On the Books I Read for High School: Year 12

I recently posted about the books I read in my first three years of high school. By Year 12, we were expected to put a little more effort in than just one book a year. Not much more, though. For Year 12, I read four books for school. Of my subjects, the two that I read for were History and English.

History didn’t have required reading, as such. Sure, we had a lot of research, but we were never told to sit down a read a whole book. But in the pile of recommended reading, I managed to find two novels which I opted to read after I’d done all the research I could be bothered doing.

We were studying the Otago Gold Rush. And so, I picked up Heather’s Gold by Donald Offwood and Ribbons of Grace by Maxine Alterio. I don’t want to dwell too  much on these, simply because I didn’t particularly enjoy either of them. I simply found them both a little bit boring. That being said, it is quite the task to the make the Otago Gold Fields interesting, so I give them credit for trying.

For English, my class read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. The majority of my class absolutely hated this book. Me? I fell head over heels in an instant. If I had to pick a single book that truly changed the way I view the world, this would be it.

I could spend days and days raving about this book. I just thought it was completely haunting and thought-provoking and beautifully written. It changed the way I think about feminisms and the modern world. It made a better and more aware person, and for that I owe it more than I can give.

Some people might find the style hard to read, but I promise you that it’s worth it.

We also always had a film study. That year, we watched Life of Pi directed by Ang Lee. It was recommended that we read the book. And, being the snobby over-achiever that I was, I actually decided to do so.

I enjoyed the film and the book. I probably enjoyed the film more though. The plot itself is a little slow for my tastes, and what really made it for me was all the beautifully done CGI. Obviously, you don’t get that in the book. The book was written by Yann Martel, and he did do a great job. It’s a nice book. I just didn’t love it. The descriptions are lovely and all, but they just didn’t sell it for me.


And there you have it! The four books I read for Year 12, my second-last year of high school. Did you read any life-changing books in high school? Or were you like my peers, who didn’t connect with a single one? Let me know!

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4 thoughts on “On the Books I Read for High School: Year 12

  1. This is a great post! I wish I had read The Handmaid’s Tale in high school. All we read was Bleak House by Dickens (loved), Interpreter of Maladies (hated) and Year of Wonders which was so beautiful I bought another copy of it after I finished high school to put on my shelf (because I had written in my school copy). 😀

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  2. In our school system, we had a lot of mandatory reads. Since I was an avid reader as I can remember, I hadn’t had problems with that. Yes, there were books I liked more than others, but still, I enjoyed most of them. But looking back, I can see now, that some of the books were just too hard and I’m appreciating them more now. And for people, who hadn’t read much, they were absolutely too hard and too boring and didn’t even bother reading them. Which is a shame, because I think that school system should encourage reading.

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    • I actually really wish we’d had more mandatory reads! I feel like the people who didn’t like reading weren’t going to read the books no matter how many we had, but I definitely would’ve loved to hear my teachers’ thoughts on more books. It’s a shame that you don’t think some of your school’s books weren’t a good choice!

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