Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Top 10 novels teens should be required to read

Question: Top 10 novels teens should be required to read

Answer:  Ideally, we want our hypothetical teenagers to read a wide range of novels... OUTSIDE the YA genre.  You might find a few YA books on our list this week, but our main goal is to prepare teens for a lifetime of reading.  We’re also assuming that many of the great YA books are already on their “un-required” reading list...      

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee) – Amazing book!  Amazing narrator!
  2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) – Literature’s classic love story, although any Jane Austen book can be substituted here.
  3. The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien) – The epic adventure that led to another 3 part epic adventure...
  4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl) – So many readers (including us) missed this great author in their youths. James and the Giant Peach or Matilda can also be substituted here.
  5. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (Louise Rennison) – This is one of the funniest teen diary books we’ve come across.  Teens should be careful to avoid being as shallow as the main character... 
  6. David Copperfield (Charles Dickens) – Our opinion has changed over the past few months, but this novel is now our favorite by Charles Dickens.
  7. Bag of Bones (Stephen King) – Any Stephen King will do, and with close to a bazillion novels published there are plenty to choose from.
  8. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) – “Don’t Panic” is the number one rule all teenagers should live by...  Okay, there might be a few others, but not panicking shouldn’t be undervalued.  This “guide” has more than a few tips!  
  9. Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi) – Personally, we’re not that into graphic novels, but this novel was excellent.  Plus, it helps further the quest to read a variety of different genres.
  10. Gone with the Wind / I Capture the Castle / Jane Eyre / Rebecca / A Room with a View – Take your pick!  We know our favorite, but any 1 of these 5 novels will provide a worthy final choice.

Have a great week and head on over to The Broke and the Bookish to join the fun!


  1. I pooped out creating my list last night so I went back to it this morning and added a few more books and I just decided that Hitchhiker's Guide should be a must read for its hilarity, then I pop over here and find it on your list, too. Such fun!

  2. Nice list. I also included To Kill a Mockingbird and Pride and Prejudice. I had a hard time narrowing the list down to ten!

  3. I included TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD too, but not any Austen. I'm just not convinced that Austen (or for that matter, Dickens)is for kids. But of course that's my own personal opinion. This was a hard list to narrow down. Really I'd love to see kids reading anything, just so long as they're reading.

  4. I saw Hitchiker's Guide on someone else's list. Great stuff.

    I loved Persepolis! I've actually only seen the film, but it's done in the style of the graphic novel, which was cool. It definitely shows a very different childhood than the ones we're used to seeing and experiencing.

  5. I've heard Persepolis is really good. I've been wanting to try a graphic novel, maybe this should be the one.

  6. I put Persepolis on my list and I may have kind of copied you. I think I would substitute Matilda for Charlie, but any Dahl will do. I also think I need to give David Copperfield another shot.

    Come visit me at The Scarlet Letter.

  7. I actually think Stephen King is closer to two bazillion novels now... :)

    Great list, I love that you didn't stick to what has been deemed YA friendly but what will set them up better for the future

  8. +JMJ+

    I'd probably pick Carrie for my Stephen King must-read for teens. Why did you choose Bag of Bones?

    And I had to laugh at the reason for including Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging, which I read a bit of several years ago and haven't touched since. I think some "reverse role models" are useful once in a while--as long as it's very clear what they are--and a teacher who made another list suggested including a really "bad" book now and then, so that students flex their critical muscles tearing it to shreds. =P

  9. Bag of Bones *terrified* me, but that's a good book nonetheless. I'm not certain which King I'd put on there, but The Dome comes to mind, or The Shining.

    And though GWTW is a personal favourite, I'd definitely shove I Capture the Castle into anyone's hands, much less a teenager. Good choice.