Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Was “Forced” to Read

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl


I’m going all the way back to 2013 for this freebie throwback topic. Top Ten Books I Was “Forced” to Read is about books one was assigned to read in book clubs, English classes, the workplace, and similar places. 

Photo of an opened book sitting on a desk in a sunny room. The book has about a half dozen little coloured pieces of paper stuck in it as bookmarks, perhaps to make studying easier?Other than a few rare exceptions (ahem, see #3 on this list which is something I will never revisit), I found something enjoyable about every book I was assigned to read from Elementary school all the way up through university. Some of them even became favourite titles and/or authors of mine!

Here is an assortment of titles my teachers included in their syllabi:

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

2. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

3.The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

4. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

5.Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

6. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

7. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

8. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

9.Beowulf by Unknown

10. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

How did you feel about your assigned reads in school?


Filed under Blog Hops

58 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Was “Forced” to Read

  1. I read Of Mice and Men in school as well and really enjoyed it. Gatsby wasn’t on the curriculum but I’ve since read it and sry to say I loved it! 😉

  2. I read many of these in school as well – I just loved Gatsby and always will! I also love To Kill a Mockingbird although that wasn’t required reading. I even gave my son the middle name of Atticus because of this book.

    Great picks!

  3. I think I had 2 or 3 assigned reading for Dutch (as I am from the Netherlands). The rest I could choose myself and just had to make sure my teacher approved. That was never hard to do. I think I’d still like to read Beowulf some day.

  4. I had to read quite a few of these as well — only a couple didn’t make our lists. I’ve found that I enjoyed these books FAR more in adulthood when I re-read them (Gatesby & Grapes of Wrath, particularly). I remember Blue Dolphins fondly but it’s been so very long ago I don’t remember anything about it other than it featuring a girl. Thanks for dropping by earlier.

  5. I admit, I ended up liking most of the books I had to read for school. For instance, I loved To Kill a Mockingbird, Dandelion Wine and The Princess Bride. Others I thought were good, like The Scarlet Letter and Of Mice and Men. The one I hated? A Farewell to Arms by Hemingway. So not a fan of that one.

  6. The only book I ever read by Lois was The Giver. And I feel like The Great Gatsby wouldn’t be something I’d like. Even though it’s pretty, I feel like the adaptation I saw was one that made me more annoyed than satisfied by the plot. Thanks so much for visiting my website today!

  7. At my school, there was a mix of books that we had to read no matter what, but they also let us choose, sometimes we had to choose between genre or classics, but sometimes it could be whatever we wanted, Harry Potter, comics, etc. as long as we made an essay, it was good

  8. I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but the only one I’ve read on that list is The Scarlet Letter. I really should’ve read more of the classics by now. I’ve always been curious about To Kill a Mockingbird and The Outsiders. Does watching the movies count? *wink* Happy Tuesday!

  9. This is an interesting topic. I like seeing which books different schools have on their curriculum. While a lot of these books were taught in my school, I only read two of them later in life, lol, and one was my choice when I was in 6th grade. I’d definitely have to tweak this topic to be “books I was forced to read that I still didn’t read.” Ha!

    My TTT

  10. I’ve read many of these titles and have even reread a few as an adult!

  11. I was forced to read a lot of books for school, and many felt questionable even then. I read half of the books on your list for school. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the few books I’ve ever reread. On the flip side, The Scarlet Letter is a book I fell asleep to every night! The Great Gatsby and Beowulf are ones I don’t remember their storylines. And Lord of the Flies is one of the few books my husband and I were both forced to read and equally disliked.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier.
    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!

  12. Good topic. TKAMB would be the one I wouldn’t re-read–it is powerful. I don’t want to ruin that with over-familiarity. I loved Gatsby at 16–not sure what I’d think today.

  13. Poinsettia

    I enjoyed most of the things I had to read for school/college. I can’t think of anything I absolutely hated. At least not at the moment! Here is our Top Ten Tuesday. Thank you!

  14. I wasn’t forced to read books until college! I’m not sure what that says about my High School. haha. Actually, I do.. it sucked! lol I have read most of these since though! Great topic. 🙂

    • That’s so interesting!

      I do keep trying to leave comments on your posts each week, by the way. So far the system still isn’t working for me.

  15. There were very few of my assigned school books that I couldn’t find something redeeming in, too. I remember enjoying the setting and atmosphere from Gatsby, even though I didn’t like the characters.

    For me, Great Expectations and Lord of the Flies were the two books I most disliked.

    Thanks for stopping by my TTT earlier!

  16. I didn’t love assigned reading, and I didn’t have an appreciation for the classics since I only heard of them at school. It’s not the best way to make a kid love a genre!

  17. I don’t think I had to read any of these for school. I did read some on my own though

  18. I’ve only read Of Mice and Men from your list. I used to like going through the books in detail. I did wonder though if the author really meant all the things that we were told about as I would never have picked up on them if I was reading it by myself!

    Have a great week!

    Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog
    My post:

  19. Reading assignments from my school days are mostly a blur now. The only ones I really remember are Beowulf (not a fan) and The Scarlet Letter (enjoyed). I remember us watching the movie of To Kill a Mockingbird. Not sure why we didn’t just read it!

  20. I read a lot of these for school as well! In general I didn’t mind assigned reading as I loved talking about the book afterwards (maybe the start of my interest in book blogging?) but what I didn’t like was when there was so much assigned reading that there was no more time to read something I wanted to purely for fun.

  21. This is a great topic. I’ve read a few on your list. We were assigned to read The Catcher in the Rye in high school and we’d read it aloud together in class weekly and I loved it. My English teacher was really smart to do that, this way she made sure the whole class actually read it. I also remember being assigned to read Animal Farm in the 8th grade and that one stuck with me as well.

  22. I’ve read all of these! The Outsiders is one of the few assigned books that I completely loved.

  23. Ash

    I mostly hated the books I had to read for school, but Emma is the BANE of my existence. I hate that book with every piece of me.
    I did enjoy Outsiders, Animal Farm, Little Women, and a handful of others, but most of them was a no for me.
    I read The Great Gatsby and Of Mice and Men as an adult and hated both haha.
    I don’t think classics is a genre for me.

    Ash @ Essentially Ash
    Want to follow me on Bookstagram, booktok, add my snapchat or check out my photography?

    • I think a lot of classics work better for adult readers in most cases, honestly.

      I’ve loved some of them, but I totally understand why some folks struggle. Writing styles change a lot from one century to the next.

  24. What a list! I think I was “forced” to read pretty much all of these as well (except I’ve never read Beowulf). I hated Gatsby… will never reread it, but so many others of these are terrific (and I’ve been meaning to reread Island of the Blue Dolphins).

  25. Ahhh, interesting topic. I always enjoyed assigned reading, not so much for itself but because the discussions and digging into it were fascinating. There are some books I only like because they were assigned reading and I really had to think about it and discuss them with people.

    There are some books which didn’t benefit from that, for me, like Martin Amis’ Money and Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders — I wouldn’t read them again. But it was still a worthwhile endeavour.

  26. This is such a cool topic idea, I might just have to borrow it from you next time I’m stuck for a prompt! (If you’re okay with it, that is.) I also found a lot of positives in my assigned reading all the way through graduate school, but I remember having to read The Picture of Dorian Gray and absolutely hating that book so much that I couldn’t make it through. I think that was honestly the only book I DNF’d while in school. I really liked Lord of the Flies, The Good Earth, and especially enjoyed A Tale of Two Cities.

  27. vidya

    i am yet to read The Great Gatsby and Of Mice and Men.. but i will revisit the others on your list as well. And I ended up reading many of them because my kids had them for their “required reading” 🙂

  28. I’m going to admit that I actually like Gatsby. The caveat is that I find it interesting to read through the lens of the U.S. (and specifically New York) values of the time.

    …also I’m an English teacher, so take the above comment for what it’s worth. 😉

  29. I had the same list, except for Number the Stars (I wasn’t forced to read any Lowry). I loved Lord of the Flies….and….well…everything else, too. Although I distinctly remember being confused about why, in Mice and Men, one of the guys keeps his hand moisturized. 😀

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