Note: this is a queued post. I may or may not actually be here.
1. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoevsky
Do I remember a single thing that happens? Absolutely not. But by god, I dragged my way through this cover to cover as a senior in high school, and I WILL forever remember that despite barely understanding it I scored 100% on the paper I wrote (highest in the class). I will N-E-V-E-R read another Russian epic again because of this experience (even though my mom keeps raving about Anna Karenina), but I will boast about this achievement to my dying day.
2. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay - Michaael Chabon
Obviously this one is very recent, and I already talked about it a lot, but still. I am still in awe that I really just went "CHALLENGE ACCEPTED" in a haze of fandom love, and in a matter of days I had picked it up and powered through almost 700 pages of something with zero inherent appeal. And liked it.
3. In Darkness, Death - Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler
Every time I see this on my Goodreads account, I just crack up, because I rated it 1 star (I don't remember why, but my hand written reading list made it clear this SUCKED), and I genuinely cannot imagine what made High School Me go, "Samurai Detective/Japanse Sherlock Holmes, oh boy, sounds like an appealing concept."
4. Places I Never Meant To Be: Original Stories by Censored Writers
As a person who has never met a banned book she wouldn't have banned herself (with the possible exception of Harry Potter, though no normal person has ever tried to ban that), it's really a puzzler as to why I would not have seen this the way one sees a poisonous jungle frog. I do not remember it at all, but I gave it 1 star, of course.
5. The Story of Snowman - Tony Palazzo
First POSITIVE entry on the list. The reason I can't believe I read this one is more "I can't believe I got to read this." Bless the Minnesota library that lent it to me, because it is a vintage picture book about a famous horse that is now so rare it literally costs HUNDREDS to purchase on the rare occasion it appears for sale. There is one listed now at $192, and in 4 years that is the cheapest one I've seen. I have literally seen tags of $300 up to $600.
6. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things - Carolyn Mackler
I wasn't afraid to die of secondhand embarrassment from reading the title alone. Huh.
7. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
I really subjected myself to something I was 98% sure I would hate just so I could verbally punch it out with Authority. Sometimes it still feels like a fever dream.
8. Godless - Ann Coulter
I'm sure my mom just had it lying around, and I'm equally sure I was just so tired of listening to the whiny Bush-bashing hivemind of my classmates that it was a relief to seize upon something in the opposite direction, but man. My brain sends her words straight to a "dog ears only" frequency these days.
9. The Tombs of Atuan - Ursula K. LeGuin
I never think I've read anything of hers, and I always forget I have read this one. I happened upon it at the library when I still sometimes enjoyed this genre, knowing nothing about it (including that it was part of a series), and I wholly did not enjoy it.
10. Our Mutual Friend - Charles Dickens
It's not bad or anything, but it is looooong and it is complicated, and without the aid of a dedicated professor and a thorough study in class, I would never have even attempted to finish, if I started it all.