As we start thinking about school (*sigh) we can’t help thinking about the books that we read in high school. Some books we loved and shaped our tastes later in life. Others left a bad taste in our mouths. My love of reading came long before high school. While some of my teachers fostered a life long love of learning, some teachers were just the opposite. I definitely had some teachers who were grouchy and bored and seemed to take joy in the failure of their students. Not surprisingly, my least favorite books were taught by my least favorite teachers. We decided to provide you with our top picks to read if you didn’t read them in high school. And just for fun, we wanted to list our least favorite book as well.
The funny thing about my list is that one of my favorite books and my least favorite book are written by the same author!
Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) by Antoine Se Saint Exupery– I read this book in both English and French. After all, I am from Canada. This is not a long book, it is easy to read. Yet, the full meaning is deep and poetic. This is the perfect classic to tackle if you are intimidated by very long books.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck– This book is another one of my favorites and it also happens to be a short one. George and Lennie have stuck with me for the last 20 plus years. There is something about Lennie’s innocence that is haunting. There is a moment (if you have read it, you know what I am talking about) that makes this book unforgettable.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee– I cannot count the number of times I have read this book. It is a book that was ahead of its time and is even more relevant to the world today. This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was also made into an Academy Award winning movie. It’s unforgettable and a must read.
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare– I can still recite the soliloquy that I learned for this play. I thinks it is an unconventional one to teach as Shakespeare goes but, it was my introduction to this great writer. I loved this play. It is funny and has a great story line. Its not too serious and was a great introduction to the world of Shakespeare.
Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck– This book is my least favorite book. I honestly could not stand it enough to even remember what is was about. I remember reading and reading and nothing happening. It clearly did not make the impression on me that it has on so many others.
The Odyssey is in my top 5 books of my life. Seriously. My 11th grade english teacher taught it to us then had our class act it out and shoot it as a movie. I adored the story so much that I use to reread it every summer. Sadly, my original copy got lost in a move but, luckily for me, I just got a new copy on my visit to Baldwin’s Book Barn. I’ll be re-reading it this winter to see if I still adore it!
For the record, I read this book BEFORE Oprah picked it! We spent a semester learning about this book my Senior Year. Each person was assigned a symbol to report on throughout the book each week. Mine was goldfish -part of the symbolism of amnesia and the duality between amnesia and nostalgia. Yep. I still remember the lesson.
Technically, I read this in middle school and then re-read it later in high school (I switched schools for 9th grade which explains the double lesson.) I’ve read numerous works by Shakespeare but none of them captured my imagination quite like Puck and his lovely friends.
Another of the top 5 books of my life was a high school read. This was a summer reading pick for me, but I still adored it. I read it in my parent’s garden which helped to set the regency era scene. I’ve re-read it countless times and have seen every movie adaptation. Austen fan for life!
Oh big white whale, how I despised you. I could not stand this book! My senior english professor is obsessed with it. We would get into debates CONSTANTLY, which actually made learning about it enjoyable and memorable. But lordy, call me bored with this tale. (See what I did there?) Whaling, oil making and vulgar fishermen are not for me.
Ok, now you know our high school favorites and our least favorites. Sound off on yours below! Dying to hear what others adored…but mostly want to know what you hated!!