I love this article I read this morning in the Guardian about books we remember from school. I was never a reluctant reader; on the contrary, I relished everything I was given to read and indeed many of the books I had to read in school are still among my favorites. If I could have done nothing in school but read I would have been very, very happy!
In high school we had required reading during the summer and we had to keep journals as we went, documenting our thoughts on what we were reading. One year my English teacher told me he had never seen such a thorough journal as mine! Even today, when I'm browsing bookstores, I'll often smile when I see a childhood favorite on the shelf- and especially when I see a favorite of mine in a required-reading display for students in school now.
Some of my favorites:
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCullers. I remember thinking I had never read a novel so beautiful or so true. It has some things in common with the flashier, better-known To Kill a Mockingbird but I always thought McCullers' book was just as special if not more so.
Franny and Zooey and Nine Stories, by J.D. Salinger. I was never a big fan of The Catcher in the Rye but I loved some of Salinger's other books.
The Once and Future King, by T.H. White. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this Arthurian epic.
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë. Of course.
One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey. A classic about individualism. I love the new Penguin edition of Cuckoo's Nest with the great cover by cartoonist Joe Sacco. Check it out!
I could write another post with favorite books I read on my own in high school but this will do for now! What was your favorite required reading?