We have all been there. At one point in our education, we have been required to read a piece of literature or a play – we have been made to read books all throughout our lives, and it is not often that we have enjoyed these. Often, we might have thought that it is a form of torture disguised as something essential in our schooling.
I am not very optimistic when it comes to required reading. In fact, I never much liked reading books that I have been made to read. But, what can I do when it is something that they will be testing me on, and is something that will ultimately whether I will pass my secondary school phase or not.
As you can guess by now, I am going to be discussing the books that I have been required to read during my time in education.
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – This has been my favourite book that I have read on my required reading list. Although there was a point where I wanted to rip my hair off with the amount of times I had to read it for my GCSE. Not only was it the book that we did our English Language GCSE Coursework on when I was in year 9, but it is also the book that we did out English Literature exam on – and I hated it then. Not because of the story or the writing style – simply because the amount of times that you have to read the book and take it apart was exhausting and it removed all the fun reading brings to an individual. However, I do consider it as one of my favourite novellas out there because of what the story constitute and stand for. I love how Steinbeck was able to write a story that basically showed the audience what life was like during the Great Depression. I Loved Lennie and George – their friendship was genuine and it was heart breaking how it had to end.
- Macbeth by William Shakespeare – A play that I despised by the end of year 11. Even up to now, I still can’t help but flinch at the mention of Macbeth. This play has been the bane of my life the moment I started my GCSEs – the number of times we have to study it, alongside watching numerous adaptation of the play, could have really been the end of me. I am just glad that I managed to scrape an A in the end and didn’t have to read the play any longer!
- Blood Brothers by Willy Russell – to be honest, I cannot remember the whole play at all. I remember acting it out during our drama lessons when I was in year 9 – however, doing it as a GCSE English Literature coursework doesn’t really ring a bell. I think it is about twins who have been separated but became friends with each other, and in the end they find out that they are actually twins etc… Did I like it? Well, there were swear words in the play, and as a teenager who finds swearing in books funny – I found it funny and giggled along with the whole class. Childish, I know, but what can you do?
- Animal Farm by George Orwell – I still haven’t finished reading this book, and it is a wonder how I got an A* in my English Literature exam. I never did like reading books that I am made to read – especially since at this point in time I wasn’t very much inclined to learn about the communist revolution in the former USSR, and I wasn’t all that interested in reading books about politics (because, that is ultimately what Animal Farm was about). I guess, I at the present moment, I would want to read the book agains, with an open mind this time though.
Well, those are all the books that I remember having been required to read for my English GCSEs. I am not particularly fond of the books anymore, apart from Of Mice and Men.