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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Some Forceful Reading

I've been a tad bit absent on ye olde blog lately.  A 9-day road trip to the Midwest with the fam will do that to a person!  For October Break, we drove from our home in the Phoenix area out to lovely Nauvoo, Illinois, a city founded by early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons).  It wasn't a straight-through drive—we made lots of stops—but still, wow!  We spent a lot of time in the van (you should have seen the layers of bugs I had scrubbed off it at the car wash yesterday).  A good time was definitely had by all, though, as we visited relatives, toured Mormon history sites, explored the Leavenworth/Kansas City area, and enjoyed lots of family bonding time (which mostly sounded like this:  "He's touching me!  Mom, make him stop!" and "Are we there yet?" and "I know we just passed a Rest Area and I was totally going to go, but I didn't and now I really, really need to go to the bathroom.  Can we go back?").  Yep.  Seriously, though, it was a good, enriching little vacay.

I haven't uploaded any of my pictures yet, so I'll show you my favorite from those my husband snapped with his phone:

This is my kids standing on the banks of the Mississippi River at sunset.  Cool, no?

I know everyone loves hearing recaps of someone else's family vacation, but lets talk about books, shall we?  Since it's the third day of the week, it's time for Top Ten Tuesday, a fun meme hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish.  Today's topic has to do with books you were "forced" to read, either for school, work, or because a friend, family member, or pushy blogger (as if!) compelled you to do so.  I'm not sure if we're talking about the Top Ten Best Books We Were Forced to Read or the Worst, so I figured I'd do five of each.  Ready?  Here we go:

Top Five Worst Books I Was "Forced" To Read    

1.  The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger—I had to read this for a course at BYU (I know, right?).  Classic or not, the book's crass and vile.  I hated it.

2.  Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman—Technically, this is a poem not a novel, but oh my heck-fire, what a self-indulgent snooze fest!  Yawn, yawn and more yawns.

3.  The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand—I forced myself to read this one since it's supposed to be a grand literary classic, but man, I had a hard time finishing it.  Snooze-a-palooza.  

4.  The Heretic by Andrew Feder—Many moons ago, when I was just an infant in the book blogging world, I forced myself to read every book I received for review.  Back then they were few, far between, and mostly terrible.  This one was especially bad.  Nowadays, if I hate a review book, I just close it, but then I finished them all.  And gave them scathing reviews, which ticked off the authors (especially Mr. Feder).  Live and learn, folks, live and learn.   

5.  Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card—I've talked about my tried-to-love-it-but-still-loathe-it attitude toward this book.  After attempting to read it several times, I finally just gave up the dream.  Then, Hollywood had to go and make it into a movie and now my husband says he won't take me to see it until I finish the novel.  Bah!    

Top Five Best Books I Was "Forced" to Read

1.  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis—I read this at some point in my elementary school career and I can still remember how vividly the story came to life in my imagination.  

2.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith—This was part of the required reading for a Children's Lit class I took at BYU.  It's a lovely book, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

3.  Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery—I'm not sure if this was "assigned" reading or just something I read at the suggestion of a favorite elementary school teacher, but I fell in love with its characters, story and Montgomery's (very) descriptive prose.

4.  Cinder by Marissa Meyer—Sarah (of Sarah's YA Blog) isn't a pushy blogger at all, but she did recommend Cinder to me several times.  And very enthusiastically.  I opened the book with reluctance (I mean, robots?  C'mon!), but was sucked right in and ended up loving both Cinder and its sequel, Scarlet.

5.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling—Okay, no one really forced me to read this, but it was getting so much buzz that I had to give it a try.  This was in the days when I felt weird reading children's lit (being an adult and all), especially fantasy, which has never been my favorite genre.  Guess what?  Harry Potter changed all that.  Now, I read tons of children/teen books, fantasy and otherwise—without an ounce of shame! 

So, there you have it.  What do you think of my list?  What are the worst and best books you have ever been "forced" to read?


  1. I wanted to read Ender's Game before the movie too. I didn't enjoy it at first, but then I really liked it. I also listened to the audio and forced myself to listen every time I was in the car to get through the beginning, but then I soon starting finding reasons to drive places so I could hear the rest.

  2. Hi, thanks for reading my list, I like yours. I considered splitting my list but decided not to think about the bad books anymore :-)

    I couldn't stand Catcher in the Rye either. A friend recommended Enders Game and I've been meaning to read it before I see the film, but don't think I will have the time. Plus I've seen a number of bad reviews which kind of puts me off.
    CS Lewis, Harry Potter - can't go wrong really. I've seen a lot of people rave about Cinder, I'll have to give in one day soon I reckon.

  3. I love HP because it changed the whole barrier between "children's lit" and "adult lit" - it is a lot more acceptable now to cross genres.

    Anne of Green Gables is lovely. I read some of the sequels too. What a lovely, close-knit community Anne lived in.

    Narnia is a great series. I used to write letters to Lewis asking for a portal to Narnia. Until I read Last Battle, of course.

    I have not read Leaves of Grass or Fountainhead, but as we both know, I'm a fan of Ender and Holden. :P

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. I could have easily put Cinder on my list as well! Also love The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe!

  5. I was hesitant to read Cinder too, but I am so glad I did. Loved it and Scarlet too! ~Pam

  6. I've always wanted to read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. My daughter would enthusiastically agree with you that Cinder and Scarlet should be in the BEST category. I look forward to reading all three of these books.

  7. I'm so happy you enjoyed Anne of Green Gables and Harry Potter! Those are my two favourite books so it's great seeing you liked them too!

  8. Really love HP (obviously), Narnia and Anne is my soul sister! She was never recommended to me, but I picked it up at the Scholastic book fair in 3rd grade and fell in love. Not a fan of Catcher either, I think Holden is a complete d-bag. Great list! :)

    My TTT:

  9. I remember the review of The Heretic. Strange as it sounds, it's probably the review of yours I think of the most because it proved your absolute honesty.

    Also, Anonymous' comments on it were pretty funny.

  10. Great list. Catcher in the Rye, awful awful book

  11. I think Harry Potter was the gateway to tons of adults who started reading YA particularly fantasy!

    It is definitely where I started from! lol

  12. I didn't like Catcher in the Rye, either!! I read it by myself because a lot of people liked it and I never had to read it for school and I just couldn't stand it!

    I wasn't forced to read any of the last half, but I love them all except A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which I haven't read. Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite books of all time! And I read HP because I felt so left out and people would act like I was an alien when I said I hadn't read it!

    Great list! Thanks for visiting mine!


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