TTT | Books I’d Remove from Teaching Lists

Posted July 28, 2020 by TheNonbinaryLibrarian in books / 16 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

This week’s theme is a freebie, and I am in a mood. So, I’m going with books I’d like to remove from being taught in schools. This does not mean remove them from libraries or personal collections nor do I think they should be banned. These are books that are just overdone, and I think we should give other books some time in schools instead.

The Great Gatsby – Just why are we still teaching this?

Everyone sucks! No one is a good person, someone dies, someone goes a bit mad, and others go on being horrible people. Please, can we give other 1920s books a chance?!

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – I do not remember anything that happened in this book. I read it in my junior year of high school. I have a pretty great memory and..nothing. I mean the basic plot, of course, but nothing stayed with me and I think that is telling.

Also, Mark Twain is racist (please don’t comment with “it was the time period” I really don’t care).

The Scarlet Letter – I didn’t understand the point of this book back when I read it in school, and I still don’t today.

The Catcher in the Rye – I have not read this book. I have tried to read it I think around 4 times, maybe 3. All I can say is that I’m tired of basic white boys claiming it’s their favorite. Be a bit more original.

Romeo and Juliet – I’m not saying it’s bad. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be taught. But for god’s sake can we chose a different tragedy for a few years. Everyone knows about Romeo and Juliet, and there are more enjoyable (if that’s the right word) tragedies (in my less than humble opinion).

Pride and Prejudice – Okay, this is weird even for me to have a Jane Austen novel on this list because I love all things Jane Austen, include Pride and Prejudice. But, I would like to see some branching out to her other novels besides just Pride and Prejudice. As with Romeo and Juliet, have some originality.

Hamlet – I don’t even care who this upsets, I don’t like Hamlet, the play or person. Just so we’re all on the same page. He’s an annoying dick head who’s being visited by his ghost father and doesn’t have the balls to kill his uncle. Come on!! Also, “To be or not to be, that is the question” is not some philosophical ideal about trying to be your better self. It’s about Hamlet not being able to decide whether to kill his uncle or not and is making fun of people who cannot make decisions. Stop. Getting. That. Quote. As. A. Tattoo.

Moby Dick – Another book I don’t remember anything about. There’s a whale. Maybe.

That’s totally what happened? Right?

A Separate Peace – This may have to do more with the surrounding events than the actual book. I’m not entirely sure. I was in regular English freshman year of high school (my middle school automatically enrolled everyone in regular English even though I specifically requested PreAP). So, for sophomore year, I enrolled in PreAP English, and I was not informed that they had summer reading. I find out on the first day of class that the next day, there is a writing assignment over A Separate Peace queue me doing this the whole night:

I should re-read it. I probably won’t cause I’m still a bit bitter and anxiety ridden about it.

Lolita – THIS. IS. NOT. A. ROMANCE. STOP IT!! This is a pedophile, child molester, monster. Why are we still teaching this? As with most literature, I try to understand, and most of the time can, why something is a classic or assigned to read. But this one? It boggles my mind why it’s still read/assigned.

Let me know yours in the comments! Happy…not reading, Lovelies!

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16 responses to “TTT | Books I’d Remove from Teaching Lists

  1. Oh my gosh yes. I have a whole post on me ranting about those books. I swear, I don’t understand why we’re still reading them. The argument is always “well there’s a social message to be learned” but I think there are many more modern books with the same message better told.

    Great list!

  2. Great idea for a topic this week. I have enjoyed quite a few of the books you mentioned but I agree that they don’t have to be on the curriculum. Actually, my mother tongue isn’t English, so none of these books were on my curriculum. Maybe that’s the reason why I liked them. šŸ˜‰

    My TTT is about debut novels.

  3. Carol Evans

    I love this idea. There are several on this list I haven’t read, and some that I’ve enjoyed but think you’re probably right, better things could take their places on teaching lists.
    My Top Ten Tuesday.

  4. Really interesting list! I hated Huck Finn for the exact same reasons. I wish I’d got to study some of these instead of what I did study, though – I never want to see a copy of Of Mice and Men again in my life!

  5. I think it’s fine that they still teach these, but it would be nice if they mixed in newer books more. I’m sure it would make more sense and make things easier for kids to relate to. Plus, a lot of these are kind of boring — I know. I read a lot of them in school. LOL

    • I’m now fascinated by how books are chosen and what books are read in schools in different countries. This will become a rabbit hole for me!

      • My country is not so small but English is not our mother tongue, either. So, primarily we have to read books in German, German classics, so not that different from what you are talking about in your blog here.

        And in English, we often read some classics and some new books. One of our books I vividly remember was The Wave, still as meaningful now as it was then.

  6. Haha, so much anger in this post. I loved graduate school because they let me choose my own reading list and essay topics. I mostly chose modern books because Iā€™d already read the overdone classics.

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