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Books not required school reading, but should be

I’d like to see kids required to read "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America" by Barbara Ehrenreich. Not that it’s great literature, although the writing is solid and quite easy to read, but because it shows underachievers what life may have in store for them if they continue to coast. The payday that seems perfectly adequate to a 17-year-old still living at home, s/he will learn, is just barely enough to allow a life of despair and doing-without. I read it several years ago, but I vividly recall her descriptions of the places she could afford to rent, what it was like being on her feet all day in cheap shoes, how she could not afford to see a doctor or repair her beater of a car, and what groceries were in her small budget.

Other Fiction: Great Expectations, Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, The House of Mirth, any or all of the Sherlockian Canon, Northanger Abbey, New Grub Street.First Love.

And Non Fiction: Over the Edge of the World, In Cold Blood

  • Clearly this is a subjective topic, so you would have to explain why these books deserve to be part of school reading. – Ryan Errington 7 years ago
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  • I have always thought kids in compulsory schools should have a course in Ethics with required readings in Aristotle, Sartre, Hobbs, Nietzsche etc.. Ethics makes for good critical thinking. Fiction: The Chronicles of Narnia. Unabridged Grim Fairy Tales. Non-Fiction: The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quite School and Get a Real Life and Education by Grace Llewellyn – RJWolfe 7 years ago
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  • You could also show how many modern books have related themes to the classics. For example, if you read Lord of the Flies in school, why not read The Mazerunner? – Liz Watkins 7 years ago
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  • Because modern literature has lost the complexity of plot and nuanced ethics of Lord of the Flies, The Secret Garden, and many other classics. The issue here is to teach critical thinking and proper English via literature, and I know that Hunger Games does not suffice. Twilight is worse. I suggest Roots. No one has suggested Dracula. I agree with In Cold Blood as well as Chronicles of Narnia. Keeping with the theme, Out of the Silent Planet, Starship Troopers. If you are going to have kids reading Catcher in the Rye there is no reason not to add The Alchemist. A Wrinkle in Time or Speaker for the Dead (not necessarily Ender's Game, so that might be an issue) are good choices. Maybe Hobbes, but not Nietzsche. a) He talks of religion, which causes a problem. b) He is horribly racist at times. c) He is really, really racist. Seriously, it is as bad as having them read The Yellow Peril by London. – orenhammerquist 7 years ago
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  • A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, American Gods, The King of Elfland's Daughter, Roman de Silence, The Left Hand of Darkness, Embassytown, Harry Potter books, Germanic Myths, Egyptian Myths, Mesopotamian Myths, Celtic Myths. These are all the things that I wish we read at High school. This is the literature of culture. – Travis Kane 7 years ago
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  • Many kids refuse to read the books imposed by teachers. This continued disregard for literature influences them to develop an negative view on reading in general. While all the books you mentioned are definitely important reads for young students, it might be important to mention how sometimes letting a kid pick their own book allows them to develop a sense of pride in learning and reading. – sapphiremac 6 years ago
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  • I would be interested to see this to be focused specifically on books that are very good and worthy of being taught in schools, but have been overlooked for arbitrary reasons. For example, schools have a tendency to pick the dry, old, dusty books known as "classic literature", and while there is of course significant value in these titles, if we prioritize them simply because they are "classic" then we might be overlooking modern literature that is at the same or higher levels. I think this would help stop the article from turning into "Books I Liked and Wish Were Taught in Schools". – OddballGentleman 6 years ago
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