Y’all … my junior year high school English Lit class nearly killed my love of books. Just saying. I do know that it successfully created me into the type of reader who refuses to even entertain the idea of reading “literature” and also made me into the person who reads the end of a book first (yes, yes I do, at least when I think it might end sadly). Some of these books I read on my own, some were assigned. You’ll get the difference right away. Shockingly, I remember these clearly, considering how long ago high school was! HA!
The Bastard by John Jakes
This series by John Jakes may go down in history as the only books I’ve read and enjoyed (and by golly, I swear they helped me pass American History) that end with main characters dying in tragic ways. Normally, I will avoid those types of books like the plague, but I got so involved with this family, I just couldn’t stop reading them.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
I grew up in California, and my teacher revered John Steinbeck. We read a TON of his work, and I hated it all. Don’t tell me about the significance or depth or imagery … all I know is the ending was horrifying and when my daughter was assigned this book for HER class, I nearly protested. I often wonder why some books are classics and some aren’t, and also why “classics” seldom end well. Was life THAT bad way back when?
Summer Mahogany by Janet Dailey
Ah … Janet Dailey. She’s the author who started me down the road to romance. I loved her so much and bought every book in her fifty book “state” series. I could quote from her books. I reread them until they fell apart …
… and then she plagiarized Nora Roberts. And I got rid of every book of hers I owned and never picked up another one. Still, I’m grateful she brought me here. I imagine I might have gotten here without her, but I’m still appreciative.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Yeah … I know … Hemingway is a master. Imagery, symbolism, irony. Whatever. I hate his work and am so glad I never HAVE to read another book or story of his. No wonder he was depressed. Geez.
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Okay, this is one you might disagree with me on. I was truly blessed to have a teacher (not my English Lit teacher, another one) who instilled in me a love and respect for Shakespeare. She taught us about the era in which he wrote, showed us the little jokes he hid in his writing, explained with things meant. I remember being shocked that “wherefore art thou Romeo” didn’t mean “where are you” but instead meant “why are you Romeo”. When my daughter studied a few of his plays, I was worried. But she, too, was so lucky to have a teacher who taught his work right.
Lightning by Dean Koontz
Oh my word, I loved this book! It was my first Koontz book, and I started reading everything he wrote. I go back now and read his earlier stuff, and it doesn’t hold up as well, but I’ll forever be grateful to this book for starting me on the path.
Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey
After the dragonriders books, this series is my favorite from Anne McCaffrey. I wanted to BE her so badly (Killashandra Ree, the main character, not Anne McCaffrey, though I wouldn’t complain). I read and reread this series and still have it on my keeper shelf.
What do you remember about books you read in high school?