Back to School Books
Now that everyone is back in school, I thought I’d make this week’s question about memorable books you’ve read during your school years. Which book do you best remember reading for school (and why do you think it’s memorable)?
I read The Diary of Anne Frank. It was very moving and really opened my eyes to what the schools didn't really delve into much. This was for an English class I took, not a history class.
Sep 13, 2010 4:39 pm
Hmm, In college I read the assigned "The Child Buyer" by John Hersey. What I took away from that book was that people would do more for material goods than they would do for money. Also, "The Prime of Miss Jean Brody". What I remember most from that was that the professor teaching the course apologized to our class for making us read it.
Sep 13, 2010 7:53 pm
The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford: The story of three pets, a cat and two dogs, who lose their owners. The book is memorable because it was the first assigned reading that I actually enjoyed. Also, Old Yeller by Fred Gipson.
Sep 14, 2010 8:34 pm
Thanks to a student teacher in my senior year of high school we read a series of Russian literature. I fell in love with the people and country and hope one day to visit Russia.
Sep 15, 2010 9:18 am
It was my first year of high school, and I hated reading. I was good at it, but all the books available to me at school were too easy. At one point I had resorted to bringing in a volume from a childrens' encyclopedia from home for something more challenging to read after finishing my classwork, only to have several teachers blast me for choosing something that was "too hard."
Finally, a classmate suggested I borrow her copy of Michael Moorcock's "Swords Trilogy" (the first three Corum novels). I was hooked immediately. The story was captivating, the writing style was advanced enough to keep me from being bored but not so difficult that I couldn't figure out what was going on, and it awoke in me a lifelong love of fantasy and science fiction.
To this day, that book stands out in my mind as my very first "grown up" book.
Sep 17, 2010 7:23 am
Black Beauty sprang to mind first. Then I spent the middle years of grade school devouring every fairy tale book in the library. When I finished that section, mythology seemed a lot like fairy tales, so I read all I could find. That was a great background for studying literature in college.
Sep 17, 2010 9:09 am
In freshman year of High School, I discovered Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale. This book, far more than any others, instilled in me a love of language. I had never before realized the beauty that could be found in a well-turned phrase, or the truly magical way that the right words can paint a picture unrivaled by any mere pigments.
Sep 20, 2010 11:24 am
I was in a book club in 6th grade and the facilitator picked "The Call of the Wild" by Jack London. I fell in love with London's books and have used his books as the basis for writing papers in both high school and college.
Sep 20, 2010 1:42 pm
Before I even learned to read, "Alice in Wonderland", was my favorite book, and remained so for many years after I could read it myself. I am still a big science fiction fan, so that's probably the beginning of my lifelong love of the genre.
Sep 20, 2010 7:15 pm
There are three books that stand out in my memory that we had to read in school. When I was a freshman in high school we had to read Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors by Piers Paul Read. I never understood what made it great - or even good - literature, but it certainly was a memorable story. We then had to read Lord of the Flies by William Golding and even though alagorical nature of the book didn't particularly resonate with me at the time, the brutallity and bleakness of the story certainly made an impression. In fact certain lines from the book still go through my head from time to time. Weird ones like "Piggy has asmar". Hmmm. Then in my sophmore year we read To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee and finally - FINALLY - we were reading something that I could actually love.
Sep 21, 2010 10:56 am
I remember reading To Kill a Mockingbird (sophomore), The Scarlet Letter (junior), and Huckleberry Finn (senior). I didn't really like The Scarlet Letter, but I liked the other two and was surprised to see they are listed as some of the more protested books for high schools (due to racial language, among other things, I believe). We also read three Shakespeare plays: Romeo & Juliet (freshman), Julius Ceasar (junior), and Macbeth (senior). It took me the entire first Act of each of them to get into Shakespeare's rhythm enough to understand what was going on, but after that they were all great.
Sep 21, 2010 5:47 pm
Funny,evereybody else remembers good experiences with assigned reading; my only memoiries were awful. In high school we had to read As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. My response was - this doesn't even qualify as literature; it's more like ravings from a lunatic. Then, in college I had to read The Awakening by Kate Chopin. That was just boring, but I got tortured anyway because I had to write a paper on it. Is it any wonder I hated English? It's a good thing I learned to love reading before I was ever introduced to "literature".
Sep 22, 2010 9:18 am
Oh, sorry to hear it, @cgarri. If you were a teacher, which books would you have assigned yourself?
Sep 22, 2010 3:54 pm
by susandanziger (admin)
Macbeth... I was fascinated by the symbolism
Sep 22, 2010 8:13 pm
To Kill A Mockingbird changed my life. I lived half my life in the south and half in the northeast. The book gave such a wonderful vision of southern life, even at the time I read it in 1965. Atticus Finch and his relationship with his children showed me how non-judgment could be a way of life. Ever since, I have tried to look at everything with a more open approach, understanding that there are always different ways of looking at any situation, and that none of them are entirely right or wrong.
Sep 23, 2010 8:06 am
I can remember lying (or is it laying? I need to read more literature!) under the covers reading Gone With the Wind with a flashlight so as not to signal to my mom that I was awake long after my bedtime. My mother devoured books, so I think she must have known of my illicit activities, but only came in once to say "Midnight is late enough, young lady." Yes mothers really did talk like that when I was a child. I remember crying when I finished the book, not because of the ending, but because it felt as if I had been banished from a magical kingdom. I also loved Carson McCullers, especially The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Wonderful movie too. Speaking of movies, I saw Beccah named To Kill a Mockingbird as her favorite. I loved that book too and loved the movie just as much. It's rare when a movie lives up to the imagination but when it does it's frositng on the cake. Thank you for this wonderful website!
Sep 26, 2010 5:03 pm
I think that Bunnicula by James Howe is probably the place where I can trace my love of all things fantastical. After that was a book called "Wren to the Rescue," my first ever fantasy book. I've never looked back since!
Oct 1, 2010 1:08 am
In third grade my teacher read us Roald Dahl's The BFG. Using different voices and using the author's words to paint such a vibrant picture in our imaginations taught me the power of a book. Not only did it teach me to enjoy books, but it made me realize that you can write anything on paper and it will come to live, the impossible would be made possible and creativity would flourish. This lesson as a child struck a chord with me and has served as a great reminder as I've grown- and I'm now a librarian.
Oct 5, 2010 11:35 pm
Yes, Its always nice t o memorize the old time, I am happy you posted this thread here. I only remember one lesson from book it was, "The Red Handkerchief". Does any one else remember any other story here.
Oct 6, 2010 1:42 am
When I was in 7th grade I read the book Death Be Not Proud by John Gunther. It was a deeply moving story of a boy with a brain tumor. It influenced me to go into a healthcare career.
Oct 7, 2010 8:00 am
This is a response to Susan from the Sep 22 posts. Sorry about the timing. I wasn't expecting a direct response.
I actually did get to assign my own reading material, with teacher approval, my senior year of high school. I submitted The Winds of War by Herman Wouk never expecting it would get approval. Fortunately, it was a young teacher not too set in his ways, and I was in with my first choice. At that time, it was popular literature; now, its turned out to be well regarded. Maybe someday it'll be a classic.
Lest you think I had it too easy in high school, I also had to read Othello for that class and others I've forgotten.
Oct 9, 2010 7:56 am
@cgarri - Glad to hear your high school reading experience was all bad. I'm a big believer in stoking a passion that exists and pursuing books/topics you (and kids) are interested in.
Oct 10, 2010 10:22 am
by susandanziger (admin)
Senior year, AP Literature and Composition class, we studied magical realism and I fell in love with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. His short story "The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" is still one of my favorites. I also really enjoyed Isabel Allende's "Trail of Your Blood in the Snow."
Oct 11, 2010 8:35 am
"all quiet on the western front" - very intense writing, a real pageturner and very touching. quite brutal but since it is about soldiers facing the terror of war, it matches!
look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Quiet_on_the_Western_Front
Oct 12, 2010 6:35 am
I loved "Call of the Wild" Jack London and "Black Beauty" Anna Sewell. They were by far my favourites and are still in my bookcase 40 years later!
Oct 12, 2010 9:17 pm