We’ve all been at school and been forced to read books, poems and plays to prepare for an exam or study for your coursework. Normally this means you don’t particularly like the books, or you might even hate it. I’m not really sure why but it seems like a rule of life. However, I was one of those weird kids who loved school and loved some of the books, poems and plays we studied. In fact, some of these books are now my absolute favourites! This is just a short post I’ve thrown together between my really hectic work schedule (I totally underestimated how hard it would be to juggle retail and blogging), but I’m going to share with you three of my school book loves!
- The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
I read this book for my first year of A-Levels and I absolutely hated it. I didn’t get the book and I dragged myself through it. Then I learnt more about the book and slowly I began to love it. I’m a huge sucker for coming-of-age novels and a good bit of symbolism, which is The Great Gatsby all over. I love how unreliable Nick is as a narrator as it makes his story so interesting and the whole ‘finding yourself in a changing society’ plot is relevant today. I read this book three times during my year studying the book and I’m sure I’ll pick it up again in the future.
- The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
I actually read this book for my GCSE’s, which is really unusual as everyone normally studies Of Mice and Men. This once banned book seemed daunting for a bunch of young kids, but it’s now one of the best books I’ve read. It’s another coming-of-age style story, so as you can see there’s a bit of a theme here. Holden is also an unreliable narrator, a bit like Nick, but is instead narrating stories from his time at boarding school. This was the first book I read surrounding teens and mental health, which I now really love, so in hindsight I can see why I was attracted to this novel.
- The Bloody Chamber – Angela Carter
The Bloody Chamber is a collection of short fairytale retellings I studied for my final A-Level exam. I was never really a fan of short stories before reading Angela Carter; I prefer to sink my teeth into a longer story usually. I was intrigued when I found out they were feminist retellings of popular fairytales but still not overly excited. Until I read the collection that is. These stories draw you right in with amazing descriptions, metaphors and symbolism, and so many interesting characters. There was raw explorations of periods, the position of the women, sex, and many good and bad situations surrounding females. It was so refreshing to read something different and really love it.
These are the main works of fiction I read during my school education, minus poems and plays, that I was really lucky to actually enjoy. I’m grateful that I had such an engaging curriculum which totally changed the kind of books I was reading. Lots of them shaped my teenage years and most importantly I had lots of fun. What books did you read in school and end up falling in love with?