Summer required reading – the good and the bad


Reading for school has always been controversial to me. When I hear that we are reading a classic, I am anticipating reading that book. Other times when I have picked up a book for school, I have dreaded it. Something about being forced to read takes the fun out of it. I have to prepare myself to go in blind, so that I don’t automatically hate the story. Here is a list of novels that I have had to read for school and my opinions on them.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, 1953
Ray Bradbury creates a dystopian society where the firefighters create the fires instead of extinguishing them. This novel makes you think further about society and societal functions. I severely enjoyed this book because it created a different perspective to my view on life. The relationships between the characters and themselves were entertaining and entirely relatable.

Night by Elie Wiesel, 1956
Taking a look through a young boy’s eyes going through the Holocaust and his journey of dealing with loss, this novel creates a new feeling I didn’t even know I had. The despair paired with rage felt in this novel is unlike no other. The main character was pleasant to read about because you could see how heavily everything was affecting him and what the decisions throughout the book meant to him.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding, 1954

Abandoned on an island after a plane crash, seven boys endeavor constant threats to their survival. Lord of the Flies was a novel I was pleasantly surprised by. I would recommend this book to any teacher that wants to show how easily the human mind changes when it comes to basic instinct. In the story, you enter the mindset of the characters and struggle along with them. Every character had their own obstacles, some paired with resolutions that you read play out. Because of their dire situation, you can easily find negative characteristics with the characters that make them realistic.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel, 2001
If you enjoy hearing about religion and dealing in constant chaos, this is the book for you. Pi Patel experiences tragedy after tragedy when stranded in the Pacific Ocean after moving away from his zoo and his home. This book heavily discusses the thought process your mind goes through when you feel you have nothing to live for. The flight or fight responses in this book are extremely detailed and unimaginable. In this novel, cannibalism is described in detail until I had to put the book down.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, 1960
Lee goes back in time to 1935 to create a trial that continues to spiral during the whole story. This book will not be a reread for me. The story tried to incorporate good morals and ethical decisions, but ended up only making me criticize the characters. The overall plot was entertaining and informational to read. However, I did not care for the white savior character in this book. He seemed to help with everyone’s problems without any corrupt morals. Most of the characters were unlikeable, which does make sense for the time period, but definitely changed my overall opinion on the author.