Nothing strikes fear in the heart of a teenager more than the classic book reading list. Remember the required reading book that sat on your nightstand all summer, taunting you, while you preferred to read — depending on when you were born — Judy Blume, Stephen King, or Harry Potter? There is no better way to exterminate a love of reading than to be forced to read “classic” literature that is boring, difficult, old-fashioned and dreary. Certainly some classics that are that and more: manipulative, racist, sexist, and irrelevant.
But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Some of those dusty old books on the required reading list are terrific, and well worth the time and effort. These are the books that changed the world. Perhaps they had a voice that no one had before, or they shined a light on a subject that had been in darkness. Maybe they taught us to think in another way. Or they just took us on a wonderful, life-changing adventure. Here are some classic books (and a few plays) that I’m so glad I made the time and effort for:
This post may contain affiliate links, which means the blog may make a small commission if you purchase something from the link.
So many books, so little time!
With so many great books to get lost in, it is a shame when you crack open a spine and find that you just can’t get through it. The following books defeated me. I know these are supposed to be great, but they were such a struggle that I threw up my hands in frustration and gave up. With this list, every English professor I had is sadly shaking his or her head at me.
These are a few of the books that I’m supposed to pretend to have read, but that I just couldn’t (or if I did read, I did so under duress):
I’d love to hear your thoughts! What great classics have I missed that you’re glad you read? And do you disagree with my opinion of the six I didn’t love? What book do you think should be taken off the required reading lists? Is there a book that almost did you in? On the other hand, what classic book changed your life? Send me some suggestions — I’m always looking for my next great read.
For more about great books, please see Books: French Fries and Vegetables.