Years ago I used to participate in Top Five Wednesday all the time. Then I abandoned the blog and the channel. Recently I’ve been more interested in the topics, but this is a really old meme, so at this point there’s a whole lot of repetition. But when I find a topic I like, I’ll go ahead and participate. I have no idea who is running it anymore, but you can find the Goodreads group here.
With today’s topic I chose five books that are commonly assigned in schools, and that I believe should continue to be.
The Diary of a Young Girl
Anne Frank’s diary during WWII is one of the most read works of the 20th century, with good reason. It provides the child’s perspective during that dark time.
To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee’s great American novel. The story gives insight into the Deep South in the US in the post Civil War era. Though the country had moved forward, nearly 100 years after the war it was still slow going.
The shortest book of the bunch. Elie Wiesel’s most known work tells of his time in Auschwitz. It’s a brutal, honest, and heartbreaking read.
This book still influences the vampire genre today. It’s the epitome of good vs evil and man vs monster. As you read you cannot help but pull for the group to defeat the Count.
Malcolm Gladwell doesn’t write mediocre books. This one tells the story of successful people. So often we hear about or see targeted ads that claim to have the secret to riches or success. This book shows the secret is hour after hour after hour of hard work.
What are some of your favorite assigned reading books?
It doesn’t matter which state you live in or even which country, there are books that are taught in school that parents speak out against. I can name more than a handful of books that are constantly challenged.
I have no kids. My parents never had an issue with any book I was assigned in school. I don’t think I can come up with any reason I’d have a problem with any book assigned in school. If books deal with sex, mental illness, death, history, or any other “difficult” topic; then I can’t think of a better environment than a classroom to learn about those things. I see no reason why a parent wouldn’t be actively involved in those discussions if they’re being discussed in school.
What do you think is a good reason to speak out against an assigned reading book?
I’m talking about assigned school reading here. Schools down here in Texas mostly assign classics in the classroom, which isn’t bad, but I’d like to see some more variety. I’ve heard of teachers assigning The Hunger Games for class. Like…where the heck was that teacher when I was in school?! I know John Green’s books are assigned. And several others. But my experience in the classroom was with books that were written decades before I was born, and sometimes centuries before.
Let me just make a random list of books I remember reading in school. This isn’t necessarily going to be in any order or by genre or anything. Romeo and Juliet. Does that even count? The Odyssey. Dracula. Jurassic Park. 12 Angry Men. Was that originally a book? The Great Gatsby. Beowulf. I’m just naming whatever I can think of. I’m sleepy. I Have Lived a Thousand Years. Of Mice and Men. That’s all I can come up with. I just sat here rolling my head on my desk in an effort to stay awake. I don’t think that list really fits with my previous assertion that I read a lot of classics in school. Oh well.
I know there are a million more books I was assigned during my time in school, but I only listed out those books for your benefit. I know which book was the best. Dracula. I’ve written about that book several times on here, because it’s quite honestly the only assigned reading book that’s stuck with me. I don’t hardly remember any part of any other book I was forced to read in school. But I remember the Count. I remember Mina. And Lucy. And Harker. Van Helsing. The gypsies. Shapeshifting. The pure evil of it all. And no, I didn’t take a look at the Wikipedia page for the book. I don’t have to. I even know the year it was published by memory. 1897.
I know I liked The Great Gatsby, but I couldn’t tell you hardly anything about the story itself. Oh! We read The Giver in 8th grade. No idea what it was about. I know Jurassic Park pretty well, but that’s a good book while Dracula is iconic. The others…eh.
Now you know the best book I was forced to read in school, what’s yours?