I think required reading is a tricky thing, because on the one hand I think there are books everyone should read to become a well-rounded person. I think you should be exposed to as many ideas as possible, and one of the best ways to do that is through reading. BUT I feel like forcing people to read books can back-fire sometimes. I know there are books that if I’d been required to read them, I would have hated even though some of them are now my favourites. Nonetheless, here are books I think everyone should read at least once in their life!
(I have quite a few, please bear with me!)
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
An important look at race in the US. Also great at starting discussions about racism and white privilege and reverse racism (which doesn’t exist!!!)
We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A well-written, simple, and short exploration of feminism that makes it easy to understand and doesn’t point the blame at anyone.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Just really good??? No other reason really. I read it in high school and we had some great discussions about it.
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
An important look at friendship, loneliness, and finding yourself. Really spoke to me and lots of people I know.
Everyday by David Levithan
Has a really interesting exploration of love, gender, and sexuality. Also I think it’s important that people take YA seriously and I think this is a good one for that.
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
A true account of life in extreme poverty in the US. Sososo good and sososo important. Another one that’s great at starting conversations!
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
Also just really good? Would be a good required reading to engage boys TBH because I feel like a lot of required reading is geared towards teenage boys? Which is annoying because almost all the books I’ve read for required reading have been male-written and male-focused, but they don’t connect with teenage boys. So I think having a book to appeal to them would help more teenage boys be engaged in reading.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
Explores mental health in a really good way. Hospitalization and medication are viable options!!!
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Just really good for starting discussions. Stay away from anyone who feels bad for/identifies with/excuses Humber Humbert.
Nothing by Janne Teller
Explores the age-old question of “how far would you go???” Disturbing but interesting and important.
Thanks for reading! Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what your required reads would be! xx