I read a lot in school. I was kind of awkward and bullied in junior high school so I lived in the library. Before school, after school, during lunch I went to the library. I can’t remember books I had to read in class-I remember filling out lots of those reader charts and getting gold stars. But the ones I remember in detail were those high school reading list books. These are a few that I actually liked.
Animal Farm/ George Orwell
This was one of the first works I read in which I learned about how fiction can be used as an allegory for real world events. I always read quite a bit, but my sense of reading wasn’t that broad. Or, not so I noticed. I remember some of my classmates didn’t get it, but I love it and immediately read…
1984/George Orwell which is still a book I read from time to time and quote now and then.
The Canterbury Tales/Chaucer
Pilgrimages!! I think I liked this mainly because it was so old and I liked learning about old English. The more ancient, the better. It makes it close to mythology and I love mythology. Plus, we got to dress up in medieval costumes. Beowulf was pretty good too, now that I think of it.
Turn of the Screw/ Henry James
Gothic horror. My love began here. There is a movie called The Others with Nicole Kidman more or less based on it. Worth the watch.
My favorite Shakespeare play with King Lear running a close second. It was way better than Romeo and Juliet-but for some reason teachers were always convinced that students would love it. I always found it a bit silly; even if I have a deeper appreciation of it now. Macbeth was more up my ally-witches, murder, paranoia. Good stuff.
The Bluest Eye/ Toni Morrison
I read this one in my senior year. And I read it again and again. At the time I went to high school, books by black authors were still rare. My parents had a library of books and I read lots of non-fiction and history about African American heritage. James Baldwin, Alice Walker, Ralph Ellison, The Autobiography of Malcolm X-I read from my parents collection. The Bluest Eye remains my favorite Toni Morrison book. She is a legend and she is missed.