The Book Lady posted this interesting question at Book Riot a few days ago: What if we could organize some kind of Required Reading List not just for an English class or incoming college freshmen, but for the ENTIRE WORLD.
And that’s why I think we should have a universal required reading list, a Required Reading for Humanity project. We need a place to start. If we could construct for ourselves a list of books that are remarkable not for the statements they make but for the questions they ask and the modes of thought and inquiry they suggest, perhaps we could begin finding something like a common language. Perhaps we could begin answering the big questions together. Think of it as diplomacy by literature, global unity via the Socratic seminar.
This is idealistic, I know, but let’s put thoughts about logistics and translations and practical issues aside for a moment to consider it. I’ve read a handful of books that left me thinking The world would be a better place if everyone read this. That’s what I have in mind here–not religious texts, how-to manuals, or self-help guides, which lean to the prescriptive, but books that ask big questions, challenge us to think differently, and leave us changed. It doesn’t matter if they are fiction or nonfiction, only that they spur us forward.
I particularly like how the Book Lady notes how this desire probably comes from her “I-took-a-lot-of-English-classes Stockholm syndrome.” I can’t help but agree with her and that’s EXACTLY why.