Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Should Be Required Reading for Teenagers
This is a toughie. It's been years and years since I've been around teenagers and their reading ways. But what the heck, I'll give it a go.
Top Ten Tuesday is the Weekly Meme hosted by the gals at THE BROKE AND THE BOOKISH. Each week we're give a different topic on which to post our Top Ten picks. This week it's Top Ten Books That Should Be Required Reading for Teenagers.
I'm going to assume that by the time they're teenagers, most kids have read the Harry Potter books and possibly Lord of the Rings, so I'm leaving those off the list. I'm not an educator so these are all just personal choices. Several of the books on this list are books that influenced me as a teenager.
1) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2) The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark
3) To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
4) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
5) Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
6) 1984 by George Orwell
7) The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
8) Anne Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl- non-fiction
9) Is Paris Burning? by Larry Collins and Dominique La Pierre - non-fiction
10) The Territorial Imperative by Robert Ardrey - non-fiction
Off the top of my head, I'd also add: THE LIGHT IN THE FOREST by Conrad Richter, BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE by Dee Brown, a good biography of Lincoln and a good bio of Jackie Robinson and maybe the new book, BRANCH RICKEY, by Jimmy Breslin. Rickey was the man who signed Robinson for the old Brooklyn Dodgers, thus breaking the all white color barrier in Major League Baseball.
You'll notice I only included one heavyweight - Shakespeare - and at that, the one play I believe that teens might instinctively relate to if approached in the right way. I didn't include Dickens or any other complex literary classics because I think most teens are just not ready for that sort of thing.
In my own personal opinion, forcing classics on teens is the worse thing that can happen, it makes them skittish - sometimes permanently. I'd add the classics to a selective list and then let the kids who are intrigued enough, able enough, choose from there.