Top Ten Books I Was Forced to Read

February 25, 2014

For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday Rewind, I decided to go with a post I started but never finished. Obvious choice seems obvious, right? In an effort to stop reusing books, I am not going to list As I Lay Dying or Assata again (both of which I read for school) since I have mentioned them several times already.

Top Ten Tuesday

1. The Percy Jackson series — My daughter agreed to listen to Harry Potter in the car on audiobook, but only if I promised to read Percy Jackson once we were through. I did, and I loved the books. You can tell because they have their own tag.

2. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale — Read for the children’s lit summer book club I belong to. LOVED.

3. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe — I first read this in a graduate seminar, and I was delighted at how clever and easy to read it was. I was also shocked to learn that Uncle Tom is actually a cool dude. Apparently, Uncle Tom as a derogatory term didn’t originate with the book but rather with the minstrel show tradition.

4. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs — I read this in the same graduate seminar as Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It’s the only slave narrative I’ve read that was written by a woman, and I found it heartbreaking in a lot of different ways.

5. Our Nig by Harriet E. Wilson — This book was also assigned in that graduate seminar, but! I had already read it before for another class. It’s a fictional account of a Northern slave–lest we think slavery was strictly a Southern thing.

6. A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen — I assigned this play to my students having never read it myself. The issues explored in the play are modern and relevant. My students and I both enjoyed it.

7. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon — I assigned this book in my Best Books for Young Adults course having never read it myself (I do that a lot). It took me a while to get into the book, but it was well worth it since the last line almost made me cry.

8. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card — Personal politics aside, this is a fantastic book. “Read this,” my friend told me. “You have to.” I devoured it in two days. Devoured.

9. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley — I read this book in a theory class as an undergrad, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading it. I really was expecting the whole Boris Karloff deal (or, rather, all the silly spoofs of it), and the book is nothing like that at all.

10. White Butterfly by Walter Mosley — My first Mosley and another grad seminar book. It was always refreshing to have books assigned that felt like leisure reading.

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  1. Words for Worms

    Sooo many incredible books on this list! I read Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and A Doll’s House in college and they were both so good. I have read a good chunk of the remaining list, but they were for curiosity’s sake. I kind of want to read the Percy Jackson books now that they come so highly recommended. Oh curiosity. Kills me every time!

  2. Shannon@Reading Has Purpose

    I agree with Words for Worms. This is a great list of books. Someone should force me to read a few. I haven’t read any of these but numbers 2,3, 4, Assata, and As I Lay Dying are on my to read list.


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