Thursday, August 9, 2012

Class Reunion: Reevaluating Important Books from School

Happy Thursday!

I have a visitor today. Pepper Givens is writing a gues post about reevaluating books from school.

Class Reunion: Reevaluating Important Books from School

by Pepper Givens

As a young book fiend in grade school and a graduated college English major, my bookshelf at home is filled with a fairly impressive collection. I have novels in all genres, ranging from the classics to the classically obscure. Sure, it's impressive to look at if you're a reading enthusiast, but what I don't easily admit is that I haven't actually read everything in my collection and some I really didn't like at first. There are several books on the shelf that I've held onto all these years, but never truly delved into or only partially delved into. We've all been there, I think. Some of the books from school we just don't read. Whether it's because it was 900 pages long and we were sophomores in high school with more interesting things on our plate (driving!) or we were sophomores in college juggling six different novels at one time and needing to lighten the load, there are some books we just never got to. On the other side of this, we all have those classic and classically acclaimed novels we had to read in school that we just hated. Whether it was Old Man in the Sea or The Odyssey, there are bound to be those books that just don't grab us the first time around.

Why You Should Reevaluate

The fact of the matter is those books and novels are classics for a reason. Every high schooler across the nation has to read them and every English 101 professor assigns them because they are important. However, there are times a certain novel just isn't right for a person at that time. Some of the novels we approach as teenagers and young adults may not have spoken to us the first time around because we did not have the life experience to connect with the book. This can be a huge struggle for many grade school students, approaching lofty and complicated books at a young age. This is not to say that these books shouldn't be read at this age, but, at least, don't just the book only once. Once you are a little older, have a few more life experiences under your belt, and you aren't being forced to do so, try re-reading some of those books you hated. You may see that the perspective with which you come at the book today makes it more approachable and more enjoyable.

Furthermore, there are few things more difficult than reading a challenging book only because we have to. This is the way it goes for many young students reading novels. We read them because they are on the list and we will have to write an essay on them. Going at reading with this attitude can make any book a fairly difficult endeavor. There's just something about reading a book in your own time and on your own terms that makes it that much more enjoyable. Try going back to the novels you had to speed through to reach deadlines or books you read only sections of to gain a general understanding. As an adult, you can read a novel as quickly or as slowly as you please. You can take your time, look things up, and daydream while you're becoming enraptured within a story.

Go to your beautifully stocked bookshelf and choose a book from school that you just didn't like very much. Try it out again—trust me. You may not like it the second time around either, but I can guarantee you'll dislike it for different reasons. If you love it, you can evaluate why you disliked it then and love it now. Having the satisfaction of knowing your entire bookshelf is one thing; learning new things about ourselves through novels we thought we hated is something else entirely.

Pepper Givens is a freelance writer whose foremost passion is writing for her blog about education. While her primary writing focus is trends in higher ed, Pepper also enjoys writing about personal finance, parenting, sustainable living, small business strategies, and more. She can be reached for questions or comments at


What do you think? Have you reevaluated some books which you read in the school?
Happy reading!


  1. What a fascinating post. I hated the book Waiting for Godot in high school and I have been wanting to read it as an adult to see if I still hate it- or if I just wasn't ready for it. Similarly- I really enjoyed Catcher in the Rye in high school- but I reread it a few years ago and it wasn't the same for me. I guess it is better for 16 year olds. :)


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