Top Ten Tuesday | I asked my teacher, what should I try?


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week’s theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!

This week’s theme is a back to school/learning freebie, so I decided to go with books that I’d want to discuss with students if I were an English teacher!


Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë: I got to read Jane Eyre and bits of Wuthering Heights while I was at school, but we never read any of Anne’s work and she’s my favourite Brontë. I love her honest depiction of being a governess in Agnes Grey, as well as the way she explores animal rights and how friendship between women can cross class boundaries because, whether highborn or low, women are still second class citizens in the Victorian era.

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley: A novel that explores homosexuality, racism and who deserves an education all at once, I think this would be a great book to discuss with students close to Sarah and Linda’s age.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: This one is a classic for a reason and it’s also wonderfully written. I didn’t study this one in school – for American Literature we read Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, which I also enjoyed – but I understand why so many students do, it’s such a brilliant introduction to getting students to think about racism.

Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu: When we think of classic vampire novels we often think of Dracula, but 25 years before the Count washed up on the shores of Whitby this little novella was published. Not only is its status as an inspirational precursor to Dracula clear upon reading it, but it’s also a fantastically eerie homoerotic story, and considering how many classics students are expected to read I think it’s only fair to give them some shorter ones, too.

Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman: This is the first book that ever made me sob and it still holds a very special place in my heart. This is also the first book that made me really think about racism and I think it’s another one that could make for some brilliant discussions.


Lysistrata by Aristophanes: I have very little experience with Ancient Greek literature so if I was a teacher I’d need to brush up on this play myself, but I was introduced to it in one of my Drama lessons at school and I thought the idea of women planning to bring an end to the Peloponnesian War by depriving their husbands of sex was such a funny one. I think this would be a really fun introduction to Ancient Greece rather than something more serious like The Iliad.

The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla: This is such a current and important read, and while I consider myself someone who tries really hard to be aware of racism and xenophobia so I can speak out against it, these essays made me realise how much I wasn’t aware that some immigrants or children of immigrants go through.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: This is the perfect introduction to feminism, and is therefore the perfect book to read with students.

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins: From a purely selfish standpoint this is one of my favourite classics and I loved studying it at university, but it’s also considered to be the very first detective novel so I think it’d be a great book to teach at school.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare: Shakespeare is pretty much compulsory in schools in the UK and I remember a lot of people at school dreading having to study his work – I was one of the nerds who was looking forward to it because, luckily, my dad had a copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare that I often flicked through when I was growing up – and if I was a teacher I’d love to take on the challenge of making Shakespeare fun and accessible. Macbeth is my favourite Shakespeare play and was the first one I had to study in secondary school, and I remember my teacher at the time gave us a brilliant discussion point when he asked us whether Macbeth or Lady Macbeth was the real villain. I’d love to have that discussion with some students of my own.

What did you talk about this week?

26 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday | I asked my teacher, what should I try?

  1. catherine neal says:

    I really need to read some Anne Bronte – and Noughts and Crosses would be a great one to do in school, there’s so many issues not just the race thing – terrorism and suicide and bullying… you could even discuss the death penalty. i forget how much is in it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rissi says:

    I’ve never read “The Moonstone,” but did recently watch the newer BBC adaptation. It’s a cute and lighthearted little detective story that I’d watch again. 🙂

    Thanks so much for visiting Finding Wonderland, Jess!


    1. Jess @ Jessticulates says:

      I wish we had! When I was at school we only really did one American classic, usually we focused on English classics like Austen and the Brontës, so my class did Of Mice and Men and then when A Levels came around the only American classic we did was The Great Gatsby.


  3. Greg says:

    I think it’s awesome if a teacher can make Shakespeare accessible to today’s kids, since so many have no interest or are intimidated by it (and other classics). And Lies We Tell Ourselves looks like a great pick too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jess @ Jessticulates says:

      I agree! I completely understand why people are intimidated by Shakespeare, and he’s not a favourite writer of mine by any means, but he made so many types of story famous that it’s a shame he’s not celebrated the way he should be in schools. Students should be taken to watch Shakespeare, not only read it.


  4. Hannah @ Books, Life & Other Oddities says:

    I love the idea for this post! If I was a teacher there’s so many books I’d get my class to read just so I could fangirl with them 😛 I agree on Noughts and Crosses and To Kill a Mockingbird- both really important, well written and eye opening books that every classroom should feature! Is Of Mice and Men as good as To Kill a Mockingbird? Our class got to pick between them and I always wondered if the other one would be as well written.

    My list:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jess @ Jessticulates says:

      Thanks! They’re very different – the only real similarity between Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird is that they’re American classics – but I did like Of Mice and Men a lot. There was lots for us to discuss in our English classes, but we probably would have had more to talk about if we’d read To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s very short, though, so it’s a good one to read in one sitting. 🙂


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