1. Lanthal
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    Lanthal Member

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    Books you were made to read that you loved.

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Lanthal, Feb 22, 2014.

    We all have that experience of a book that we were made to read at school or university that we just detested beyond all reason. I'm interested in the other books. I want to know what books people were made to read that they otherwise wouldn't have and that they're incredibly thankful to their teachers for introducing to them.

    I have several.

    The Spy Who Came in From the Cold - John LeCarre: I would never have picked this book up on my own and I have to thank my English teacher for making me read this. I've read a bunch of other LeCarre books since because that book blew my mind when I was 16.

    Kane and Abel - Jeffery Archer: Sure, it's not "classic literature" and I couldn't really tell you why I like it as much as I do but I've read that book so many times since the same English teacher that I mentioned above made me read it for a project.

    The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver: This is an indirect one. I had to read Kingsolver's Animal Dreams for university and I quite liked it so I picked up The Poisonwood Bible and I was hooked from start to finish.

    Elephant Adventure - Willard Price: When I was 9 my grandmother gave me this book for christmas. By sheer coincidence my year 4 teacher was asking if someone had a copy of it so she could read it in class. That teacher's name was Mrs. Thompson and if there is one person from my past that I would like to meet up with again it is her because she started my love of reading with this book and the other 12 books in the series. I read each book more times than was reasonable for a child my age and never got bored of them.

    The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera: This. This book is the one that I remember the most. I finished this book that I was asked to read for university, put it down, asked myself "what the hell was that?" and then started it again. I lent it to my brother who also came to me at the end of it and asked the same question. I have never read a book that affected me the way that this book did it was an amazing reading experience that I will never forget.

    I have others but these are probably my big ones.

    Would love to hear what gems that others have discovered.
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Perhaps my experience is a bit different because I enjoyed most of the books I was forced to read in high school and college. So there are way too many to list, though I'll list some that impacted me the most.

    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    Night by Elie Wiesel
    A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
    Two Treatises of Government by John Locke
     
  3. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    All for school and university are these:
    A Portrait of the Artist by James Joyce
    The Aeneid by Virgil
    Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Wolf
    The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
    Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  4. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Only two I've liked from being forced to read, but I wasn't interested in classics at all in school - these are the two books that I truly enjoyed at university, and I'm still at university.

    Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

    The Dark Philosophers by Gwyn Thomas.

    The former is actually one of my favourite novels ever. I was forced to read it last year, in my first year of university. Such a great book. The latter book I've only just finished, also for university. It deals with Welsh culture, Capitalism, space, and time, to name just the most blatant themes. An unknown author now, and the book isn't exactly savoury, but a great read nonetheless.
     
  5. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    ^Thanks Thomas, you reminded me of Things Fall Apart, which I had to read for uni too. I loved that book!
     
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  6. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Apart from Shakespeare, none. I have very specific tastes. Simply being made to read something rarely changes my mind.
     
  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    For school - Robinson Crusoe.
    That sort of opened a gateway - I went and found a list of classic and banned fiction and started making my way through the list. Couldn't get into Jane Austen, though.
     
  8. Who
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    Who Member

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    Animal Farm by George Orwell. That, along with being very interesting, eventually lead me to Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Another very good book.
     
  9. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    Jonathan Livingston Seagull in the fifth grade changed my life.
     
  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Various plays by Shakespeare. I'd never read him until high school; I think I was intimidated by him when I was young. But we had to study a Shakespeare play each year in high school. We did The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and Hamlet. I enjoyed them all and found myself a Shakespeare fan. That experience taught me not to be intimidated by any writer, and that even if something is work to read, it can be wonderful.
     
  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Robert Burns. What a great writer ...once you get used to his 'Scots' language, which isn't really all that difficult. We got him when I was a senior in high school and I loved his writing from Day One. I remember Tam O' Shanter as being one of the funniest poems I'd ever read, and I still love it. I didn't realise where I'd end up living, back then. But maybe, down underneath, I 'knew.'
     
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  12. sunsplash
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    sunsplash Bona fide beach bum

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    The Odyssey by Homer is in my top 5 overall books ever, though technically it's an epic poem, but I dreaded reading it and was quickly sucked in. Dissected it once in HS by given assignment and again in college by choice. Just loved it.

    I'll echo Shakespeare, too... Macbeth specifically. I also ended up enjoying Twelfth Night, Hamlet, and The Taming of the Shrew above others.
     
  13. aliben
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    aliben New Member

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  14. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Shakespeare
    Crime and Punishment
    Angela Carter's collection "The Bloody Chamber"
    The Count of Monte Cristo
    Some of Melville's shorter works
     
  15. TheApprentice
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    The Great Gatsby. Hatchet. Series of Unfortunate Events.
     
  16. vera2014
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    White Fang by Jack London. I'm going to re-read that one someday.
     
  17. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
    The Old Man and the Sea - Earnest Hemingway
    Catch-22 - Joseph Heller (yes, we actually were assigned to read it in high school)
    The Bet - Anton Chekhov
    An Enemy of the People - Henrik Ibsen
    Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (but, in all honesty, I didn't love it until I reread it as an adult)
     
  18. ReptilesBlade
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    ReptilesBlade New Member

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    The Hobbit actually by J. R. R. Tolkien was the one that stood out for me.
     
  19. Larissa Redeker
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    Larissa Redeker Active Member

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    I'm trying to remember. I remember that was Dune, but it wasn't the first one. But Dune was the one that made me wanting to write.

    One thing that I remember is when I was in high school, and I'm that sort of "thing" that doesn't have friends. So, to spend the time interval on a place where people don't tried to hit me, I went to the library. And I started to look the shelves. That time I hated to read, my teachers gave us only bad and boring books.

    Then I found, in an almost hidden area, some sci-fi books. Dune, some Isaac Asimov and Arthur Clarke. And that day I have found the genres that made me fall in love with books. I think that the book was The World Swappers from John Brunner. Then I started to read two books a week, and not only sci-fi and fantasy.
     
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  20. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    The Cay by Theodore Taylor. Probably the thing that got me into writing stories from the perspective of blind people to begin with...

    Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry. If there was any action-adventure flick that deserves a movie directed by Peter Jackson with musical done by John Williams, this book is it.
     
  21. kittie_pie
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    kittie_pie Member

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    This list could go on and on, but I'll stick to my two favorite examples.

    In high school I had to read The Lord of the Flies. It started out slow for me, but after the first chapter, I was hooked. I finished it in a day and a half.

    In my first and only semester of college, I had to read The Bean Trees. I loved the book from the start. I felt a certain connection to each of the characters, and I finished this one in about half a day.
     
  22. Lovegrove
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    Lovegrove New Member

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    Hunger by Knut Hamsun and Animal Farm by George Orwell spring to mind.
     
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  23. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Oh my God, how could I have forgotten Animal Farm by George Orwell? One of the best books I've read ever, frankly.

    It took a lot of guts for him to write that book, as it's completely obvious what the animals are supposed to represent.
     
  24. HelloThere
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    HelloThere Contributing Member

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    The Road by Cormac McCarthy
     
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  25. Lilly James Haro
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    Lilly James Haro The Grey Warden

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    The first book that comes to mind was one I was actually forced to read by my mum. She often recommends books to me and they are usually amazing books but one book she ended up forcing me to read. It was Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin and I made the foolish mistake of judging a book by its cover. I looked at it, thought it was a stupid ballet book and left it to gather dust on my bookshelf for the next year, which was when I actually bothered to read it (mainly because my mum insisted). To this day it is one of my favourite books :)
     

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