HAD to read books as part of the course as coursework or just to read a book really. It's basically the normal classical books (Shakespeare, Austen) that most people will read at maybe at some point in their lives and that so much has been written about them, so it's easy to revise with many study books available (most of the time anyway).
Some of these books will always stay a favourite - or always stay in my mind for how much I hated them.


Much Ado About Nothing - William Shakespeare

 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

Can I just say that this is the reason I hate To Kill a Mockingbird. We spent 5 whole months reading it and I still didn't understand a word - to be honest, I had to watch the film to realise what was actually happening.  So I have a bias view of this book but 5 months studying it?!


An Inspector Calls - J.B.Priestley

Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

An Inspector Calls is a very good play and it was the first piece of coursework I ever did. Of Mice and Men I had to learn completely about for the end of year exam which meant knowing every single little theme/movement/description and of course, this is full of it. Really enjoyed the book though and I got top marks in that exam!


Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare

Both of these were for coursework in my English Literature and Language GCSE's. We only did a section from Romeo and Juliet but I still barely understood the plot especially with the language. Here, we discovered the first adaptation of it with a Romeo who looks like he could be related to Zac Efron - I am not kidding. Some shouting 'Oh my god, it's Zac Efron' when we first watched it. Check it out. 
I had read Pride and Prejudice a few years before and didn't really understand it. But then I watched the movie and sort of fell in love with the story and the ideas of Elizabeth and Mr Darcy. So I was quite pleased to be doing the novel over Frankenstein like some other classes. This did fuel my Austen adaptation addiction...


Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller

Othello - William Shakespeare

Enduring Love - Ian McEwan

 The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald

The Odyssey - Homer

This is what books I'm studying at the moment. Enduring Love is awful - I would not recommend it to anyone. Joe, the main character, is in the middle of a scene and then, okay, start rambling about science things WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND. My hate for this book does not even have words.

The Great Gatsby however, I love. It's a beautiful book and I love reading it. Gladly, this is the book we have to know in depth.
The Odyssey - it is good and interesting more so than Enduring Love. But we are halfway through. We started 3 months ago. We have our exam in 5 weeks. You see my dislike right there. 

I hope you found that interesting. Let me know what books you did at secondary school or college/high school. I am quite interested to see if they were similar!


  1. This is so interesting! I might do a post about it too if that's OK - I'll link back here!

  2. Just noticed you mentioned you got the idea from Alison - I'll have to link to both of you :D

    1. Haha, that's what I thought when I saw it on Alison's blog. Thank you! :)

  3. So to answer your question about books I read when I was in school... how far back are we talking? Just kidding.

    We did the Demon Headmaster in Grade 6, as well as The Red Pony by Steinbeck and a play about Theseus and the Minotaur if memory serves me correctly.
    Grade 7 started off with The Hobbit, Anita Desai's The Village by the Sea and I think that year we also read Walkabout by James Vance Marshall.
    I'm not sure about Grades 8 and 9, but somewhere in there we had Of Mice and Men as well. I think I remember lots of stuff being read to us, especially short stories. We also watched a ton of movies like Donnie Darko, Rushmore and bits of Beetlejuice.
    Grade 10 included The Catcher in the Rye.
    My final two years in English Lit revolved around The Great Gatsby (glad to see you're enjoying it as much as I did), George Orwell's Coming Up for Air, Jack Kerouac's On the Road, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson and finally Last Order by Graham Greene.

    Of all of them I enjoyed only a handful, and really most of it was owed to the enthusiasm of how we handled them in class. The Hobbit was most excellent material itself, and the way Mr. Jensen transported it... classic case of awesome, the man was. The Poisonwood Bible wasn't exactly uplifting, but I loved the perspective changes (but on the other hand I hated reading from some of the character's viewpoints, and Kingsolver can be so tedious with the imagery...). Most of the "Classics" that I enjoy over and over again however are the ones I pursued in my own time. It pains me to read that you haven't connected with To Kill a Mockingbird, so maybe if you'd shelve it for a coupla years and gave it a try somewhen else you might enjoy it more?

    1. Grade 6: Ah I remember the Demon Headmaster - I was terrified of my own headmaster afterwards. Oh yes, we did that play too - the name of it escapes me now.
      Grade 8 & 9: Ah, Of Mice and Men is always there - wow, we watched some movies (like we had to watch War of the Worlds for our coursework) but not much.

      Oh, you did some really famous other books then. I do love the Great Gatsby - it is becoming one of my favourite books and a book I don't mind editing and analysing. I'm not normally into 'classic' books but this one is great.

      I'm so sorry - I was only like 14 so this may be the reason and we were reading it so slowly - I don't think I read the whole thing. One day I'll pick it up again and hopefully enjoy it this time :)

    2. The Demon Headmaster was actually a series I had read around Grade 4, but forgot, and then through Grade 6 re-remembered. Around Grade 10 or so I picked it up yet again. It's a classic in the sense that it's a staple on growing up. Thank goodness none of my headmasters were anything like him!

      I have my fingers crossed for Harper Lee's masterpiece then, hehe.

    3. Haha - yeah I think I got it out of the school library or something.
      And the Angel of Nitshill Road - another Year 4 (Grade 3) favourite.

    4. I have to say that anything earlier than Grade 6 I cannot fully remember anymore. What a sad sad thing. I do remember that my teachers took me aside and told me that during private reading time I ought to look at abridged classics, so I plowed through Call of the Wild, Lorna Doone, The Black Tulip and similar novels in short form. I really enjoyed those too.


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