Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: books I was 'forced' to read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they post a new topic that the participants come up with a top ten list for.

This week's topic: books we were forced to read, be it required reading, the urging of friends, fellow bloggers... this can be both good or bad, and I have a few of each.

Thomas Hardy - Tess of the D'Urbervilles / Jude the Obscure
I study English literature, and these were parts of two different courses that I took. Let's just say that the books are not badly written at all and I understand Hardy's significance for the English canon, but they were not my thing at all. They were so depressing and unfair and I wanted to either shake the characters or know them over the head.

Jennifer L. Armentrout - Obsidian
Honestly? I was not initially interested. It's about aliens, and that's not usually my thing. But everyone loved these books and talked about how much fun they were... and about Daemon. I'm so glad I finally gave in and read them (not read Origin yet)! I laughed so many times while reading Obsidian! I love good banter XD

Rick Yancey - The 5th Wave
Remember what I said about aliens? Again, everyone went nuts about this book. I still wasn't really planning to read it, at least not in the near future. But for some reason I entered a giveaway... and won. Damn would I have missed out! There was a ruthlessness to the writing that I really enjoyed, and it was frighteningly realistic.

James Joyce - Ulysses
Everyone's strangely afraid of this... novel? As an English major, I thought that I should read it at some point. And it had better be in class, when we can discuss what it all means and how to best approach it. There's a class with Fritz Senn in Zurich at the James Joyce foundation, so every Wednesday at 8:00am I found myself in an old house with creaking floorboards and leaden windows, scooped up in a room with shelf upon shelf of books about Joyce and his works, being taught by this 85-year-old brilliant man who pretty much devoted his life to reading and writing and teaching about Joyce. It felt like a place left over from another era, where studying meant acquiring knowledge for knowledge's sake, not to collect credits for graduation. I loved it.

Gayle Forman - If I Stay
I know, right? Despite all the reviews, the girl-in-a-coma-thinking-about-her-life thing somehow put me off. I had a completely false concept of the theme and structure of this book. I bought it at the second hand store on a whim (and because I felt like I sort of had to) and could only bring myself to read it after being reduced to a sobbing mess by Just One Day. I just wanted more of Forman's writing, and bought Where She Went the morning after finishing If I Stay. Then I read it all the same day.

Deborah Harkness - A Discovery of Witches
I friend bugged me for a year until I finally read it, and I'm so glad I did! I loved the academic Oxford setting and the complex lore! It's really different from your usual paranormal read.

Veronica Roth - Divergent
Yeah, I know. The US covers never really pulled me in (I know everyone else loves them, but I prefer the UK ones) and I used to be really wary of dystopians. I've since warmed up to them. But it took A LOT of urging by blogger friends and the books showing up in I don't know how my TTT lists for me to finally read it, and devour it. I was... ignited by it. Needless to say, I have Allegiant on preorder.

Jane Austen - Emma / Persuasion
I had to read both of these for university. I have a really strange relationship to Austen's books. I like what she does and her use of structural irony. But she always has at least one character that is soooo annoying/mean/manipulative, and her heroines tend to be the 'strong through endurance' type. I usually have to metaphorically kick myself to make through the first half of the book before I start getting into it.

So, that's ten. I'm not sure they'd all count as 'forced' but I was reluctant about them or had no choice in the matter. I realized that I often sabotage myself when it comes to books I think I might love (like Divergent) and put off reading them for some reason, like I'm afraid to like them. Which sounds crazy. Anyway, what do you think of my list? And what kind of books made it onto yours?


  1. I was forced to read Obsidian too. Not to much forcing going on though because my sis kept talking about the hot guy. I didn't love it as much as her, but I do still think it was a decent book. It just reminded me of Roswell so much.

  2. I understand feeling reluctant about certain books or topics -- this was definitely an interesting week to put together a top 10! You've got some of my favorites on your list, including the Austen books and A Discovery of Witches! It's always interesting to hear how people come to different books. Nice list!

    My TTT

  3. Obsidian is one of those few gems that get lost in the crowd. I'm beyond thrilled that it's getting recognize. ;)

    Here is our list.

    Andy @ Owl Always Be Reading

  4. A Discovery of Witches is one of my favorite books! I'm also looking forward to Allegiant. :)

  5. I keep being told to read Obsidian, so may have to give that a try. Divergent and Insurgent are such unbelievably great books, some of my all time favourites - I also have Allegiant on preorder! I need this book now. My TTT

  6. Tess of the D'Urbervilles was not a favorite of mine. It sounded so interesting and then almost put me to sleep…

    Great list!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

  7. Oh, I'm glad you were "forced" into reading 5th Wave--I loved that! I felt I was kind of pressured into reading Divergent and If I Stay because they were both talked about so much, too--and fortunately, I enjoyed both. :) Sometimes peer pressure does pay off, hah.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  8. Loved The 5th Wave...so glad you were coerced into that one...now you'll be ready for the sequel! I *just* read If I Stay -- I think you saw that -- and I'm really glad I did. Also, I favor the UK covers for the Divergent series, too. But someone is going to have to force me to read some JLA...I haven't read ANY of her series. :P

  9. haha, this is a fun topic! I'm glad you ended up loving Divergent!! I still remember our chats about it before and after you read it :D I still need to read my copies of A Discovery of Witches & Obsidian though - and get my hands on the 5th Wave! I studied Ulysses in Uni too and I really enjoyed it :) Great picks hun ^^