Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Caragh's Top Ten Books I Was "Forced" To Read!

Hosted by Broke & The Bookish
Theme: October 15: Top Ten Books I Was "Forced" to Read (either by teachers, friends, other bloggers, book club) -- doesn't necessarily have to be a BAD thing. Could be required reading, yes, but also book club, or just super enthusiastic friends "making" you read something!

This week's Top 10 should be pretty easy! 4 years of English Literature at University has given me a LOT of books that I really wasn't interested in reading. Most of these books became some of my all-time favourites so it just goes to show that sometimes you have to put your prejudice aside and see for yourself.

1. The Great Gatsby - F.Scott.Fitzgerald
From what I can gather, most American teens have this as required reading at school but here in Britain, we're heavy on the English side of Literature. I took an American Lit class at uni and naturally this was somewhere near the top of the list and for no reason whatsoever, I groaned often and loudly about having to read it. It turns out though that it's actually really, really good. I guess those critics know what they're talking about huh?

2. The Foreshadowing - Marcus Sedgwick
When Brianna and I decided to houseshare, we also decided to bookshare and amalgamate our libraries. After a while we also started picking out books for each other to see if we could gauge each other's reading interests. This one however was a fail. Though the premise sounded incredible, the actual story left a LOT to be desired. For those interested - she knows me much better now.

3. The Fallen Star by Jessica Sorensen
Okay so I wasn't exactly "forced" to read this - but at the time it seemed like everyone left, right and centre was getting some Sorensen action and if I wanted to hold a conversation, I had to join in with the buzz. This is the perfect example of pre-judging a book! Before I knew anything about it, I was adamant that it just wasn't for me. Even during the reading process I was telling myself that! However, the story won out over my ridiculous prejudices and by the time I finished the first book, i'd already bought the next 3 and I devoured every single one.

4. Cursed by David Wellington
Kind of a funny story. I actually bought Cursed myself a few years ago in the hope that I could be less anti-werewolf! However a bunch of my friends read it before me and I was still incredibly reluctant to read it. Well after a TBR list making swap, this was picked out for me and I finally had to read it. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and it made me possibly the most angry i've been at a book in a LONG time but i'm glad I finally read it. Now I just have to stop myself from being forced to read the sequel...

5. Cwmardy by Lewis Jones
This one was another Uni book! Surprisingly, when you take a Welsh writing class at a Welsh uni when you're a Welsh student.. they make you read Welsh books. This was the first book on the reading list and after I bought it and had a flick through, I was really not happy about reading it. Of course, much like most of the books i'm "forced" to read, I absolutely loved it. It was so nice getting a little fictionalised history of the country I live in and seeing how the culture has changed over the years. Really great book.

6. Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind
I kind of left myself in the dark about this one. 4 years ago when I moved into student housing, I met a LOT of awesome people. All of which had read, or were reading this book and told me that I just HAD to read it asap! Naturally as the stubborn person I am, I (in no way at all, but for drama's sake) flipped my hair back and said 'Ha! I shall not take your advice for I am a Superior English Student and shall find my own books!' Only to find myself completely at a loss for words whenever the subject came up and then finally read it 3 years after when nobody cared anymore. But I LOVED it. It's fantastical, mystical and occasionally downright disgusting but definitely a must read for fantasy lovers. I'm actually reading the second one right now!

7. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
I know, I know. Who needs to be "forced" to read this right? Me, it would seem. When the movie came out, I saw it with my then-best-friend  and I was so far from impressed, I was actually bored and skipped the end. It's so unlike me to judge a book by it's movie but in this case, I just assumed everyone was crazy. I eventually got around to reading it last year after plenty of people insisted that the movie was in no way like the book, and pleasantly found that it was me who was in fact crazy. This book is a comedic masterpiece and makes me thankful that i'm now way more open to suggestions than I was as a teenager.

8. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
This was another gem that was forced upon me by university. I must have been living under a rock because not only had I never heard of it before, but it's actually brilliant in the truest sense of the word. The only way I can really describe it is as an Industrialised Jane Austen which is probably making somebody's head out of there explode. I loved the no-nonsense female lead and the cultural aspects of the book but even just as a story it was great.

9. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
I'm sure I don't need to explain why this one is a winner for me now but the idea of reading what seemed like a long and dull political speech was really not exciting to me as an 18 year old. By the time I was done with it, my brain had melted, I became more politically aware and was baffled by how many times in my lifetime I had paraphrased sections of this book without ever knowing it existed. A true timeless classic that I will be "forcing" on people forever.

10. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Anyone who knows me will find it hard to believe that I was in any way, shape or form "forced" to read this book. It has been my go-to reading material for over 10 years now and I just can't get enough of it. However, it has to start somewhere and for me it was the dreaded Shakespeare section of any high school English class. Granted, it didn't take me long to fall in love with it (by around the first line, in all honestly) but if it wasn't for that initial push of school, there's a chance that what is my absolute favourite play of all time would just be one of those Shakespeare plays that run out of your head as soon as someone mentions it. (E.g. Brianna had never even heard of Pericles).

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