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    • Probably going to be a controversial suggested replacement list but hopefully some of you will weigh in and this might get interesting....

      I have not personally read all of the 12 that I probably should have, but I have read many of them. Some of them I enjoyed and thought were worthwhile. Some of them I thought were just fine to watch a worthwhile film version (or even skip altogether).

      I have not read all of the suggested replacements but the replacements I have read I really enjoyed.

      Anyone want to weigh in?

    • First, a disclaimer, although I have read some of these books on both lists, I don’t have a great memory for things I read. 

      I read mostly for pleasure and escape, not so much for content.  So I am a fast and forgetful reader.

      Here are some of my thoughts on the books from these lists that I have read:

      The Scarlet Letter
      I thought it was a worthwhile read especially when you consider politics, misogyny, etc. today.

      Beowulf
      Not my cup of tea, I think I only read part of it.

      The Old Man and the Sea
      I think I remember thinking this was worthwhile

      Tale of Two Cities
      Not sure if I read this or not.  But I know the plot well from watching film. Definitely would recommend watching film. 

      The Great Gatsby
      It is good reading but not quite a good as I was expecting for a classic

      The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
      Extremely thought provoking. I think I need to read it again. 

      I have heard a lot about The Book Thief and it is on my list (fairly long) of books I want to read. Also on that list is Code Talker and I Am Malala.

    • Hmmm, my issue with most of those books is they were long and hard to follow for my short attention span. Not Old Man and the Sea, by Hemingway — that was an easy read and I remember it well. Hemingway was an incredible writer and a rock star at my high school, but it's just about a Cuban fisherman who struggles to bring in a swordfish he hooked with primitive equipment. It just didn't seem like an important enough topic to be a top book.

      A Tale of Two Cities and Red Badge of Courage, now those were books for boys on big issues. They've got action, prisons, guillotines... Awesome books.

      Moby Dick too long and fantastical. Lost interest.

      Someone gave me The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and said if you want to understand my autism, read that. @apm The story starts off in an unforgettable way. So good.

      Not on this list but a book and movie I couldn't stand: To Kill a Mockingbird. I know, it was just voted the favorite book of all time. So depressing. Maybe because I was born in Alabama and grew up in Oakland and all my friends were black it's just too close to home.

    • Wen Fu Li

      Maybe to clarify: I'm Canadian, so the books we read are probably different. The books we had to read:

      - Grade IX, Lord of the Flies

      - Grade X, The Chrysalids

      - Grade XI, To Kill a Mockingbird

      - Grade XII, Fifth Business

      - Grade XIII (yes, when I went to high school we had five years of schools), The Handmaid's Tale

    • Looking at the list it seems to be a combo of the "classic" you really should read this, which all too often is code for "really boring" especially when in High School -- I still have not recovered from Jane Austin"s Pride and Prejudice all those years ago. I think some of this list should just be dropped and a balance found between those classic and others than mean more to teenagers.

      Reading should be equal to suffering!

    • Chris,

      "To Kill A Mockingbird" is one of the most hopeful books of the last century.

      When the book begins, Jem and Scout are young and impressionable. They live in a town filled with all kinds of prejudice. The first grade teacher arrived in town with her mind made up. Her rebuke of Scout's ability to read is one example of the book's theme of bias and preconceived ideas. Jem is prejudiced against the confederate widow. The town is prejudiced against the Radley family. Everyone is certain that one man is always drunk. Scout learns later in the book that he is not drunk, he behaves that way as his mechanism for dealing with the prejudice of his neighbors due to his being a white man married to a black woman.

      Atticus and his two siblings represent three different approaches to the "small town mentality" in which they grew up. Atticus' brother represents "running away" from the problem and the responsibility. His sister is fully immersed in being Southern. But Atticus is different in that he des not allow the biases of others to control him. He is respectful to all the small minded people whom he meets. His insistence that Jem read to the widow is one of the most important aspects of understanding Atticus' character.

      At the end of the book, there are two sets of women. Those in the parlor and those in the kitchen. Scout makes a decision as to what kind of person she will become.

      Mockingbirds sing the songs that they hear. (At least that is Harper Lee's viewpoint.) Jem and Scout are in danger of becoming "mockingbirds" at the beginning of the book, but by the end of the book, we can see that like Atticus, they are not going to become "mockingbirds."

      The book was published in 1960. It was written, probably, in the late 1950s. At that time, the civil rights movement had not "overcome." The book's view of what Jem and Scout will become is a very hopeful belief that one doesn't have to be a mockingbird in a world of prejudice.

      Regrettably, I have loaned my copy of the book out and was not able to verify all the points that I am making, but I hope that you will look at the book again from this perspective.

    • I agree with you. I think it is a valuable book that came out ahead of its time and is still pertinent and definitely worthwhile reading.