This Friday for Hype or Like Fridays, a meme created by Jill @ Rant and Rave Books, Larkin @ Wonderfilled Reads and Britt @ Geronimo Reads, the question revolves around hyped books that were forced upon us in school. Now I mostly got away with not doing my school reading so my list is going to be a mixture of books I had to read for certain classes as well as books my friends relentlessly shoved in my face until I caved.
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
HEAR ME OUT FIRST
So you might be wondering why a) I started out with Twilight, and (perhaps more importantly) b) why Twilight is even on this list. Well, while today I would happily burn my copies of the entire series as a cathartic experience, when I first read it I was entirely hooked. In fact, had it not been for Twilight, I don’t know when (or if) I would’ve ever seriously gotten into reading. I can hate the book all I want now (and I assure you, I do, with a fiery passion), but even I have to recognise it served as the boost I needed to turn back to reading (you see I was trying to be «cool» and «cool kids» didn’t read. Glad that’s over)
L’Avare (The Miser) by Molière
I’ll admit, the first time I had to read it back in 8th grade, I didn’t really appreciate it partly because I didn’t understand it (the english equivalent would be trying to read shakespeare with little to no helpful notes regarding the language) but also because my french teacher made all of us learn this really long and complicated part to recite (to this day, I still remember the first lines). But once I saw it performed a couple years later, I really, really loved it. All of Molière’s plays are brilliant (the ones I’ve studied at least), but there is so much lost when you’re just reading them, so, if you have the chance, I highly recommend you go watch it for a good laugh.
Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Again, I’ll ask you to hear me out here!
Towards the end of my «cool kid» phase, I had this one friend who, around December, discovered that I had not, in fact, actually read the HP series but rather had only watched the films. Understandably, she was absolutely appalled by this fact that quickly made it her New Year’s resolution (I am not even joking, I am 100% serious. I was there when she made it) to get me to read at least the first book. Since I was still somewhat in denial about what an actual nerd I am, it took her about 5 or so months before I caved in and picked up Philosopher’s Stone for myself. And the rest is history.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
So when I first started using tumblr, everyone was obsessed with TFiOS, to the point that I was pretty much spoiled for most plot twists. Add the fact that I didn’t (and still don’t) often read contemporary, and I just shrugged the book off until, one day, my best friend got her hands on it. Once she got about 5 chapters in, she wouldn’t shut up about it, which piqued my interest enough that I went out and bought it (I even got the hardcover edition because that was all they had at the time). Honestly, I wish I had believed all the sob stories from tumblr because, after having the brilliant idea of starting (and finishing) to read TFiOS on a Monday night, I was a wreck for a couple weeks (it was so bad the next day that the guy I fancied, who was
very fairly oblivious, asked me if I was ok. I was not).
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
The only things I knew about this book before going into it were a) it was inspired by Twilight, which I still somewhat appreciated at the time, and b) apparently everyone loved it. What could possibly go wrong? Well, everything.
First of all I, at the tender age of 15, had no idea I was actually reading an erotic novel until I got to that first sex scene (at which point I was too morbidly curious to stop reading). Second, it’s a terrible book and one of the first that even I could tell was just really bad (I had very low standards); and finally there were no vampires (completely unacceptable. I really liked my vampires) which wouldn’t have been a dealbreaker in and of itself, but combined with the other factors, it was the last straw.
L’Avenir D’une Illusion by Sigmund Freud
Freud and his writings can rot at the bottom of a well for all eternity and I would toast that. I don’t like Freud in general, but that’s a recent feeling so, when my philosophy teacher was assigning books, I thought ‘why not give this guy my mother loves a try?’ (honestly, that should’ve been my first clue) and I had to reread just the introduction 7 times before I even had a modicum of understanding of what I was about to read. To this day I am amazed at myself that I managed to get through the entire thing without setting it on fire
(I did that later. It was quite cathartic).
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate how good the play itself is, but it’s so grossly overrated it just makes me sick. This entire adoring culture built around Romeo and Juliet as a romantic couple is baffling at best and slightly disturbing at worst. Their relationship isn’t one to aspire to, and I’m pretty sure even Shakespeare himself would disapprove of how idealised it is.
Most romantic couple in history? Please, Romeo couldn’t control his dick and a civil war nearly broke out, families were torn apart, and 3 people died. Spare me.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
I had to read this book for uni last year and, let me tell you, I’ve rarely had the displeasure of reading a story more boring/annoying/disheatening/[insert adjective here] than this. I wanted to to stab myself in the eye. Repeatedly.
Don’t get me wrong, the book is expertly written, I actually really admire Hawthorne’s writing for his descriptions of space and the whole dynamic between theall the main characters, but overanalysing it (with my less than pleasant professor) coupled with my lessened interest in older books and the fact that the story wasn’t in any way captivating, just really put me off the whole thing
Manon Lescaut by Abbé Prevost
If I wanted to stab myself in the eye with TSL, it’s nothing compared to what I feel when I think of Manon Lescaut, which is purely due to how horrible everything but the writing was. Between the characters, the relationships, the plot, I barely understand why it’s worthy of being in the french canon, but I’m not the one who decides these kinds of things so I’m just happy that I’ll never have to come within 10m of it ever again.
As you may have noticed, there is a distinct lack of English classics and that’s because I’ve read maybe 5 of them? They weren’t required readings since I went to a french school (hence the french classics) and I was never interested enough to pick them up on my own (the amount of BSing I do everyin my various english seminars because of this is quite impressive).
What are some hyped books you were forced to read while in school? Did you end up liking any?