Books I Should Have Read in School, but Didn't Challenge

Books I Should Have Read in School, but Didn’t Challenge

Books I Should Have Read in School, but Didn't Challenge

You know how it goes. Your friend is talking about how much she disliked reading The Scarlet Letter in high school, or she raves about her eighth grade English teacher, who made her memorize Robert Frost’s poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” because it appeared in The Outsiders, her favorite book in middle school. You remember being assigned The Scarlet Letter, but you couldn’t get past the chapter on the Custom House, and you bought the Cliff’s Notes instead. Fess up! Sadly, you never had an opportunity to read The Outsiders. Maybe your teacher never assigned it, and it somehow slipped under your radar.

We all have a list of books we feel we should have read, probably in school, but for a variety of reasons, we didn’t. I moved around a lot as a kid, and I missed out on some novel studies because of it, but I also admit to having trouble keeping up with the reading schedules set by my teachers and not being able to finish books. When the unit was over, I set the book aside and never picked it up again. This challenge will allow all of us who feel we should have read certain books, whether they are classics of literature, or children’s books we seem to be alone in missing, to read those books!


  • Sign up using Mr. Linky below, and include a link to your blog post announcing your participation in the challenge. You may participate if you don’t have a blog. Feel free to leave your reviews in the comments or on a site like Goodreads.
  • The challenge runs from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011.
  • You need not decide which books you will read at this time, and you may commit to any level with which you feel comfortable.
  • You can determine whether a book meets the criteria for the challenge. If you think you should have read it in school and didn’t, then it qualifies. In fact, you can even define school however you like—elementary school, middle school, high school, college, grad school—the list goes on and could vary based on the educational system with which you’re most familiar.

Challenge levels:

  • Literature Professor: Read 12 books you feel you should have read in school.
  • Graduate Student: Read 6 books you feel you should have read in school.
  • College Graduate: Read 4 books you feel you should have read in school.
  • High School Graduate: Read 2 books you feel you should have read in school.

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Books Everyone Else Has Read

…but I haven’t. Stefanie posted about this topic today, and she inspired me. Here are the top ten books it seems like everyone has read that I haven’t read.

I know. I even work in a Jewish high school, but I somehow never read this book in school, and I haven’t read it yet. I keep meaning to, but somehow I never seem to get around to it.


Yeah, I probably need my English teacher card revoked for this one. I have read its cousin, Brave New World. And the thing is, I actually really like dystopian literature. I’ve read most of the other dystopian classics I can think of. Just not the classic, most well known one. I may as well admit I never read Animal Farm either.

The Kite Runner

My daughter read this and said it was amazing. My former department head highly recommended it. I read a bit of it, but I never finished it. I think I will some time, but for whatever reason, it’s just slipped off my radar.

Little Women

So am I the only woman who has never read this book? I mean, even my husband has read this book. Of course, it was required school reading for him, but still. And furthermore, I have no desire to read it. Even though my husband says, “It wouldn’t hurt you.”


And I also haven’t read any Vonnegut aside from “Harrison Bergeron,” which I actually did like. I am still not sure how I feel about some of the postmodern literature. I do intend to read some it. Really.

Flowers for Algernon

This book seems to be a staple of middle school. It seems as if all my students have read it. I don’t really have much of a desire to read it, either, even though the students seem to like the book.

Tuesdays with Morrie

I think I may be the last person on earth not to read this. And I have no plans to read it. This kind of book is not really my thing. I also never watched The Last Lecture, and I haven’t bought any Chicken Soup books.

Of Mice and Men

This one I’m ashamed of, and I will change it. Soon. I actually have wanted to read it for a long time. I loved the movie with Gary Sinise and John Malkovich.

The Book Thief

My department head raves about this book. I haven’t read it, and I’m not sure I want to. I will keep thinking about it.

The Time Traveler's Wife

This one is on my TBR pile. One day. I am interested in it, and I’ve heard good things about it.

So which 10 books have you not read that it seems like everyone else has read? Sound off in the comments or post to your blog!