Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Top 10 Contemporary Books That Would Be Great Paired With A Required Reading Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish

Hi gorgeous people!  I took a little break for the holiday weekend and I'm back with more bookish things for you.  This week's TTT is by Arianne, for which I'm very grateful since I finished high school back in Puerto Rico and I'm sure my required reading was a little different that yours.

1. Catherine by April Lindner with Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Catherine is a modern re-telling of Wuthering Heights, so it makes sense that they should be read together in order to make the most of both books. They have mirrored plots, but very different settings, characters and issues. Catherine also reads relatively fast compared to Wuthering Heights, which would help to entice reluctant readers.

2.  Legend by Marie Lu with Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

I’ll admit it: when I first read Legend, I did not see how it could be inspired by Les Miserables. In retrospect, however, the things I love most about the stories – rebellion, romance, complex characters – are present in both books, and I’d like to see if a paired reading made the sense of retelling clearer.

3.  I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harrison with Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I couldn’t make this list without including a Jane Austen title! Austen is the bane of many literature student lives, but I love Pride and Prejudice as well as I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend, so I would happily recommend both to any reader struggling to get into the classics.

4.  Twilight by Stephenie Meyer with Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

I’m kind of speaking more about Breaking Dawn here, but when it comes to eternal love, many believe Stephenie Meyer set the tone by asking her main character to choose between forever with an immortal or a shorter but still full life with everyone else she loves. We forget there’s already a precedent for this kind of romantic question (albeit without vampires), one of my favourite books of all time: Tuck Everlasting.

5.  The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider with The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye is one of the most widely-read required reading books of all time. The only real complaint I’ve heard about it is the fact that Holden whines his way through the book and never really makes a decision despite all the philosophy surrounding him. Robyn Schneider’s Ezra, then, will be a refreshing change: he’s got his own problems to deal with, but he’s a thoroughly modern kind of guy.

6.  Annexed by Sharon Dogar with Anne Frank: the Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank’s diary is a staple of English and history classes worldwide. No one ever stops to think about what Peter van Pels, the boy she had to live with – and at one time, loved. Sharon Dogar’s retelling dances between the truth and the fictitious, but it adds an entirely new dimension to the well-known story of Anne Frank’s time in the annex.

7.  The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson with Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson

This is definitely my random combination for today! I chose these books because of their setting: Brazil. Journey to the River Sea is a children’s book set on a xenophobic plantation near the Amazon River in 1910 while The Summer Prince projects a brilliantly technological future in the urban tropics; the idea of reading them at the same time has me very excited.

8.  You Against Me by Jenny Downham with To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 

This combination is one of my personal favourites. The events of To Kill A Mockingbird are focused around a court case which rocks a conservative Alabama town – a storyline paralleled in the modern-day You Against Me. Scout and Jem see Tom Robinson accused of rape simply because he is black and a whole town believing his accusers because they are white. Ellie and Mikey see Mikey’s sister slated as a liar when she says she was raped simply because she comes from a disadvantaged background and the accused, Ellie’s brother, heralded as totally innocent because he is the golden boy of a well-off family. Both books tackle difficult subjects with similar confidence but very different styles, and reading them together could be a real eye-opener.

9.  Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly with Dante's The Divine Comedy

This is another easy choice for me. Revolution is bookended with quotes from The Divine Comedy and uses the same partitioning as Dante’s great masterpiece, so the story is clearly influenced by the epic events as well. I’d love to compare the two directly and see the links.

10.  Just One Day by Gayle Forman with Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

These are two of my favourite love stories. Romeo and Juliet love and lose each other very quickly and the same can be said for Lulu and Willem, but the way they react to their respective situations couldn’t be more different. Romeo and Juliet are separated by the high wall of a family feud, but they make the decision to die in each other’s arms mere days after they first meet. Lulu and William are also separated quickly but they understand that they’ll just have to go on living without each other. I’m most interested to see how the meaning and philosophies behind both tales compare.

What's in your Top Ten this week?  Share your list with us!


  1. Such great contemporary/classic combinations! I haven't heard of some of the contemporary books but I will add them to my list and hopefully when I have my future classroom I will be able to use some of them! Thank you so much for giving me so many ideas!

    My Top Ten Tuesday- http://wp.me/p3DIPM-6e

  2. Great list! I had no idea Legend was inspired by Les Mis!

  3. Oh, honey, you had me at Tuck Everlasting. That is one of my all-time favorite novels. You're my hero for putting that in there alone. But really I love the whole list.

    1. Hmm, it's a good thing that Arianne did this one! I haven't read Tuck Everlasting (don't shoot me please!)

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