Let’s Talk Bookish – Required Reading

Hey there and welcome back to another Let’s Talk Bookish post! Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by me, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Today’s topic is: Required Reading: A punishment or a blessing in disguise?

Surprisingly, my feelings toward required reading have changed. It doesn’t seem so bad now, but maybe it’s because I’m taking American Literature this year, and the books we’ve had to read so far aren’t too bad.

A few months ago, if you’d asked me this question, I would have told you that required reading was more of a punishment.

I despised having to read centuries-old texts written by authors from long ago, when there were more current and interesting books being published everyday.

This semester in High School, I’m studying American Literature, and to my surprise, I actually don’t mind the books/poetry that we have been asked to read so far. Some of them were even interesting. We read parts of The Great Gatsby, The Scarlet Letter, the play Trifles, The Yellow Wallpaper and many other texts.

And maybe I don’t mind it because of what we have been asked to read this year. We haven’t read any Shakespeare or Jane Eyre or anything like that. It could also be because we don’t always finish the whole book, and only read certain parts of it. It’s easier to bear and even enjoy because I don’t have to worry about reading the whole book.

In a more general sense, required reading creates some resentment, because we don’t have a choice about what we’re reading. Most of the time, these books are old, and as part of the newer generation, we can’t always connect or relate to characters from the 15th century. Being forced to read these books might make some students hate reading which is so much worse.

Learning about the history of Literature is important, and reading books from history can help us see how it evolved and understand what was important to people in those times. I get that, and I appreciate learning about it. However, required reading should also include more recent books, or a study of contemporary novels from today.

Of course, there are some kids that love the books that they are required to read. And that’s okay! This semester has taught me that these books aren’t always bad, and I’m glad that some people enjoy reading them. But for those who don’t, maybe schools should include some contemporary books in their curriculum as well.

This Week’s Participants:

Jane @ Blogger Books | Heran @ Be Frisky | Dani @ Literary Lion | Aria @ Book Nook Bits

Chat with me

That’s it! Today is so dreary and this post seems very lackluster sorry!, so I’m going to blame the rainy weather. I hope you have sunny and dry weather wherever you are!!

What do you think? Is required reading important? Do you think they should be limited to classics or books that are pretty old? Did you like required reading in school? What’s your favorite classic? Chat with me in the comments below!

23 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish – Required Reading

  1. Great post! I wasn’t a fan of classics when I went to school either but that shifted once I went to uni. I think there is a reason classics have been around for so long and we can still learn a lot reading them. Maybe teachers should move away from their traditional approaches to classics to make them more accessible to young people. There are so many options to make studying them more interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it has to do with us growing up and becoming more mature, so I can definitely see why you enjoy them more in uni! Maybe if teachers did try to teach it differently, or even mixed things up with a contemporary every now and then, we’d like it much better in grade school πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this discussion! I definitely agree – students deserve books that are more relatable to them, or simply more enjoyable even. There are shorter, easily digestible classics that are just more fun to read than what we are usually given. Also, I don’t know about your school, but for me, before uni, it was all about what the textbook said or what the teacher thought. There was also no attempt to connect the message or the topic of the books to current issues or things actual kids and teens are going through. In university, there was always more discussion, more opinions accepted, and it was just better overall. Even when we read a book I didn’t love, it was still fun to participate in the discussions.

    But also, with kids of younger ages, and even teens in high school, I think the main thing should be introducing them to how ENJOYABLE reading and books can be. Those that come to school already loving reading – in my case because my parents are also readers – won’t be turned off reading by required reading, most likely. But those that come to school being meh about reading? Required reading sure as hell won’t help with that.

    Anyhow, wonderful post! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the textbook or teacher definition being the only right one is something I dealt with too, and still kind of do. It’s still mostly about what the textbook or teacher says the author was trying to say, but we do sometimes have discussions where we interpret it our way too, and I’m so thankful for that! At least now, the teacher explains why it means xyz and I understand it lol. Before, it was just beyond my comprehension how they got the entire theme and the author’s intentions/thoughts from one innocent sentence πŸ˜‚πŸ€¦πŸ½β€β™€οΈ

      Agreed. It should be about making kids like books so that they can read these classics that they want us to read and not resent it as much. I still resent it sometimes and I love to read, so imagine how someone who’s never had fun with books is gonna feel. Honestly, the school system just kind of needs to change.

      Thanks for reading ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a great topic! I’ve always had mixed feelings about required reading – because you’re right, it creates resentment. Especially when it feels like you have to keep going over and over the same things. But there have been the few cases where I have enjoyed a book I had to read for school. I agree with you that it would be much better if there were contemporary novels included in the curriculum along with the classics.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yesss!! Going over it a hundred times is so annoying. Doing it so that the teacher can say that x doesn’t mean x but actually y is even worse 😫
      I won’t say that I hated all the books I’ve had to read, because I did enjoy some of them as well, but schools would be doing themselves (and us lol) a huge favor by adding contemporary novels that we would like to read. We should start a petition lol

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We had to do The Pearl by John Steinbeck a few years back and let me tell you, Kino and Juana who are married and have a child ONLY SPEAK LIKE THREE TIMED DURING THE BOOK. Also there was no point to the whole book and it frustrated me to no end! 😩😩😩

    On the other hand, I’m doing Gatsby this year and I’m loving it 😍

    A few years ago, one of my friends did Divergent as her set-book 😭😭

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s exactly why I have a problem with it. Some of these books just really have no “purpose”? that benefits us nowadays? Like, it doesn’t really teach us anything, and even if it does, we don’t see it, so it doesn’t help us anyway. Sigh.

      I’m glad you’re loving Gatsby!! I read a few parts, and it sounds kind of interesting!

      πŸ˜‚πŸ˜­ Why can’t all classes be like that?


  5. I’m glad you have grown to like some of your required reads. I don’t really have them anymore but I remember always having a hard time getting throught them and sometimes even cheating and reading a summary online 😱

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I feel like required reading is just a part of school we have to suck it up and deal with just like how people who don’t like math still have to take math, etc, although I do wish there wasn’t such a focus on stuffy old novels in English class. For example, I feel like my ap lang class was more helpful than ap lit as the argumentative writing is actually more useful than randomly knowing themes in Shakespeare or whatever. I definitely don’t like required reading–I rejoiced upon graduating hs and knowing I was done with English lit classes (although joke’s on me, now we’re reading books in my European history class that are even worse lmaooo can I go back to easy peasy Gatsby)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Aww, I feel like I would still be partly grateful to finally be done with HS English. It definitely is something that we don’t have a choice about really, but at least they could try and make it more diverse. I mean, math can be fun, so why can’t required reading be too? Lol, I hope it’s not too bad!! You can do this!!! ❀


  7. I do think required reading is important, but I may be biased because I’m a reader. And I think classics should most definitely be part of the curriculum, I mean there’s a reason they’re classics, but I completely agree that there should be a variety. I was pretty lucky with my teachers in that respect I suppose. Great post 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, reading is important, and requiring students to read some books in school is definitely non-negotiable really. And I understand why classics are important, but it would make it so much better if we had a variety. We can learn so much from both kinds of books. Thank you!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I guess it’s a matter of perspective – if you tackle a book that is required and you feel negatively about being required to do anything, you are going to hate the book no matter what but if you keep an open mind and don’t get hung up on the required aspect, you may actually find some stories that you truly enjoy. If you major in English in college, liking a book becomes such a moot point that the stigma of required becomes non-existent. ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

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