Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010.
August 30: Back To School Freebie — anything “back to school” related like 10 favorite books I read in school, books I think should be required reading, Required Reading For All Fantasy Fans, required reading for every college freshman, Books to Pair With Classics or Books To Complement A History Lesson, books that would be on my classroom shelf if I were a teacher.
This week topic was so good I had to come back to it. And reading all the other posts really was creativity fuel. So here is a bonus top ten back to school list.
Top Ten Book That Were Required Reading…
- The Odyssey – Because of a fluke I didn’t get the senior reading list until 2 weeks before the school year started. So I ended up having to read the Odyssey in 2 weeks because there was going to be a test on it the first day of senior AP English!
- The Heart of Darkness – I fully admit to being a fan of Joseph Conrad and the Heart of Darkness was only the tip of the iceberg. Due to the same fluke that caused me to get my reading list late I ended up taking 2 senior English classes and we covered this book in both.
- Hamlet – I ❤️ Hamlet. I’m so glad that we had to study this in high school. And I’m so glad that the Kenneth Branagh movie adaptation came out about the same time because it added another layer of depth to the my learning. (I also read Romeo and Juliette, Julius Caesar, Much Ado About Nothing, and Macbeth in high school.)
- The Canterbury Tales – Okay so we didn’t read the whole things, just the prologue, the Knights Tale and the Wife’s Tale. But more importantly we had to memorize the first 14 lines in Old English which has served me well to this day as I often quote it to give kids a taste of Old English when I do classroom visits as Queen Anne.
- A Tale of Two Cities – The opening page of this book blew me away. The character and setting in the book are both really rich and real. It got me interested in a part of history I had never considered before.
- The Joy Luck Club – I have always had an interest in China but probably would have never picked up an Amy Tan novel if not for it being on our reading list. I am not always a fan of contemporary literature or chick-lit, but I really enjoyed this book and have read a couple of her other books as an adult.
- Medea – Enter a lifetime love of Greek plays in 5,4,3,2,1. While the Odyssey is great it doesn’t have the same feel of plays like Medea, Electra or Prometheus Bound (my personal favorite.) One thing you learn in these plays is that Greek women probably invented revenge, and if they didn’t invent it they perfected it. DO NOT CROSS a Greek Woman.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning – Okay not really a book, but thanks to reading EBB during a poetry unit in high school I found my favorite poet. Also as I studied her for a college project I found out that her first published work was a translation of Prometheus Bound which is how I came to read what has become my favorite Greek Play.
- Sign of the Beaver / Hatchet – Going back to Middle School on these two. Again a these stories opened up my world to new genres to read. I thought that adventure books like these were probably just for boys (although I had already read the Hardy Boys books.) However I got a real interest in the YA survival adventure genre after reading these (and Island of the Blue Dolphins.)
- The Forgotten Door – Also going back to Middle School. I vividly remember this book. It’s strange that it was a school book because it’s kind of a mystery, sci-fi, fantasy story. But I enjoyed the book and it obviously made a mark.