Hey loves! Last month, I graduated high school!!!!!!! So crazy! Anyways, it’s no secret that I pretty much hate all required reading books. I actually did an entire discussion post on why I dislike required reading if you’re interested haha.
Anyway, since I’m done reading all these books, at least for now, I figured why not talk about every single book I read in school? There were quite a lot and they were quite hard, so yeah I’m proud of myself!
Freshman year was the beginnings of my torturous time with classics. Of course we read a few in middle school, but now it was time to really dive into those soul crushingly boring tomes. Freshmen are babies though, so they were mostly on the lighter side.
1. To Kill A Mockingbird
This actually wasn’t so bad. The beginning was rather boring, but overall I did enjoy it. Scout and Jem were fun to read about, and the themes were really relevant.
2. The Odyssey
Although I do enjoy Greek mythology, I can’t say I’m a fan of reading epics. The poem style just really annoyed me, and I guess I’ll stick to my mythology retellings rather than the originals.
3. A Tale Of Two Cities
This is literally the second worst book I’ve ever read (it was the worst until senior year haha). So dense, and pages and pages of useless description, and basically impossible to get through overall. I actually read, and then I read Sparknotes after and realized that I comprehended nothing. This sucker was impossible. I did enjoy the last chapter, but it sure as hell wasn’t worth the 400 pages before it.
4. Romeo and Juliet
I don’t understand why this is so beloved? I really don’t. It was okay. But Romeo and Juliet literally knew each other for, like, two days before they committed suicide; that’s not love, it’s infatuation and the same people who praise it here complain about instalove?? And I’m just like… ??? Also Juliet is like 12 isn’t that kind of creepy?
Sophomore year was marginally better…but not really. It was a year of American literature, so many of the books were fairly recent instead of 102398129038 year old British tomes. Unfortunately, I really really really hated my English teacher, and hating the teacher is typically a good way to hate the class.
1. The Crucible
I hated this. Also my English teacher was so obsessed with John Proctor and we spent like a solid month on Act 1 and then blew through the other 3 acts in one day because we were behind lmao so all I know is act one. The girls were stupid, everyone was stupid and I’m just over it.
2. The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn
I was also not impressed with this one. The entire book was just them floating down a river. Also it was so hard to understand Jim and that was so frustrating. Also the ending was so stupid and undid any and all character growth.
3. The Great Gatsby
Finally, a book I actually enjoyed! I really did enjoy reading about the crazy extravagant lives of Gatsby and others in the roaring 20s, but how his refusal to let go of the past led to tragedy. The writing was beautiful as well!
4. The Color Purple
This book was so shocking in the beginning I was like what am I ever reading? I can’t say I enjoyed it that much, mostly it was just hard to read and depressing.
5. The Catcher In The Rye
I don’t understand why this is so loved! It’s just Holden, a whiny teenager, angsting about his life. I mean, I’m a whiny teenager who angsts about my own life I don’t need to read about someone else doing that too.
Junior year was… rough. It was AP English Language, so we wrote argument, rhetorical analysis, and synthesis essays, which are so different from literary analysis or anything else we’ve done in all those years of English. I determined I was absolutely terrible at them and there go my good grades. Fortunately, since it was lang instead of lit, we only read two books!! (And spent the rest of the time failing essays…)
1. Pride and Prejudice
For the longest time I pretended that I loved this book online in the bookish community because I thought you had to lmao or else I’d be fake when in reality the writing style was kind of boring and the fact that you can never tell whose talking was infuriating. I definitely did enjoy it though; I loved Mr. Darcy and the shenanigans with the sisters!
2. Wuthering Heights
I actually enjoyed this one more than Pride and Prejudice. I definitely like that dark twisted stuff, even though I hated every character except Hareton Earnshaw because he is a smol cinnamon roll who must be protected.
Senior year was time for AP English Literature! In other words, lots and lots of reading. We wrote about an essay every other week; by the end of the year I think I wrote around 20 essays? Some books were okay, most were bad, the class was tons of fun, but the teacher was awful and I learned nothing. Seriously, all we did in class was chill and talk about freezing your credit cards in a bowl of water and Shrek, and while it was great, my essay grades definitely suffered for it lmao.
1. The Samurai’s Garden
This book was mostly really boring. It was okay, and I liked how Japanese and Chinese were pitted against each other from the war and that affected ordinary people. But so dull.
2. The Women Warrior
Maxine Hong Kingston was high when she wrote this. That’s the conclusion I can draw. It was so random with all the ghosts and different writing styles and rabbits jumping into fires and I kinda hated this.
3. Oedipus Rex
I actually enjoyed this one a bit more than some other books because we acted out the play in class and I had some hilarious dramatic people in my period. Also we made hilarious jokes about Oedipus a literal motherf*cker. Not the greatest story though.
Again, I loved watching this be acted out. Also I got an 8/9 on my Hamlet essay and that was one of my very few good grades this year. It was amusing enough, and definitely better than R&J, and Hamlet procrastinating everything for 3 acts and then everyone dying is a mood.
5. Waiting For Godot
This was kind of amusing, but also pretty stupid. I mean, what can you really say about something like this?
6. The Sound and the Fury
Without one single doubt the hardest book I’ve ever read and also my most hated. I read it and I had no idea what was happening. No idea. I hate stream of consciousness. I don’t understand people like it when the author literally stops using punctuation and capitalization and any single grammar rule and just writes a blob? My teacher even gave us a cheat sheet explaining everything that was apparently happening and I had it beside me as I read and I still didn’t understand anything. Faulkner was definitely doing some hard hard drugs when he wrote this.
This was…weird. At first I was interested and liked it a lot more than some other stuff we read. Even if it was very…shocking. But then it got weirder and weirder and I was less and less interested so idk. I did shockingly well on the essay though so yey.
8. Brave New World
This was okay. One of the og dystopians haha so we can’t say it’s just another one ripping off all the other new releases. The messages were okay, although I was pretty confused for most of it due to the fact that I didn’t really read and then read the entire novel the night before the essay…
Well, that was fun to rant. I wonder how many people here who actually like classics that I’ve offended. If you love these books, just know that this is my personal opinion and f you actually managed to not want to die when reading them, then I’m super happy for you! Also this was the PG version of the rants though haha whoops it’s probably not a great idea to say exactly how my friends and I complained about the books to each other…
Anyways, all I have to say is that with such pretentious boring books like these, it’s no wonder that kids don’t read. It’s a wonder I still read… there were a few times I got so angry and frustrated I was so done with reading…
Did you have to read some of these books in high school too? Did you generally like or dislike required reading/classics? I’d love to chat in the comments below!