Quinn Banford ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Occasionally, a teacher assigns some text and after you groan about the bland Signet-flavored cover, you find that you’re actually enjoying the content. Let’s forget about the symbols and the imagery repeating their tiresome selves in that English class’s constant voice, that crotchety and tireless gasp of over-analysis. How about brightening those High School memories with the few glorious titles that we’ve cherished ever since. There’s a reason you’re falling back into the comfort of Rowling, Tolkein, King, or another’s imagination which you profusely adore: it’s a symptom of enjoyment. Amazing! So here are ten of these lame changers that make your reading list a finer kind.
10. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
French class was a bit of a drag for a couple years. Overused textbooks with teenagers wondering what to wear to “la boum” were exhausting. Then The Little Prince made his way into your imagination. Oddly enough this super-short book took three weeks to get through, but you didn’t mind dissecting seven pages per day because this was all you needed to instill that feeling you had when your Mom read you bedtime stories.
9. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Every person is policing the other in a world corrupt with paranoia: books can’t be that bad, right? This thought will invade your mind and you’ll see what is wrong with mob mentality. This book is literature’s mantra. Don’t burn books!
8. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
Oops, your English teacher’s concealed Buddhism rubbed off on you after reading this one. So what if you were doing Yoga and burning incense in the living room. No more horrendous Dad farts. So thanks, Siddhartha.
7. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Once you spend two hours pronouncing the Russian names, you’ll start plowing through this book. It’s about a tired and depressive university student believing himself to be better than everybody and realizing that he’s not. It’s relatable to those high school seniors applying for eternal debt, thinking the world will piece them together in the end. This’ll give you a couple bites from the simple allure of humble pie.
6. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Even if it was the abridged version, you were still involved in a messy web of revenge. An adventure of epic proportions, this was a scintillating tale (and the alternative to Great Expectations), so of course you had to love it.
5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Had you ever read a book in class with the kind of style that Gatsby surely introduced you to? These romantic visions of a classy past were as wild and drunken as you anticipated college to be. Maybe you didn’t understand the profound literary references that your English teacher was moaning about, but you found a new appreciation for Fitzgerald’s excitement from life. It’s not worthy of neglect. You’re lucky you had two study halls per day and a melting portrayal of immaturity.
4. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Don’t hate. The Dust Bowl family going to California isn’t anything like a Chevy Chase comedy, but the whole family goes for a fun little ride…and some die. But no synopsis will convince non-readers to tackle this outside of class, so it’s worth thanking your English teacher for pushing you through this beautiful narrative.
3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
You stopped watching that endless marathon of SVU and picked up your weekend assignment of TKAM. Wait a minute, why isn’t every book as good as this? Why am I having fond memories of childhood all of a sudden? What beautiful innocence! GAHHHH, the criminal and hopeless Southern disposition! Atticus, you wise man, why are you not my own father? What is this world that I feel so a part of? And so it went and you might have cried when you realized there were no more pages.
2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
You probably read this at the same age as Mary Shelley, when she was casually writing this undying and classic piece of literature. Fixating, terrifying, beautiful. Unexpected pleasure from this dark novel led you to the attic where you devised a plan to create a monstrous being. Well, actually…no, you were just crying from the horror you’d experienced from Shelley’s masterpiece. It’s always worth another go.
1. Candide by Voltaire
It’s like reading the Odyssey but enjoying it. It’s also like Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas on drugs. (I assume adding more drugs cancels out the drugs? Science.) It’s short and sweet and full of Voltaire’s wit. Remember when your teacher guffawed at the sexual innuendoes? Well guess what. We know you did too. And you felt GREAT about it.
Honorable Mention: Sorry Catcher in the Rye. Everybody expected you on this list. So that’s why you’re mentioned here.