When I thought about books I’ve been forced to read, naturally I was reminded of school. With so many reading lists and set texts I’ve worked myself through, there are many books that I was forced to read. The one that’s most stuck in my mind to this day is Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes. It was required reading for my tenth grade Literature class, and it’s possibly the only book I’ve ever read five times.
Even though I had spent a lot of time studying postmodernism in ninth grade, I only read examples of short prose. Flaubert’s Parrot was my first full-length postmodern book. At first it was a strange read, consisting of not only normal prose but also lists, letters, definitions, timelines, exams, etc. After re-reading it twice it really grew on me, especially because of the thoughtfulness it invoked. The best quotes however, originated from Gustave Flaubert — the reason I intend to read Madame Bovary eventually.
“Language is like a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity.”
Which book were you forced to read that impressed you most?
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