Pub Writes

About the publishing Industry, editorials, and reviews

Best Books I Read for School

Posted by Caitie F on September 1, 2010

Why it is that we love lists so much? Letterman gives a list every night. People come up with lists of the top ten movies or top seven things to see in Disney World. We even look at books as a list on the Bestseller’s charts. I have two books that list 1001 books I should read (and I hope that I will have read a couple hundred within the next couple years).

I think we love lists so much because they are quick and easy. We can check off what we have seen/read/liked and we can make our own lists and switch orders. It is fun. School is starting soon around here (those in the south have already been back for a week or two). Hofstra University (where I went to college) started their classes today. All of this made me think about all of the books I read while I was in school.  So I thought I would do two lists, one today, and one tomorrow, talking about the best and worst books I read while in school.

Top 10 books I read for a class

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I read this book for my Editing Children’s Books in the publishing program.  You can read my review of the book. To say I thought it was a good read is an understatement. More importantly though, it gave me an example of an extraordinary YA book and started some interesting discussions on what qualifies as YA now (which I discussed in a previous blog).

2. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I didn’t first read this book for a class, but it was a summer reading choice for sophomore Advanced English. It was great having to read the book from an academic perspective. I also posted about my love affair with this book about two months ago.

3. The Giver by Lois Lowry

It has been a long time since I read The Giver, about ten years, when I was in eighth grade Advanced English. We read it in the same unit as A Wrinkle in Time and some book with tripods. It was a unit about governments controlling their societies and one or two people choosing to rebel and be different. I thought The Giver was the best example of the three and loved the symbolism and imagery of the book. I still remember one of my favorite parts was when he saw color for the first time. I really want to reread this book now that I am an adult.

4. 1984 by George Orwell

This book was a summer reading for junior Advanced English. I loved most of the book. There is a section  in the middle that talks about history and laws that was dull, but is very easy to skip – in fact I think everyone in my class skipped it and still could pass the test and write the essays on the book. I read this book while I was getting very politically active, so it really made me think about government and how even today “Big Brother” is watching everything we do. I am so glad that we read this

5. Macbeth by William Shakespeare

We read this play in the junior Advanced English class, but later in the year, not during the summer. One reason I loved this play so much is that I had a teacher that had us reading it out loud, which is how it should be read. I thought the story was great and the writing was astounding. It is my favorite Shakespeare I have ever read

6. The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

I read this the same summer as To Kill A Mockingbird. It was the best summer for summer reading. I think Hester was a great character and this was one of the first books where I got the symbolism on my own. Since it was an older book, I went in with very low expectations, so I was pleasantly surprised. I still want to read more that Hawthorne wrote. I love how much there was to discuss and write about in this book…I even ended up using it for the essay on my AP test!

7. In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

I had a great history class at Hofstra where we learned about dictatorships in Central and South America through lectures and novels. We read some great and some not so great. My favorite was this novel about a family of the Mirabal sisters who were going against Trujillo. It was a great way to learn about what was happening at the time and was much more enjoyable than reading a history book. I wish I had taken more history classes like that.

8. Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

It is a good thing I liked this play – I read it for three different classes; AP English, a mythology class, and an honors class. I just think the story is so great and the writing is understandable, unlike some of the works that are on my other list. It is another one of those works that has so much to discuss and analyze that we didn’t talk about the same things in any of my classes. I loved analyzing this from so many different perspectives.


10. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

Luckily, this was the first Shakespeare I ever read, not Romeo and Juliet which we read later in the year. If you haven’t notice, I really like history, and this did a great job of mixing history and poetic writing.

What about you? Were any of these your least favorite? What were your favorites? Let me know in the comments!


4 Responses to “Best Books I Read for School”

  1. AmyKB said

    The Giver is one of my favorite favorite books ever. I read it in 7th grade, a college English course, and co-led it in a book club shortly after I finished grad school as well. I always get so much out of it.

    Macbeth is my favorite of the tragedies; My 11th grade English teacher also had us doing it aloud, plus we had so many activities with it, it was easy to love (although I think most of the class preferred Hamlet).

    (Julius Caesar is one of my least favorite Shakespeares, but the teacher at the time probably had a lot to do with it. It’s one of the few I’ve only been assigned once.)

    otherwise, we read very atypical stuff in high school (IB program). Things Fall Apart was interesting, as was The Visit (play). The majority of my college reading was plays, but we read so many it’s hard to narrow down favorites, unless I picked one from each class, LoL. Still, StopKiss and Dear Brutus are especially memorable.

  2. AmyKB said

    oh! I forgot The Dark is Rising! Read it in 7th grade and thought it was FABULOUS. Read a few more of them that summer, and ultimately loathed the film that came out a couple years ago.

  3. Em said

    Now this is a list I could get into! I’m a little embarrassed that I still haven’t read “1984”.

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