Book-Talk Monday: Surprisingly Enjoyable Assigned Reading
As a kid, I was an avid reader . . . except when it came to the books/stories I was assigned to read for school. I almost always hated assigned readings (with my least favorite to date being Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which was assigned for a modern American History class my first semester of college).
So with as often as I balked at actually sitting down and picking up those assigned stories and novels, I occasionally (though not as often as I’d like) found myself actually enjoying the assigned readings.
So that’s what I want to talk about today.
What favorite books/stories/authors have you discovered through assigned readings from school?
The biggest, and most obvious, one for me is Jane Austen. In eleventh grade, we read Pride and Prejudice. And while I didn’t fall in love with that book or with her as an author then, I did remember ten years later that I didn’t hate it. So in 1998, when I saw the movie Persuasion, I decided to give reading Jane Austen another shot—starting with Persuasion—and I fell in love. (And Persuasion remains my favorite JA book.)
Another author I was forced to read in high school was Willa Cather. And while I wasn’t really a big fan on My Antonia (the book we were assigned), I did go on to fall in love with O Pioneers! (which I just finished re-reading last night).
One of the biggest surprises to me, with as much as I absolutely loathed The Scarlet Letter in tenth grade, was when I got to college and we read a few of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short stories in American Lit—and I discovered I did actually like NH’s writing (Young Goodman Brown being a favorite).
So, what have been your surprise favorites discovered from assigned reading over the years?
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