RTW – My Favorite Book I Had to Read for School

Today YA Highway‘s blog prompt for Road Trip Wednesday is What’s your favorite book you had to read for a class? First of all, school of any kind was a mighty long time ago for me. We did have books back then. Yes, they were paper bound between covers, not on papyrus scrolls. But it’s a little hard for me to remember which books I read for pleasure, and which ones I might have been assigned to read.

But I did happen to read quite a wide range of books in 10th grade. We had the best English teacher ever, Mrs. Luckensmeyer. She was definitely a factor in me becoming a writer. One of our weekly assignments was to fill two pages in our composition books (front and back of the two pages), which really inspired my creativity.

I also loved how she had us do book reports. We were free to pick any book we liked from the school library. After reading it, we would hand it over to her in a one-on-one session. She would then flip through it and ask random questions about the book.

Okay, this would probably be terrifying for those students who never actually read the book. You couldn’t fake one of Mrs. Luckensmeyer’s book reports, like you could if you did it in written format and referred to Cliff’s Notes. But I thought her book reports were great. (Did I mention I was kind of a teacher’s pet?)

So I read some pretty interesting books. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, for instance. And the one that I think was my favorite of the ones I read in her class because it was just so darn weird.

Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis. I remember it being a little horrifying (a guy wakes up transformed into a cockroach!), a little gross (the guy is injured and starts turning all gooey and pus-filled!), and a little (a lot) bizarre (who turns into a cockroach anyway?).

Not the usual kind of book a 14-year-old reads. But at that point in my life, I was choosing books by their title. The title was cool, so I grabbed it off the shelf.

I later read plenty of classics–Dracula and Frankenstein, most of Mark Twain, plenty of science fiction and fantasy. But Kafka’s Metamorphosis has stuck with me all these years. It still gives me a chill just thinking about that man-to-cockroach transformation.

So how about you? What favorite books do you remember fromschool? Creepy, wonderful, heart-wrenching? Have you read them since, and do they hold up? Let me know in the comments.

About karensandler

Lover of chocolate. A couple felines short of full-fledged Cat Lady. Author of the YA Tankborn Trilogy (TANKBORN, AWAKENING, and REBELLION), from Tu Books. Founding team member of We Need Diverse Books. Opinions expressed here are my own.
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13 Responses to RTW – My Favorite Book I Had to Read for School

  1. Hmm, I have The Metamorphosis but haven’t actually read it. My TBR pile is sky high at this point. The fact that he turns into a cockroach (my arch nemeses) kind of freaks me out. Ever since I saw MIB, I’ve been terrified that somewhere on this earth there is a roach the size of an elephant and that it was looking for me.

  2. I agree with you about THE METAMORPHOSIS. Great book!

  3. Sounds like you had a great teacher🙂

  4. I may just have to read Metamorphosis. It sounds twisted, but in the best possible way.

  5. Tyrese says:

    I read Dracula…and then became obsessed with it, especially the movie with Winonna Ryder and Gary Oldham. But, that was in high school when I became obsessed with everything I loved (oh wait…that might be now🙂

    I read Metamorphosis, but I cannot remember that book to save my life. Maybe I should pick it up again.

    • karensandler says:

      Funny how we respond differently to different books. I was pretty obsessed with vampires back when I first read Dracula. Although I think Winonna Ryder hadn’t even been born back then.🙂

  6. jhoffine says:

    I read Metamophosis and Frankenstein…in college…sounds like your teacher challenged you, in a good way.

    • karensandler says:

      I don’t think I read Frankenstein until college. I remember writing a paper about it. But in high school, I was quite obsessed with Lord Byron and his crew (which included Mary Shelley). I had a crush on him (if you can have a crush on a guy more than a century dead).

  7. Rachael says:

    Wow, I wish that we could have had book reports like that! I always hated that we had to read a certain number of chapters a day and answer discussion questions.

    I’ve never read SILENT SPRING or METAMORPHOSIS. I should probably add them to my list while I’m working my way through the classics.

  8. Hmm, I haven’t read this one. I might at some point, though, since I’m trying to make it through the classics.

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