Back to School

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. This week it’s top ten books which you wish were required reading for schools.

It’s that time of year again. Stress levels skyrocket, textbooks are bought, young adults everywhere look out with hollow unfeeling eyes as they attempt to get an education and cement their place in the world. Obviously, this time of year can be as rigorous as it can be exciting.

I’ve chosen top ten books I wish were on the required reading list for schools. I think every student, at one point or another, laments over the sometimes tedious novels we’re required to read. This list is composed partially of novels I read in school and adored and partially of novels I wish were required reading.

Three Day Road
Joseph Boyden


This novel is heartbreaking and eye opening. It’s especially important for Canadian education. As a Canadian it is devastating how little aboriginal history and culture are touched upon in our schools. Actually, any of Joseph Boyden’s novels would be a good pick.

The Secret History
Donna Tartt


This novel has complicated characters you can connect with who are caught up in a chilling murder plot. I can only imagine the discussion this would churn up among students. The whole anti-hero dilemma that plagues so many books is beautifully illustrated in this novel.

George Orwell


My high school didn’t read it though I’m sure it’s a popular choice. I love this novel, it’s eerie and chilling in the most subtle of ways. One of the original dystopian novels that thrust the genre into the spotlight, George Orwell’s novel was way ahead of its time and continues to make a lasting impact on its readers.

Lord of the Flies
William Golding


While the novel could be a little dry I adored discussing and exploring this novel as a class my first year of high school and I think the easy to grasp symbolism and themes helps establish a basic understanding of analyzing literature that carries students through their high school career.

The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald


Despite the overwhelmingly flawed characters no one can argue that the prose in this novel is touching and almost otherworldly. The things that are left unsaid among these characters propels a series of events that reveals a superficial and grandiose society.

Harry Potter
J.K Rowling


I’m sorry if you thought you were going to escape the inevitable Harry Potter mention. It had to be included, it’s the perfect novel to spark a middle schooler’s interest in reading. It would be a shame if future generations missed out on falling in love with the Golden Trio.

The Book of Three
Lloyd Alexander


Speaking of novels that sparked an interest in reading this is the one that had little middle school me staring starry eyed at my teacher, riveted. I remember discussing this novel with other students with an excitement that was unparalleled until that point.

The Kite Runner
Khaled Hosseini


Obviously, this novel deals with very difficult and sensitive material and schools would have to issue trigger warnings and be aware of the intensity of its content. However, this novel had a profound impact on me and I think could force a lot of students out of their comfort zones and create hard hitting discussion topics.

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak


This book covers a period of time that is very heavily taught in schools, at least in my high school, and provoked a deep emotional reaction from me. It allowed me to better understand and become emotionally invested in events which I had only previously thought of as part of history lessons.

The Help
Kathryn Stockett


This novel is at once gripping and heart warming and showcases the hardships of black women in the racially divided Mississippi. The novel manages to evoke strong responses from the reader while dealing with a very important part of history that is, at least in my high school experience, overlooked.



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