10 Books That Should Be Required Reading

The Top Ten Tuesday topic for today is a back to school freebie. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and is my favorite weekly meme. I didn’t realise how much I loved it until they went on a massive break *cries*.

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I’m going to be tackling the issue of required reading for school students and listing ten books I think should be on the school curriculum. Although if you’re not in school and haven’t read any of these books I would totally recommend doing that. Actually enjoying a book that you have to read for school can make a huge difference in whether you actually listen in class or not, which influences your grades and so on.

Of the books I have had to read for required reading, I can safely say that I have actually enjoyed just over five of them. And we’re talking five or six books (or more) every year for five years.

The first five books are going to be ones I have enjoyed and actually read for school, whereas the other five are going to be ones I didn’t read for school but wish I did.

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Animal Farm by George Orwell

  • It’s pretty short
  • The language is simple
  • It’s an interesting story but has a good message too

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I studied this book when I was in year 10 and I really enjoyed it. We didn’t spend as much on it as I wanted to but I liked the historical context that it linked to and all the moral topics this book opened up.

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To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

  • Really good concepts
  • An interesting plot
  • Language that isn’t too confusing

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This is one of the first books I studied in school that I really enjoyed. It actually kept me interested and the writing didn’t feel old and confusing. It’s also historically relevant and about topics that need to be discussed with kids.

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Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

  • The film versions are really good
  • It’s genuinely entertaining
  • Opens up discussions about gender roles

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I had to add in something by Shakespeare here because his ideas are still relevant today and I find learning about the historical context quite interesting. Much Ado About Nothing was probably my favorite of his plays to study, partly because I prefer comedies to tragedies.

I also felt like this play was particularly relevant to conversations about the role of women in society which is a big topic even for women today. It’s something that my school talks about a lot considering I go to an all girls school, but I think even (or maybe especially) coed schools should have it as a part of education.

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A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

  • Very short to read but there’s lots to talk about
  • Also kind of feminist in message
  • Very easy to analyse for writing an exam on it

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This is another play. I actually studied this earlier this year, and it was really interesting. It’s also from a different time period and context than the majority of texts that we tend to do.

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The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

  • About so many important topics: colonialism, racial/religious/political differences, social outcasts etc.
  • So much to analyse and talk about for an exam
  • I found reading the book interesting if a bit confusing

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This is a bit more of an advanced book with some more more difficult/complex topics, but if you have a good teacher it can be an amazing one to study. I loved this story and the themes and ideas of it. There is just so much in this story and I think it should be studied by more people.

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Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

  • Sci fi!
  • Fun characters and interesting plot

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This is an amazing book that I really enjoyed studying, and it tackles some really interesting concepts about humanity. Sure it may not be the easiest to analyse or the best in terms of topics, but this book is just so enjoyable that I think it would be great to study.

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The Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata

  • All about education and disadvantage
  • Really cute and made me happy

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This is probably going to be one of the lesser known books on my list, but it is one I really enjoyed. It’s about a group of school kids in Indonesia fighting to keep their school open. It’s a really nice book that is probably more appropriate for a middle grade class than a high school one.

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The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

  • The main character is amazing and strong
  • There is magic!! It’s fantasy!

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I read this one when I was quite young, maybe around ten years old, so I kind of don’t know what age it would be appropriate for. I just remember really enjoying it and finding it super interesting. Plus we totally need more fantastical books in the school curriculum.

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

  • It’s all metaphorical and twisty
  • It makes you question things, which is good

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I think my sci-fi/fantasy reading tastes are bleeding through, but this is a book I think it would be super interesting to study in school. I haven’t actually read it in full yet, I got through the first chapter when I was like 12 and was really confused so I put it down. However from the words of one of my friends who has read the whole series, they are pretty amazing.

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The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

  • It’s about climate change and resource use (kind of…)
  • The mystery is suspenseful and interesting

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This is also a middle grade book, but it’s a really cute and simple one. The main characters are well developed and struggle through their own problems. How they cope with things is really good and I like that aspect of the story.

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what books do you think should be recommended reading?

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26 thoughts on “10 Books That Should Be Required Reading

  1. [With going through all TTT’s, I’m feeling like I’m repeating myself over and over again, but anyway..]
    I’d definitely add The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas to this list! The earlier people are aware of the injustices in our world, the more chance there is that people will stand up and do something about it.
    Not saying it should be read at a young age – at all – but it should definitely be read, in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s such a good addition that I completely forgot. It’s good to have a book that talks about more recent developments in racial injustice because it’s that bit more relevant. Plus her writing is amazing and really enjoyable.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hitchhiker’s Guide is a neat choice. And who says required reading can’t be fun? there’s no such cosmic rule ha ha. :) The rest of these I’m not super familiar with, although we did do Shakespeare of course in school.

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    1. The books on school reading lists should be interesting but unfortunately, in my experience at least, they often aren’t. It’s annoying because for so many kids that is their main experience with books.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I read Ender’s Game for school too. I need to go back and read the rest of the series. TKAM is my favorite book of all time. But I really think The Hate You Give should be taught in school as like a modern example of the same type of lit.

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  4. I’ve been impressed with the selection of books my girls (who are 15 and 17 currently) have gotten to read the last couple years. They’ve gotten a good mix of contemporary and classics. And I absolutely agree with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. We all need a bit of ridiculous in our lives.

    Here is our TTT.

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