A book a week by Xmas - challenge for 13yo boy

(13 Posts)
ILoveAFullFridge Sun 20-Oct-13 21:48:22

We've challenged ds to read a different book every week until Xmas. Each one a different genre, or at least very different style/era, and all new to him.

He is a good reader, but for the last couple of years has been obsessed with two genres: post-apocalyptic dystopias, and child spies. We want to widen his range.

I need some suggestions for the following genres, please:

Romance
Non-fiction
Poetry
Drama

And any other suggestions, too!

(Today he started the first book, a 1960s sci-fi novel. I thought I'd give him an unchallenging start. He's loving it grin)

BooItTooJulia Sun 20-Oct-13 21:54:38

Eucalyptus by Murray Bail would fit the romance bill.
The botany of desire could do non fiction, but may be a bit too grown up?
Poetry...sorry, no idea
Drama...life of pi?

A couple of thoughts, how about some international stuff? Things fall apart, by Chinua Achebe?

Or pairs of books. Jane eyre and wide Sargasso Sea for example?

Great idea btw, and good luck to your ds!

Sthingmustbescaringthemaway Sun 20-Oct-13 22:01:07
curlew Sun 20-Oct-13 22:05:57

Wow. What are your other genres? I want to steal your idea!

ILoveAFullFridge Sun 20-Oct-13 22:13:08

By Drama I meant a play script.

I don't think he's ready for Bronte/Austen type classics. I thought for Classic genre I'd give him something like Gulliver's Travels (just one or two lands, not all of it, unless it drew him on) or Kidnapped.

I also want to give him a classic horror story, I was thinking Dracula, but he said that he's tried it and couldn't get past the first couple of chapters - too dull!

ILoveAFullFridge Sun 20-Oct-13 22:49:22

Thanks for the link - some brilliant suggestions.

Other genres I was thinking of were:

Animals (Watership Down)
Biography/Autobiography (he will choose someone that interests him)
History (not sure yet)
Other cultures (I've got a book of Chinese ghost stories somewhere. Not sure about Chinua Achebe, the ones I've read have all been quite upsetting. Hmm, maybe I should include 'Sad' as a genre.)
Modern classic (either To Kill A Mockingbird or Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry)

But I'm also thinking about themes, rather than genres. So RoTHMC is also about what it's genuinely like to live under oppression.

It's not all planned out! I'll modify my offerings according to how he gets on.

Sthingmustbescaringthemaway Sun 20-Oct-13 22:51:19

There's another thread that covered a carefully whittled down list of books of a lifetime in all genres, fact and fiction, for a reluctant teen reader. But I can't find it.

Romance?

"I Capture the Castle" Dodie Smith (As it doesn't sound as if you think he's ready for Meg Rosoff.....)

Non-fiction: "The Double Helix" James D. Watson

Poetry:

"Field Work" Seamus Heaney "The Bounty"Derek Walcott

Thinking about plays - it would be great to offer him something really contemporary, but you might hesitate at the gloriously unrestricted language. So - how about:

"Our Town" Thornton Wilder.

If he never looked at another play he would have read one of the most groundbreaking pieces of drama ever.

Sthingmustbescaringthemaway Sun 20-Oct-13 23:04:36

X-posted! It's a fine idea OP but I hope you're not going to be too protective or "helpful". Can't you just provide the library and let him explore - with the proviso that he has agreed to try new things?

I do think that despite You Tube etc children now are quite underexposed to challenging literature. Once they've done Malorie Blackman and Suzanne Collins there doesn't really seem to be any way to progress. Whereas their grandparents might have been devouring Dickens, Hardy, Eliot before they entered their teens.

curlew Sun 20-Oct-13 23:21:04

"Whereas their grandparents might have been devouring Dickens, Hardy, Eliot before they entered their teens"

They weren't you know. Hindsight is 20/20. And rose tinted.

curlew Sun 20-Oct-13 23:24:08

Isn't one a week a bit ambitious? I have a 12 year old reader, but he doesn't usually manage a book a week, what with homework, football, Scouts, Judo, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Great British Bake Off, Fifa and the dog.

ILoveAFullFridge Sun 20-Oct-13 23:44:35

"Isn't one a week a bit ambitious? "

You've not met our Ravenous Reader! grin He started the first book today, he'll finish it by Friday, and he'll remember it. But that's modern literature. Something like Gulliver's Travels will be far more challenging.

The reason why I haven't suggested free choice is that he needs structure and challenge. Without guidance he would struggle to find different genres, and be put off a genre completely if he picked up something new that just did not work for him.

If a book takes him longer than a week, then so be it. It's not a race, the while point is to widen his range.

Because it's a challenge he's more likely to persevere with something that doesn't quite float his boat at first, and maybe discover that it's actually quite good.

booksteensandmagazines Tue 22-Oct-13 20:01:53

I am basing this list on two voracious teen boy readers I know - these are some of the books they have really enjoyed

Modern Classic: The Outsiders by SE Hinton
War (modern): Heroic by Phil Earle
Classic/animal: Call of the Wild by Jack London
Funny/School: Spud by John van de Ruit
Diary style/bullying: The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen
Set in other countries: Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace

there are more listed here:http://www.booksteensandmagazines.com/blog/reading-list-year-9-13--14-year-olds

Badvoc Wed 30-Oct-13 21:36:07

Great expectations
Jane eyre
Enigma
To kill a mockingbird
The body
I would recommend the Marlowe papers for poetry... I loved it.

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