Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Required Reading

I thought the prompt this week over at The Broke and the Bookish was particularly fun. I had no trouble listing books that I think should be required reading for teens. Here's what I came up with:

Proposed Required Reading

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.... because of its powerful message about the power of words, not to mention a look at Nazi Germany from a whole new point of view.

2. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck.... because its a great way to learn about another culture, to learn about family relationships and to learn about strength of character

3. John Adams by David Muccullough.... because its the perfect book to learn about the birth of America, despite its size.

4. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens... because its such a powerful French Revolution book.

5. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck... because it depicts an often forgot about period of US history in such a unforgettable heartbreaking manner

6. Life of Pi by Yann Martel... because it would teach kids that books can be about anything, and mess with your mind and that authors don't have to follow any sort of formula.

7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.... because this book says so much about so many things that everyone, students and otherwise, should read it.

8. Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien... to introduce kids to the fantasy genre which teaches them that they can learn much from a "pretend" world just as much as they can from a real life one.

9. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.... because its another wonderful book that shows a controversial time period in American history, has been challenged because of that, and should thus be therefore KEPT on the list.

10. The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank... because it shows that even an ordinary kid can make a huge impact on the world, just by keeping a diary.

Do you agree or disagree with my list? What would you put on your list?

P.S. So I just watched this lovely video posted yesterday (Monday 7/18) of John Green talking about The Great Gatsby... a book I've never understood and have always thought should NOT be on the required reading lists! However, after watching this, I'm thinking that if John Green was my English teacher, I could handle reading anything! Bring it on!


  1. I keep saying I am going to read The Book Thief, this one I want to know what the hype is about :-)

  2. I think Still Alice is a must read.

  3. I just finished The Book Thief last night! Great book. The only one on your list I disagree with is A Tale of Two Cities. It's one of my least favorite books ever!

  4. John Adams was a great read- wonderful choice. I love David McCulloughs writing. I picked 1776 for my list.

  5. The Life of Pi is a great discussion book. There are so many angles and opinions about what the author wants us to think happened that I think students could get really involved in it.

  6. Fab list all except Dickens as often as I tried I could never get through any of his books except A Christmas Carol. I would also totally add both The Book Thief and anything by John Green.

  7. I love John Green. Thanks for posting that Vlogbrother segment. I agree if only I'd had John as my English teacher I might have "got" so much more out of class in high school. I'm listening to Go West while I am typing this. Fun blog. I am a new follower.

  8. I love your choices! I've read them all with the exception of Life of Pi.

  9. I haven't read quite a few of these so I can't really share my opinion, but I do agree with The Book Thief. (obviously) My internet won't let me watch the video, but since I haven't read The Great Gatsby yet, I probably wouldn't fully appreciate it. I love watching John Green talk, though. I'd love him for a teacher.

  10. Agreed about John Green. I love Great Gatsby, but he makes it seem so much... MORE. He should be an English teacher on the side.

  11. I loved the Book Thief. Definitely a good choice.


  12. I knew The Book Thief would be at the top of your list. :) Great choice in other books as well. :)

  13. Great list! Some of those I really need to read myself...

  14. Great choices! I have read and enjoyed all of those. My son finally checked out his sophomore summer reading, and he's supposed to read Northanger Abbey. I just went, "Huh?" I love Austen and enjoyed NA, but what a weird choice!
    Loved the video! I really must read something by him soon.

  15. Marce: Yes, you really should read it!

    reviewsbylola: Ah, I love Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities. I need to re-read!

    Anne: I have yet to make it through 1776. Need to try harder.

    Lisa: Exactly! That's why I think it would be great for a classroom book.

    Jan: I agree many of Dickens is very hard.

    Anne: Thanks for the follow! I love John Green too! :)

    Annie: Hopefully you can try Life of Pi sometime and see if it blows you away... or not.

    Jenny: I had a lot of classics on here, and I found many lists chose newer things. Oh I hope you can get the video watched at some point! He's a hoot!

    Melissa: MORE is right! I bet he would enjoy being an English teacher too!

    Kristin: The Book Thief ends up on pretty much all of my lists.

    Jenni: LOL! As said above, every list pretty much!

    Kailana: The list of "need to reads" is huge for us all I think.

    Shelley: Oh, yeah... Northanger Abbey is a strange choice. It will be interesting to see what he thinks... and yes, try some John Green soon!

  16. +JMJ+

    I like the historical angle you've taken here, Suey. =) Even The Lord of the Rings is, in a certain sense, a history book! We can learn a lot from the past--especially the darker periods that still make us uncomfortable now--so I'm glad to see one list that doesn't rush to name contemporaries just because they're more likely to reflect what teens are going through these days.



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