Top Ten Books I Was Forced to Read

Top Ten TuesdayHappy Tuesday, everyone! This week’s topic over at The Broke and the Bookish is a fantastic one: top ten books we were forced to read. To my delight, some of my favorite books have been ones I cracked open as required reading for a class. By the time I was in 5th grade, I realized that just because a book is listed on a syllabus doesn’t mean it will be boring (not that I had a syllabus in 5th grade).

10. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.  My entire freshman class was asked to read this before we arrived for our first day of college. It was followed up by a speech by Temple Grandin, who is amazing.

9. What It Is by Lynda Barry. I read this for my creative nonfiction class.  It’s a cross between a graphic memoir and a how-to creativity book.  It’s all about telling “it” the way “it” is.  It’s a beautiful illustrated book full of inspiration and writing prompts.

what it is
A page from What It Is by Lynda Barry

8. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce.  Read this for my Joyce class.  The protagonist’s religious struggles really resonated with me.

7. Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq by Riverbend. I read this for a literature class in which everything on the syllabus was written by women from the Middle East. This was a very interesting and eye-opening blog-turned-book.

6. Call Me Ishmael Tonight by Agha Shahid Ali. This is a book of poems, all of which are ghazals (pronounced “huzzle.”)  Ghazals are made up of  five to fifteen seemingly unrelated couplets that end with the same refrain, preceded by one rhyming word. They’re very fun to write.

5. Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher R. Browning. I read this for my class on Modern Germany. It was an extremely fascinating look at how this ordinary, nonviolent police battalion became a group of ruthless, cold-blooded killers.


4. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. I read this in 5th grade, and although I don’t remember much about it, I remember that I really loved it.

3. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. I read this in 6th grade and thought it was amazing.

2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Studied this for my Russian lit class and fell in love with Anna. (Yes, she can be terrible, but she’s so human!)

1. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. One of my all-time favorite memoirs, graphic novels, and books in general. I highly recommend this to everyone.



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