Top Ten Tuesday | Books I Was Assigned, But Never Read (Oops)

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is a back to school freebie! Instead of listing my favorite assigned readings (and there have been a few), I decided to go in a different direction and share something I’m not exactly proud of. Regardless of whether I’m interested in a book or not, once it’s assigned in school, my brain forms an aversion to it. It doesn’t matter if I have to read a book by my favorite author, or one that’s been on my TBR for years, any desire I had to read it evaporates. There are a few books I’ve read years later and ended up loving (most notably, BeowulfJane Eyre, and Moby Dick), but that seems to have no effect on my brain. So today, I thought I’d share some books I was assigned in school at some point, and still haven’t read.

  1. The Giver by Lois Lowry. I was actually assigned this in eighth grade, and for some reason, that totally put me off reading this book. It’s been fourteen years, and, no matter how many amazing things I hear about it, I just can’t force myself to read it. Maybe I’ll give it another fourteen years.
  2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I like Mark Twain. I enjoy American history. So I have no clue why I didn’t read this when it was assigned in my American Studies course in college (coincidentally, the same course that assigned Moby Dick, which I finally finished reading last month – four years later). Ugh, I’m so ashamed.
  3. Emma by Jane Austen. I tried to read this, I really did. But it’s ridiculously long, and I don’t particularly like the main character, and… actually, I’m pretty sure the fact it was assigned for a class managed to ruin an Austen book for me. One day I will read this, because I’m determined to read all of Austen’s books. And so far, I’ve loved the four I have read.
  4. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot. When I’m assigned classics, I swear my brain shuts off. I also had to read Wuthering Heights for this same class, and I literally had to force myself through it, even though I ended up loving it. I do want to revisit Eliot at some point (though perhaps I’ll tackle Middlemarch first).
  5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I have been assigned Dickens twice – in high school and college (the other book was Oliver Twist) – and I’ve come to the conclusion that I just don’t like his writing. Which isn’t that surprising, given I’m more inclined to like simple writing and Dickens was paid by the word… Still, I feel like I need to read his books at some point. If I can finish War & Peace, I can finish anything, right?
  6. The Odyssey by Homer. I really need to read this soon, mostly because I’m actually interested in it as an adult. I’m pretty sure this was assigned my freshman or sophomore year of high school, when I was in my don’t-do-any-schoolwork phase. (Ironically, I failed freshman English. Not kidding.)
  7. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. In my defense, I have read a couple of the tales. But I’ve been assigned various tales at various points in high school, college, and grad school, and I’m 100% sure I’ve read less than half of what I was supposed to. Maybe I just need to start reading one tale a month or something. Because I do want to finish this.
  8. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. This book is still on my TBR, because I think this was a case of it being assigned when I was too young to read it. I was in eighth grade, and entirely uninterested in this book, and I think what I did read of it totally went over my head.
  9. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. This one’s kind of in the same boat as The Giver, in that it was assigned in eighth grade, and no matter how many times I hear how good it is, I can’t muster up any motivation to read it.
  10. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy. I really want to read a Hardy book, because I’m intrigued by his stories. And while I’ve been assigned two of them – Jude and Tess of the D’Urbervilles – I haven’t finished any of them yet (though I think I did read a decent portion of Jude). Again, my brain shuts off when I’m assigned classics, and I just can’t do it.

Are there any assigned books you just can’t bring yourself to read? Let me know in the comments!


6 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday | Books I Was Assigned, But Never Read (Oops)

  1. I was happy to see your topic choice! It reminded me of my Humanities 300 class where I was assigned Darwin and Nietzsche. Totally skimmed those ones. BORING. I do have to tell you that The Joy Luck Club was really good. Hope you take the time to read it in the future.

    My TTT.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! Reading The Bible in just one summer sounds insane. If I really tried, I might have been able to read it in four. Maybe. (And I’m sure half the books I had to read during the summer for school were never actually discussed. Usually the ones I actually did read.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha! You and I did opposite topics this week! I know I skipped reading many of things, particularly in college (I took an American Lit class my freshman year and our “textbook” was at least 2000 pages long and filled with the most boring stuff ever — thank you, Spark Notes!) but I really have no recollection of what they were. When I was pondering a topic for my list, I did a Google search about required high school reading to refresh my memory, and it seems like most people read Dickens at some point. But he was never assigned to me in high school or college! He’s on my list to try one day, though. I read “The Joy Luck Club” in high school and I definitely agree that 8th grade was too young for it. Whenever I read it was too young too, I think. I read a different Amy Tan book a couple years ago and it resonated much more.

    Totally off-topic, but I just finished the 8-part BBC “War & Peace” miniseries and I LOVED IT! I barely had any notion as to the book’s plot when I started so I have no idea how true it stays, but it might be a nice reward for you when you finish reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I really need to read The Joy Luck Club soon! And Dickens is one of those authors that I started to dislike because of school, so I’m planning on reading A Christmas Carol this Christmas to see if I can get back into his writing.

      Glad you enjoyed the BBC War & Peace! I have it on my Hulu watchlist, but I’m waiting for a break to really enjoy it, because it looks so good!


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