70: Reading up

A Thousand Things to Talk About
A Thousand Things to Talk About
70: Reading up


What’s on your “required reading” list?

Show notes and links:
Required Reading Worldwide (Abe Books)
Popular Required Reading Books (Goodreads)
The Students’ Right to Read (NCTE Position Statement)

Full episode text

My group of family keeps a list that we jokingly refer to as our “required reading” list. It’s a list of the books that have been deeply impacted by in our lives. As we talked about in the fifth daily download, the shared experience of reading the same book as another person can be an exceptionally powerful one, and I think that this holds true for any book or piece of writing or media that is powerful in someone’s life.

On Goodreads, there are over 5,000 books that are popularly listed as “required reading”. Nearly every school you will encounter will have some kind of required reading, and the selection of these books sometimes comes with extreme controversy. The controversy may be based on social, political, moral, ethical, religious, or even racial grounds. And sometimes, these objections result in a banned book.

Quoting here from the National Council of Teachers of English:

“The right of any individual not just to read but to read whatever he or she wants to… is basic to a democratic society. This right is based on an assumption that the educated possess judgment and understanding and can be trusted with the determination of their own actions. In effect, the reader is freed from the bonds of chance. The reader is not limited by birth, geographic location, or time, since reading allows meeting people, debating philosophies, and experiencing events far beyond the narrow confines of an individual’s own existence.”

Powerful stuff. So what’s on your required reading list?