Moby Dick. For my money, it was always Moby Dick. I actually liked a lot of the books we were assigned to read in high school, and I absolutely loved some of them. There were a few that I simply didn't like, and some that I downright hated, but I never could find any reason why we had to read Moby Dick.
I mean, it's a book about a dude obsessed with a whale. A whale. A whale which may or may not actually be a metphor for a vagina. And it's, like, five hundred pages long!! And NOTHING HAPPENS. There was a man, he had no leg, there was a whale, there's some racism, a big storm kills some people and then the whale shows back up and we learn that you shouldn't be obsessed with whales/vaginas and then THE END. There, I just summarized the entirety of Moby Dick in, like, two seconds AND I mentioned the word vaginas and YOU ARE WELCOME, teenagers. Erin is here to help you.
No, the only thing I can figure is that Moby Dick's lasting popularity with High School AP English teachers has nothing to do with its themes or its motifs or its syntax. No, I think that Moby Dick is like the chicken pox. I had it, my parents had it, my grandparents had it, so now it's your time to have it; suck it up and deal. (I realize that these days my chicken pox metaphor is quickly reaching extinction, but I'm old, so I talk in old people metaphors. Haven't seen you since you were knee high to a junebug, darling.) You know what I mean? We all suffered through it, and we turned out okay, so stock up on Redbull, kids; you've got a lot of whale to get through.
The truth is, the AP Required Reading list is really out of date. Oh, sure, schools are starting to teach some more contemporary books, but the new stuff isn't exactly edging out the old stuff. It's just being added on.
But we here at FYA are interested in the hearts and minds of our youth (as long as we don't ever actually have to talk to them or come into contact with them or, like, hang out in their bedrooms which inevitably smell like feet and week-old pizza), and we want to revise the AP Reading List into something that kids might actually like to read. And that's where we need your help! Fill out this little poll below! We've set the stage by asking your opinion on some of our least favorite "required reading" books, and we want you to chime in with your opinion. Are these books way past their prime, or should kids absolutely still be reading them? And what books would YOU like to see on an AP English student's desk? We'll keep the poll open for a week and then compile the results! LET'S CHANGE THE WAY ENGLISH WORKS, Y'ALL.