I should really start writing these in advance to be published but unfortunately, time is money, two things I don’t have much of at the moment. Grad school began this week…unfortunately, my best friend’s wedding is also this weekend which means things are being punched into overdrive. However, I am here to make a little time for all of you!
Last week’s first: August 25: Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101 (examples: YA fantasy 101, feminist literature 101, magic in YA 101, classic YA lit 101, world-building 101)
My list will be for a class entitled Moral Compasses & Honor 101.
The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop – Why? “When honor and Law no longer stand on the same side of the line, how do we choose?” Characters who have to choose between their own moral code and the conduct that society is telling them to have, all in a brilliantly executed fashion with love, war, and family.
Horns by Joe Hill – Why? Iggy spends so much time defending himself and then is given the gift to find out what really happened. He knows he is innocent but stands with a stained soul in the eyes of almost everyone in his time. And although the ending might lead some to question the book choice, I think it is an important one to note.
The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan – Why? “If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself.” It’s hard enough being a preteen, let alone one who is descended from the gods, literally. And those guys love to interfere, so Percy and friends might forge their own courses.
Legend trilogy by Marie Lu – Why? “If you want to rebel, rebel from inside the system.That’s much more powerful than rebelling outside the system.” A pair of teens who stand on opposing sides of the line, one is a criminal and one is the country’s best solider. But how they come together, work together is an incredible journey filled with questioning and moral dilemmas.
Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling – Why? As much as I would love to have the whole series here, it would be impossible, so I will stick with the just the first one which still provides a great view of Harry’s initial moral fiber from the friends he makes and the paths he takes.
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima – Why? “So hopefully we get smarter and don’t make the same mistakes again.” Han and Raisa’s dynamic pairing give insight into two different views of kingdom life. Han’s moral code is something he has worked to build over time, even as a thief, while Raisa struggles with what it means to really be royal and have an impact on her subjects.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – Why? A brotherly betrayal, a family torn apart after being brought together through tragedy and strife. Learning lessons the hard way and understanding that doing what it right is rarely the easiest path to take. A classic for a reason!
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – Why? Two people whose lives seem perfect from the outside by inside are teeming with distrust, betrayal, and loathing. A great story with questionable morals that pulls you in and leaves you reeling on the side of the road after.
The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort – Why? A fast-talking, game-changing, corrupt asshole who came clean with his version of events and gave us the inside scoop on a world we are all curious about. His moral compass swings like a pendulum in an interesting contradiction of life choices.
The Young Elites by Marie Lu – Why? “Be true to yourself. But that’s something everyone says and no one means. No one wants you to be yourself. They want you to be the version of yourself that they like.” The main character is one who feels evil crawling in her like a worm on the brain, paired with a seemingly perfect sister, a crown prince who isn’t what he seems, and a group of like-minded individuals who either want to be friends or use her.
Bonus classic: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton – Why? “Everything may be labelled – but everybody is not.” A man and woman who fall in love but are unable to be together, who continue to make the right, upstanding choice, rather than succumb to what they wish to happen. Beautiful and heart-breaking.
Of course, I would probably have to assign some of this as summer reading, given that there are so many. Or break into a two semester course. Which I am totally okay with 😉