Every year, you can count on some sort of controversy and argument over What Kids Are Reading making its way into the news cycle—and of course, we've all heard the stories of angsty parents demanding a book be struck from the list because it contains (gasp!) sex, or (horrors!) family dysfunction, or (gaaaaaah!) graphic descriptions of otherwise ordinary people wearing socks with sandals. But check this out: the latest debate over your reading materials is a whole different beast! According to a set of national guidelines that go into effect in 2014, it's not just individual books that are getting the ax; fiction on a whole is right out, at least by half. Instead of marinating your brains in great literature, teachers will be required to devote a significant portion of the required reading to nonfiction texts, including, per the article, "historical documents, scientific tracts, maps and other 'informational texts'—like recipes and train schedules."
Which, no offense meant to recipes or maps, does not sound like much fun (the part where you might get to read The Devil in the White City instead of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment nonwithstanding.) So, to help prepare you for the inevitable onslaught of less-than-exciting nonfiction that's sure to be part of these new core requirements, we've assembled this list of the Worst Things You'll Have to Read In School. Prepare yourself for...
- How To Defuzz Your Lint Trap In 100 Easy Steps, a courtesy handout from the Maytag company
- "Dear Larry, You Are a Bad Kisser and I Hate Your Face": A breakup letter from Ms. Julie M. Blankenberger to Mr. Lawrence Frederickson, circa 1984
- A recipe for Chocolate Covered Cheese Curds, origins unknown
- "I Did Not Have Sex With That Woman": A transcript of greatest hits from the sworn testimony of President William J. Clinton
- Studies in Swine Dermatology (with accompanying photographs)
- A takeout menu from the Chinese restaurant down the street
- "Patient presented with rectal pustules and excessive hair on the genitals": selections from the files of the retired Dr. J.M. Bunkubus
- I'm Covered In Bees: A Memoir, by A Beekeeper
- Eleven Salted Hams and Seventy Cans of Beans, and other restaurant stockroom receipts
- A map of the southwest corner of Sweden
- Understanding Your Dental Drill
- "Please Pack Your Things And Leave": a memo sent to the recently-fired Mr. Cameron Luggernuts by the HR department at Farmers Insurance Associates
- A 10,000 page scientific report on the mating habits of the North American weasel
And, most horrifying of all...
- The Rules, by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider