Friday, May 29, 2015

Hardcover Lover Confessions (9)

Hello there, Hardcover Lovers! I'm sure many of you have now become a little more acquainted with my discussion feature, HCL Confessions. In case you're not familiar with it, I'll briefly explain it. Basically, every few weeks or so, I take a bookish subject and write about it. I'll confess my thoughts or worries, ergo Hardcover Lover Confessions.

I'm encouraging all of my followers to join in and discuss your thoughts on each topic with me and with the other bloggers/people who leave comments. Seriously... we'd all love to hear what you have to say because everyone has an opinion! It's all about kindly expressing ourselves and making connections with other bloggers and readers while forming blogging friendships.  Don't be afraid to reply to a comment made by someone you've never spoken to! I can promise you that all of my followers are kind and outgoing.

HCL Confession on Assigned School Reading

I'm sure you all had a feeling this this one was coming when you consider the fact that I'm an English teacher. Right? Okay, okay. Even if you didn't know this post was coming, it's here.

We've all been there... even though we love reading for fun, sometimes the thought of reading a book for school can be daunting or drive you crazy. I'll be the first to admit that I didn't like everything that I read in English classes. Sometimes the books are good and keep you interested, but other times... not so much.

Today, I'm here to share some of my favorite and least favorite assigned readings.

Least Favorite School Reads:

  • Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt - This was a book that was assigned to me in eighth grade, and I just remember dreading class when we were reading it. I felt like it was boring back then. 
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson - GASP! I guess I should tell you that eighth grade was a bad year for me, and it really affected who I was as a student. I didn't enjoy reading this one either. I do plan on revisiting this book in the future because I don't understand how I didn't like it.

Favorite School Reads:

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - I loved reading this book during my junior year of high school, even though we had to rush it. It's just one of those books that I'll treasure forever because I loved the setting, plot, and the characters. It was magical the first time around, and then years later, in college, it was even more magical.
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne - I didn't think I'd like this book when it was assigned during my junior year of high school, but I loved it for showing me that all people have flaws, and that it's okay. The story had me on the edge of my seat, and I'd love to teach this book in the future.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Umm, can you say best assigned reading ever!? There's just so much symbolism in this one, and it's beautiful and comical. I loved reading it, and I am currently loving re-reading and teaching it.
  • The Crucible by Arthur Miller - Okay, technically this one is a play, but it's probably my favorite thing I ever read while I was in school. (It's also another book from my junior year.) It's also my favorite work that I've taught in my short teaching experience. I'd love to have a chance to teach this if I ever get a full time job because there is just so much to do with this stunning play.
  • The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan - During my senior year, we had a new teacher, and while we didn't read the whole thing (we read bits and pieces), I remember loving this book. I am definitely going to make sure that I reread this one before I die.
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare - I don't know why, but this was my favorite Shakespeare play back in high school. It was just fun to read, and I remember reading ahead of everyone because I was just loving it.
  • The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare - This was a play that I read during my Shakespeare class in college, and I loved it. It's my all-time favorite Shakespeare play because it's just realistically hilarious, and I recommend this one to everyone!

Your Confessions

Now I want to hear from you! The school year is almost over, so I'm sure many of you who are in school probably have a lot to say about what you read this year. And for those of you who are no longer in school, I'm sure some titles from your teenage years stick out as being great reads or ones that made you want to skip school.

Let me know about your favorite and least favorite assigned readings in the comments. We can even keep track of how many times people respond with the same books!

Oh, and happy summer vacation!


  1. To be honest, I was usually the kid that secretly liked most of the assigned reading that everyone else hated, but I did have a couple that I really disliked and unfortunately they were mostly in my later years of high school where I really had to spend a lot of time studying them.
    Some of my favourites include To Kill and Mockingbird, Twelve Angry Men and Parvana (which I think is also known as The Breadwinner).
    I really couldn't stand Cloudstreet by Tim Winton (which was approx. 600 pages) or Brooklyn by Colm Toibin which were both books I had to read in my final year of school.
    I haven't actually read any of the books that you've listed here, but I have to say that I'm surprised you didn't like Treasure Island! Also, I definitely need to read The Great Gatsby, if only because everyone seems to love it so much.

  2. I was that kid too! Eventually most of my friends caught on, and ending up asking me for help with homework and stuff, but I was okay with it.

    I had To Kill a Mockingbird in here, but I guess Blogger decided to goof and not save it. :( It's in again. That was one of the best books I've ever read, and I'm so glad that I got the chance to teach it this year.

    I never had to read any of the other books you listed in school. To be honest, the only one I've heard of is The Bread Winner. We didn't even touch on the other ones in my college literature classes. :(

  3. If I could go back in time I would look at my assigned readings in a different light. I was stubborn when it came to assigned readings. I hated being forced to read. I feel like I probably missed out on some great books because of the fact that I would mostly skim my assigned readings. I do remember, however, loving The Outsiders and Wuthering Heights!

  4. Overall, I think assigned readings aren't bad because they made me read books that I might not have otherwise and helped me to discover which classics I did and didn't like. Overall, though, the number of book I've enjoyed are way less than the bad ones.

    Didn't like: Treasure Island, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Jane Eyre (this one is my all time least favorite), The Great Gatsby (sorry) and much, much more

    Liked: Pride and Prejudice, Animal Farm, Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, To Kill A Mockingbird.

    Olivia @ Fluttering Pages

  5. Two words: Law School. I've LOVED reading each and every one of my assignment this year. Particular favorites were The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare, Puddn'head Wilson by Mark Twain, Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding and The Greek Interpreter by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Like most readers, I can never force myself to read something just because I have to and thankfully, this year, that situation never came :)

    Rhea @ Rhea's Neon Journal

  6. I read The Merchant of Venice in my Shakespeare class, and I enjoyed that one. I kept all of the books, even though they are all in bad condition, but I wasn't lugging a nice copy back and forth every week. But anything by Shakespeare will entertain me.

    I used to think about law school, but now I'm set on getting my master's in education or library sciences. Who knows though. lol

  7. You got to read Pride and Prejudice in school? That was never assigned to me (not even in British Literature in college), but I ended up writing a paper that compared and contrasted Elizabeth and Jane Austen.

    ANIMAL FARM! I forgot all about that one. I literally look for a copy every time I go to a used book store. I read it in ninth grade. (Ninth and Eleventh were the good years.)

  8. I was just subbing at a middle school, and the kids were reading The Outsiders. I've never read it, but they convinced me.

    I do remember there were a few small readings that I didn't like, but I don't even remember what they were, especially because most of them were excerpts.

  9. In my high school we never read any of those titles you mentioned. Like I remember of Mice and Men, Lord of the flies and the Crucible, Beowulf, and another one I think it was the Odyssey I want to say.

    I'm sad to say I zoned out of most of these assigned readings. I hate being forced to read anything so I would only really read if we had an assignment on it but other then that I wouldn't bother with the books.

    I am about to read to kill a mockingbird for the first time. I heard its extremely good so i'm excited to read it.

    I do remember reading the outsiders in like 7th grade I want to say and loved it and I loved the movie. It's the only one i remember thinking was awesome and loved reading it.

    But honestly, I dreaded assigned books and they would make us read them out loud so I hated it even more.

  10. You got to read Pride and Prejudice in school? I would have loved to have read that.

    I totally forgot about Macbeth. My English teacher use to make that one fun for us so I did enjoy his version of it.

  11. We also read Of Mice and Men (and I loved it) and Beowulf.

    OMG. You are in for a treat with To Kill a Mockingbird. It's one of my favorite books ever! I'm reading it again right now, and I feel like I need to make a commitment to reread it every year from now on.

    I understand dreading them. There were quite a few that I didn't want to read, but when I did get through them, I found that I enjoyed them. I guess that's why I went to school to be an English teacher.

  12. I live in NZ, so our year has only just started. :) Last year we read Once by Morris Gleitzman, and I enjoyed it but the speed at which we read it was crazy slow. Later in the year we started reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio, but we never finished it, and I never got a copy, so at the moment it's DNF, but I might re-read it sometime. We have started reading Tomorrow, when the war began by John Marsden.

  13. Wonder is such a beautiful book. My sister's fifth graders all read it this year, and they all loved it. I hope you get a chance to read it because I bet you'd really like it.

  14. Kayla @ The Thousand LivesMay 29, 2015 at 10:35 PM

    It absolutely destroyed my bookish soul when my American Lit students this year all hated To Kill a Mockingbird D: DEPRESSING. But still - nothing can quell my adoration for that book! How do you feel about the sequel, though? I’m not sure I want to read it…

    Books I hated… definitely Heart of Darkness. Though that was college. Are we only high school right now? Technically college was when I was 15-16 so I’m counting it :P I’m not a huge fan of much of the Russian lit I read either. They’re just depressing and bleak stories, mostly, at least from what I’ve read.

    Oh another LOVE is Zenzele: A Letter for My Daughter. Also college, and now I made sure I got to teach it in my World Lit class. Actually, I really enjoyed all the African lit I was assigned. So glad I ended up in that class!

    OKAY LAST ONE. Antigone was my favorite Greek play - I found her to be so inspiring and I was so invested in her story.

  15. So far, I have only had to read one book that was assigned but I party got to choose that. I think a lot of the time book aren't fun to read because we don't get tot choose the book. People would rather read more interesting books rather than books that teach you things about history because who wants to do that?


  16. Wait... They hated it? I just finished teaching it to my home bound student and she loved it! How can kids hate it? Maybe it's just too much of a reminder of how the world really works. I can't even turn on a TV without seeing some sort of act of violence. :(

    I actually really want to read the sequel. I'm not really doubting the fact that she wrote it like a lot of people are, but I'm really curious. They said the manuscript was perfect, so it makes me wonder why she hid it all these years.

    I've never read A Letter for My Daughter. I might have to check that out.

    ANTIGONE! I loved that one. When I was student teaching, my cooperating teacher only let me teach the five American Lit classes he had, and he kept the AP class for himself. He ended up having to proctor make up exams, so I was left to teach the AP class and they were discussing that series of plays. I was so proud of myself for coming up with a lesson for them at the drop of a dime. It's definitely one of my favorite moments from teaching so far.

  17. I completely understand, but teachers really don't have a lot of wiggle room either due to standard that they have to meet and school curriculum. But a lot of them do a fine job with making the books interesting.

    I've seen a few teachers allow students to choose their own books for a final paper, and they usually enjoy that part of the assignment.

  18. I have a love/hate relationship with school book assignments. Most of the time, my impression of the book is majorly influenced by how the teacher displays it and lectures. This year, we read Hamlet (which I ended up liking), To Kill a Mockingbird (how could anyone not love Scout?), and Anthem by Ayn Rand (which I did not like a all because of Rand's views that were glorified throughout the book.) For better or for worse, I also have some summer reading to do this year. Before the first day of school, I am supposed to read The Scarlet Letter and Grapes of Wrath. I am a little bit excited for The Scarlet Letter, by Grapes of Wrath does not appeal to me as much.
    Thanks for the great discussion!

  19. Oh yeah, I understand. Some teachers won't let you form your own opinion on a book or another piece of literature. I think it's because we're forced to teach them a certain way. :(

    I loved The Scarlet Letter. You need to go into it with an open mind. The writing gets boring at times, but the plot is amazing. I was supposed to read The Grapes of Wrath before my junior year, but I ended up being moved out of that English class. It's still on my list of things to read.

  20. I couldn't stand 1984 or Animal Farm. I thought that I hated To Kill a Mockingbird when I was in school, but read it every year now. Mrs. Green really knew how to kill a persons natural curiosity for learning.

  21. I never had to read 1984, but it's always been on my list.

    You hated Animal Farm? Oh man. I never realized there were so many people out there who didn't like it.

  22. I really enjoyed this post. Surprisingly, my school never read To Kill A Mockingbird. I know, shock horror! I liked the majority of my school reads. An Inspector Calls, Heroes by Robert Cormier and Of Mice Men were all great. Wasn't a fan of Tess of the D'Urbervilles.

    Would you mind if I did a post on my blog based off this one with some of my favourites? I'd link back to you of course.

    Samantha @ Just A Bookworm

  23. The only book from the ones you listed that I had to read in school was Of Mice and Men, and I loved that one too. It was just so short and full of life.

    I don't mind at all. I'd love to check it out when it's posted! :)

  24. Fun post!
    Least favorite: The Bluest Eye and a giant Howard Zinn book
    Favorite: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Reservation Blues, Moby Dick.

  25. Thank you, Emma!

    I never had to read any of those books in school - not even in college. I thought we'd definitely have to read Moby Dick, but it was never assigned.


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