Required Reading Around the World

Every country has a book that is required reading for most, if not all, students throughout their academic career. Here is a list of some of the world’s required reading in case you were looking for a way to expand your horizons this winter. Ultimately, the world’s most common required reading choices show the values and what countries deem important for the coming generations to know.

  • Afghanistan:  “The Qur’an” is the primary religious text of Islam and is required reading for every student in Afghanistan starting at a young age.
  • Austria:  “Faust” is a play about a scholar named Faust who makes a pact with Mephistopheles–the devil–because Faust is dissatisfied with life.
  • China:  “The Analects of Confucius” is a compilation of the teachings of the ancient philosopher Confucius; it’s believed to have been written sometime between 475 BC and 221 BC.
  • Colombia:  “100 Years of Solitude” is an internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed novel that offers a rich and brilliant chronicle celebrating the endless variety of life in the mythical Latin American town of Macondo.
  • Germany:  “The Diary of Anne Frank” is a journal that was kept by a Jewish girl named Anne Frank as she lived with her family in hiding in Amsterdam under Nazi occupation.
  • Ghana; Nigeria:  “Things Fall Apart” is set in Nigeria in the 1900s. This novel follows Okonkwo, an Igbo leader and village wrestling champion, his journey to power and glory, and his eventual fall when he fights back against white colonialists.
  • India:  “An Autobiography: the Story of my Experiments with Truth” covers Gandhi’s life from his childhood to his early 50s.
  • Pakistan:  “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” follows the story of a Pakistani man as he reflects on his time in the United States before and after the events of September 11, 2001.
  • Russia:  “War and Peace” follows the lives and loves of five families, begins in 1805 and continues through Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of Russia.
  • United States:  “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a classic  novel about the American South in the 1930s that illustrates how racism, sexism and injustice have shaped US history (and still cause harm today).
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