Anywayyy, Top Ten Tuesdays is hosted weekly by The Broke and Bookish and anyone is free to participate! This week’s topic is book series that I think should be “required reading.” Now I know everyone has a lot of opinions about required reading, and I see both sides of the argument. It’s important for kids to read some significant books, but at the same time, requiring kids to read books can discourage them from reading.

My school did something interesting.We did have required reading in my Language Arts (or English class) and then studied it there. But we also had 500-1000 pages of required reading outside of class, and for that, we could pick from a list of 100+ books so we had a little more freedom there. You could also talk to your homeroom teacher (who you had to report your pages to) and they sometimes approved books not on the list. So I didn’t face the bulk of unpleasant required reading, furthermore, I read mostly non-classic books at my school. Most of my required reading was contemporary fiction books.

Anyway, these are books I just think are extremely important and that everyone should read to help open their eyes, but again, everyone has their own choices.

  1. Outliers by Malcom Gladwell
    This book humbly asks you to consider privilege by looking at facts that are completely out of the individual’s control. This book is especially important for people who think everyone has “equal opportunity” or those who think if you just “work harder” you can make it.
  2. Beyond Culture by Edward T Hall
    I haven’t read this whole book, but it’s exceptional in its examination of culture. Mind you, this book is pretty old, so it definitely has politically incorrect language, so bear that in mind. But it’s much such an eye-opener and so helpful in examining cultural differences (polychromatic time cultures, individualistic etc); I honestly believe if we all studied cultures in-depth, there would be a lot more love in the world and less racism.
  3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margret Atwood
    Relevant as always. I’m unhappy with the way race is handled in this book (i.e. not really at all), but the dialogue is A+ and important; especially in relation to rape culture and suppression.
  4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
    It’s important to see the perspectives and narratives in this book from Hosseini. More than anything it’s a good about the culture of Afghanistan, redemption and family. Cultures and not monoliths; there’s all kinds of people in all kinds of cultures.
  5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    Now more than ever this book is needed as we consider the political climate and the violence and racism black people face. This book challenges all your biases and helps unpack a lot of aggressive and passive aggressive racism.
  6. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
    Another important book on rape culture. The rape scene in this book is NOT descriptive at all; in fact, the book starts after the rape has already happened. It largely focuses on the affects and PTSD Melinda experiences.
  7. Night by Eli Wiesel
    Especially at a time like this when we have actual neo-Nazis running around, it’s essential that EVERYONE read and learn about the Holocaust. Night is in NO way a read anyone wants to read, but it’s something we all MUST read about.
  8. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
    Iran has gone through a lot of changes, particularly in the second half of the 20th century. This is an examination of history, coming-of-age and racism.
  9. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Galbraith
    The story of a trans girl is so important; it’s essential for people to understand and learn how to empathize (because apparently that’s something we have to learn) trans people and the prejudice they face.

None of these books are fun reads, but all of them are essential. Learning about history isn’t fun because history is horrible. We are seeing history repeat right now in the United States and it’s terrifying to watch. But this is what happens when we don’t educate and we listen to those who claim “it never happened” it’s time to change that.

Have you read any of these books? What books do you consider “required reading”?

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