Since my upcoming book is covering characters from classic literature, I’ve had to go back and remember what I read in high school and what I actually remember from all those books. I feel like my English teachers did pretty well in giving me a good range of reading assignments (except for a few duds here and there), but there’s still SO MUCH that I haven’t read. Among a few surprise “never-read” books on my list:
- Pride & Prejudice: On top of that, I’ve never read ANY Jane Austen. AT ALL. And Jane Austen was one of the few authors that I remember my peers actually liking at that time. That’s a huge deal when it comes to moody teenagers being TOLD to read a book. How??
- 1984: I could have sworn that I’d read this one, but apparently not.
- The Catcher in the Rye: Another one that I remember my peers actually liking, although I’m not sure if I’d find the same appeal if I were to read it now.
- Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath: Steinbeck in general sounds likes a writer I would like.
As for the ones that I HAVE read, putting together this book has also let me remember all of the books I enjoyed reading for school:
- To Kill a Mockingbird: My favorite. Easy to read, easy to understand, lots of southern charm packed in, and it teaches so much about life and being a good person. It’s the only book I read in school that I voluntarily re-read as an adult.
- Bless Me, Ultima: I’m not sure how widespread this one is as school reading? It’s similar to To Kill a Mockingbird in that it’s also a coming-of-age story told from the child’s point of view with lots of lessons about life and humans in general, but with much darker themes and lots of rich cultural imagery.
- Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451: I’ve listed these two together because they made me feel the same way while I was reading them. When I read them in high school they already seemed a little too close for comfort. I’d imagine if I were to re-read them now they’d be even more uncomfortably close to our current society.
- Picture of Dorian Gray: A guy is so vain that he sells his soul to have a painting do all of his aging for him, while he goes on a hedonistic rampage. What could go wrong?
- The Awakening: Okay, so I actually didn’t like this book at the time that I read it. I plodded through it only because it was assigned reading, but I grew to appreciate this one so much later on in life. This is definitely one where if you don’t read it as a teenager, you should DEFINITELY read it as an adult to pick up on all of its social commentary.
And then I’ve got the KILL IT category:
- Anything by Charles Dickens. I DON’T NEED SIX PAGES TO TELL ME THE SUN IS SHINING JUST STOP. Sorry to all the Dickens fans out there, the man’s got great stories, but DAMMIT GET TO THE POINT, CHARLIE.
Maybe I’ll have to try to make up for some lost time when I’m done with this book of my own! So to all of you awesome people out there: what are your favorite books, what are books you haven’t read but feel like you would enjoy, and what books are in your DIE DIE DIE category?