I briefly mentioned in my last Conversations post that a great deal of adults are ruined to reading because of those required reading book in high school. You know the ones I mean, they are the classics that were probably banned at one point in time, filled with heavy metaphors for society that the teachers try to drag out of you.
But let’s be honest, most of the time we didn’t read those books. The sheer idea of being forced to read something drops your interest level. And most of the time we just listened to what the teacher told us were the hidden messages behind books, retained that info long enough for the test, then let it slip back into the universe and out of our lives forever.
The problem is, some of those books are actually great books. But I think teachers (when I was in high school anyway) expected us to read these really great and heavy books and understand it all. We didn’t even understand the world around us yet, but there we were, being forced to read books about life and we were supposed to enjoy them. For this reason, I think a lot of really great books were tossed aside by our generation because of required school reading lists, but maybe we should give them another shot as adults.
5. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Looking at this book now, it seems right up my alley. It’s creepy and dark and has a man with split personalities, one good and one evil.
It’s something I would totally sink my teeth into these days, but just didn’t give a chance when I was younger. Again, being forced to read something will just kill it for you before you can even give the book a chance.
4. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
I actually love this book. I read it all the way through in high school and then later. It’s fantastic.
Holden Caulfield is about as angsty as a teenage boy can get. He’s sixteen, alone, and highly cynical. It sounds like a lot of books you would buy in the YA section today, but it’s much edgier. I mean this book was like seriously banned. And although it doesn’t seem like there is much merit for it these days, you can still see why people would have gasped in horror at Salinger’s writing back in the 50’s.
3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Okay, so a lot of you might have actually read this book. And I will admit that I read some of it. But I distinctly remember having a boyfriend in the same class that I was reading this book in, so I’m pretty sure I didn’t give it a chance.
And let’s be honest, this book is full of metaphors about society and life, it’s only fair to give it another chance as an adult.
2. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
I vaguely remember the class I had to read this book in. I barely touched the thing but the description is enticing enough:
“Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.”
I mean, if that was on a book today, you would totally pick that up.
1. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
This is one of the few books that I actually read and actually loved. Maybe because it was a summer reading project and that took some pressure off, but I remember getting so into this book.
Fahrenheit 451 takes place in a world overrun by technology. The belief of this world is that books cause unhappiness. So our main character, Guy Montag is a fireman. And by fireman, I mean he burns books for a living. But of course this guy sees how wrong it is and rages against society. Sounds like all the books I love to read these days.