Documenting the life and times of a dreamer on her gap year. 

My Top 5 Books From School

My Top 5 Books From School

For as long as I can remember, one of my favorite hobbies has been reading. This definitely explains why I was often the only student excited about the long list of possible summer reading books every summer vacation, while my friends griped and moaned about having to do schoolwork even when there was no school! Maybe that attitude describes you, or maybe you’re more like me, or somewhere in between -- but regardless, I know that at some point you will have read a book for summer reading (or even for a class) that has become one of your favorites.

Here, in no particular order, are my top five books that I’ve read for school!

1. The Color Purple by Alice Walker | Amazon


This is one of the first novels that comes to mind when I think of school-assigned books that I genuinely enjoyed. I read The Color Purple in my Contemporary American Literature course last semester, and oh my GOODNESS. If you’ve never read The Color Purple, run, don’t walk, to your nearest library/Half Price Books/Barnes & Noble. It’s a lifechanging book, in my personal opinion. I would get so sucked into the story that I would sometimes read past our assigned pages and have to hold back during class discussions so I wouldn’t give away any secrets! I love that this novel is written in letters, because it really helps the reader connect with the story. Such a good read, and I’m super grateful that I read it in a class, because I think I got a lot more out of it through discussion with my peers than I would have if I had read it alone.

2. The Buried Giant: A Novel by Kazuo Ishiguro | Amazon


This was my assigned summer reading book after sophomore year, and I must admit I chose it partially because I vaguely knew that it was set in Arthurian England, and partially because my favorite English teacher specialized in Arthurian legend, so she would undoubtedly lead the back-to-school seminar on the novel. I was right in both counts, but even if you aren’t a huge Arthur fan, I recommend this book. It’s almost better if you know less about the myths, because this book concentrates on the characters within it and the vague, foggy atmosphere that Ishiguro expertly paints. It’s seriously such a joy to read, and I know I read it several times in a row to try and make sense of everything. Now that I’m thinking about it, I might pick it back up and give it a reread!!

3. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | Amazon 


Technically, We Should All Be Feminists was first a TED Talk that Adichie gave in 2013. You may recognize the audio if you’re a Beyonce fan...the singer sampled the speech in Flawless (“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller” is all Adichie!!). After the explosive popularity of her message, though, Adichie turned We Should All Be Feminists into a tiny paperback that is now so widespread that I even saw some in Anthropologie. Although listening to the speech is really fun (especially as a Flawless fan!!), reading it is a whole different experience. Adichie lightly edited her original speech for print, but the main message is the same, and anyone who wants to learn more about the viewpoints of other parts of the world should really take a look at this delightful and short read.  

4. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien | Amazon


This book honestly skyrocketed to one of my all-time favorites, regardless of the fact that it as actually assigned for my junior year history class. Because I went to a semester-away program during junior year, I missed the term when we read this book at home in Dallas. Thus, my first time reading The Things They Carried was this past summer. I wanted to start reading more again (check out my current reads in my August Book Club post!), and I started with this story. The Things They Carried made me both laugh and cry more than I expected, but in addition to that, it inspired me to read AND write more. O’Brien is such a talented writer that if you, too, dream of being an author, this book will definitely help you pursue that idea you’ve had rattling around.

5. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates | Amazon


Even though this novel is the final one on my list, it was what inspired me to write this post. My mom was helping me sift through shelves and shelves of old books last week, and she came across this one, asking me if I wanted to put it somewhere other than my stuffed-full office. My dramatic Nooooooooo was probably enough of an answer, but I then went on a tiny ramble about how great this book was. I really can’t say enough good things about it. It was my summer reading book before senior year, and I raced through it, not only because it's a fairly short read. It definitely won’t fulfill a need to have all the loose ends tied up, but that’s perfect for the story Coates is telling, about his family, his life, and America’s race issues. It’s such a great read for when you want to sit down, think, and really, deeply feel something. 10/10!!

So there you have it! My top five favorite books that I’ve read for school. Let me know in the comments down below if you’ve read any of these, OR tell me what’s YOUR favorite school-assigned book...I may have to check it out!!

Until next time!

XOXO, Maria



Disclaimer: The Amazon links above are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product through that link, I can earn money from Amazon. I only recommend products that I really love, and if y'all decide to purchase them, I hope you love them too! :) 

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