Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.
August 28: Back to School/Learning Freebie (in honor of school starting back up soon, come up with your own topic that fits the theme of school or learning! Books that take place at school/boarding school/during study abroad, books you read in school, textbooks you liked/didn’t like, non-fiction books you loved or want to read, etc
Top 10 Books I Read in High School that Left a Lasting Impression.
1. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Freshmen year – Term 1.
I don’t really remember the plot so well. My friend who loved it in high school says it does not hold up when she read it as an adult. But the reason why I find it so memorable is because of what happened when I was taking an exam for the book. I was writing the essay portion when my teacher came in to announce that O.J. Simpson was acquitted for the murder of Nicole and Ron. I was furious. The rest of my class was ecstatic.
2. The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe. Freshmen year – Term 2.
This is my favorite Poe story. I love the revenge trick. My teacher was such a cool lady too. She was a fan of the 1960’s soap opera Dark Shadows, which I watched reruns with my mom as a very young girl and then watched again when I was in HS on the Sci-Fi network. She told the class that many of Poe’s story elements influenced other Gothic stories, such as Dark Shadows. (Barnabas chained Rev. Trask in a cellar and walled him up behind bricks).
3. Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Sophomore year – Term 2.
I read this as an adult too, around the time LOST first aired, since they have similar themes, and the story does hold up. It’s very much about instinct and human nature in a very primal form.
4. The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Junior Year – Term 1.
This is my absolute favorite play. It’s a look at what happens in society when you let your jealousies and prejudices take over actual facts. I saw the movie in HS for comparison and it is terrible. It would be years later when I got to see it performed live. Once in London with Richard Armitage as John Proctor. Then in NYC with Saoirse Ronan as Abigail.
5. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. Junior Year – Term 1
I hated this book. It is written in the vernacular of a Southern American accent. It’s impossible to understand. This was the first time I gave up reading a book for school and only used the Cliff’s Notes to do my homework and pass the exam.
6. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Junior Year – Term 2.
I had a cool teacher for this term, though I didn’t appreciate her at the time. I was a bit afraid of her. Thought she was a real life witch because she was so quirky and peculiar. It was her M.O. to assign group projects to learn about American culture of different decades.
While reading TGG we learned about American life in the 1920s. Each group focused on a different research topic: fashion, current events, food, radio and/or tv programs, and I think the last one was books. Interior decorating? Or many the work force? I forgot.
And we presented our findings to the class in form of a skit.
As for the book itself, it still holds up when I read it as an adult, and the Baz Luhrmann film is a great adaptation.
7. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. Senior Year – Term 1.
Hemingway is way too depressing and boring. After reading this and hearing my sister complain about Old Man and the Sea I know Hemingway is not for me. Never again.
8. MacBeth by William Shakespeare. Senior Year – Term 1.
I loved the witches! “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble.”
And Lady MacBeth: “Out, damned spot! out, I say!”
9. Othello by William Shakespeare. Senior Year – Term 2.
Don’t believe a word Iago says!
The only other Shakespeare I read in HS was Julius Caesar, which I also loved. I think I was one of the few to never be assigned Romeo and Juliet.
10. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Senior Year – Term 2.
I don’t think I really appreciated this at the time. I loved the premises but felt the writing was slow and a bit boring. But I want to give it a second try. I plan to listen to an audiobook of it soon.