Top Ten English Books I Hated/Loved Seeing on My Syllabus

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish.

School’s here. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday offers a freebie topic and includes ten books I either hated or loved seeing in my English syllabus throughout college. While I majored in Journalism, English courses served to round our education into deeper pools of knowledge. But, in all honesty, some stories bored me to tears, offering me hours of reading incessant whining that failed to help me understand my world then (Madonna, R.E.M. and Wu-Tang Clan taught me more). The first top five still does not entertain or move me; whereas, the last five does.

Top 5 Books That Made Me Cringe

  1.   King of the whiny, entitled boys.
  2.  The trip went far too long.
  3.  Jane Austin never clenched my soul. I blamed this novel.
  4.  Hailed for its stream of consciousness, this book gave me more headaches than Motrin desired.
  5.  Ernie I barely knew you. Thank you.

Top 5 Books That I Hugged and Thanked the Trees for Their Sacrifice

  1. The Bell Jar This story resonated with me deeply. During my collegiate years, my mood swings had a name and Plath’s protagonist demonstrated how I wasn’t alone.
  2. Their Eyes Were Watching God Janie Mae Crawford. Free spirits existed. No matter how many times people tried to box them. I felt relief knowing Hurston told me I was perfectly fine.
  3. The Bluest Eye Pecola shined a light on complexities her community ignored. This book taught me empathy and challenged me to look behind the shallow layers shown.
  4. Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy, #1) European colonialism and its (continuous) effect on the African Diaspora illustrated truthfully. I believe English departments NEED stories highlighting perspectives from the entire world, no matter race, sexuality, or sex/gender. Otherwise, are we understanding ourselves fully?
  5. Jane Eyre Social criticism galore arises in this book. I choose this story of her sister’s Wuthering Heights every time.

There you have my top ten love ’em or hate ’em college syllabus books. As you can see, I gravitated toward stories involving people of color, women, and the mentally ill. Why? English departments over-weigh the importance of white, cis male canon, including my former department. I believe in diverse mindsets for everyone to share, read, and discuss. One perspective does not fit all. Agree or disagree? Feel free to share below.




Author: Crafty Scribbles

Lover of Words. Mother. Teacher. Traveler. Writer. Bionic woman against ignorance. Finding the balance between words and reality. M.Ed. built to school you.

4 thoughts

  1. I loved The Sun Also Rises when I read it in high school. The one I hated was the Jungle by Upton Sinclair. Awful.


  2. I couldn’t agree with you more on The Bluest Eye. Wow, was that a wonderful book or what!? It was one of the first books I remember reading as a teenager that really opened my eyes to all of the ways that racism can be embedded into society.

    Here is our TTT

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your list amazed me. I’ve read most of your inclusions. They’ve opened my eyes when I read them as a younger reader. Cool beans.

      Thanks for your thoughts on The Bluest Eye. It’s a fine work.


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