Contemporary Books Paired with Required Reading
Jana's pick: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury paired with Matched by Ally Condie
The entire focus of Fahrenheit 451 is censorship. Books were burned because they had "objectionable" information in them. Even though this is not the main theme of Matched, it shows up as well. Cassia's society makes all of her decisions, not just who she marries. They also decide what she can read. In this book, the Officials have removed all art, literature, and music from the Earth except the best 100 pieces. Of course, all that's left is what agrees with their rules and ways. I think reading the two together would be very interesting, as one was published in 1953 and the other in 2010. Time changes, but ideas/fears don't. It's also interesting and almost poetic that a book with the theme of anti-censorship (F451) is on the ALA's top 100 challenged/banned books list. (You could totally read this for challenge 5.5 (banned books) of the Goodreads College Students Fall 2013/Winter 2014 reading challenge that just started!)
Jen's Pick: The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood paired with Bumped by Megan McCaffery
Each book tells the story of a a specific girl (but if I remember correctly Bumped had twins as the main character) living in a dystopian world where they have no control over their bodies, thoughts, etc. I think pairing these two books would be an interesting view of how females are viewed in a dystopian world.
Daisy's Pick: Dracula by Bram Stoker paired with Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
I think it would be great to compare a more classic take on vampires with this modern version and discuss the differences. Also: there's always the added bonus of getting to swoon over Dimitri in class ;)
Jamie's Pick: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins paired with either 1984 or Brave New World
I stole this from a conversation I had earlier this summer but a teacher I made friends with at my pool said he's really used The Hunger Games to help his class really understand both of these novels a bit better and drew parallels on dystopian societies. I think sometimes we forget dystopian novels aren't really a NEW thing so it's fun to compare the classic ones with newer ones.
Tahleen's Pick: Paper Towns by John Green and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Both of these books deal with loving the idea of a person, and what a person represents. Do we really love a person as they are, or how we envision them in our own minds? Can we really know someone completely? Gatsby loves what Daisy represents, and Q loves the idea of Margo Roth Spiegelman. I think there are a lot of parallels we could talk about here.
Books that Should Be Required Readings
Daisy's Pick: Golden by Jessi Kirby
This is a really recent love of mine that I kinda stumbled onto when I was bored. And it blew my mind. I think this would be such an interesting read to discuss in a class and I'd have loved doing the assignment these kids get from their English teacher! What is it you plan to do with your one wild an precious life?
Jana's Pick: Night by Eli Wiesel
This is the most beautiful and thought-provoking account of the Holocaust. I learned so much.
Jamie's Pick: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Such a powerful novel and it definitely would be a good discussion starter!
Jamie's Pick: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein/ Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys/ The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I think any of these 3 books would be great picks for a WWII lesson tie in or just a required reading in general!
Tahleen's Pick: Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden
This really should be required reading for everyone. It's a classic of YA lit about a lesbian teen couple, and it's a beautiful love story.