Required Reading: ModCloth Employees’ Favorite School Books

Whether your days of required reading are far behind you or fresh in your mind, sometimes what starts as an assigned book can become an all-time favorite. If you’re looking for a new novel to add to your shelf, our helpful ModEmployees are here with their own reading list recommendations.

Read on to see which school books our employees hold near and dear to their hearts, and be sure to let us know your recs in the comments!

“I loved Great Expectations. I have read it so many times, and I always seem to fall in love with it over and over again. The House of Seven Gables was also one of my favorites. I even made my Dad take me to Boston so I could tour the house that it was based on. These were two books that I always felt I could escape into when reading.” – Taryn, Product Launch Coordinator

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston” – Susan, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer 

Frankenstein. Up ’til senior year English Lit, I’d just assumed I knew the plot and the basic themes from pop culture. Boy, was I wrong. I found a beautiful and complex novel about the human soul and free will, and, man, Dr. Frankenstein’s a jerk. I still reread that one for fun.” – Deanna, Merchandise and Operations Manager

The Perks of Being a Wallflower! It’s a great story and what better city to set it in than Pittsburgh?”- Brett, Unpacking and Dock Management Process Lead

“I read The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien in a college class and became hooked on O’Brien. It really opens your eyes to the lasting impact of war on the people who fight it. It turned that class from my least favorite to my most favorite, and inspired my senior thesis.” – Ashley, Head of Product Management

Reading Lolita in TehranMy whole family has read it since I had to in school and we all love it!”- Christen, Fashion Writer

The Great Gatsby, and would also add two short stories that made me want to read as much as possible, and write as much as possible: Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find and Joyce Carol Oates’ Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?.” – Molly, Fashion Writing Manager

“Emile Zola’s Germinal (not sure how our AP English teacher picked this one, but I thank him for it). Seconding Molly’s Flannery O’Connor.”- Julie, Ad and Marketing Writer

Mrs. Dalloway, Revolutionary Road and The Virgin Suicides.” – Turi, Outreach and Events Manager

“There are so many! I really enjoyed The Girl in the Flammable Skirt and Here, Bullet.” – Katie, Community Specialist

To Kill a Mockingbird was a required book that was a standout for me.”- Jeanette, Shipping Team Lead

The Odyssey, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Lord of the Flies. Definitely my top three books I recommend to people.” –Aprille, Intake Team Lead

The Giver. I loved it when I was younger and still have a soft spot for dystopian fiction.” – Erin, Production Support Analyst

Watchmen! My rad, iconoclastic teacher Mr. Robinson had us read this in my senior year English class, and I was majorly impressed by the way art, word, and the wonderful aesthetic of superheros wove together to tell a thought-provoking story.” – Hannah, Writing Development Editor

Death in Venice by Thomas Mann was a requirement for my European Intellectual History class… I still have dreams about it. Fantastic imagery!” – Megan, Senior Manager of Email and CRM

Island of the Blue Dolphins… I think that was third grade? I didn’t discover it in class as assigned reading, but I found it in our library and it has always been one of my favorites.” – Amy, Customer Care Specialist

I Go to Some Hollow by Amina Cain was required in a graduate workshop class I took. I read this collection of short stories when I was struggling with where I wanted to take my writing. The texture in the writing in seemingly quiet moments astounded me. The stories greatly helped shape my writing at the time.” – Kelly, Customer Care Advocate

Pride and Prejudice. It didn’t even feel like required reading and encouraged me to read all of Austen’s novels. Also, Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge. It was like reading a soap opera. And Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.” – Helena, Designer Relations Associate

“I was required to read Les Misérables in my sophomore English class. I knew nothing about it, but, coincidentally, a duo of singers in Choir chose a song from the musical for our talent show.  I fell in love with the book and musical. I really loved the conflict between doing what is legally right versus what is ethically/morally right. Sometimes the line is blurred. For that reason, Inspector Javert became my favorite character.” – Mark, Producer Consult

Catcher in the Rye. My sister Cynthia actually read it out loud to me when she was in high school and I was in elementary school. I fell in love with literature and it inspired a reading frenzy.” – Beatrice, Senior Associate Category Manager

“I took a contemporary lit class in college by choice, which introduced me to Dave Eggers by way of his collection of short stories: How We Are Hungry. It was only a matter of time until I fell in love with his writing and soon read all other works by him that I could get my hands on.” – Mary, Community Specialist Marketing Manager

What school books have you fallen for?

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  1. Lauren 08/30/2012 at 3:09 pm #

    I loved the Odyssey and Romeo and Juliet 🙂 They were both such wonderful reads. I was probably the only one in my grade to like them!

  2. leahwise 08/30/2012 at 3:43 pm #

    I love O’Brien! I just read The Things They Carried this summer and I’m working on Tomcat in Love, but the first book I read by him is called, In the Lake of the Woods. I read it for a Conflict in Lit class I took in college. It was one of my favorite classes. The war experience forces a great amount of reflection on human nature. – Leah,

  3. Lindsey 08/30/2012 at 4:36 pm #

    I love To Kill A Mockingbird, from these picks. From my own school picks, I really enjoyed The Poisonwood Bible and Macbeth!

  4. Katharina 08/30/2012 at 8:03 pm #

    Dear ModCloth, what other company would ask employees about their favorite school literature 🙂

    My fav school book was the 13th century tale of Perceval by Wolfram von Eschenbach.
    It’s a coming of age story set in a medieval knight world, and it stressed the importance of real compassion and caring for other people over following the law or any social rules as the true meaning of knighthood and noblesse.

  5. Jeanne Bernavage 08/30/2012 at 9:46 pm #

    High School required reading… “Slaughterhouse-Five” by Vonnegut, “1984” by Orwell, Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” Shelly’s “Frankenstein,”Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn and, of course, “The Catcher in the Rye.” Al! Of these were amazing novels that inspired me and totally broadened my perception of things.

  6. Charlotte Boyer 08/31/2012 at 5:11 am #

    Oh, I love the book “To kill a mocking bird”! It’s one of my absolute favorites!

  7. Amanda 08/31/2012 at 10:18 am #

    Without question “Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut. It sparked an absolute Vonnehut addiction! My goal is to read all of his novels and short stories . . . I’m just about half way there!

  8. Mae East 09/01/2012 at 6:10 pm #

    George Orwell’s “Homage to Catalonia” was an awesome reading experience required in a college humanities class. Up till then, for pleasure, I mainly read Austen, the Bronte Sisters, and Hawthorne. Such a change for me to read a war novel- but I LOVED IT! I also loved his “Shooting an Elephant.” Definitely recommend going outside the usual reads for this one! (In the same vein, “West of Kabul, East of New York” by Tamim Ansary is intriguing as well!)

  9. Jude @ CR Fancy Dress 09/07/2012 at 2:12 am #

    Some great choices here, especially Frankenstein. Gives me an idea for Halloween, in fact…

  10. devajashewaywriting 09/07/2012 at 10:12 am #

    Most of the ones I really loved were from college lit classes. Here are a few: The Master by Colm Toibin, Memoirs of Hadrian, Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, Dante’s Inferno, To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. The one that really stands out from high school years is Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf, senior year English class.

  11. Shea 09/07/2012 at 5:54 pm #

    I read “This rough magic” by Mary Stewart. Thanks Mr. Mikler from 10th grade English. He gave us a list of books to read from Agatha Cristy to John Steinbeck. Told us to read and report, which we did! It opened my eyes to the richness of the English language and how many good friend a military brat can find between the pages of a good book!

  12. Achariya 09/11/2012 at 5:36 am #

    I am sad that in this list, as in school curricula, there are so few non-white, non-males represented. I’m glad that my teacher pushed a more inclusive reading list. :\

    • Jeanne 09/14/2012 at 5:56 pm #

      What are some titles of books you would recommend from non-white and/or female authors?

  13. beth 09/13/2012 at 9:44 pm #

    Yay! Two of my favorites from school were on here. I loved Island of the Blue Dolphins in elementary school! I still have a copy. I also read Shabuna Daughter of the Wind several times back then, and once as an adult. Still great! Then I loved The Mayor of Casterbridge in high school English. I couldn’t put my finger on it even at the time, but it stood out to me. Another that stood out to me in high school was Native Son. Very good. If I had to make a list of great books from school, I think it would be a novel in itself.

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