I’m not sure if I should make a list of books I’m glad I was forced to read or if it should be books I wish I hadn’t been forced to read…either way, today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic by The Broke and the Bookish is all about books you read that you didn’t choose for yourself. My list is going to be a mix of books I did and didn’t like.
1. Bonhoeffer — This is one of those books that many of the intellectual people I knew were reading so I thought I’d better read it if I was going to keep up with them. Silly, I know. Though I felt a little bit like a fish out of water with such a huge biography, it was a great book. And Eric Metaxes looks great on my “have read” list.
2. Man’s Search For Meaning — I would never have picked this book to read. It was horrific in many ways, because what Nazi prison camp memoir isn’t? It’s a great philosophical read, though.
3. Madame Bovary — I really hated this book, but I had to read it for World Lit in college. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, even if it is a world famous classic. Yes, it’s an amazing piece of writing and very insightful, but I have no love for that Madame.
4. Seeds of Change — Another college class book. In my senior year I needed two more History classes to get a minor in History, so I thought, why not? I took The History of the British Empire, taught by an overzealous visiting professor. One of the hardest classes ever. And this is one of my least favorite books ever. But definitely check it out if you’re interested in how timber was a crucial commodity to England and a main reason for colonizing the New World.
5. The Hidden Art of Homemaking. Boy, did I roll my eyes at this one when mom said I had to read it for school. I don’t know why I thought that it wouldn’t be applicable to me, but now I would like to have the time to read it again.
6. The Hunger Games — My friend forced me to read this book. It turned out okay. 😉
7. The Count of Monte Cristo — My husband told me I should read this one, and it was awesome.
8. The Icarus Hunt — My one venture into Star Wars literature. I was laid up after knee surgery and my then boyfriend (now husband) gave me a book he had enjoyed. So of course I’m going to read it! And though I will probably never read another Zahn book again, it was a good venture into that realm of books.
9. The Great Gatsby — I liked this book very well the first time I was required to read it in high school. And then we deconstructed it, reconstructed it, examined every symbol that probably wasn’t really a symbol, and on and on in college. I read it at least 10 times in one semester. I still think of it as one of the greatest pieces of literature of all time, but I’ll never enjoy it as a good read again.
10. Jane Eyre — I love it when required reading turns into a favorite list. This is another one I read more than once in college (three times, I think?), but I still love reading it now. On a side note, one of the craziest things about Jane Eyre is almost every movie I’ve seen is fairly accurate, even though they’re all so different. I didn’t realize it was so open to interpretation! There are varying degrees of Gothic themes in the movies based on the book that I’ve seen.
All in all, I’m usually glad to have read a book that I didn’t choose for myself, though I don’t always enjoy the actual reading of it while I’m in the middle. Let’s just state once and for all that no book I recommend should be considered required reading! This is a no guilt zone. =)
Have you read books you didn’t want to read that turned out great? Or terrible?