Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Was Forced To Read

Jess McGlynnOctober 15, 2013
Allowing my inner bookworm to shine here, I recently came across this linky through the lovely Lydia’s blog Thoughts of a Librarian.

I don’t write enough about books to say that I spend most of my spare time (when I’m not blogging natch) with my face stuck in one.  So I’m going to give this linky a go.  If you aren’t a book fan then bare with, normal posts will be resumed tomorrow…

The linky is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and they set a theme of ‘Top Tens’ each week.  This week it is Books I Was Forced To Read.  I found this quite hard as aside from English Lit at school I’ve never really had anyone force me to read something…I’ve probably done that to myself.  For example, if I like the look of a film and then find out it was originally a book, I won’t watch the film until I’ve read the book…that kind of thing!

So this is a mixture of my own determination and the choices of my school teachers.  Enjoy!

Atonement by Ian McEwan

This was one of the books that I forced myself to read once I saw the film being advertised.  It’s an amazing book, which had me in tears for a good chunk of the story.  Ian McEwan really catches hold of your emotions and takes you along for the ride.

I watched the film within hours of finishing the book and you can imagine my surprise when the film ended in a different way to the book…or did it?  Apparently in my hurry to get to the end I completely mis-read the end of the story and was distraught for days when I realised how it actually turned out (it had nothing to do with James McAvoy playing the lead…honest…)

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

At the time of reading this in Year 11, I hated the book.  I thought it was gruesome, unnecessary and I was constantly irked by the comparisons made between Jesus and Simon.  I have read the book again since leaving school and although I can see roughly where people are coming from, I find it a far stretch of the imagination to believe that Simon willingly sacrifices himself.  After all, it achieves nothing and in my opinion is just the epitome of the animalism that William Golding was trying to demonstrate.  Nothing to do with Jesus.  

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

This was a book that my mum made me read when I was about 8 or 9.  I can never thank her enough as it’s a great story and perfect for any young bookworm to get stuck into.  I love that as I’ve returned to it in more recent years I’ve discovered parts of the characters I missed before and my understanding of the story has developed and grown.  I think that is one of the things I really enjoy about it, it’s appeal to all different age groups of young girls.

Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

We read quite a few Shakespeare plays in school but this one has always been my favourite.  Is it the headstrong and stubborn character of Katherina who refuses to be broken by the slick Petruchio?  Well, obviously if you’ve read the play you will know that it doesn’t last long and he uses various forms of psychological torments to ‘break’ her eventually but it is still a great play.

I think it sticks in my mind as I wrote a great essay about it *geek alert* stating that it wasn’t sexist but simply relevant to the time it was written in.  I was the only person in my class who took that stance which, when it came to the debate as you can imagine, made it a very lonely place to be!!

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Everybody and their cousin recommended this book to me and as I think came across in my review for the Duck Egg Book Club…I hated it!  I thought it was lacking; I stuck with it because I hoped it would pick up in the middle but really it was just a boring not true documentary style narrative in which I found myself dropping off whenever I picked it up.  As I never walk away from a book I stuck with it to the end but I really could have saved myself the pain.  Nothing happens!

The Client by John Grisham

Another one recommended to me by my mum.  She read and owned all the John Grisham books so growing up I read a great many.  This was the first one I tried out and is by far my favourite.  If you haven’t read it, then do!  A good choice for anyone with an interest in thrillers with a legal twist, it will have you hooked from the first page.

The Amelia Peabody Series by Elizabeth Peters

My mother here again, this series is my guilty pleasure.  I even persuaded my ‘not really a reading fan’ husband to try them out and he is so hooked he’s re-reading the entire series at the moment!  

These are mystery novels set in the 1880’s and feature Egyptologist Amelia Peabody.  They are full of wry and sarcastic humour and although not a complex read, they are lovely amusing stories in which Amelia is called upon to solve various murders in each book.  If you haven’t come across these before then I would highly recommend giving them a go.

The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer

I will admit that I went against my own personal mantra with these and watched the first film before picking up the books.  I was so vastly unimpressed by the film and yet my sister was waxing lyrical about how amazing the books were that I had to give them a go.

I have to admit that I really enjoyed them.  I don’t think the films did them justice or that may just be my own personal prejudice against Kristen Stewart and her wooden acting but as they are essentially, a love story then I think they are very well thought out and well written.  If you are looking for more than that by way of vampires and werewolves then I think you would be disappointed as that isn’t the main focus of the books.  

In case you are wondering, I’m Team Jacob.  All. The. Way.

The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier

I can’t actually remember who recommended this book to me, other than being told that it would be the best book I ever picked up.  I read it as a preteen and was totally hooked.  I have a vague memory of reading it three or four times and the book I owned having a hard, red cover.

I haven’t thought about it until now, and actually think I’d quite like to read it again!  If you haven’t come across it before, it’s the story of Jan and three homeless friends from Warsaw who travel through war-torn Europe in the hope of reaching Switzerland and being reunited with their parents.

It’s a fantastic story of determination and courage and is a great read for any young adult with an interest in history.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I read this as part of a book club and was so dubious to begin with.  I don’t like thrillers for a start, at least not when the main premise of the book seems to be murder.  I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it so much and have recommended it to several people since!

What do you think of my choices?  Do they match with any of the books you have been ‘forced’ to read??

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