Top 10 Books I Was “Forced” to Read


I’m super excited to be doing another top ten tuesday, a book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week they asked bloggers to cull down a list of favorite books we were forced to read. I decided to further narrow this down to books assigned in school, because, while I have several books I read/loved at strong urgings of friends and family members, I never actually had to read them. I also decided no more than one book by each author. Otherwise this would have been way too many Alice Munro collections. I’m still reeling from her Nobel Prize win last week. Anyways, here is my list of the top ten books I was forced to read in school.

Let me know in the comments what you think of my choices. Like did any of you hate one of my favorites? Don’t worry we can still be friends (maybe).

Also, you can still enter my 26th Birthday Giveaway by leaving a comment here or on any post until October 26th when I announce the winner of a $26 Amazon gift card. For more ways to enter click here.

18 thoughts on “Top 10 Books I Was “Forced” to Read

  1. I have been forced to read only a handful of books so far. Mostly dutch for study purposes. And some english titles but only purple hibiscus by chimamanda ngozi adichie is worth mentioning. I read frankenstein but I read of free will

  2. I loved The Sun Also Rises. I hadn’t read much Hemmingway before and when I saw the Woody Allen movie Midnight in Paris, I was intrigued by the actor who played Hemmingway. I decided to try one of his books and I was hooked. I’ve read most of his work and I love it. The only downside are his endings to the novels. He gets me every time, leaving me hanging on what happened next.

  3. wouldn’t recommend the Fitzgerald, Wolfe, or Salinger books to anyone. But Gatsby is the worst of the lot.

    I agree with Kathryn Shulz (May 13, 2013, New York Magazine): “I find Gatsby aesthetically overrated, psychologically vacant, and morally complacent; I think we kid ourselves about the lessons it contains.”

    Still, I love some of your other choices and I hope we can remain friends!

    1. We can definitely remain friends. I think a lot of those books are love them or hate them books. I’m interested that you singled out Fitzgerald, Wolfe and Salinger, but not Hemingway. He is usually lumped in with that group.

      1. All 4 are “modern” authors. Hemingway actually took advice from Fitzgerald in publishing Sun. But the 4 books are very different in how they look at the same theme: the self-absorbed individual and his/her impact on society.

        Wolfe glorifies this theme. Although if you watch the movie, Magic Bus (2011), you understand the very ugly reality that Wolfe supposedly was writing about.

        Fitzgerald want readers to loathe such people, but that’s hard to pull off when you as the author aspire to be one such person. Gatsby is torn between idolizing and moralizing. Pick a horse and ride it, Fitz.

        Salinger ends up on the list by virtue of the fact very few readers understand what they are reading.

        Most readers think its about a self-absorbed teenager. Wrong. In reality, it’s a book about severe PTSD (which Salinger suffered from) caused by witnessing a classmate’s death. It’s about going through life suffering horrifically, but no one being able to recognize that or help you.

        If people understood Catcher, correctly, it would be a great book.

        Only Hemingway currently achieves greatness by stating pure reality. As self-centered Brett and Jake ride in a taxi through the Spanish capital, Brett laments that she and Jake could have had a wonderful time together. Jake responds, “Yes, isn’t it pretty to think so?”

        There’s no moralizing, no class envy, no glorification. It’s the perfect modern novel because it’s telling an true story authentically. People are flawed, the world is flawed, we do the best we can, and live without illusions.

        I hope that explanation makes sense.

      2. I definitely follow your argument (although I obviously disagree with your characterization of some of the books since they are among my favorites). For example I think that what Wolfe originally glorifies The Merry Pranksters by the end of the book I think he exposes the dark side of the group as well and I think a lot of people read Salinger with the PTSD in mind.

        But I really like what you said about The Sun Also Rises being straight forward. You’ve given me a lot to think about.

  4. I read Gatsby, North and South, Frankenstein, Mixed-up Files, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Didn’t like Gatsby. Loved all the rest. I saw the old Robert Redford Gatsby though. I might Netflix the new Gatsby.

  5. All of the books on that list that I read (half), I read them all for school, and I liked all of them. Gatsby, Frankenstein, Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Though that last one was actually my choice–it was for a high school project but I chose to study beatniks and hippies. They were all for high school, except Frankenstein, which was for college Horror & the Supernatural literary analysis.

    1. It’s so great when you end up really liking the books you are assigned in school. I read Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test for a class on American literature from the 1960s. Such a good class.

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