My lovely colleague, Adele and I were chatting about books we read back In high school. You know , the books you were forced to read (or else you’d fail English), as opposed to books you’d willingly take out at the library.
Reminiscing about our required reading got us talking about how little we valued the books that we read back then, and how differently we feel about them now.
“I hated To Kill A Mockingbird”, I confessed to Adele, who could only gasp and make little disparaging noises about how unappreciative I was of a book that not only has a lot of historical importance in the States, but also had and has a lot of relevance to our country’s history as well.
Of course, I could hardly disagree with her.
I did, however, argue that one was almost supposed to hate required reads because not only did we have to read them, but we also had to write long and epic dissertations on them.
It was at this point that Adele had a confession of her own to make and proceeded to tell me how much she hated The Great Gatsby (which I, on the other hand loved).
Of course, I obviously don’t hate To Kill a Mockingbird anymore (quite the opposite, in fact), but looking back now, as a teen, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why we had to read such a dreadfully depressing book.
Which, if you ask me, is pretty ironic, considering that I adored The Diary of Anne Frank.
This of course brings me to my other point.
I didn’t hate all of the books that were set out for us.
In fact, I remember quite clearly that I was rather (and still am) enamoured with Shakespeare’s King Lear and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the latter of which made for a very confusing, but fun read (I think it's time for a re-read actually).
To this day Flowers for Algernon still makes me cry, Across the Barricades proved to be an interesting love story set during the time when the war between the Catholics and Protestants was at its worst and Roald Dahl's collection of short stories (Lamb to the Slaughter being my favourite),still holds a fond place in my heart.
Strangely enough, I also enjoyed some of the Afrikaans books we had to read, Toorberg and Fiela se Kind being amongst my favourites back then. Especially Toorberg, even though the book wasn’t written in any chronological order whatsoever (not an easy read that one - I think I may have been one of the few in my class back then to have loved this book).
These are only a few of the books I could think of off the top of my head, but all this talk about books we’ve read during our high school years have certainly gotten me feeling rather nostalgic about it all.
Of course, it’s also made us very curious about you and the books you read back then. What are some of the books that you hated back then, but love now? And which books have you always loved (or hated)?
Reminisce with me – I’d love to hear all about your school reading experiences.
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