Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Book Chat: Back to School

This week we are talking about those beloved/dreaded school-assigned books. Love 'em or hate 'em. What are your favorites or least favorites? Are there any books you think should be assigned, or have you ever been assigned something bizarre in school? (Also, special thanks to Jessica for letting me co-host this week with Allie! I'm honored!)

First, let me start by saying I didn't go to the most prestigious high school, so there were a lot of books I was never assigned that most of my peers from other high schools were (e.g. The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, any complete play by Shakespeare, etc.). But, there were a few commonly assigned books we did read, including:

Of these, I loved Night! (There I go with my sad books again.) I also enjoyed The Hobbit, but I had read it before for pleasure. (So, truth be told, I probably didn't even reread it when it was assigned haha.) To Kill a Mockingbird is, of course, a beloved classic. I was pretty eh on the other two. Instead of any of these books, though (except Night), I would have much rather been assigned one of these classic books that I've read on my own at one point or another:

And finally, I think these three books should be added to all junior high and/or early high school required reading lists:

Yes, I know they are considered "controversial" by some groups, and that's part of the reason I picked them. :) But more on that next week when The Book Chat discusses books that cover tough topics and controversial issues! I hope you can join us.

P.S. — I just wanted to say while searching Goodreads for ideas for this post, I realized people have very strong opinions about the books we read in school, including whomever created the list "Read These in School - Would Have Preferred a Root Canal." Ha!

P.P.S. — In case you missed it last week, check out my photo a day challenge for Banned Books Week here. (Details are at the bottom of the post.)


To join in:
1. Please follow the host and co-host(s).
2. Visit a few other book chat links and show some support.
3. Link back here in your post or use the button provided above.

*All images in this post via Goodreads.


Anonymous said...

Great picks, I completely agree about Perks of Being a Wallflower & 13 Reasons being ones that should be required. I am a high school counselor and have given away a few copies of Perks to some kids who I thought could connect with it.

Kaity B. said...

I read a lot of the same books as you. (Never read The Great Gatsby or The Catcher in the Rye either). Jury's still out on The Scarlet Letter.

Anonymous said...

I don't know Thirteen Reasons Why but The Giver is one of my favourite books to assign and work with a class. The reaction of the students as they get to understand the Community and what's going on and then... what's *really* going on, is priceless! I have also read just for fun Wallflowers and I enjoyed it very well. It is a bit more tricky to assign to a whole class but I would totally suggest it as a personal reading for some students.

Ashley @ ThisUnscriptedLife said...

I didn't read Catcher in the Rye until a few moths ago. I wanted to know what the big deal was! I actually didn't like it at all lol.

I still need to read The Giver. It's been on my "to read" list for a while. There are just SO MANY books and so little time! =(

Fran said...

I completely agree with you on Perks! definitely needs to be read by more people in that age group. I didn't read it until after high school but I wish I had read it when I was younger. I still haven't read The Giver & 13 Reasons Why aah!

Anonymous said...

I agree with your choices for middle/jr high reading. I think that's a time for make or break in required reading.

I actually read "better" books in jr high that hs. We were all set to read Lord of the Flies until a few parents said it was to "graphic" for their children, the same children that played Call of Duty.

And I love your photo banned books project!

Patty said...

LOVED The Giver and I did not read it until I was in my 30's. I really didn't like Lord of the Flies, but I loved that it made me think and question. I was pretty sheltered and it shocked me a bit, which I probably needed. I completely support teachers' pushing the envelope on the suitability of reading material.

thesubtlehipster said...

Ah, I actually really enjoyed Lord of the Flies. And, I think the Giver is a required school reading for junior high kids. Never read it though.

Dorothy said...

The most prestigious?? I didn't go to a school that would ever be confused with prestigious! I read Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies as assignments. I read Scarlet Letter and Hobbit on my own. The other two I'm not familiar with but will now check out.

PS - I studied abroad here in the Netherlands...just a lucky coincidence that I got to come back to work.

melissa said...

Ooohhh I also loved the Giver in school, and Night was one of my all time favorite school assigned readings. I think 13 Reasons Why should also be mandatory. SUCH a great novel!!