Top Ten Tuesday – September 3, 2013: Top Ten Books That You Wish Were Taught In Schools


It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish!
This week’s topic: Top Ten Books That You Wish Were Taught In Schools

Okay, so I’m going to go a bit off-topic (hey, what else is new) and combine two things: Books I Wish Were Taught as Required Reading (which some places they might actually already) and Books I Actually Enjoyed As Required Reading in School.

These may read as a list of some of my favorite books, yes, but I also think teens can get some really good messages & feelings from these books!

I also had a rant (over a year ago! Can you believe it!?) about how I did NOT do well with required reading in high school and how it really turned me off for reading until I got back into Harry Potter and yes, I admit it, Twilight. (See? You can judge Twilight all you want but it brought me back to reading! You can’t hate it that much.)


Also, I totally forgot about Code Name Verity!!! That should probably be number one. WHOOPS!

If I Stay (If I Stay #1) – Gayle Forman
Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) – Robin LaFevers
The Book of Broken Hearts – Sarah Ockler
45 Pounds (More or Less) – K.A. Barson
Confessions of an Angry Girl (Confessions #1) – Louise Rozett

And I also wanted to give a quick shout-out to pretty much the only books I enjoyed when I was in school… For some reason I enjoyed reading but the required books were ROUGH and I didn’t have an attention span for books I wasn’t into.


1. DON JUAN TENORIO was a book — a play, actually — that we read as part of one of my Spanish classes in college. We read it out loud IN SPANISH and it was actually kind of a blast. The language was a bit tricky at times because this is 1800s Spanish so the wording is a bit old, but.. Okay, think of Jose Zorilla as a Spanish Shakespeare. This play was actually really funny and a great comedy!

2. DECLINE AND FALL was another “fun” read, which is apparently key to me enjoying required reading books. It’s basically satire and making fun of the high society of the 1920s. It was actually a lot of fun… And I think this was part of my 20th Century British Writers class which was just a fun class because I had an awesome teacher.

3. WHOSE BODY is a mystery that may or may not have sparked the mystery reader in me. I don’t think I had read much before that and I’m pretty sure I went to go check out other mysteries after this book!

4. HEART OF DARKNESS. Not a book I think I would normally pick out for myself, but again… 20th Century British Writers, excellent professor, taught the book extremely well. I don’t remember much of what I actually “learned from it”, but hey, I came off with a positive outlook! That counts, right?

5. A SEPARATE PEACE is pretty much the only required reading book I remember liking aside from the ones I just mentioned from my 20th Century British Writers class. There were a couple others that were “okay” like The Great Gatsby, A Farewell to Arms (okay, that was actually more boring than I’m leading on…), Dandelion Wine, etc. But I actually enjoyed A SEPARATE PEACE. Do I remember what it’s about? Not a clue. Something about Finny, I think they were on a swim team? And I remember the OMG moment, but that’s about it. Maybe the OMG moment shocked me enough into bumping up its rating (I really tend to do that with books) but either way… About the only book I read in regular English classes that I remember enjoying!

And there you have it! Required reading in school was hard for me. I think I just don’t do well with a lot classics and I’m not sure why. It’s not the age of the book… Maybe it really was the content that I wasn’t interested it. Either way, there were a select few I did enjoy and thanks to Mr. Waddington for teaching an awesome 20th Century British Writers class because those are the ones I enjoyed most!

Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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10 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday – September 3, 2013: Top Ten Books That You Wish Were Taught In Schools

  1. Sarah @ Sarah's Book Shelves

    I’m with you on required reading…I wish schools picked better books and included some contemporary stuff as well! Theres so much great stuff that has been published recently and I bet schools are still sticking to classics only. I’d be interested to see what the high school reading list looks like now vs. when I was in school. And – I’m all for whatever turns you onto reading – for me it was The Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High, and VC Andrews growing up. I mean – whatever works, right?!

  2. Anna

    I didn’t have to read any of those for my required reading in school, but I definitely know the feeling of disliking required reading. I read a lot of my own books through high school, so I never quit reading. But whenever there was a shortcut I took it. Hence why I only read about half of Huck Finn and used Cliffs Notes for the essay (got a B+ for it too)! 🙂 I should probably be more ashamed of that…LOL

    My TTT:

  3. Amanda

    Tuesday just got too crazy and I didn’t get to do this post and now I’m regretting it, I love how you added the required reading books you actually enjoyed in school. I liked A Separate Peace too! Required reading is such a rough idea; like I understand the need to be exposed to classics while you’re in school but sometimes I think it does more damage than good. It makes reading seem boring when it’s actually AWESOME, and forcing a kid to read something they’d never enjoy is like putting a death sentence on them ever willingly picking up a book later in life. Okay, end rant. Haha!

  4. Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook

    I didn’t do well with Required Reading either. Of the Required reading you actually like, I only was supposed to read The Heart of Darkness. I never got through it, and oh my gosh, I hated it soooo much. It’s so not my kind of book.

    I really wish teachers could offer students a choice of books to read, instead of assigning specific books. That definitely takes away from the “I love the read” feeling.

  5. Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages

    I like the way you did your list. I don’t remember ever really struggling with required reading in school, but I definitely didn’t enjoy quite a bit of it. There’s actually only a handful of books that I remember reading in high school either because I loved them (The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, a Separate Peace) or hated them (The Scarlet Letter, Jude the Obscure). I agree with you about these older, boring books turning kids off from reading, I’m not saying some of the classics shouldn’t be required, but English classes shouldn’t be dry eighteenth century book after dry eighteenth century book.

  6. Vyki @ On The Shelf

    I can’t say there were any required reading I actually loved in school. There were some that were okay, but none I thought were really great. I’m jealous of some of the books kids get to read nowadays! I’d love a list of RR like your first five!

  7. Charleen

    I didn’t read any of the five you have listed, but I pretty much hated required reading in school. I’ve started to go back to some of them as an adult, and even the ones I still don’t like I at least have more of an appreciation for… but between being books that I’m not that interested in, the fact that I was being forced to read them and expected to be insightful about them, and the fact that this was on top of all my other homework… reading for school really turned me off reading for pleasure for several years. I’m still rather bitter about that.

  8. Stormy

    I would LOVE If I Stay to be required reading. It’s such a good, sad, moving book!
    Also, I believe you may be the first person I’ve EVER seen say they like Heart of Darkness, haha. Most of the time I see people complain about it.

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