This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is Back to School/Learning Freebie. I decided to highlight books that I can distinctly remember reading during my younger days in school—high school and earlier.
Holes by Louis Sachar: I may have read this on my own, but I remember my third grade teacher reading us this book. It’s such an odd memory because I can clearly picture the entire class huddled close while she read, and for some reason, I decided to pretend I was “deaf” and watched the teacher’s mouth move as she read to see if I could figure out the words. Third grade me was a bit… odd. (Heck, I’m still odd.)
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry: My fifth grade teacher read this book aloud to us as part of a unit on the Holocaust. He was so good at doing the voices and narration that during parts with the Nazi officers, he’d even yell and slam his hand on the front desks. It always made everybody jump.
Transall Saga by Gary Paulsen: I had to read this in middle school. My brother had also read it, and he bragged that he or a friend read the book twice during the course of the unit when everybody else read it once. I, of course, had to top that so I read this book at least three times during the time it took the class to read through it once. Let’s just say I remember the events of this book well.
Forgotten Fire by Adam Bagdasarian: I had to read this during the summer between eighth and ninth grade as part the “enriched” literature class I took in high school. This book is memorable because I think it scarred me in some way. While I had learned about the Holocaust and other tragic genocides in world history, this was the first time I read a book based on true fact that went into such devastating detail about genocides, especially a specific one that isn’t often talked about. I still remember so many scenes from this book that make me choke up at the thought that those atrocious actually happened.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Most high school graduates, or at least college graduates, have probably read this story. It’s a classic, and while I remember most of it (and care only about Boo Radley), the one thing I remember the most is when we read parts of it out loud in class and someone read in the perfect tone of voice Atticus Finch asking Jem, “Where are you pants, son?”
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton: I read this in both high school and college and hated it both times. For one, nobody in high school cares about this story. Second, my tenth grade English teacher made us look “deep” into the symbols of the book and tried to explain the pickle dish in this story was significant. Guess what? It’s a freaking pickle dish. Also, when I read this book in college, I wrote my own rendition of “Dashing Through the Snow” to go along with the end events of the story…
Night by Elie Wiesel: Like Forgotten Fire, this book haunts my reading memories. The way he describes his experiences and just the descriptions gripped my heart and left me gasping. We had to do a “CD” project for this book where we wrote poems/songs based on the book and created a CD. It sounds kind of morbid (and probably is), but I still remember picking out the most haunting scenes to write my poems about.
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving: This was another summer reading assignment, and while I didn’t completely hate the book, parts of it unnerved me. Still, I remember a lot from it despite how big of a book it was and how long ago I read it.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne: This was probably one of the other “classics” I read in high school and actually enjoyed at the time. I honestly have no idea why, either. Maybe it’s because I guessed who the father of Pearl was from the early pages while none of my friends did, and they couldn’t figure out how I knew. (Note: I didn’t even look ahead.)
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller: This book was one of the least favorite books I read in high school, but it’s memorable for two reasons. One, I understand the idea of what a “Catch-22” is. And second, my twelfth grade English class was discussing onomatopoeia and we had just read the part where all the men are “moaning” over I think the nurses (or their injuries? Or both?), and someone obnoxiously said “moan” in a moaning voice and it made our teacher crack up. So for the rest of the year, we’d do that just to get our teacher going. Ah, high school students.