Bookish Musings: What Were Your Favorite and Least Favorite Required Reading Books?


I think we can all agree that we love reading novels. And part of school is having to read novels. So it seems like that would awesome for us bookworms, right?

Well, no. At least not in my experiences. While there were a few required reading books that I loved, I hated or felt apathetic toward most of them. I think most of them just weren’t to my reading tastes, but I do wonder if I might’ve enjoyed a few of them more had I not been FORCED to read them at a specific time and then quizzed on the minutest of details and told there were only certain correct interpretations when we had to analyze things. And don’t even get me started on all the symbolism because I honestly believe that sometimes the color of something is just the color of something.

I know some of you are teachers, so I don’t mean to say anything about how YOU are as a teacher, just that the system seemed rather flawed in my experience because it wasn’t the type of environment that actually allowed me to enjoy a book and take my own messages from it. But I kind of ended up on a side rant since that’s not what this post is supposed to be about.

What this post is supposed to be about is the actual books. I don’t even remember most of them, but these are the ones that have stuck with me for one reason or another. So here are the required books that were my favorites and least favorites, and then I’d love to hear about yours!

My Favorites

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster | reading, books
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton | reading, books
Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare | reading, books
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller | reading, books

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (Elementary School)

This was my favorite book as a child, probably the first novel I ever really loved. I just really enjoyed all the word play.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (Middle School)

I don’t remember this one much, but I remember enjoying it.

Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare (High School)

It’s cliche and full of teenage angst, but it’s a classic, and I just liked reading it.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (High School)

Despite the teacher’s comment that this was the book the boys liked and The Awakening was the book the girl’s liked, I loved this book when I read it. It was hilarious but also intense.

My Least Favorites

Animal Farm by George Orwell | reading, books
The Awakening by Kate Chopin | reading, books
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley | reading, books
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway | reading, books

Animal Farm by George Orwell (Middle School)

Yeah, I didn’t even remotely understand the political allegory in this book at the age I was when I read it. I did, however, learn what the word allegory meant. So that’s something, I suppose.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin (High School)

Sorry, teacher, I’m a girl, and I didn’t like it.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (High School)

Ugh no. I feel like I should’ve liked this one, and maybe I’d appreciate it more if I read it now, but I just remember having to slog through it.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (High School)


Not Necessarily Favorites or Least Favorites, but I Still Need to Mention These Anyway

Bunnicula by James Howe | reading, books
Sounder by William H. Armstrong | reading, books
Hamlet by William Armstrong | reading, books

Bunnicula by James Howe (Elementary School)

This book was about a vampire rabbit. This was seriously required reading for me in 3rd grade.

Sounder by William H. Armstrong (Elementary School)

I just remember this book being incredibly sad and kind of horrifying to my little 10-year-old mind.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare (High School)

Honestly, I really only included this book so that I could share this (just for reference, the characters’ names are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern):


Talk to me!

Which required reading books were your favorites and least favorites?
Any others that stand out for different reasons?
Did you read any of the ones on my list?


Your Thoughts


61 thoughts on “Bookish Musings: What Were Your Favorite and Least Favorite Required Reading Books?

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  1. Greg

    You know as a reader and someone who loves to write you’d think I would have loved Englsih, and I did to a point but I agree, making us read classics and then dissect it ad nauseum did not exactly endear me to them. But then I have a whole theory about how schooling in a one size fits all way can stifle kids natural talents, but I won’t get into all that. lol I mainly remember The Outsiders from the movie. We didn’t read that one I don’t think. Romeo and Juliet- nods. And The Phantom Tollbooth reminds me of The Cricket in Times square for some reason- no idea why. That and Roald Dahl books were big for me in elem school.

    I don’t think I’ve read any of the rest of these. My English class must have been whacked because people talk about all these classics they read and I didn’t. πŸ™‚ I did kinda like Twain though and was vaguely interested when we read Beowulf.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I completely agree, I’ve ALWAYS loved writing, and I’ve pretty much always loved reading, but I never loved English class. It was just the methods. I’d probably agree with your theory lol. The one size fits all and the focus on the standardized testing are not good methods. I know we also watched the movie for The Outsiders, but I didn’t have contacts at that point and refused to wear my glasses and sat in the back, so I couldn’t actually see anything on the screen, haha. I’ve never heard of The Cricket in Times Square? But now that you mentioned Roald Dahl, I do remember reading Witches in elementary school, and I think I liked that one.

      Lol, every school does things differently. Even every class does things a little differently. At my school, different teachers taught different books, even if they were all teaching the same grade AP/honors classes. I read one Twain book but can’t even remember which it was. Never did read Beowulf, but I remember that I did have to grade a whole bunch of exam papers about it once because I was an aid for the English department. Made it a bit difficult trying to figure out if their essay type answers were correct lol.

      1. Greg

        Yup, there’s just too many kids and they’re jammed together and even if the teacher is awesome the individual kids can’t follow their own talents and interests. That’s one thing that fascinates me about people that homeschool- some of that philosophy seems to be to let the kid be themself and discover, and then nurture, their talents. I know it’s not for everyone but it intrigues me. And I know I’m being general- some kids are touched by teachers and do great.

        Okay I’ll stop. πŸ™‚ I liked Tom Sawyer (Tom and Becky were fun) but had trouble getting into Huck Finn. Which I wanted to like because raft + Mississippi river+ kid on his own sounded so cool, but I got bored. πŸ™‚ Lol about wearing glasses- and The Outsiders. Pony boy.

        1. Kristen Burns

          I agree, I get what you’re saying. And now, not only that, schools are just cutting out more and more of the arts and other things. I’d have been miserable had I not gotten out of high school when I did because they took away both woodshop and art the year or two after I left, and those were two of my favorite classes. I did plenty well in school, but I feel like so much of it was useless to me, and I could’ve benefited a lot more from different classes or methods.

          Ah, it was Huck Finn that I read lol. Pretty much all I remember is the raft. It does sound like a great premise, but I think I felt kind of apathetic toward that one, didn’t hate it but didn’t really care much. I do remember the name Ponyboy from The Outsiders though πŸ˜›

  2. roro

    I do have to say that only 4 books were required reading for my high school English class.( WVO is my equevalent ) The whole class had to read them. One for every year. Those were Bad Company by Cathy MacPhail and Waiting for the Rain by Sheila Gordon
    for 1st year, Purple hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for my 2nd year and lastly A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe for my 3th year. I hated Bad company it was such bland YA book published in the year 2002. A Man of The People was okay i might enjoy it more if i read it again. My love for Purple Hibiscus and Waiting for the Rain contrasts my other two reading experiences. I ‘m glad i had the opportunity to read them. My high school teachers used third-world literature as much as possible. Or literature in non-western countries. One Javanese teacher detested Europe

    My 2nd required reading experience went differently. The class had to choose books individual projects and for our end oral exams. i had to do this for middle school ( MULO ) and High school. The English and Dutch classes restrict less in these cases. I had one rule , you had to choose a book from an approved list. I hated Echte mannen eten geen kaas ( Real men don’t eat cheese) by Maria Mosterd and Het Geheim van Garcia ( Garcia’s secret) by Myra RΓΆmer.

    I liked the scarlet letter, Animal Farm, The Catcher in the Rye ( I think i might dislike it if i reread it) and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I loved The Kiterunner by Khaled Hosseini

    I read Bunnicula by James Howe outside of school. I had it laying around at home. My father’s mother was a teacher. I read the Dutch version of course.

    I’ve not read any classics after graduating High School three years ago. it’s a bummer that you did not like Frankenstein as much. Funny enough i could relate to the monster or is that extremely sad. Lol. It would be lovely to see a discussion post on classics you’d love to read

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s always so interesting learning about the differences in schools in America vs. other countries. I’ve never heard of those four books you mentioned in the first paragraph, I’ll have to look them up because I’m curious. That’s great that one of them you ended up loving though!

      Choosing individual projects with less restrictions sounds at least a little better than being forced to read certain specific books with no choice at all.

      I think I felt pretty apathetic toward The Scarlet Letter, didn’t hate it, didn’t love it. I never read Catcher in the Rye. And ahahaha, I’m glad I’m not the only one who read Bunnicula. As for Frankenstein, I do wonder if I might’ve liked it more had I read it at a different time, or if I were to re-read it now. I’m just so hesitant to re-read it though when I still remember how much I disliked it then, you know? I don’t think it’s sad that you relate to the monster, I feel like that’s the character most people relate to in that book. Honestly I just can’t remember it well enough to remember if I related to him or not, but I probably would if I re-read it now.

      I had made it a goal to read more classics this year but so far haven’t done very well lol. I just don’t tend to like them :-/ But I am looking forward to Dracula which I WILL finally read this October lol.

  3. Kaja

    I’ve always read a lot, which probably included reading more of the required books than any of my school mates. Then I studied English and French lit, so you can imagine what my “required reading” list looked like! That said…

    My faves:
    The Picture of Dorian Gray (Uni) – loved it, read it twice.
    Crime and Punishment (High School) – this was for our graduation paper and I became obsessed with it. I think I read it five or six times in its entirety.
    Madame Bovary (High School & Uni) – nobody liked this one but me. πŸ™

    Least favourite:
    The Great Gatsby and Look Back in Anger (High School) – these two were required reading for our English graduation papers. I LOATHED them both (still do). Seriously the worst books ever (I LOVED English – I went on to study it – so this wasn’t an issue, I just hated the books)
    Surfacing by Margaret Atwood (Uni) – I just didn’t get this one. I might re-read it at some point, I don’t think I was quite ready for it as a reader.

    Apart from these, I also read The Old Man and the Sea because I thought I should give Hemingway a go since he’s supposed to be such a great writer: NOPE. All the nope. I agree with your assessment completely! πŸ™‚ I also loved Romeo and Juliet but by favourite Shakespeare play is still A Midsummer’s Night Dream.
    I kind of liked Hamlet and The Animal Farm though! πŸ™‚ And I recently DNFed Catch-22, it just wasn’t for me.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Actually, Dorian Gray was my favorite book when I was in high school, but it didn’t make the list because it was never required, it was just something I read on my own. I re-read it a few years ago though and didn’t love it nearly as much :-/ I still found the quotes to be fantastic and provide so much to think about, but it was kind of hard for me to get through.

      I haven’t read any of your other favorites or least favorites, except for The Great Gatsby which I literally remember pretty much nothing about, but I get what you’re saying about just not being quite ready for one yet. I feel like that’s maybe what happened to me with Frankenstein, but now I have the memory of disliking the book and don’t want to re-read it lol.

      THANK YOU. I’m so glad someone agrees about The Old Man and the Sea. I’ve never read A Midsummer’s Night Dream, but I feel like I’ve heard from other people that it’s good too, so maybe I’ll give it a try one day.

      I don’t think I had anything against Hamlet, but I didn’t love it either. I completely get you about Catch-22 though. I tried re-reading it a couple years ago and ended up DNFing. I kind of got bored because the plot was kind of just meandering, so I drifted away, and then I just never picked it back up again. But the first time I was totally absorbed and into it and loved it. It’s funny how different our opinions on books can be at different times in our lives.

  4. Lola

    My required reading books will be a lot different than those in the US as our required reading books were all dutch. We were asked to read a few english books as well, but we had more freedom in that, I think I read Animal Farm and a Terry Pratchet book. I can’t remember we had any required reading until high school and then only for the class literature.

    Those I read for dutch literature were mostly mixed, some were okay or I could see the value in them or they were well written, but I rarely really enjoyed them. I remember one of the books that I thought was well written was De Donkere Kamer van Damokles (The Darkroom of Damocles) as it was one of my first reads with an unreliable narrator. But I didn’t really enjoy it either. I also remember a very short read that a lot of people read as it was so short. It dealt with a war (second world war I think?) and incest and it was such a weird read, but there was lots of room to discuss topics from the book.

    I also remember reading Siegfried by Harry Mulisch, which is about the second world war and in the book Hitler has a son. I actually have to thank goodreads for reminding me about some of these titles as I had forgotten about most of the books I read. As I enjoyed reading I did found the required reading easier and didn’t mind it as much, but I rather would be reading books I had chosen myself. I being forced to read was probably part of the reason i didn’t enjoy the books more and most of them weren’t books I would’ve picked myself.

    From the ones you listed I’ve only read Animal farm, I think I read it after we got history classes about the cold war and communism, so I could see some of the parallels. I think I didn’t mind reading the book as much and even enjoyed it a bit. I have heard of some of the others you listed, but haven’t read any of them. Our required reading mostly focused on dutch literature although I think we got a few translated works we could read as well, not 100% sure.

    1. Lola

      Also just like Roro mentioned we had a list of books we got to choose from. It was quite a long list, so we did have some freedom. We had to discuss with our teacher which books we could read and he had to approve it then. Sometimes we could read a book that wasn’t on the list if the teacher approved. For my last book or so the teacher said I had to read something by Willem Frederik Hermans, I think he valued the books by that author a lot. And that’s how I ended up reading the Darkroom of Damocles.

    2. Kristen Burns

      That’s true, different countries would have different books. But apparently the dislike for the required reading books transcends continental boundaries, haha. I never read the war/incest thing, but that does sound odd and like it could have lots to discuss. I do remember one poem we read about war that was really powerful and I really enjoyed, but I don’t remember what it was called.

      I agree, I’d rather read books I choose myself, and being forced to read certain ones just didn’t work very well.

      Ah, see, I read Animal Farm when I was 13 and knew nothing about the Cold War and communism, so I just didn’t get it.

  5. verushka

    The ones I hated? Loathed? every damn tragedy from Shakespeare. OMG. Without fail, every year, we did a tragedy. It made me cry every time with the utter boredom of having to slog through them. (what I wouldn’t have given for a comedy!)… I have strong feelings about this, as you can see!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol yeah, we always read the tragedies too, never the comedies. I never even thought of that, but I think a comedy definitely would’ve been more fun.

  6. AngelErin

    I had a lot of required reading books that I actually liked. The Giver, Flowers for Algernon, Romeo & Juliet, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Most Dangerous Game (short story), Lord of Flies, and more LOL! The one I can remember being the WORST though was A Separate Peace. I really didn’t care for that one. I’m sure there were more, but I can’t think of any others at the moment.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I think you’re in the minority lol. I liked The Giver when I first read it I think, but I didn’t care for it when I re-read it as an adult. To Kill a Mockingbird was ok, but not a favorite for me. I never read Flowers for Algernon or Lord of the Flies. I’m kind of disappointed I didn’t read Lord of the Flies actually since it seems like one that people talk about a lot. Maybe I’ll read it one day. The Most Dangerous Game was interesting. I usually didn’t mind the short stories, some of those were good, but I don’t really remember them all. I’ve never even heard of A Separate Peace, but maybe that’s for the best if it’s terrible lol.

  7. Julie

    haha I remember loving both Frankenstein and Hamlet, but forcing myself through Romeo and Juliet. lol! So funny! Whenever I was in elementary school or middle school (can’t remember) they made us read James and the Giant Peach and I hated that too! lol

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol so we’re opposite πŸ˜› Actually I don’t think I minded Hamlet. But it just wasn’t a favorite. I don’t know if I ever James and the Giant Peach, but I know I used to watch some movie version that was kind of freaky lol.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t think I fully understand Fahrenheit 451 at the age I read it :-/ I might’ve enjoyed it more at a different point in time.

      I’ve never read any of your least favorites, but maybe I should consider myself lucky then πŸ˜‰

  8. Rowena

    When I was in high school, I didn’t read for pleasure at all. Surprising, huh? Of course, I read the books that were assigned but I don’t remember much about them, only Romeo & Juliet. I do remember reading Lord of the Flies, Like Water for Chocolate, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Great Gatsby though but that’s it. I don’t remember anything else.

    Gah, I’m old.

    1. Kristen Burns

      How funny since you’re such a bookworm now! Honestly I don’t remember much about most of the books I read in high school, including the ones I read for pleasure lol. I don’t remember anything about The Great Gatsby, and I only vaguely remember TKaM even though I had it as required reading twice. But yeah, R&J is easy to remember since it’s such a famous story.

  9. Jessica

    My favorites were Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Little Women, The Outsiders, The Westing Game, The Scarlet Letter, The Crucible, The Call of The Wild. The only book I think I ever disliked was Metamorphosis.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ve read The Westing Game two or three times, the first when I was maybe 10 then later when I was older, and I swear I’ve never understood any of those times lol. I’m tempted to read it again now just because maybe I’ll finally be able to make sense of it. But I think I liked it, it was just that I was also confused about the ending. But wow, you only disliked one required reading book? You had better luck than the rest of us, haha. I didn’t care for Metamorphosis either though.

  10. Victoria Grace Howell

    I was homeschooled so I got to bipass a lot of most hated required reading books. XD But I did hate this one book about a woman on a prairie who didn’t get to fulfill any of her dreams. I forget the title, but it was so terribly depressing. I really enjoyed Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Bronze Bow.

    1. Kristen Burns

      That does seem like a definite perk of being homeschooled! But ugh, yeah, that does sound like a depressing book. I didn’t get to read those other two, but apparently lots of people liked Midsummer Night’s Dream. I may have to read it myself one day!

  11. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    “And don’t even get me started on all the symbolism because I honestly believe that sometimes the color of something is just the color of something.”- YES. This is literally my feelings 100%. Always has been, I could not agree with you more! Like, I was a HUGE reader- and not just “kid” books, I read all sorts of stuff. But forcing me to read some book that “someone” deemed good? No thanks, hard pass. I liked maybe two books I was forced to read. A Separate Peace, and then I kind of liked A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but I think I really just liked getting to go to a production of it? I also feel like you got to read better books than I did πŸ˜‰ Laughing HARD about the Hamlet thing too!

    My least favorites? UGH, my dad made me read David Copperfield when I was 10, in the summer, because he said the books I liked (basically The Baby-Sitters Club, let’s be real) weren’t “literary enough”. Well no shit, they were about middle schoolers babysitting? ? I hated that book SO hard. It turned me off of ever maybe liking Dickens. Most of Shakespeare I could have lived without. We read one every year in high school- sometimes more than one, and I was always bored.

    So yeah, the moral is, just let people read what they want! Great post!!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you, someone who agrees with me! I always used to get so annoyed by the symbolism stuff in school. And same here, I didn’t just read “kid” books, I read Dorian Grey of my own volition, I loved Anne Rice, but having books forced upon me just didn’t often work out well. I never did get to read a Midsummer Night’s Dream, but you’re like the millionth person to mention it so I’m kinda disappointed about that lol. But I seriously love that Tumblr Hamlet post, it’s just too funny!

      Hahaha you just reminded me that my dad used to give me required reading too, except his was always articles about… I don’t know, probably the environment or safety or something, knowing him. Clearly they were very fascinating and useful to me considering I don’t even remember what they were about lol. And yes, I read Shakespeare a few different years, but I think I felt rather apathetic toward Macbeth and Hamlet.

      Exactly! Students should have more freedom! Thanks πŸ™‚

  12. Geraldine @ Corralling Books

    High school required reading was always really polarising, in my experience. Most of my friends either loved or hated the books! I know for me, personally, I hated reading Macbeth, but I loved reading The Importance of Being Earnest – because it was just so funny! I’ve read Romeo and Juliet as well, but I dunno, I never really liked it – I guess I just don’t like teenage angst – or angst in general! πŸ˜›

    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t even remember what my friends thought of the books. I feel like most people didn’t even read them lol. I’ve never read The Importance of Being Earnest, but now I’m disappointed since maybe I’d have enjoyed it! I mean, Romeo & Juliet is full of instalove and ridiculous levels of angst, but I don’t know, I think I just liked it because it was such a classic and had love in it lol. But it’s not something I’d want to re-read now.

  13. Lekeisha

    My favorite required reading was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Maybe because of the setting of AL, but that book made me think and I’ve since read it about 15 times. My least favorite will have to be Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Too much murder and deception that you had to read over and over to understand the context. I wonder how I’d faire reading it now?

    1. Kristen Burns

      15 TIMES?! I’ve never read a book 3 times that I know of lol. That’s awesome that you loved it so much though! I read Macbeth, and I honestly don’t even remember it, so apparently it didn’t make much of an impression on me. It would be interesting to see what we think of all these books now though.

  14. Clara @ Lost in My Library

    I remember Bunnicula! Wow, that book was weird. The Outsiders and Romeo and Juliet are some of my favorites, too! I also loved Macbeth, Cyrano de Bergerac, and The Great Gatsby. Coming up with a list of least favorites is (unfortunately) considerably easier – the only one that I absolutely HATED was Death of a Salesman, but I also really didn’t like Milkweed, Crime and Punishment, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha, I’m glad I’m not the only one who read Bunnicula! Definitely weird lol. I honestly don’t even remember Macbeth or The Great Gatsby, so I don’t think I hated them, they just didn’t really leave an impression on me either way. I haven’t read any of the others you mentioned, though I suppose I should be thankful I didn’t have to read those ones you disliked πŸ˜›

  15. Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books

    β€œIt doesn’t matter if the author intended a symbol to be there because the job of reading is not to understand the author’s intent. The job of reading is to use stories as a way into seeing other people as we see ourselves.” That’s a quote by John Green that I always think about when I think “required reading”. Like the purpose of the books we read in HS just wasn’t what the curriculum made it about. And that’s most of the reason why I didn’t much like reading books for school. In college it was much better because we just had discussions about books and there weren’t right or wrong answers.

    My fave required reading books were– The Lord of the Flies, The Outsiders, Johnny Tremain, The Hound of the Baskervilles
    My least faves were- UGHHHHH The Sun Also Rises, Great Expectations, The Scarlett Letter

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks for sharing that quote! I completely agree. I think I would’ve enjoyed the required reading a lot more had it been more actual discussion with no right or wrong answers.

      I feel like a lot of people liked Lord of the Flies. I’m kind of disappointed that I was never assigned that one. The only others I’ve read in your list were The Sun Also Rises, which I don’t remember AT ALL (seriously, I have literally not the slightest clue what it’s even about lol, just that I read it), and The Scarlet Letter, which I think I just felt kind of apathetic toward.

  16. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    We didn’t start reading books in English in school until high school, as our English wasn’t really good enough to read novels in the language until then.
    I remember really enjoying 1984, A Town Like Alice, The Grapes of Wrath… My first year of uni, we had to read The Scarlet Letter, and while it was OK, I didn’t love it. Like at all.
    When I teach, and when my students are at a level where they can read novels in English, I include contemporary novels as well. I think there are several that are well written, and that can be used for reading both because of the theme, and because of the language. Also, some contemporary novels have been made into movies, and so we can also watch the movie and compare – what is the same and what has changed, what has been left out completely – it with the book.
    Great post, Kristen!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I haven’t read most of the books you read, but I agree about The Scarlet Letter. I think I felt rather apathetic toward it.

      That’s nice that you use contemporary novels. I think I’d have enjoyed that more. And that’s cool how you compare them to the movies πŸ™‚


  17. Eva @ All Books Considered

    Oh required reading — I kind of (gasp) miss it!

    My favorites: A Portrait of An Artist as a Young Man, The Metamorphosis, To the Lighthouse

    And as for least favorites: I can’t recall really disliking anything, actually. Maybe the fact that we read SO much Shakespeare and that now, looking back, I wish we had read a wider variety of diverse authors and more women authors.

    Great post! And I loved The Phantom Tollbooth, too!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha, I definitely don’t miss it.

      The only one of your favorites I read was The Metamorphosis, and I can’t say I enjoyed it :-/

      You never disliked any of them?! I think you are an anomaly πŸ˜› That’s awesome though! That’s a good point though, everyone seems to read so much Shakespeare, but it would nice if there was a bit more diversity instead.


  18. Helia @ Rose Quartz Reads

    Frankenstein is one of my upcoming required reading books so I hope I enjoy it. I also want to read Catch-22 – it’s one of my friend’s favourite books so I’m glad to hear you like it too!
    In the past two of my favourite books I studied were To Kill a Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies – the former because of the very genuine story it told and the latter because the symbolism was just so good to analyse. Plus it really helped that my class had a really good dynamic and an absolutely wonderful teacher the year we studied those two texts. I feel like the ability to discuss the books so openly and have a laugh about them really helped my own overall enjoyment of studying them.

    1. Kristen Burns

      A lot of people seemed to like Frankenstein, so don’t worry, you might like it more than I did πŸ™‚ But I definitely enjoyed Catch-22 when I read it!

      I never got to read Lord of the Flies :-/ but apparently it’s a common favorite. That is great though that you had a good dynamic with the class and an awesome teacher. I think that can make a huge difference in how much we enjoy and take from required reading and classes in general!

  19. Mareli Thalwitzer

    I actually like Animal Farm….. Also enjoyed Romeo and Juliet, but enjoyed Macbeth more! The vampire rabbit – seriously???? That will NEVER be allowed in good old South Africa. They will pray for you till kingdom come.

    My ultimate favorite required reading was a compilation of short stories in Afrikaans. In fact, I loved it so much, I stole the book (never handed it in at the end of the year….) and I still have it. And still read it every now and again.

    I’ve never read Catch 22 or The Outsiders, wasn’t required reading. But I still want to read it! This was a great post, well done Kristen!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I just really didn’t understand Animal Farm. And I really don’t remember Macbeth even though I know I read it. But at least I didn’t hate it lol. And yes, haha. A vampire rabbit.

      Hahahaha did you just admit to theft on my blog? πŸ˜‰ That’s too funny. That’s awesome that you loved it so much!

      If you want read Catch-22 and/or The Outsiders, I say go for it! I don’t remember them very well, but I know I liked them πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  20. Rachel

    I liked Bunnicula! Lol my curse was Ethan Frome in the 10th grade. I’m still pissed I got the meaning of “the pillow” wrong, I was totally right b%#^*

    1. Kristen Burns

      To be honest I don’t remember Bunnicula very well, but I think I mostly just thought it was weird lol. I’ve never read Ethan Frome, but you have me curious now what this “pillow” is and what it means, haha. But I did hate the way teachers always had only ONE interpretation that was correct -_-

  21. Brooke

    I remember loving Bunnicula as a kid, but I don’t remember if it was required reading or not, lol. XD

    LOATHED reading A Clockwork Orange in class because the subject matter and how it was handled.

    LOVED The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. That was an awakening I will never forget and I’m so grateful for that teacher. All of her picks were on point, but this one was the best.

    In my Philosophy class, we read a passage from The Hidden Face of Eve and it rocked my world so much I went and read the whole book by myself. I tried to talk to my teacher about it was was just sputtering from my mind being blown.

    I’m so very happy I’ve had those last two experiences, it means I was prepared to be an intersectional feminist before I even knew what that was. A+ for the white women teachers that get it.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol I just don’t remember much about Bunnicula other than I think I found it really weird!

      I never read any of the books you mentioned, but I’m so happy for you that you had that experience with those two books! That does sound amazing. And it sounds like you had great teachers!

  22. Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons

    I’ll be honest, I don’t remember most of the books I read in school. I know I read Romeo & Juliet and Julius Caesar in high school. I remember reading White Fang, Call of the Wild, The Great Gatsby, Where the Red Fern Grows in middle school. We also did a version of The Iliad and The Odyssey in middle school too. In college, I read The Giver and Acceptable Risk by Robin cook. Those two I really loved. I’ve read The Outsiders, but I don’t think it was for school. Great post. πŸ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns

      Don’t feel bad, I looked at a GR list to remember some of these lol, and I don’t remember what most of my required reading books were even about. I haven’t read most of the books you mentioned. I did read The Odyssey or a part of it for a Humanistic Traditions class in college. And I think I enjoyed The Giver in middle school, but I just didn’t care for it when I read it as an adult. Thanks!

  23. Bookworm Brandee

    I don’t remember reading anything that I didn’t like in junior high or high school, Kristen. But it’s been *ahem* quite a few years since then and I may be seeing things through rose-colored glasses. πŸ˜‰ A few of my favorites would be The Scarlet Letter, The Call of the Wild, A Separate Peace, Beowulf, and anything from Shakespeare. As an English major, I can tell you that I certainly did not have much appreciation for Faulkner, Steinbeck, Hemingway and the like. In fact, I so hated the class in which I had to read these writers that I chose to focus mainly on British lit! Some standouts from my college years are Dante’s Divine Comedy, Moll Flanders, The Canterbury Tales, poetry of Christina Alighieri…and Beowulf would still make this list as I read it twice more in college. In my 30’s, my FIL asked me to give Steinbeck another go since he was a favorite of his. I read East of Eden and became an instant fan. So I tried Faulkner again but while I can see why The Sound and the Fury is a classic, it still didn’t do much for me. πŸ˜‰
    Great post!

    1. Kristen Burns

      You’re one of the few then! Haha. I’ve never read most of the books you mentioned though. I didn’t care for The Scarlet Letter, and I honestly don’t remember a single thing about The Sound and the Fury other than my English teacher just kept talking about “stream of consciousness” the whole time we read it. I think that’s the book I’m thinking of… I’m glad you enjoyed your books though! And I don’t think I realized you were an English major, very cool. Thanks!

  24. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I actually remember liking a LOT of the books I was forced to read in high school, including all the Shakespeare. I was weird that way. Ironically, now that I am only reading classics for me, I don’t seem to do it, and the times I have, I haven’t enjoyed them all that much. I’m regressing in my reading tastes!!

    1. Kristen Burns

      You’re in the minority, but you’re not alone as a few others have mentioned liking their required reading too! I had said I would read more classics this year, but I didn’t seem to do it either because yeah, I just don’t seem to enjoy them when I do.

  25. Lauren @ Always Me

    My least favorites were The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison – I think I would have really enjoyed it if it weren’t for how it was taught in class. One of my favorites was definitely The Great Gatsby – I was one of the few kids in my high school English class who actually enjoyed reading it, too!

    Lauren @ Always Me

    1. Kristen Burns

      I never read The Bluest Eye, but I suppose that’s a good thing if you didn’t like it lol. I think I felt kind of apathetic about The Great Gatsby, but I’m glad you enjoyed it!