Weekly Lists #8: Set Reading
Every Wednesday, I post a list of random stuff. This week: 5 books I had to read – that I actually ended up quite enjoying!
Now, I think basically everybody’s been there: there’s a book you have to read for school and, regardless of whether you might actually have enjoyed the book otherwise, the mere fact that you now have to read it – with a deadline, at that! – has basically guaranteed it to suck. In some cases (or for me: just about always) you might even end up just not reading them at all!
But then, there’s also the rare exception – the one book that, even if you do have to read it, is just too good not to love… And in this list, I’ll be talking about 5 of those!
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1.Et Si C’était Vrai, by Marc Levy
Let me just jump right in with the one that probably surprised me the most: this book was one of exactly 2 books I ‘had’ to read throughout high school, and actually enjoyed. If you’re not familiar with the story: Just Like Heaven, starring Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo, was based on it, and the book is actually (what a surprise) better than the movie. Considering that I put that movie in my list of movies I think everybody should have watched at least once in their lifetime, that is a surprise indeed! More than anything, though, this was probably the book which (finally) allowed me to see French as more than just that stupid course seemingly dominated by the most annoying of teachers (and now I’m studying to become one of those teachers – woops? 🙂 )
2. Saartje Tadema, by Thea Beckman
I’ll probably talk more about why I love this one in a post to come, but let me just tell you: this is going way back – more than 10 years! In primary school, if you managed to finish your exercises (be they math, reading, or art) before the rest of the class did, you got to pick a book from the “mini-library” which every class had, and read for the rest of the time. Of course, being me, I’d already finished all of the books by the time Christmas rolled around, so I usually just re-read the same ones. After a while, though, my teacher caught on to the fact that I was basically bored out of my mind, and allowed me to bring my own books. The summer before, I’d gotten this one in a summer-reading-deal, but I’d never gotten around to actually reading it. So one day, my teacher asked me what I’d thought about it, discovered that I hadn’t actually read it, and made me bring it to school the very next day. Needless to say, I re-read that one until I’d grown tired of it as well, but at least she had me occupied for a couple of weeks extra!
3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Marc Haddon
I feel like this book has been force-fed to just about every single student by the time they’ve turned 18, in Belgium, and seemingly the rest of the world as well! Although this one had the definite advantage of, at least, being written in English, rather than French, I still was not the least bit exited about having to read it – luckily, though, I did, because to this day (it’s been 6 years, I can say ‘to this day’), I seriously love this story, even if I cringed quite a lot while reading it…
4. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
Technically speaking, I suppose you could say that I didn’t strictly have to read this one for school – however! I read this during the break after my midterms last year, as it was on the list of ‘advised reading’ from my professor (and it’d already been on a select-what-you-want-list of set reading a couple of years before, but I declined to read it at that point), and as such, I was quite weary about starting it – looking back, I’m glad I did, because I love this book – part of that is probably just that I read it at a point where I could really identify with Holden Caulfield, but also: the book is just plain old great, so I’m pretty sure I would have liked it either way…
5. To the Lighthouse , by Virginia Woolf
This one, I actually read just a couple of weeks ago: I had to prepare some questions for discussion on it, for my Postromantic Materialisms-course (don’t ask me what my professor was thinking when he decided to call it that, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know it either), which is basically just a course discussing the matter of ‘identity’ and ‘political identity’ in British literature since 1750. I have to admit that this book, probably more than any of the others on this list, intimidated the heck out of me – it’s basically an institution – but I’m so glad that I was ‘forced’ to read it, because, even if I didn’t love it quite as much as the other ones in this list (I never knew how many times one could have to re-read a sentence just to be able to understand what’s actually being said), I did quite enjoy it:)
So there you have it! 5 books I had to read for school, but somehow ended up liking anyways! Did you have to read any of them? Did you like them? What other books did you have to read, but liked in spite of that? Let me know below!