Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This feature has a different (usually) book related topic each week, and the goal is to compose a list of ten things that correspond to the topic!
This week’s theme is: Top Ten Books I Read (and Loved!) in English Class
Before we get into this, I would just like to wish everyone a happy A Torch Against the Night release day. Hah! Okay, moving on…
This topic made me sad. I have to be honest here, I had to consult a “Popular Books to Read in School” list on Goodreads to jog my memory of what I read all those years back, and I read so many great books that I completely forgot about! Sometimes I’ll have weird epiphanies and remember the plot of a book that I read in school, or I’ll remember a random title, at which point I’ll immediately scramble to Goodreads to check out the description and refresh my memory, but after consulting this list, I was not surprised to see that I still didn’t remember them all.
I also read a ton of books outside of class. I’m serious, like a freaking ton! I was in advanced classes, so we had a requirement to read 25 books each school year (which could also include anything we read for class). My list was always above 100 for the school year, and my teachers thought I was lying. Yeah, nope. Just a huge book nerd and proud of it.
Anyways… I want to travel back in time, hug all of my English teachers, and tell them that I truly appreciate the awesome books that they made me read. Now, onto my list!
The Iliad and The Odyssey –I read these in 9th grade and to this day they still remain some of my favorites! When I graduated high school my 9th grade English teacher provided me with my own copies of both of these because she was getting a new set for the next year and remembered how much I loved them. I still have them, they are battered to all hell, but I still have them! Also – slightly cheating and counting these as one! Sorry not sorry.
Romeo and Juliet – To be honest, one of the reasons I probably loved this play so much was the 1996 Romeo and Juliet movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Talk about dreamy! However, I also had an awesome 10th grade English teacher who assigned us a project to retell the story of Romeo and Juliet in our own way. I loved that project. I cast all my friends and family as characters, and made my own picture book to tell the story. It was awesome (I hope my Mom still has that… I spent a lot of time on that. So much blood, sweat, and tears went into being the next Shakespeare. Adding ‘digging through my parent’s attic’ to my to-do list for over the holidays.)
Macbeth –So much death! So much twisty darkness! So much blood! In high school, after we read this, they took us to see a local company put on this play, and I was in all my freaking glory! Perhaps my teachers should have been a bit concerned by how much I loved this play, but I guess it all turned out alright in the end! Hah. Another favorite of mine.
The Outsiders – This was definitely NOT on the approved reading list for my middle school, but my class was well behaved and ahead of other classes, so my awesome English teacher allowed us to read this on the down low as a reward. I remember being so enthralled by the story, and then we got to watch the movie! Movie days were always great, but movie days with dreamy boys were even better. Helloooo young Rob Lowe as Sodapop Curtis!
Night – This one speaks for itself. We spent a lot of time studying the Holocaust in school, we even got to visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. in 9th grade. I remember how eye opening this book was. Totally life changing. It was the first time I ever read about history outside of what was written in my history textbook, and it opened a whole new world for me. Definitely kicked off my love of historical fiction.
The Giver – Such a cool story! After reading this for class I went and checked out the rest of the Quartet from my library. My English teacher was so proud! These are on my TBR list to re-read, because I definitely do not remember everything.
The Devil’s Arithmetic – This wasn’t technically assigned reading for school, but it was assigned to me as extra work by my English teacher because I was a super nerd and bookworm and loved reading and she thought I’d enjoy it. I think I read it twice before I actually gave it back to her. It was unlike anything else I had read before in class, I just remember being completely engrossed by the story, and eager to learn and know more.
The Old Man and the Sea – Oh man. This was on my summer reading list in high school and I remember being really excited because it was short. I could get it out of the way quickly and get back to reading what I wanted to read during the summer, so you can imagine my surprise when I actually enjoyed reading it! I don’t even think I can pinpoint exactly why I enjoyed this so much, or say for certain that if I re-read it I would still love it as much, but I can remember be “that student” who praised this upon return to school and got some weird shade thrown at me from everyone else in the class because they didn’t. Shrug. I don’t mind being the rebel outcast.
The Clan of the Cave Bear – This was assigned to my 9th grade English class, and I remember having a lot of overwhelming feelings. The sheer number of pages in this was intimidating to me at that time, but I was never one to back down from a reading challenge. As we worked through this, I remember times where I fully understood the story and was completely engrossed, and other times where I was sitting in my room with cans of Mt. Dew and toothpicks holding my eyes open, trying to struggle through the assigned reading. Overall, though, this book opened up my mind to the vast world of literature, and has stayed with me ever since. I’d love to re-read this one, and perhaps the others in the series as well (which I didn’t even know existed, to be honest, so thanks Goodreads!)
Annabelle Lee – Yes, I know this is a poem, but I’m still counting it because its hold on me has never loosened after all these years. We did a whole section in English class on Poe, and we read a bunch of his work, but this one was by far my favorite, and I can still recite almost all of it by heart.
But we loved with a love that was more than love…
Going to end this post by giving kudos to every English teacher that I ever had, for helping me embark on this wonderful journey that is being a bookworm. I hope every English teacher in the world continues doing what they’re doing, because despite what probably seems like countless students who aren’t interested in literature, there are students who absolutely adore it, and the dedication of English teachers will make all the difference in their lives, even if they don’t realize it at the time.