A few weeks ago I read a list of books that titled itself "Must Reads Before You Die." The avid reader that I am (and former English teacher) I was curious what books made the cut. I was quite dumbfounded as books that were listed were a lot of new books that haven’t stood the test of time or books that I wouldn’t really consider fantastic pieces of literature. The Lord of the Rings series was on the list, as was the Harry Potter books. While they may be good and have their cult following I would hardly call them "must reads". There were a few classics like To Kill a Mockingbird, but overall the list was far from the must-reads it claimed to be. So, I’ve taken it upon myself to compile a list of books that I think everyone should read.
1. To Kill a Mockingbird: My all time favorite book and reason I love the name Atticus. He embodies every quality a person should have.
2. Crime and Punishment: Great book! Interesting and deep.
3. The Great Gatsby: What one man will sacrifice for love.
4. Autobiography of Malcolm X: Made me see the man in a whole new light. Have a much greater respect for him and what he was trying to accomplish, however misguided it initially was.
5. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest: Ken Kesey. Need I say more?
6. Great Expectations: Hated it when I read it as a freshman in high school. Loved it when I read it as a freshman in college. Perspective.
7. Roots: Took me a while to really get into it, but about half way through I really started to enjoy it.
I could probably give you a list of 50 books that would be a worthwhile read, but this should be enough to get you started. As a bonus, I’ve included some interesting short stories.
1. The Rockinghorse Winner: Taught this in my English class every year. Had many students say it was about masturbation. You be the judge.
2. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge: Read this as a sophomore in high school and it stuck with me. Taught it every year once I became a teacher. There’s a fine line between what is real and what isn’t.
3.The Lottery: Probably my favorite short story. Shocker when you find out what the "winner" of the lottery receives. My students loved this.