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Top Ten Tuesday #5: Books I Read In School


This week I’m joining in with Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. The theme is ‘Back to School’, so I’m going with just a list of the books I remember reading in school, in no particular order. This comes to nine, but I’m sure there must have been more!

Angela's Ashes Jane Eyre Chinese Cinderella

I vividly remember reading Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt with my class when I was 14, by which point I’d already read it. I also remember, above all else, watching the film and our teacher rushing to fast-forward any ‘inappropriate’ bits, blushing and stammering throughout the whole thing… Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is one book I have previously discussed, more specifically how I absolutely love it. However, it was not love at first sight – mostly because reading books for GCSE English meant tearing every little sentence apart from some kind of hidden meaning. Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah is probably the first book I remember reading at school, I must have read it in primary school when I was 9 or 10 and had already read it several times before (massive book nerd for life). It’s a really interesting look into the culture of China, and the practices of that time, but it’s also very sad.

Pride and Prejudice Wuthering Heights Lord of the Flies

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is a book that I feel really suffered at school. I enjoyed it, but also know that I would’ve loved it even more, as would my classmates, if we hadn’t had to completely pull it apart. If we’d just read it as it is, I feel that everyone in the class would have enjoyed it, instead of developing a future hatred for the classics… Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte also suffered from this, although admittedly I did try and re-read it a few years ago and struggled just with the first chapter because of the gardener/servant/whatever he was. The accent was too thick to understand! I also remember the film version of this with Ralph Fiennes much more than anything in the book. Lord of the Flies by William Golding however, I really really loved. It was so different to everything we’d read so far, and I even went so far as to hunt down books inspired by it – I did find one that was a female version of the story, which I then leant to classmates and never got back. I can’t even remember what it was called now!

Crucible Macbeth An Inspector Calls

I studied The Crucible by Arthur Miller for both English and Drama GCSEs. I really enjoyed it, and there are so many different and wonderful adaptations of the plays. It is insane how the community starts to fall apart from the inside because of these crazy beliefs. Of course we had to read some Shakespeare, and Macbeth by William Shakespeare is the one that really stands out. Which reminds me, I still need to watch the film version released last year featuring Michael Fassbender… And finally, An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley. We read this in Year 7 or 8, and I remember it being pretty fun – acting it out in English class and following the mystery.

Which books do you remember reading in school? Did any of them really stand out?

21 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday #5: Books I Read In School”

  1. I don’t remember much from school readings, at least not the books in English. But I am very far from my K-12 experience, more than 30 years. I remember The Merchant of Venice, only because we had to memorize Portia’s ‘mercy’ speech. I can still recite the first few lines to this day. I do remember NOT being into literature at the time and so I considered myself as not being very good at it. I didn’t make much effort . How sad.

    I do remember some of the books I read for my second language class. Spanish class meant so much to me. Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo, and Carlos Fuentes’ La muerte de Artemio Cruz. Then it gets fuzzy because I continued Spanish in college and I’m not sure which book I read when.

    1. Oh also: En la ardiente oscuridad and Corona De Sombra. Wow. I really loved my Spanish classes to remember these.

      1. I never got to read actual proper books in language classes! But to be honest, I don’t think languages are taught very well in the UK.

  2. I remember reading a few of Shakespeare’s plays in school: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Julius Caesar and The Merchant of Venice. I enjoyed all of those. The two other books I most fondly remember from school were Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck and Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. I truly loved both of those books and still recommend them to others today.

    1. I’m surprised we never read any Steinbeck. I went to a girl’s school, and the boy’s school next door read Of Mice and Men, but we never did.

      1. I had numerous teachers that liked Steinbeck, so during my school years I also got to read Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath and Cannery Row. Great books all, but there was something special about Travels with Charley and it stuck with me.

      2. I reckon I’m going to have to read something by him soon – pretty sure we have Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath, and I know we have Travels with Charley.

  3. Two of my strongest memories of school reads are The Woman in Black (I scared myself silly, reading it alone one autumn afternoon as the light faded and I realised I needed to do the rounds of a big empty house closing curtains and locking doors) and Jude the Obscure (which I loved, unexpectedly, given how awfully bleak it is).

    I do remember reading the Brontës (except Charlotte – I still haven’t read Jane Eyre!) and and Austen, but I think I picked them up off the extended reading list rather than studying them in class; and studying Lord of the Flies. Still scarred.

    1. Aaah! We were meant to go and see that with Drama class, but the theatre somehow doubled booked us? I hear that it is terrifying as a stage production – I did like the book but it didn’t scare me too much.

      I’ve been meaning to read Jude the Obscure since the town is based on Oxford.

      1. It’s an AMAZING stage show – very atmospheric, and very low-key – it’s a cast of 3 and they conjure up almost everything from thin air (the horse is one of them clopping coconut shells) and sound effects. That just makes the actual props all the more terrifying (nobody likes a chair that rocks by itself, right?)

      2. I’ve seen it twice. The first time, I glanced over my shoulder at the start of the second act and she was stood right behind me. EEEEEEEEEE. I nearly hit the roof. The second time, she was wandering around the Circle, so I skipped the heart attack.

  4. I think I’ve only read Pride & Prejudice here! But I’ve always wanted to read Lord of the Flies. Also I feel like some of the books I read for class were so…so bland. Like this one I remember particularly well that I struggled through, The Portrait of An Artist As A Young Man. That one was TOUGH

    1. Definitely read Lord of the Flies – it’s pretty brutal and shocking.

      The problem with reading stuff for school was that we couldn’t just enjoy it, we had to analyse every tiny little thing, and that definitely ruined the enjoyment 😦

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