It’s Tuesday, which mean it’s Top Ten Tuesday. Top Ten Tuesday, as always is brought to us by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is anything back to school themed. When thinking about this topic, I was really unsure what to do, as I did a list of books set in school not too long ago. Then, a thought sprung into my mind, “I have an English degree!” This basically mean reading and writing were my life for the better part of four years. (Which is why it wasn’t until this past spring I started reading for fun a lot more.) I feel like while my coursework was pretty traditional in a lot of ways, I also read some things I wouldn’t have come across normally and ended up loving. Here’s a list of my favorites.
1: Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
Read in US Women Writers.
These lists are normally in no particular order, just the order I think of them. But this one is number one. I loved this book so much.Now I will warn you all, this is not a happy book. There are a lot of parts that are difficult to read. It follows the story of Run Ann Boatwright, simply known as Bone, coming of age in South Carolina in the fifties and the family dynamic between her, her mother Anney, and her stepfather, Daddy Glen. A lot of this book is supposed based off Allison’s own life as well.
2: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Read in Modern American Fiction
This is another unhappy novel for you all. It tells the story of April and Frank Wheeler, a young bright couple in the 1950s. However, they are deeply unhappy. Perhaps they started their family too soon. Perhaps they married too young. Perhaps they just feel stifled by the expectations of the American dream. Either way, if you like novels about unhappy couples, I can highly recommend this one.
3: The Unbearble Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
Read in World Masterpieces
This is a book I read early on in my college career and one I had totally forgotten about before starting this list. Which is funny because it’s one of those books I used to think about all the time. And when going back and thinking over my classes, this is one that stood out to me. It’s a weird book, but I highly recommend it.
4: All of Jane Austen’s novels.
Read in Jane Austen & the Novel
This is a co-op out choice, but I took a whole class on Jane Austen and all of her novels. And I read all of them and really enjoyed all of them. Since I had read some of them before, it was fun to return to some and fun to read other for the first time. Favorites were Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park.
5: Poems of Sylvia Plath
Read in Modern British Poetry
Here’s another cliche answer. I was so unexcited about this poetry class I had to take for my degree but I actually ended up really enjoying it/finding one of my favorite professors through it. We read a lot of good poetry in that class but my favorite was definitely Sylvia Plath. Definitely fits with the unhappy theme of this list.
6: Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner
Read in 19th Century English Novel
This is another one I do not remember too much about. I remember it being really interesting and philosophical and very different from everything else we read in that class (in a good way).Lots of interesting ideas presented here.
7: “A Winter’s Tale” and “Cymbeline” by William Shakespeare
Read in Shakespeare
My Shakespeare class was interesting in that my professor thought my class had read all of the major plays when we hadn’t. So this class was a bit of a struggle for me. But I did really enjoy these plays as they didn’t quite fit into the comedy and tragedy boxes.
8: Not So Quiet by Helen Zenna Smith
Read in WWI Literature
Warning: this book is very unhappy and contains some gory moments since it takes place during a war. It’s about an ambulance driver during WWI. Very unhappy book but I liked it so much I wrote my final project on it.
9: The American by Henry James
Read in American Realists & Naturalists
I don’t really have a lot of say about this one. It’s Henry James and full of realism.
10: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Read in Capstone
This is the book that made me like Hemingway. I read his short stories in a previous class and did not care for them. However, this I really enjoyed. It’s another unhappy read that takes place after WWI but that’s my jam apparently.
Some honorable mentions (books I read in high school:
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
What are some of your favorite books you read in school? Let me know in the comments.