Top Ten Tuesday #30
Happy Tuesday, book nerds! I hope you’re enjoying your last week before the holiday weekend! This year is just FLYING by and I cannot believe we’re already heading into September!!
Before I dive into today’s post, I want to apologize for my lack of posting a #SundayShelfie this past weekend. I know from the feedback y’all seem to be enjoying this new meme, however, this week’s focus was the Red Edition and unfortunately more than HALF of my red reads are currently lent out. So instead of shortchanging y’all, I’m just postponing instead. I’m hoping to get those books back after the holiday weekend, which means the meme can return shortly! Feel free to check out the two previous editions (linked above) in the meantime.
Apologies are out of the way, so that must mean it’s time for my favorite weekly meme: TOP TEN TUESDAY hosted by Jana at ThatArtsyReaderGirlThis week’s prompt is “Back to School/Learning Freebie.” Obviously freebie’s leave a lot left up to the blogger so I decided to devote my list to two topics: 1) The Top 5 assigned reads that left a lasting impression and 2) The Top 5 books I wish I had been assigned in school so I could say that I’ve read them. For the second section of this list, I’m going to be asking for your help/votes to see if I should still read them and which one I should read first. So read on, if you will, for my TOP TEN SCHOOL READS & TBR.
Top 5 School Reads*:
*I should note these are NOT my favorite high school reads, but ones that left some of the strongest impressions. I cannot think of these titles without instantly flashing to these memories.*
1) Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Freshmen year is when the obsession began. Not only was this required reading for my AP/Quest English class (is it sad I can’t remember which one I was in as a fish?), but it was also the school musical that year — a musical that changed the dang game for this musical theater nerd. Between class and the show, I was fully immersed in this story for months, and it’s stuck around ever since. Over the years I’ve been able to portray Fantine onstage, fangirl at the Broadway show countless times, and proudly state that I survived the movie adaptation and lived to tell the tale.
2) A Separate Peace by John Knowles
A lot of times when we read stories we think to ourselves: “What would I do if I was placed in a similar situation?” My English teacher decided to make that hypothetical a little more real by making us “live out the plot.” For those that don’t know this WW2 story in set at a boy’s boarding school where an accident takes place injuring one of the students. Soon the question becomes was this truly an accident or a vengeful and deliberate act? Our teacher decided to ditch the papers and have us act out our analysis in a mock trial. She assigned us roles (prosecutors, defense attorneys, judge, jury, etc) and we had to argue our opinions and try to convince our peers that our interpretation was correct.
3) Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare
So most of us are aware of Romeo & Juliet long before we ever reach the assigned reading stage, but every time I think of it I flash back to the first time I read it in a classroom setting. In attempts to keep us from zoning out our teacher assigned each of us roles to read aloud when the time came. I was cast as Mercutio. Well the thing is, after suffering through (I don’t mean to be rude, but y’all remember what apathetic teenagers sound like) people monotonously stumbling through the verse I was excited to finally read my prose. I didn’t think it was a big deal — at all — but apparently the teacher did. Because he then assigned me an additional role. That additional role was followed by another and then another, and I ended up just reading the remainder of the play aloud to my classmates.
4) The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
I’d love to be able to tell you that this historical fiction story wound up on my list because of its content, but that would be a lie. Now that’s not to say this isn’t a story worthy of your time, it’s just not the reason it landed here. I listed this because I cannot think of this novel without flashing back to my goody-too-shoes status as a young teenager. You see this was one of the first books we were tested on in (I wanna say) freshmen English, and it was an open book test. Meaning you can use the book as a reference if you should need it. However, I remember being straight up SHOOK when I discovered some of my classmates from period to period where handing off a book from someone who had taken the test the previous day and had written in ALL the answers. So when they went to “reference the book” they were straight up cheating. Y’all I didn’t tattle, but man I was one bitter pony.
5) The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Apparently my school was all about the interaction, because I remember this story the most because of the interactive lesson that took place while reading it. Our teacher assigned us secret roles (towns person, witch, judge, etc) mafia style (the game not the organization) and had us try to “rid the classroom of witches.” So basically people would accuse someone, they had to defend themselves, and according to a class vote where either “hanged” or cleared of charges. This continued on until the classroom/town was…wholesome??…I don’t recall when this ended. I just know I enjoyed watching the manipulation and it really brought the story to life and helped me understand just how quickly we can descend into chaos when reason flies out the window.
Top 5 Wished Had Been Assigned Reads*:
*I need YOUR help here. Should I STILL read any of these 5? Which if any should be read first? Please vote in the comment section below*
6) Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
This was a high school staple that somehow managed to escape my syllabus. I know some readers think it’s sickeningly sweet while others think it’s one of the most eye-opening reads they’ve ever encountered. Either way, I’d like to form my own opinion and need your vote to determine if it’s worth my time! Let me know below!
7) One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
This controversial classic was another title that didn’t earn the “required reading” badge at my school. I’ve seen the movie, have sung and seen the story referenced in one of my favorite musicals, but never got around to the source material. It’s up to you to fight for this debut. Should it make the cut? Let me know below!
8) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Full disclosure this made the list simply because I feel like it’s one of those “as a reader this should have been read” titles. Like just being able to talk of Tolstoy and his nearly 1,000 page tome should earn me points toward the literati. Points I fully intend to cash in for an ARC of The Wicked King. 😉 Just playing, but for real if someone wants to let me borrow their copy just to read and return hit me up. Back to Anna, da or nyet? Let me know below!
9) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
This modern coming-of-age tale didn’t make it among the chosen few here in Texas, but I feel like the story is more relevant than ever before. I don’t hear a lot of chatter about this story, but when I do, it’s nothing but high praises. So you tell me: Read it or leave it? Let me know below!
10) The Art of War by Sun Tzu
I know what you’re thinking: “Who would assign a book on Chinese warfare for teenagers?” Apparently my school would. Unlike the other 4 titles on this list, this was actually assigned reading for the debate team the year before I joined. I guess because I feel like I “missed out” I’ve always felt like I should peruse these tactics personally. But I’m leaving this decision up to you! Let me know below!
That’s it! My TOP 5 School Reads & the TOP 5 TBR Reads. Have you guys read any from either group? What made your lists this week? And remember, I need YOUR votes so leave your comments below!
And, as always: Happy Reading!