When I saw the recent topic for Monthly Recommendations, I wasn’t sure what to put. The term “required reading” is a loose term, since you can use any genre. I also didn’t want to list a ton of repeats as always. But I divided it into a couple sections: favorites I think should be required reading, books you actually read in school that are worth reading and a TBR or famous/non-fiction/popular books I still need to get to. These sections won’t be ranked either. Let’s dive in!

Favorite Books Required Reading


  • Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen: A contemporary about a girl who receives a true friendship and first love among a family conflict.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: A now modern classic historical fiction told from the perspective of Death himself.
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: Desert fantasy that doesn’t hold back from the violence of the world, while also showing how a young girl tries to be brave to save her brother and finds an unexpected ally. This debut deservedly took the world by storm and deserves to be read.
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: A master work showing a non-linear story about a magical circus and the lives entwined with it.
  • In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters: At the height of the Spanish flu at the end of WWI, a young girl enters the dark and treacherous world of spirit photography and other secrets to find out what happened to the boy she loved.
  • Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson: A western trilogy with a magical element that’s brilliantly written in a genre that is on the rise once again.
  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Septys: The mostly unknown story of what the people of Lithuania went through during WWII in a story very personal to the author’s family history.
  • A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen: The beautiful true story of a man trying to kick his drug addiction and the orange tabby who goes on a journey as they end saving each other. A story for all animal lovers who love a good story about humanity at it’s finest 🙂

Classroom Required Reading


  • A Room with a View by E.M. Forster: A delightful story of a young woman on vacation in Italy who finds love and speaking up for herself
  • WWI Poetry Collection: These young people wrote haunting, searing and unforgettable pieces of poetry before their untimely demises during WWI. I read these for a modern British literature and if you’ve really wanted to get inside the heads of people who suffered through war, these poems will stay with you for a long time.
  • Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne: A mind bender of a short story about a young man who goes off into the woods at night, whose true fate is still unknown to this day.
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin: An adorable and funny Newberry Award winning book that’s required for most elementary schools and it’s completely worth the hype. It also inspired the 1997 Disney Channel movie Get a Clue (anyone remember that one?)
  • The Turn of the Screw by Henry James: A slim volume of a tension filled ghost story that gripped me as a teenager in high school English. A perfect pick for Halloween or for people who love reading creepy books any time of the year.

Required Reading TBR

I’m being selective about this one because your normal TBR list can be forever long. These are books that are classics, memoirs, non-fiction, historical fiction or other popular I haven’t read yet but have been seriously trying to move higher on my TBR 🙂



  • The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls: A memoir that’s been around for a long time about a woman who grew up with a very non com formative family.
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot: A woman whose cells became vital to scientific research without her family’s consent sounds very interesting. My co-workers who read a lot of non-fiction highly recommend it as well.
  • Molokai’i by Alan Brennert: I heard about this historical fiction novel from Sam’s Thoughts on Tomes channel. It’s set in the earl days of Hawaii on a leprosy colony and one girl’s dream.
  • Just Listen by Sarah Desssen: I’ve been hearing that this is an essential Dessen novel that you have to read if you like contemporary books.
  • The Hero and the Crown & The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley: This two book series, which one won the Newberry award, seems like old school required reading for fantasy lovers. One of my co-workers loves this series, as well as many of McKinley’s other works.
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: Another award winning book and another Neil Gaiman novel I need to get to…
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: A short classic story about a man’s wrestle with immortality that sounds creepy and really cool…
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate: This children’s novel is about the true story about a gorilla that was kept in a mall’s zoo for years and how Ivan develops a relationship with an elephant that’s brought into the zoo. It sounds adorable and it’s highly recommended for animal lovers.

Hopefully you all enjoyed this recommendations list. We always have tons of books to get through, but since I’m married and have many responsibilities, I wish I had more time to read. But one step at a time. Hopefully you found some new books to try as well. Have you read any of these? Which books were required reading in school that you enjoyed? Any other non-fiction to recommend?