Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Top Ten Books I Was "Forced" to Read (But Enjoyed)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Check them out! 

This week's topic is the top ten books I was "forced" to read, as in assigned or strongly recommended, either by teachers, friends, bloggers, book clubs...basically anyone (aside from my dad) who has ever (nicely) pushed a book at my face. :P

1."Through the Tunnel" by Doris Lessing 

"Forced" to read by: I dunno, the tenth grade English curriculum. 

This story is supposed to be a coming of age story about a boy named Jerry who proves his manhood by diving underwater and pushing himself through a tunnel. His head gets stuck and he has to tear his way through. 

It takes forever.

The entire class was separated into groups to read the story out loud. I was placed with two of my guy friends, who had minds as dirty as mine. 

Our vulgar, high-school interpretation: This whole water and tunnel thing is just a metaphor for losing your virginity...and he has to struggle really hard. You can imagine the rest. 

The rest of the class, reading with their straight faces and all, had no idea what we were giggling about.
"Forced" to read by: My middle school. 

A story about a violent teenager who gets horribly mauled by a bear

After that, he learns humility and seeks redemption and forgiveness.

I thought it sucked that it took a bear attack to get the main character to feel bad about the way he treated others. 

3.Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
"Forced" to read by: Mr. Wood, my fourth grade teacher. 

Without him, I probably wouldn't have gotten interested in the Harry Potter series at all. 

Or maybe I just would have started later.

"Forced" to read by: 11th grade AP English Language. 

At that point of my life I could relate to Holden Caulfield's anger at the hypocrisy of the world of adults. 

5.1984 by George Orwell

"Forced" to read by: 12th grade AP English Literature. 

While I didn't quite understand the whole political context at the time, I thought the mass surveillance was really creepy.

6.Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

"Forced" to read by: A fantastic buddy. 

I was skeptical, but after I read it I was mind-blown. I wondered where this book had been my whole life. 

The movie is coming out this November. You need to read it. ASAP. 

7.Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood & The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi

"Forced" to read by: My memoir writing professor, and later on, my comics professor

This graphic novel is about a girl growing up in Iran during the Iranian Revolution. It made me cry. I read the book again for this year's Banned Books Week, and here's my review for it. 

"Forced" to read by: That one fantastic buddy, and then later for a comics class. 

This one is BEAUTIFUL. Bwaahh.

If you're not familiar with comics or graphic novels you should start with this one.  It's a coming-of-age, first-love story that left me feeling wistful and a little sad. 

"Forced" to read by: My sixth grade teacher, Ms. Brown.

It's a survival story about a girl who is stuck on an island for many years. O'Dell's writing made me feel like I was right there on that lonely island.

10.A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle 

"Forced" to read by: My sixth grade teacher, Ms. Brown.

This was probably my earliest introduction to dystopian-like fiction. I enjoyed the imaginary visit to this strange, "perfect," synced-up world where children were punished if they bounced a ball out of rhythm. 


Thanks for reading! What are some great books that you were "forced" to read?


  1. You've certainly been forced to read a lot of books. Mostly for the good.

    I still don't like being forced to read a book. There's something awful about it.

    Here's my Top Ten Most Memorable Books I Was Forced to Read.

    1. Good morning Deb! I didn't mind the assigning of particular books, especially since it exposed me to a variety of good books that I otherwise would've had no idea existed. I'm sure there were some "meh" ones in that bunch. But I don't remember them. xD

  2. Funny enough, I have a couple of these on my list as well, but with opposite reactions! I hated CATCHER IN THE RYE and I just cannot get more than halfway through ENDER'S GAME. I've tried several times, too! I just can't stand the book. HP, though, I totally agree with you on -- love it, love it, love it.

    Happy TTT!

    1. Hey Susan, thanks for stopping by! Hahaha, my high school chem teacher said CitR was just about Holden walking around the city and whining about everything. Which it basically was, but as an angsty teen at the time, I enjoyed his head-rants.

      It's okay that Ender's Game didn't work for you. You tried it; that's what matters. :P

      HP is just great. :) I hope it remains popular with generations to come.

  3. I really, really, really want to read Blankets, it looks like a fantastic graphic novel and I've heard great things about it. Harry Potter is amazing, I love it.Great list!

    1. Hi Hollie, it looks like we visited each other's blog at the same time! xD Thanks for stopping by, and Blankets is heartbreaking-ly good. :')

  4. Oh, if we read HP in school that'd be awesome :)
    Our school books were so lame, yours look better. Still have to read many of these.
    Happy reading!

    1. Heya Ula, HP should be taught in schools. ALL schools. !!!
      Daw. Maybe it depends on the instructor's taste, or that school's particular curriculum.
      Happy reading to you too!

  5. I read Island of the Blue Dolphins too. Would never have read it if it wasnt forced.

    I am rereading 1984 The whole thing is creepy. There is a lot i missed when i was younger and read it.

    I have Enders Game sitting on my shelf but I have not read it. I might before the movie comes out though.


    1. Hey Ashley, I've had a similar experience with 1984 too.

      You should probably read Ender's Game before the movie comes out, or at least before you see it. That way you have an untainted reading experience. :P

  6. One of the guys I work with has told me I have to read Enders Game and I will definitely be reading it as soon as I can! My TTT

    1. @ Reviews from a Book Worm - Please do! It is well-written and I am glad they're finally making a movie out of it. Let's hope it'll be good.