English Literature was one of my favourite subjects at school, so much so that I chose to study it a A-Level. We had to read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Cat’s Eye (I think my teacher was a fan…) as well as Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and Holes by Louis Sachar. And a crap load of WW2 literature for our synoptic paper (Low-key brag, I got an A* for that one. The only A* I ever got, apart from my French oral exam. End of brag.) Did I learn anything from these books? Sure… Plans always go wrong, be wary of any totalitarian state, and always keep your promises to old Latvian ladies. And something about marbles.
Anyway! Today we’re asking:
Which books do you think should be taught in every school?
Here’s what some of our fellow bookworms had to say! Do you agree with their choices? And as always, keep an eye on the schedule to check out future posts!
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Leslie Conzatti at www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com
As a staff assistant in an elementary school, I see a lot of what is available in school libraries, and I see the sorts of books that students tend to check out, and whatnot. As far as what is taught–I really do think that books like Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and George Orwell’s 1984 serve well as cautionary tales for what might happen if a student is passive about his own education, believing what he is taught and never questioning the authority, never exploring his own surroundings and taking responsibility for his choices based on those observations. On a gentler, younger reader, that message might come through clearly in a book like The Giver by Lois Lowry. It is important to let students know where and how it is entirely within their right–and indeed, it is vital–to take charge of their own thoughts and reasoning, to evaluate for themselves what they are learning. Even in areas like math and English, where there are rules and absolutes put in place by those who have already gone through the trial-and-error, it’s well and good to just accept that 2 + 2 = 4, but to ask how did I know that? Or Can I prove this another way? Or even Why is this true? Are all good queries and will serve them well in discerning what is true and rational, and what is being spun in a specific way to incite a reaction.
Brandy Potter – www.brandypotterbooks.com
For me it is the 4 books that make up The Middle Earth cannon: The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. I know that everyone is tired of hearing me say “Tolkein” but listen. Even though Tolkien stated that his books were not about life in World War 1 or watching his beloved small rural town become a hub of the industrial revolution, those things are still metaphorically there. The Silmarillion gives incite as to how religions and myths are formed. The Hobbit teaches about taking risks but having it pay off. The Lord of the Rings trilogy gives us lessons like avoiding prejudice and racism; not running from your past; embracing life and death; friendship; and most importantly that even the smallest person can change the world. There are so many life lessons. It teaches the value of stories like Beowulf and The Poetic Edda. It also opens the Fantasy door for those of us that prefer that genre. Harry Potter is great don’t get me wrong but few can beat the original master.
Jo Linsdell at www.JoLinsdell.com
There’s a lot of books that I think should be taught in every school. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank is the first. This book is a must read for everyone, both young and old. Unfortunately the lessons it carries still need to be learnt.
See yah next time!