[TOP TEN TUESDAY] Books that should be required reading

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My memories of required reading in High School extend to an entire anthology of poetry, a lot of Shakespeare and Holes by Louis Sachar. Hopefully nowadays kids are encouraged to read a wider variety of books in their English classes! In no particular order, here are my ideal picks for the modern Required Reading List.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – JK Rowling

One of the first books I independently read for pleasure, the Harry Potter series is fantastic for younger readers first breaking away from Primary School books and holds so many positive messages to carry through High School.

1984 – George Orwell

One of my favourite books, best for slightly older readers who can understand and appreciate the original dystopian fiction. Father of so many modern novels, programmes and ideas I think kids would really identify with the tone and themes of 1984.

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

I adore this book. High School can be a tough time and so many teenagers feel alone and unable to talk about their emotions. The Bell Jar struck a chord with me as a 13 year old, made me feel hopeful for the future and showed the true power of a great novel.

Dracula – Bram Stoker

Real vampires do not sparkle.

Animal Farm – George Orwell

Animal Farm explained more to me in a much more enjoyable way than any history class ever did. It’s short but packed with strong messages that an English Lit teacher couldn’t help but love pulling apart.

The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

The father of all modern fantasy and adventure novels deserves recognition. Perfect for students graduating from Hogwarts, JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit is the perfect introduction to the original world of elves, magic and unsuspecting heroes.

The Help – Kathryn Stockett

Funny and powerful, Stockett vividly captures the two sides of life in the Deep South throughout the Civil Rights Movement. A history lesson and a great novel all in one, perfect right?

Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut

I will never stop professing my love for Slaughterhouse 5. It’s completely stuffed with messages to decode, a strong anti-war declaration and the perfect scifi slant that keeps the reader guessing. It will be forever relevant and I will never stop recommending it!

Since I didn’t quite make it to ten choices this week make sure you comment below with your thoughts!

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10 thoughts on “[TOP TEN TUESDAY] Books that should be required reading

  1. Aww, I like that you feature so many “fancy” books. You know, the ones you’d actually read in a bus, because they make you look educated? Nah, just kidding. I totally believe that all of these are amazing! I just have a hard time committing to something non-YA. I read Lord of the Rings (first book), but which other book could you recommend to someone who’s not…uh…as much into classics?

    • Thanks! I love Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy, YA Fantasy with a unique magic system and a great moral focus, also anything by John Green. He’s a wonderful writer and I could have (and probably should have!) included so many of his books in my list.

  2. This is really a great list! I agree – more books like Harry Potter should be in school! Required reading can be informative AND fun! What a novel idea…

    And I (as I mentioned quite strongly in my post) agree – we need more fantasy in our required reading! Fantasy novels are a huge part of our current literature, there are plenty of classics to choose from, so the genre shouldn’t be so overlooked!

    • Thank you so much! Fantasy is such a huge genre right now and while I’m glad more people are getting into something I’ve loved for so long, I wish the classics got the attention they deserve!

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