Required reading is something that, even if you are a lover of books, we all somehow dread. The teacher throws the book at us, tells us to read it and then makes us analyze, discuss, write essays about these books. It’s boring, sometimes useless but nonetheless, I have found gems that I actually loved reading in a classroom setting that I thought I would share with you all.
Animal Farm by George Orwell (sophomore year of high school)
Animal Farm is the first and only George Orwell book I have read. I think if I wasn’t reading this book in class and I would have not caught on the political commentary Orwell was trying to convey, despite me being somewhat of history buff. I would have to thank my sophomore English teacher on this one because despite how much I loathed the class, I loved reading and talking about this book. Communism is such a fascinating subject and Animal Farm accurately depicts the era of the Soviet Union. 10/10 would recommend.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (senior year of high school)
This one surprised me. My literature teacher was known to overanalyze everything. According to her, every item was symbolic, every word was written in the means of foreshadowing, every action represented society. Dear God even their names played a significant It really became ridiculous but I would be lying if I said it didn’t enhance my overall enjoyment of the story. It’s frustrating, it’s manipulative and frankly, it’s just plain sad. I loved Pip but then I hated him and then I loved him again. The story was everywhere, my emotions were everywhere and I loved Great Expectations. I guess it exceeded my expectations…my teacher was also a fan of puns and she never let that one die.
Existentialism Is a Humanism by Jean-Paul Satre (freshman year of college)
7:30 am philosophy class was such a drag. Was always late to class because getting up was a nightmare and yet this class is probably the most I learned. Existentialism is a Humanism was refreshing for me because it was pessimistic just like me. However, my philosophy and Jean Sartre himself said that existentialism was an “optimistic philosophy” which I did not understand because the overall meaning of this philosophy was that we are born without a purpose and there’s no real meaning behind the creation of the universe. But when I read the entire book, I slapped myself because it was obvious and really easy concept to get behind. If anyone wants to get into philosophy, I would definitely start with this one because it’s an eye-opener.
If you read to the end, thank you so much!
What required reading did you like? Which ones did you hate?