Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Should Be Required

Ok, so I was trying to think of all the books that really affected me in middle school, high school, and college (i.e. ages 13-19) And thus, here is my list:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee– Classic. Everyone should pretty much have this on their list. There are so many characters and themes in this book that will continually be alluded to throughout life that it would be a shame to not read it.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – I recently read this, not while I was in my teens mind you, and it was so impacting on me that I decided if I ever go into teaching, I would make all of my students read this. It’s simple and easy for people of all ages to read. It is inspiring in the way Coelho tells you to follow your dreams and your destiny. It is an all around good book.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – This book opened my eyes to censorship, to not being ignorant towards people trying to control me into thinking a certain way… or not thinking at all.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – This book basically changed my life in high school. I’m sure it didn’t have the same effect on 90% of the rest of my class, but I was moved. This book made me want to never ever ever stop reading (even if I one day went blind).

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card – Again, another book I didn’t read until quite recently, but my boyfriend was actually the one who was like “You MUST read it” and, well, he just never reads. So I gave in, and he was right. Enders Game is good (in my mind) for those boys (and girls) in school who think reading is lame. I believe Enders Game would definitely pull them in and have them hooked right away (boyfriend being example #1). 

Go Ask Alice – Drugs. Rape. Self esteem issues. Sex. The topics most people feel scared to talk to their kids about.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen – I just remember love love loving this book when I was younger (that could have something to do with the fact that I desperately wanted to go and get lost in the woods somewhere because of My Side of the Mountain). Watching the main character, Brian, learn to survive in the wilderness was both moving and exciting for me as a young teen.

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse– I like this book because it was different. It’s a series of poems all put together into a book to tell the story of a young girl growing up in the Dust Bowl years in Oklahoma.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding – Classic. Boys stuck on island who turn into savages. Loss of innocence. Sow head on a stick. Piggy’s glasses. Sucks to your assmar.

Maus by Art Speigelman – Graphic novel about WWII. The Jews are represented as mice, the Germans as cats. It follows the life of Speigelman’s father as he fought to survive the holocaust. Very Awesome.

You have diary, comic book, poetry, science fiction, survival stories, coming of age. All that good stuff that will make young adults want to read. 

On to Reading!


  1. These are all great books, and many of them would be on my list, too. I would also put Roots, Catch-22, and Malcolm X on my list.

  2. Yay for Ender's Game! Definitely an awesome book :-)

  3. I considered adding Ender's Game then decided to leave it off. Now that I see it on your list, I think it is a great dystopian, post-apocalyptic book that deserves to be here.

  4. Ohh yes, I do love Catch 22 as well. Confession: I haven't read Roots or Malcolm X.

    I feel like Ender's Game is a really great book. I connected to it as I am sure younger adults would too. Anne, I really enjoyed your list as well. You definitely put a lot of thought into yours (I was trying to scramble mine out before I had to be to work, so I apologize for typos and the like).