My Thoughts #1: The Good and Bad of Required Reading

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Every so often, I decided I will write a “my thoughts” post that will relate to books or writing, but won’t be a review. This way, if I am caught up with required reading (like I was this past weekend) or any other kind of stressful school moment, then I won’t feel obligated to read because I want to be able to write a review. Plus, I think it would be fun to give my opinions on other reading or writing topics.


In the spirit of recently finishing Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck for my English class, I will post about required reading. Most people hate required reading and I usually fall into that category. Most of the books my teachers have had me read haven’t been very good. For example, in 6th grade I had to read Maroo of the Winter Caves by Ann Turnbull. It was extremely boring and lacked the excitement I need in the books I read. Then in 7th grade I read The Samurai’s Tale by Eric Christian Haugaard, which wasn’t good at all. Then in 7th grade I was introduced to some good required reading books. I read And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (a very great author) and thoroughly enjoyed it, especially since it is a mystery. The whole time I found myself wondering who was committing the murders. For once, I had found a book that my teachers forced me to read that was actually enjoyable. Some of my friends had to read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton and everyone claimed it was great as well. Then over the summer, I decided to pick it up and loved it. I finished it in one afternoon. That was the beginning of good–or at least mediocre–required reading. In 8th grade I read Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry by Mildred D. Taylor, its sequel Let The Circle Be Unbroken, The Pearl by John Steinbeck and The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. All three books were very good, Anne Frank’s diary being my favorite despite some of my peer’s complaints that it was boring. Once I finished The Pearl, I realized just how great Steinbeck was a writing. He painted a picture in my mind and gave a deep message without plainly stating that greed was bad. Now only a day after finishing Of Mice and Men, I am reminded of his extraordinary writing and his ability to pass on important messages. While it was very sad and disturbing at times, I found it very good and enlightening about bullying, even though it took place in the Great Depression. Later in the year I am going to read To Kill a Mockingbird (I am very excited for that!) by Harper Lee and Romeo and Juliet by the famous Shakespeare (also excited for that).

These books are books I wouldn’t ordinarily pick up at the store. I would never have volunteered to read And Then There Were None, but I did, and I loved it. Never in a million years (unless my parents made me) would I have purchased any of Steinbeck’s books, but school had me and I couldn’t help oohing and aahing over his fabulous writing abilities. So, while I would rather be reading my typical dystopian or fantasy books, I am very happy I have been introduced to these far out of my comfort zone books.

-Book Hugger


One Response to My Thoughts #1: The Good and Bad of Required Reading

  1. Mary Fox September 28, 2015 at 11:50 #

    There are definitely pros and cons to required reading. Of course I am too old for required reading now but I remember liking it because I could hear different opinions from a large group. Usually, like you said, the books were interesting, and I may have never read them on my own. As a mom, I have to admit that I never liked reviewing all my kids’ literary analysis papers of required reading assignments in high school….but even then I learned something new every time!

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