Top 10 Tuesday: Books I’d Gladly Throw in the Ocean

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. 

This week’s topic is:

Books I’d Gladly Throw in the Ocean

I taught high school English for seventeen years. Because of curricular requirements, I had to teach many books that I did not enjoy, which proved challenging. I mean, how do you get students to love literature, when you have to teach literature that you don’t love? It’s a conundrum! So for this post, I’m going to focus on books I hated teaching and would gladly throw in the ocean.

That’s not to say I hate these books.

Who am I kidding? I hated these books. They are tedious reads, and they did not resonate with high school students.

I actually joined the English/Language Arts curriculum committee in my district in the hopes of changing some of the reading requirements. lol I wanted more diversity and more modern literature. Though some changes were made, in my opinion, they weren’t enough. So, I often bought my own copies of books that I thought my students might like. Take that, administration!!! πŸ™‚

Let’s take a look at some of the literature I hated teaching:

Books I Enjoyed Teaching:

To leave off on a positive note, I included some books, plays, and poems that I enjoyed teaching. In order to teach many of these books, I bought my own classroom sets. One year, my colleague and I bought 30 copies of each book in The Hunger Games trilogy, and we taught the whole trilogy to our students.

Best teaching year ever!!! lol

I’d love to hear your thoughts:

Were you required to read any of these in school? Did you enjoy them? Which books did you hate reading for school? Which did you love? If you could recommend books for a high school English class, which books would you choose? Comment below!

47 thoughts on “Top 10 Tuesday: Books I’d Gladly Throw in the Ocean

  1. Love The House on Mango Street! I think we read selections from in it school, but I recently re-read the entire book. Great lists!

  2. Interesting list – I’d throw pretty much all Dickens into the ocean but I do like Great Expectations πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ
    Canterbury Tales would go to along with George Eliot and James Joyce πŸ˜‚
    If only the Kite Runner and The Book Thief had been written when I was at school

      1. I believe I wrote an essay on Ulysses….I have no idea how πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ˜‚
        I love the fact you bought books you thought your students would enjoy πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

        1. Lol – I’ve been there. Mine was an essay on The Sound and the Fury. Not sure how I wrote an essay when I didn’t like and didn’t finish the book. lol
          Thanks so much! I always felt like students would comprehend more if I picked high interest literature. Why can’t we teach themes, structure, and other important literary elements using books kids like? I feel like they learned more reading books like The Hunger Games or whatever else interested them.
          One year, I had a small literacy class that wanted to read Twilight. Another class wanted to read Enclave by Ann Aguirre. Done! I got a bunch of students who didn’t like to read and who struggled to read to enjoy books. And they learned good reading strategies and important literary devices. That, to me, is a success. πŸ™‚

  3. I love how you included books you did love! 30 COPIES OF EVERY HUNGER GAMES BOOK?! I have The Book Thief on my shelf right now to read ASAP! Your students are so lucky to have you as a teacher!

    1. Thank you! That’s so sweet! πŸ™‚ My friend and I went to every used book store we could find to get those Hunger Games books, and we still had to order a bunch. lol It was pricey but so worth it!!

  4. Oh I stand with you! I am still left traumatized (slightly joking) by JD Salinger’s A Catcher in the Rye. Even hearing the name Holden makes me shutter. Also, Lord of the Flies. Ugh! I didn’t know then that schools (at least in my time and in my school district) didn’t value female authors. I didn’t read Virginia Woolf and Sandra Cisneros until college and I didn’t meet Jane Austen until after college. Can you imagine?

  5. This is such an interesting take! I’d be worried to teach books I loved in case the students didn’t like them, but it’s definitely a better option than having to teach books you hate and trying to hide it!

  6. I am pretty old. We did so much Shakespeare, then the typical ones like Animal Farm, Farenheit 451, Lord of the Flies, and a bunch of others that I forgot. I did like to read them, I did not like dissecting them.

  7. I had to read Lord of the Flies in high school, but I actually ended up enjoying that one! I think The Hate U Give should be required reading in school, and I just read Friday Black recently and think that could be an interesting selection for a high school English class too! Great list, it was so much fun to read!!

    1. Yes! I would love to see more modern and relevant literature in the classroom. Not that classics should be ignored but maybe a better balance. Thanks so much! πŸ™‚

  8. I had to read Great Expectations, Death of a Salesman and The Crucible at school. I enjoyed all of them, but The Crucible and Great Expectations still hold a special place in my heart and, when I’ve re-read them I’ve enjoyed them even more πŸ™‚ x

    1. I feel the same way about The Crucible. The others, not so much. lol I did like Death of a Salesman and Great Expectations, but after teaching them a dozen or so times, I didn’t enjoy them as much. Same for Death of a Salesman. I often taught All My Sons by Arthur Miller instead just to break things up. πŸ™‚

  9. Poor Catcher in the rye! haha I ended up dnfing Wuthering Heights so I can agree with that!

  10. Gotta say, I like your curriculum a lot better! I can’t believe some of the required books are still being forced on students — surefire way to turn a kid off from reading! I did love A Tale of Two Cities (and that was one of my school required reads), but I think The Scarlet Letter is such a poor choice for school. I love that you taught the Hunger Games, and provided the books yourself! Now that’s a great teacher!
    My TTT

    1. Thank you so much, and I agree – some of these books are a definite way to turn kids off from reading. The Scarlet Letter – ugh!! lol I used to buy so many books for the students. it was so fun to teach books they were interested in! πŸ™‚

  11. I actually like some of the ones you want to throw in the ocean, but I can completely understand why you’d want to. Especially having to teach them over and over. I’m all for more diversity in reading. And the list of books you enjoy teaching is amazing! I would have loved to read all of those in school. I was just happy Edith Wharton didn’t make your list to throw overboard. Reading her in high school inspired my love of reading. πŸ˜‰

    1. The repetitiveness of teaching them so much definitely impacted my feelings toward the books. And I always enjoyed Wharton’s works, especially Ethan Frome and The Age of Innocence! πŸ™‚

  12. I totally get how you would tired of teaching them and then hate them! haha. I have found that I wanted to read more classics to fit in.. but I have not enjoyed the ones I’ve tried.. so I might just not do it. LOL! Jane Austen.. I will though! πŸ™‚

  13. Thank you mentioning that conundrum! I can count on 1 hand how many school books I actually liked. I am fortunate that of the books you want to throw into the sea I only had to read one of those. I’d rather teach your picks.

  14. I absolutely love how you’ve done this one! I actually never thought of it from my teacher’s perspective when they’d have to teach us about these books and now I’m definitely wondering how they felt about these titlesβ€”especially the ones that we students moaned incessantly about when reading! πŸ˜‚

    1. Right! The first book I ever taught was The Red Badge of Courage. Blech. I was as bored as the students! lol Of course, that wasn’t the case for all classics. There are some that I really loved teaching too. πŸ™‚ I just wish there were more modern and relatable reads.

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