Hello, fellow people of Earth. How have you guys been? Good? Good. Sorry we haven’t been posting (we know we say that every time, but we still really, really mean it); we’re lazy.
Sooo, being that it’s summer and that we therefore have summer reading books, we were thinking that we could do a post on required reading books in schools. Sooooo, first we’re going to have a quick discussion on required reading books in general, and then we’re going to list our favorites/least favorites.
Also, we have a guest! Yayyyy! Let’s put our hands together to welcome our friend Ney! Yayyyyyyyy!
(Oh, and btw, we’re honestly not claiming to be experts or anything on required reading; we’re not like some super experienced education official people--these are just our opinions. Okay that’s it.)
Do you think schools should have required reading?
Ney: Only if there’s SparkNotes.
JC: Haha, Schmoop is better. But anyway, I think that summer reading books can be good--it just depends on the book. The books that have good themes and actually relate to our lives are good, but with some of the books that I’ve read in school, I don’t really get why we had to read them in the first place.
Kalee: I believe that required reading is important. Without it, we would never be exposed to different styles of writing and dark, yet realistic themes. I feel like we can learn more about ourselves and feel like we can relate to someone.
Ney: I don’t mind having required reading because I don’t read the books anyway.
JC: You’re just perfect for this post, Ney! Lol . . . aaaanyway, I agree with you, Kalee, but I also think that some of the books that we have to read are a waste of time (no offense to those super famous authors and playwrights that I just insulted). I think that if the English teachers ask for feedback on the required reading at the end of the school year, they should actually listen to what we have to say and maybe change the books we have to read accordingly if there are enough opinions opposing it. Okay, that’s all I have to say.
Kalee: I feel like most kids end up hating Shakespeare because it’s required reading. Pressure from school and teachers makes it extremely difficult to enjoy books with hidden meanings, because we are too busy trying to find the hidden meaning that the teachers want us to see. And that's it.
Awesome List of Required Reading Books (in order of awesomeness)
- Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger - Holden is a really relatable character for pretty much anyone who’s ever been scared of change or felt alone. The book is full of important themes that exist in real life (loss, loneliness, general teenage irritability, etc.)
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - First of all, Scout is a really adorable character. Second, this book brings to attention the consequences of making snap judgements of other people without any real evidence (and, of course, how horrible racism is, whether it be in the past or present). We grow up with Scout and Jem, and we learn right along with them.
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain - Huck doesn’t always make the right decisions, which only makes him a more relatable character. This is a book about friendship, religion, racism, and individualism, and it’s a great read.
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - Although this book is a bit (read: a lot) wordy for my taste (this is JC by the way), it still has a fierce, relatable main character and a slew of hilarious and/or lovable side characters (and a few characters that you can’t help but despise). Some themes in this book are love, marriage, sisterhood, and feminism in a time where misogyny rules.
- The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams - The characters in this play are well-defined, and you can feel Tennessee Williams’ own guilt over leaving his family resonate through Tom’s emotion-packed narrative. (P.S. JC didn’t like this play)
- Eyes of the Emperor by Graham Salisbury - This novel gives an insight into the plight of Japanese Americans in the tumultuous WWII-era America. The voice of the resilient, relatable main character Eddy Okubo only makes the harrowing story even more moving.
- Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah - This story is both heartbreaking and uplifting, if that makes sense. Though the narrator (who just so happens to be the author) goes through some horrible experiences, her strength and resilience shines through. It’s a sad read, admittedly, but it’ll definitely be worth it.
Horrible List of Required Reading (in order of horribleness)
- Butter by Erin Jade Lange - Horrible message, underdeveloped characters, disturbing plot, and a completely unrealistic ending. ‘Nough said.
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding - Okay, so a lot of people luuuuurve this book, but I just--omg, I couldn’t stand it. Seriously. A bunch of boys survive a plane crash onto a deserted island, only to have it all go to waste when they all start killing each other, basically. It was disturbing and horrible, and literally nothing good ever happens to the characters who actually deserve it.
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare - I know insulting the Bard is considered sacrilegious to a lot of people, but this play pretty much had no point. A bunch of hormone-loaded teenagers run into the forest, where a bunch of weird, pointless stuff happens. Then they all get happy and dance and get married. The end.
Okay, that’s it, folks! We hope you enjoyed this post (and Ney’s contributions to the conversation, lol) and that you’re all having a great summer vacation (for those of you in school)! Ta-ta for now :) <3