Given the dominant language is English and the dominant culture in the last 100 years has been the English and subsequently the Americans, it doesn’t surprise me the majority of the books we read come from these countries.
This TED Talk outlines each countries mandatory books taught in schools. The choices weren’t very radical or unheard of which makes sense because if there’s something you should make high schoolers study, it really should be the nation’s most iconic read.
- Australia: I thought it was going to be Cloudstreet by Tim Winton (disclaimer: haven’t read) but I can see ‘Tomorrow, When The War Began’ as one of our more iconic reads (further disclaimer: also haven’t read).
- Columbia: Of course it’s One Hundred Years of Solitude.
- China: Making the teachings of Confucius compulsory reading is not suprising given that his philosophy is the cornerstone of Chinese culture for the last 2000 years.
- Germany: Their choice of Anne Frank’s Diary is both touching and sad, given just how much their history must weigh on the national psyche.
- India: Choosing Ghandi’s memoirs were a no brainer.
- Russia: Although unsurprising, I would still love to see High Schoolers digest the behemoth that is War and Peace.
- US: The US have far more choices than any other nation, except maybe England, but selecting To Kill A Mockingbird is a little bittersweet, seeing how this selection was so predictable yet the racial tensions present in the novel is still so applicable even today.
What did you think of your countries choice? I am monumentally surprised that England was not on the listing given their long history in providing iconic literature, although if I were to take a stab in the dark, probably Shakespeare or Dickens (you know I’m right).