Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sara's Required Reading 101

Hey--really quick, before I start my post--please take a moment to read this post by Carolina Valdez Miller. She's going on a medical mission to Haiti, and she could really use our help. I hope you'll donate if you're able! And even if you aren't, you could always show your support in the form of a kind comment . . .

* * * * * 

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

Today's topic: In high school, teens are made to read the classics - Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Bronte, Dickens - but there are a lot of books out there never taught in schools. So if you had the power to change school curriculums, which books would you be sure high school students were required to read?

My answer: Oh mans. There are too. many. books. that come to mind. I'm going to narrow my list down to three, so you're not stuck reading the never-ending post of all posts. And, for the same reason, I'll (try my hardest to) keep my explanations down to one sentence.

Wish me luck.

(Seriously . . . )

1. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Beautifully written and engaging story--as a reader, I came away from it with new level of consciousness about the little things in how I live my life that can make a huge difference in other people's.

2. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. Gritty dystopian with a realistic premise--it's another one that will push teens into thinking twice about the world we currently live in.

3. The entire Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. Because every teen (every person, really) deserves the chance to believe in magic, even if just between the pages of those books.

Hey--look at that--I kept my number down to three!

Though, honestly, I'd make my list required reading for all people, not just teens. Why should adults miss out on these fabulous books just because they're not in high school anymore? And just because the protagonists are teenagers, it doesn't mean people of all ages won't come away a slightly changed person for having read them.

For the record, a few of the other books I'm dying to mention include:

*takes a deep breath*

*spits out book titles with rapid-fire quickness*

The Book Thief-Jellicoe Road-The Sky is Everywhere-Before I Fall-The Chronicles of Narnia-When You Reach Me-The Hunger Games-Ender's Game--

*runs out of air*  

Hm. Guess I wasn't able to keep it at three after all . . .


Click here to see what other Road Trippers had to say about their own required reading suggestions!


  1. Personally I think high school aged students should be taught to love to read by letting them read books that are relevant to them. Like many of the ones you've mentioned.

    Don't get me wrong, I love the classics, but being forced to read them before you're ready doesn't help others love them too.

  2. I loved The Book Thief.

    Great recommendations!

  3. I didn't read all of the ones you mentioned (including the ones outside the first 3) but I've heard great things about all ... many are already on my TBR list, waiting their turn.
    Nice suggestions!

  4. Awesome picks! Love Harry Potter, Before I fall, Narnia, The Hunger Games. Oh, and I'm going to have to read Thirteen Reasons Why (the book sounds utterly moving and heartbreaking) and The Book Thief (just based on the fun title alone).

  5. Matthew makes a good point. I didn't know I liked reading until I was an adult. The required reading in school just didn't do it for me. That said, you've got some great ones on your list. The Book Thief and Thirteen Reasons Why are two of my personal favorites.

  6. When You Reach Me. Excellent choice...the teacher could pair it with Wrinkle In Time.

  7. Ha, I love your whole list! Especially 13 Reasons Why. That should definitely be required reading for everybody.

  8. Your little book spew at the end had a bunch of books on my own RTW list! Your top 3 also had a couple that were on mine (I was only able to narrow it down to 5). Great list!

  9. I'm mentally punching myself for forgetting The Sky is Everywhere!

    Great list, Sara! And I'm off to Carolina's blog!

  10. Ahhh I haven't read SHIP BREAKER yet but I'm dying to! And oh man, THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE would kill in HS. Awesome suggestions!!

  11. Great suggestions and oh, I just got Ship Breaker last week, so excited to read it. And yay Harry Potter! You could do a whole class on that series.

  12. Great books. But once they’re 'required reading' you can watch the readers drain away…

  13. Yay for Harry Potter! He's on mine as well! You're the second person I've seen today who included THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. I guess that means I need to read it now. :)

  14. Great recommendations--I really need to read Ship Breaker!

  15. I could've made my list longer than a phone book--there are so many wonderful books that I would want to teach. When You Reach Me is a genius pick: that's one of the best books I've read in ages.

  16. Great choices! It was really hard to make a short list, wasn't it? I had to contain mine and make it *really* short, otherwise it would have spun out of control! I love the books you selected, though.

    So...when does class start? ;)

  17. "The Book Thief-Jellicoe Road-The Sky is Everywhere-Before I Fall-The Chronicles of Narnia-When You Reach Me-The Hunger Games-Ender's Game"

    Can I just second all of these choices? Some of my very favorite books are in that group! And I SO need to read SHIP BREAKER... it's been sitting on my nightstand for AGES!

  18. I really need to read The Ship Breaker! I keep hearing things about it that make me want to pick it up, and then I get distracted and forget all about it. Off to at least put it on my wish list . . .

  19. Nice! A little embarrassed to admit that I haven't read 13 Reasons Why, yet. It's been on my TBR forever.

  20. Wow congrats on keeping it short (I had a hard time with that as well :-)). Loved The Book Thief and need to read 13 Reasons Why (it´s on the top of my TBR list)

  21. Harry Potter should be required reading for LIFE

  22. Awesome choices. I love that the Harry Potter series would be required. I'm still surprised when I meet people who haven't read them.

  23. Jay Asher is not only awesome, but Thirteen Reasons Why is nothing short of amazing. I couldn't agree with you more and I love your list. As much as we each have our favorites I think the biggest take away is teens should be able to choose some books themselves and not have everything forced on them. Not only will they get more out of it, but they may find out how truly amazing the power of books can be.

    The Outsiders was one of my high school favorites.

  24. I agree with your every choice. I've read them all and loved them all. I'd probably add a few more, only because it's really impossible to choose so few...it's like Sophie's Choice. (like I might add Revolution, and Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and some books meant for 'adults' that I think are life changing. but i love your list)


  25. Some great choices there. Can't believe i didn't put Ender's Game on my own list. *slaps head*

  26. ooh, good books. Nice choices. If it were me, i'd throw on Clan of the Cave Bears, The Stand and the Mists of Avalon, because those are my top 3 fav books.
    GAH! I LOVE books so much!


Yay! I love when you have things to add :)