Thursday, August 20, 2015

What I Really Think About Books I Read For School

Hello! If you're at least older than 12, you've probably read a book for a school. And at least in my case, they're not exactly the BEST books I've ever read.

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate them all or anything, but there have definitely been quite a few that just aren't my cup of tea. Though I'm pretty sure that was most of them.

Anyway, here are some books I've read for school over the years, and what I've thought of them. Without the usual sugarcoating  I seem to have to do for teachers.

Title: Hatchet
Author: Gary Paulsen
Goodreads Link
Read: 5th grade, age 10
What I thought: This was one of the first books I had to read for school, and honestly I've despised reading other Gary Paulsen books since then. I didn't actually hate it, the author just never seems to write about anything I'm interested in. Also, the main character was really whiny and immature. Keep in mind that I was ten. Hatchet's main character is supposed to be twelve. I thought he was immature then. Not to mention that the actual plot doesn't really make all that much sense..... Unfortunately, there's another Gary Paulsen book on this list.


Title: The Adventures of Ulysses
Author: Bernard Evslin
Goodreads Link
Read: 7th grade, age 12
What I thought: I actually didn't completely hate this book. It was basically a retelling of the "Odyssey" and it was.....meh. The way the entire book was set up was kind of annoying, and it just felt like every chapter there was a problem, and at the end it was resolved. It was just the same thing over and over again, and it got kind of boring. The characters were kind of generic, and not really all that memorable (hence why I don't have much to say about them). I defiantely didn't mind reading this book, but I would have rather read something different....anything else. But I didn't hate it.


Title: Nightjohn
Author: Gary Paulsen
Goodreads Link
Read: 7th grade, age 12
What I thought: Once again, Gary Paulsen has written a book that doesn't appeal to me in the slightest, yet I apparently had to read it. Fun.
I'm not really into books about slavery and segregation, I just find them kind of unenjoyable to read (for obvious reasons). Books are for fun! Why would I read books that make me unhappy?
But really I just think the writing and characters are a little awkward, and possibly just outdated. This book did not do what I read books for, entertainment. Or at least some kind of enjoyment. Or at least gives me some hope in humanity.... I really don't want to ever read a Gary Paulsen book again. Sorry?



Title: The Outsiders
Author S.E. Hinton
Goodreads Link
Read: 7th grade, age 12
What I thought: This book was fine. I didn't totally mind reading it, but it wasn't really the kind of book I would ever pick out for myself. Most books I read in school tend to be that way actually. They might be good books, but they're not about a subject that interests me, so I usually don't like them. Maybe we should be reading more John Green books for school.... I would be completely okay with that.
Honestly, books (and movies) set around this time have never really interested me. I'm sure I'm supposed to relate to it, but in my experience, high school has never been this separated. So maybe other people could relate to it better, but it's just not for me.

Title: Night
Author: Elie Wiesel
Goodreads Link
Read: 8th grade, age 13
What I thought: I feel like a horrible person for hating this book, I seriously do. I mean, this is a true story about the Holocaust. That's why I ended up rating it 2 stars on Goodreads, even though I'm not entirely sure it deserves that. I was supposed to sympathize with the characters (this is an autobiography), and I didn't. I probably was supposed to cry or something.... The way this book is written is one of the hardest things I've ever had to read. It's just so slow and boring and it kind of made me nauseous. Not in an "Oh this is terrible" way, but more of a "This writing is legit making me sick" way. The writing is bad. My teacher actually yelled at me when I told her I didn't like it.... I had to write a paper basically saying how great the book was.

Title: Anthem
Author: Ayn Rand
Goodreads Link
Read: 8th grade, age 13
What I thought: I read this book as a group project, and I think I actually liked the book better because we were constantly making fun of it. This book has a bit of so-called "character development" in which the main character goes from being arrogant in his head, to being even more arrogant outside of his head. The total insta-love thing didn't help. And the romance was just bad in general.... He basically just loved her because she was pretty. That doesn't seem like the best base for a relationship, but okay. It wasn't a good book, but it's worth reading just so you can laugh about it later. Plus, you can sarcastically talk about everything in your final project and it's GREAT.

Title: The Bean Trees
Author: Barbara Kingsolver
Goodreads Link
Read: 9th grade, age 14
What I thought: The more I think about this book, the worse it seems. This book is pretty much entirely based on relationship between the characters, and the relationships are just...lacking. Somehow, magically of course, relationships just appeared between characters that had never met beforehand. The characters were also extremely annoying. Just the whiny and the complementing and Lou Ann! The plot was kind of nonexistent until about 220 pages in. I'm just glad this book wasn't particularly hard to get through, bad as it was.
Also, this book uses "till" unstead of "until" or "'til". Which isn't really that big of a deal (considering it is technically a form of that word), but it annoyed me throughout the whole book and is probably said, like, 50 times.

Title: The Sword in the Stone (Unabridged, first part of The Once and Future King)
Author: T.H. White
Goodreads Link
Read: 9th grade, age 14
What I thought: I really enjoyed the theme of this book. I don't see a lot of books that talk about war in that way, and I thought it was marvelous. It was a little hard to get into, but you get into it eventually. My main problem with it is that there were a lot of times when details would be skipped over and I would keep having to figure out what the hell was going on every other page. I thought the end was really rushed, like he had just realized he was almost out of pages. It seemed like the climax should have been Wart (Arthur) getting the stone, but it went by really fast and then ended. But the themes were WORTH IT.

Have you read any of these books? Did you feel similarly about them? Have you read a book for school that you thought was just horrible? Did you pretend to like it (I know I have...)? Any other opinions about reading for school? Leave me a comment down below! :)

Thanks for reading!


6 comments:

  1. I remember having to read Hatchet when I was in 5th grade and I despised that book. Hated everything about it and I couldn't wait to finish it, so I would never have to look at it again!

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    1. I think most every kid ends up reading Hatchet for school at some point, though I know a lot of people that love it, and a lot of people that hate it. Why that book has awards and is considered a "modern classic" I have no clue....

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  2. I read The Sword in the Stone when I was about ten... though apart from that haven't heard of many of the books on here. I haven't really read many books for school... it doesn't seem to be as popular over here in the UK - at least it wasn't at the school I came from. More often we were just left to choose the books we wanted to read and then discussed them in class :)

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    1. It's definitely popular here. Sometimes we're allowed to pick from a list, but more often it's kind of forced upon us. Especially if (like me) you've taken quite a few advanced and honors English classes. Which read probably about 8 books a year.... And usually fairly depressing subjects.

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  3. It takes me FOREVER to get through books assigned to me. My thoughts are that if I'm reading, then you should let me read. Most kids don't read a lot, so let me be free to read what I want!

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    1. TRUE! I wouldn't even mind doing projects as long as I got to choose my own book! That way I don't end up with an outdated book that probably wasn't all that great to begin with...
      Thanks for the comment btw!

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