To read or not to read: English required reading

Romeo and Juliet. Of Mice and Men. Frankenstein. Hamlet. These books, all considered classics, are just a few of the required reading books for high school students. The classic novels and the occasional modern ones that teachers make students read throughout their high school careers can be dreadful, dry, and monotonous. The gems though, the ones you finished before the due date, that entice you to pick it up between classes and even at home, are few and far between. Here’s a guide of what to Sparknote and what to actually read in your English classes.


Freshmen Reads:


Photo taken and designed by Olivia Deslandes.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is about freshmen Melinda, who is hated by her peers, and after some trauma, has virtually stopped taking. Published in 1999, Speak is one of the few relatively modern books, and written for high schoolers that students have to read in these gruesomely slow four years, and it’s one of the better ones. It’s funny, addresses issues some students are actually dealing with, and it’s creative way of storytelling makes it one of those to pick up.

  Verdict: Read it.


  Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck isn’t the worst of the bunch, but it’s not far from it.

George and Lennie, the main characters of the novella, are migrant workers in California during the Great Depression with sights on the American Dream. Is it boring? Yeah. Is it funny? No. Is it short enough to not make you want to die and worth it to get that good grade on the comprehension quiz? Yes.

  Verdict: Just skim it.


  Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare is one I find hilarious, but everyone else might not. Two 13 year olds fall madly in a forbidden love due to their feuding families. Unfortunately, Romeo’s lack of patience gets the whole town killed. The play can be equated to one of those Twitter post about someone’s younger sibling’s romantic antics you see screenshots of. However, the play is in Shakespearean language, and it’s pretty long and drawn out so maybe just watch one of the million adaptations to get the grade.

  Verdict: Just get the No Fear version, or read the SparkNotes.


Sophomore Reads:

  Let’s admit it; by Sophomore year all hope has left us. The excitement of high school, life, and your future has rubbed off onto your dirty white Vans and you’re too busy trying to get the latest hallway fight video to even order the book off of Amazon. The hype of the difficulty surrounding A.P. U.S. History means you’re now not only avoiding your English required reading, but also the American History: Connecting with the Past textbook. Your jank PDF of Julius Caesar doesn’t have line numbers and Mrs. English doesn’t care enough to keep you updated. Does any of this matter though? Having it eighth period means you have all the answers you need by the time it’s your turn for the comprehension quiz.


So, you’re not going to read them and you shouldn’t read these books anyways.


High school is just a stepping stone towards the inevitable, six feet under an overpriced rock.  One day, whether it’s after you diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, or as you graduate high school, these books will not matter. The impact they will have on your life will be so insignificant that there is no real or good reason to invest your little time you have into them. You’re just spinning on a rock rotating around a star and when you die, when no one remembers what Kristen Stewart’s character’s name was in Speak. It’ll keep spinning, the sun will keep shining, and everyone you left behind will just keep on breathing. As an upperclassman, the shock you have to move on with your life soon does not give time for reading.


Junior and senior year:

Yeah, right.


Happy April Fools Day!


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