I’ve been forced to take a slightly broader approach to answering the question, as I think I had a really good experience with reading throughout secondary school. We read Shakespeare (The Merchant of Venice and Romeo and Juliet), great modern books (such as Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, about which Rachel recently posted), and wonderful poetry like Tennyson’s Ulysses, which I firmly believe was a major influence in my academic interests at under- and post-graduate level. I even enjoyed the more trite and stereotypical reading we had to do, such as Carrie’s War and Goodnight, Mister Tom. I have a dim recollection of being forced to read some war poetry, which I hate as a general rule, but I’ve evidently blocked out exactly what we had to read.
I would therefore nominate a book that I was forced to read at university: Hobbes’ Leviathan. I read this as part of a class on ethical reasoning, which included Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, Plato, etc. I find the ideas of the book interesting enough, but the actual reading experience is simply dire! I find most readings from the Age of Reason and the Age of Enlightenment surprisingly dull in contrast with Renaissance and Romantic writing, but I’ve been fortunate enough to avoid a lot of it. I could barely get through most of Leviathan, however, and needless to say that class was not one of my favourites!