Books you wish your teachers had you read in high school


  • Jan 22, 2015 3:33 AM GMT
    Hey guys! I am a student, and it seems everyday I'm hearing about books that my peers had read in high school that I wish I had the opportunity, and I recall some of my books that they haven't heard of and wish they had read before coming to university.

    What are some books that you wish you knew about when you were still in school? What are some of your favorite books? Why did they matter to you?

    For me, one of my favorite books to read in high school was Arundhati Roy's "The God of Small Things", Miguel Angel Asturias "El Presidente," and Khaled Housseini's "The Kite Runner." A couple of books I wish I had read in high school were Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye" or Ralph Ellison's "The Invisible Man."

    What about you?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 22, 2015 5:41 AM GMT
    We didn't read any of the classic thought-provoking books that kids from other schools did. The principal and half of the teachers were preachers of one sort or another. More interested in preventing us from reading books. (At least they weren't all the same kind of preachers, so they kept each other in check to some extent.) The rest of the them were pretty much swamped with trying to get most of the seniors up to the minimum graduation requirements. "Oh, you can already read? Great. You're on your own."
    I mostly devoured science fiction at that age. Which wasn't all bad. Also burned through a lot of Shakepeare, cause, you know, we'd at least heard of him. Bit of Steinbeck. Even a bit of Dosteovsky, I think.

    So to the original question: I think I'd just make kids aware of as much good stuff as possible and let them free graze.
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Jan 22, 2015 6:14 AM GMT
    When I was in HS, I remember reading Catcher In The Rye (for class) I remember I secretly hoped that by the end of the book he would become lovers with is roommate ... but they didn't write stuff like that back then. There was another I read a few years earlier, The Cross and The Switch Blade. I kept waiting for the cousins to fall in love with each other, but instead they ended up enemies. I guess books for school have to have some sort of lesson or message about over coming an obstacle. Not sure which one's out there would do that and still leave that door sort of open of anything could happen after you turn over the last page, so that each individual could come up with their own ending.
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    Jan 22, 2015 6:34 AM GMT
    AMoonHawk saidWhen I was in HS, I remember reading Catcher In The Rye (for class) I remember I secretly hoped that by the end of the book he would become lovers with is roommate ... but they didn't write stuff like that back then. There was another I read a few years earlier, The Cross and The Switch Blade. I kept waiting for the cousins to fall in love with each other, but instead they ended up enemies. I guess books for school have to have some sort of lesson or message about over coming an obstacle. Not sure which one's out there would do that and still leave that door sort of open of anything could happen after you turn over the last page, so that each individual could come up with their own ending.


    Oh yeah, we had stacks and stacks of those cheesy "inspirational evangelical series." cross and the switchblade and it's ilk. . Also lots of books about the joys of military service. If you could read three of them without getting sick or killing yourself... Well, you became a republican icon_eek.gif

    Stuff like "catcher in the rye" I only learned about from seeing it mentioned in other books in college or later.

    And actually they did write "stuff like that" back then, but they didn't let kids anywhere near it. For example, I recently read Gordon Merrick's trilogy I was blown away that it was essentially contemporaneous with The Caine Mutiny. I kept expecting Charlie and Peter to end up in a three-way with Willie Keith!"icon_razz.gif
  • Zigs_01

    Posts: 226

    Jan 22, 2015 6:41 AM GMT
    High-school made me hate reading.
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Jan 22, 2015 6:45 AM GMT
    mindgarden said
    AMoonHawk saidWhen I was in HS, I remember reading Catcher In The Rye (for class) I remember I secretly hoped that by the end of the book he would become lovers with is roommate ... but they didn't write stuff like that back then. There was another I read a few years earlier, The Cross and The Switch Blade. I kept waiting for the cousins to fall in love with each other, but instead they ended up enemies. I guess books for school have to have some sort of lesson or message about over coming an obstacle. Not sure which one's out there would do that and still leave that door sort of open of anything could happen after you turn over the last page, so that each individual could come up with their own ending.


    Oh yeah, we had stacks and stacks of those cheesy "inspirational evangelical series." cross and the switchblade and it's ilk. . Also lots of books about the joys of military service. If you could read three of them without getting sick or killing yourself... Well, you became a republican icon_eek.gif

    Stuff like "catcher in the rye" I only learned about from seeing it mentioned in other books in college or later.

    And actually they did write "stuff like that" back then, but they didn't let kids anywhere near it. For example, I recently read Gordon Merrick's trilogy I was blown away that it was essentially contemporaneous with The Caine Mutiny. I kept expecting Charlie and Peter to end up in a three-way with Willie Keith!"icon_razz.gif

    lol, I was in my 20's when I came across Gordon Merrick's trilogy, I never made it to the third book icon_sad.gif but a couple years back I bought the trilogy on line (a book here, a book there) so that I could re-read the story again and find out what happend. I fell in love with the characters. Hopefull someday I'll get a chance to re-read it soon, but I have dozens of others on the shelfs that I am still trying to get to also. Altough, I don't think Gordon Merrick trilogy (The Lord Won't Mind, One For The Gods, and Fourth Into Light) would be in a high school class. But from what I remember it was definately a fun read. About a year ago, I finally read the Quirk. It was a good book, but it left me feeling sad, and Rods alcoholism made me very uncomfortable.
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    Jan 22, 2015 7:05 AM GMT
    Not that we would have been allowed to read The Caine Mutiny in Skool either, of course. Question Authority? icon_eek.gif However, I filched it from among my grandmas books. (she died young). Leaves of Grass, Gung Ho and Lady Chatterleys Lover were in there too. Good thing my parents were more in to displaying books than reading them ! icon_razz.gif

  • Jan 22, 2015 7:20 AM GMT
    Wow! These all sound like really interesting reads!

    A part of me wants to read Orson Scott Card's book series "Ender's Game," but am hesitant because, well, it Orson Scott Card.

    I loved reading Blades of Grass, but had to set it down to return to my studies. I just read "Giovanni's Room" over the break (nice and slow, no rush) and while I didn't find the story particularly interesting, Baldwin's insights and language is simply a marvel.

    After I finish "The Bluest Eye" I think I'll read some Nalo Hopkinson, or maybe try to finish Samuel R. Delany's "Dhalgren." That particular work has been a trip to read.

    What are you guys reading now?
  • tj85016

    Posts: 4123

    Jan 22, 2015 7:40 AM GMT
    everyone should read, by the end of high school:

    The Federalist Papers
    1984
    Brave New World
    The Scarlet Letter
    Animal Farm
    The Catcher in the Rye
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    Walden
    Invisible Man

  • Jan 22, 2015 7:49 AM GMT
    tj85016 saideveryone should read, by the end of high school:

    The Federalist Papers
    1984
    Brave New World
    The Scarlet Letter
    Animal Farm
    The Catcher in the Rye
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    Walden
    Invisible Man


    I read 1984, and I'm afraid I didn't see what was so revolutionary about it. Likewise, I don't have high expectations for Animal Farm

    The Federalist Papers were a document I read about but didn't read until I arrived at my university.

    Brave New World by Alexander Huxley is one I'm hesitant about, just because everyone contrasts it to 1984.

    The Catcher and the Rye I read as a high school graduation gift.

    The Scarlet Letter looks to bore me.

    To Kill a Mockingbird was in middle school. Loved what I remember.

    Walden was one I read on my own.

    And I have yet to read The Invisible Man.

    I suppose I'm curious as to what makes these books ones everyone should read? Most of these books, while good, don't particularly scream universality to me, or any sort of new perspective. Actually, many of the narratives I feel have become so ingrained in our society that they have begun to become limiting, in a sense. The same way me not reading Kurt Vonnegut, but hearing so many of my students talk of him, makes me less inclined to read him.
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    Jan 22, 2015 8:02 AM GMT
    The Ender books aren't bad and don't take long to read. Formulaic and derivative, but not like the rest of Card's drivel. At least not the first ones.

    Delany can take a while to get through. Some of his sentences go on for two pages. You need to take notes to figure them out! Didn't he have a story where one of the civilizations in conflict was an all-male society, physically perfect, and they all made a point of staying nude or wearing transparent space suits when they had to? Might have been in one of the "Dangerous Visions" anthologies. It's been too long to remember exactly. LOL. Andrew Christian space suits icon_lol.gif

    How can you not love Uncle Kurt? Or Pynchon? John Barth? Or Tom Robbins? Or Mark Twain? Or Ambrose Bierce?

    Many of those books that you read long after their time can be difficult to put into context though.

    Has anybody mentioned Lord of the Flies yet? Another of those kids books they'd never let kids in my town see.

    Sorry about punctuation. Pecking on phone.
  • Svnw688

    Posts: 3350

    Jan 22, 2015 8:09 AM GMT
    Number The Stars, by Lois Lowry
    Night, by Elie Wiesel
    Freakonomics, by Dubner
    The Shining, by Stephen King
    The Holy Bible, cover to cover (long but worth it)
    Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell (long but worth it)
    1984, Orwell
    A Brief History of Time, Hawking
    Anna Karenina, Tolstoy (long but worth it)
    Roots, Haley (long but worth it)
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    Jan 22, 2015 8:10 AM GMT
    When I was about 12, I read "Portnoy's Complaint." My godmother was aghast. My mother was, like, meh.

    Years later, while in college, I was working at a small law firm. One day, the head honcho, Dan Beren (who passed away just recently) ducked into the bathroom before going out to lunch with Karen Ball who was a lobbyist. She was so funny. She knocked on the door and said, "What are you doing in there, Portnoy?"

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  • jeep334

    Posts: 411

    Jan 22, 2015 11:51 AM GMT
    The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien is a great read. It makes you realize how important people are in you life. In the Lake of the Woods by O'Brien as well. I'm not one to pick up a book very often let alone one dealing with Viet Nam (probably because of the guilt I feel how those who fought were treated) but these are both heavy reads and worth the effort.
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    Jan 22, 2015 5:54 PM GMT
    tj85016 saideveryone should read, by the end of high school:

    The Federalist Papers
    1984
    Brave New World

    The Scarlet Letter
    Animal Farm
    The Catcher in the Rye
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    Walden
    Invisible Man


    GREAT list! Have you considered running for school board? icon_cool.gif
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Jan 22, 2015 6:14 PM GMT
    It has been so long ago that I can't even remember a lot of the titles, but I would definitely add Strunk & White's The Elements of Style. It may seem strange, but it is a classic and will help you to learn just how writers do their thing.
  • tj85016

    Posts: 4123

    Jan 22, 2015 6:26 PM GMT
    WriteinDeepSpeak said
    tj85016 saideveryone should read, by the end of high school:

    The Federalist Papers
    1984
    Brave New World
    The Scarlet Letter
    Animal Farm
    The Catcher in the Rye
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    Walden
    Invisible Man


    I read 1984, and I'm afraid I didn't see what was so revolutionary about it. Likewise, I don't have high expectations for Animal Farm

    The Federalist Papers were a document I read about but didn't read until I arrived at my university.

    Brave New World by Alexander Huxley is one I'm hesitant about, just because everyone contrasts it to 1984.

    The Catcher and the Rye I read as a high school graduation gift.

    The Scarlet Letter looks to bore me.

    To Kill a Mockingbird was in middle school. Loved what I remember.

    Walden was one I read on my own.

    And I have yet to read The Invisible Man.

    I suppose I'm curious as to what makes these books ones everyone should read? Most of these books, while good, don't particularly scream universality to me, or any sort of new perspective. Actually, many of the narratives I feel have become so ingrained in our society that they have begun to become limiting, in a sense. The same way me not reading Kurt Vonnegut, but hearing so many of my students talk of him, makes me less inclined to read him.


    they're just good books I remember reading by the time I graduated high school (whether it was in 7th grade of 11th grade, I don't remember) and had an impact on me and provoked some discussion or critical thinking

    3 other good ones are

    Fahrenheit 451
    Dune (for the politics, not the sci-fi)
    Flowers For Algernon
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Jan 22, 2015 6:44 PM GMT
    "Catcher in the Rye" was my favorite book in high school.
    "To Kill a Mockingbird" was my favorite book in junior high.

    Other books I've read that I would add to the list would include "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison, "The 100 Secret Senses" by Amy Tan, "Carrie" by Stephen King, "12 Years a Slave" by Solomon Northup, "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck, "We the Living" by Ayn Rand, and "The Boys and Bees" by Joe Babcock.

    That last one might be seen as shameless self-promotion, but there ought to be a gay title in there somewhere!icon_cool.gif

    That said, I don't think books should be force fed. I think traditional high school reading requirements turn people off to the pleasure of reading. Many of the books that kids are forced to read were originally written for adults.
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    Jan 22, 2015 7:40 PM GMT
    Pullman's Northern Lights trilogy. It's only fair, what with being force-fed Narnia books.
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    Jan 22, 2015 8:18 PM GMT
    Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

    Duh...

    oh, and there should be a separate Clive Barker class. You know, instead of Geometry--useless.
  • tj85016

    Posts: 4123

    Jan 22, 2015 8:40 PM GMT
    dustin_K_tx saidHitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

    Duh...

    oh, and there should be a separate Clive Barker class. You know, instead of Geometry--useless.


    oh, and "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" (but girls will hate it)
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    Jan 22, 2015 8:58 PM GMT
    I really wish i had read more of the translation of French, Russian and other languages like Chinese, Japanese and some Indian authors. Although i have read a lot of books including Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer, Ted Hughes, Tetsuko Kuroyanagi and many other. If you really want thought provoking and some university level books, My advice will be start with the Classics and this includes every books from major languages around the glob. If you can read Chinese or Sanskrit then there is a door open for you.

    I am glad that i read all of the books by Jules Verne in HS.
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    Jan 22, 2015 9:02 PM GMT
    musclesbuilder saidI really wish i had read more of the translation of French, Russian and other languages like Chinese, Japanese and some Indian authors. Although i have read a lot of books including Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer, Ted Hughes, Tetsuko Kuroyanagi and many other. If you really want thought provoking and some university level books, My advice will be start with the Classics and this includes every books from major languages around the glob. If you can read Chinese or Sanskrit then there is a door open for you.

    I am glad that i read all of the books by Jules Verne in HS.


    icon_lol.gif
    Clearly you didn't go to school in Oklahomaicon_lol.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 22, 2015 9:22 PM GMT
    dustin_K_tx said
    musclesbuilder saidI really wish i had read more of the translation of French, Russian and other languages like Chinese, Japanese and some Indian authors. Although i have read a lot of books including Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer, Ted Hughes, Tetsuko Kuroyanagi and many other. If you really want thought provoking and some university level books, My advice will be start with the Classics and this includes every books from major languages around the glob. If you can read Chinese or Sanskrit then there is a door open for you.

    I am glad that i read all of the books by Jules Verne in HS.


    icon_lol.gif
    Clearly you didn't go to school in Oklahomaicon_lol.gif


    Yeah, see my profile.icon_lol.gif
  • Apparition

    Posts: 3529

    Jan 23, 2015 12:43 AM GMT
    tj85016 saideveryone should read, by the end of high school:

    The Federalist Papers
    1984
    Brave New World
    The Scarlet Letter
    Animal Farm
    The Catcher in the Rye
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    Walden
    Invisible Man


    Although I like a few of those books and think they are important, I think only nerds should read them. This list is precisely why a lot of people, especially boys, detest reading and stop doing so BECAUSE of highschool torture. Almost none of those books is actually FUN, which is all that should be mandatory in highschool. Why would you force people who are undecided about reading to read snoozefest after snoozefest, right at the beginning of their reading career? With the dropout rate we have, why would you make anyone read brave new world? In what way will it EVER be relevant to 90% of most people's lives?

    Also, in my mid twenties, I read the whole 1950's reading list of high school classics, and I to this day, still think "catcher in the rye" is one of the most boring things I have ever read, right behind "some stupid green light" and "kill me please...signed heathcliff"