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Classics for a reluctant teen?

(28 Posts)
TwentyOneGuns Sat 02-Jul-16 07:43:23

DD14 is an avid reader but tends to go for pretty lightweight stuff, I don't really care as I'm just happy she's reading but her school report suggested she try to balance this with some more classics as she starts GCSE.

I'm not especially up on adult classics although I've read most children's, but I know many of them would put her off straight away due to the dated or complex language. Can anyone suggest something classic that's maybe a bit easier and might tempt her to read more of this kind of book?

Jaimx86 Sat 02-Jul-16 07:46:06

1984 - lots of students have loved this.

WidowWadman Sat 02-Jul-16 07:48:38

Pride and Prejudice

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Sat 02-Jul-16 07:49:23

DS is 13 and reads a lot of YA fiction but no classics really. He is working through Lord of the Flies at the monent, and has also read Animal Farm and Brave New World. So what about some 20th century classics like that rather than the full-on Victorian stuff? You don't want to kill her desire to read completely! (And I say that as an English teacher!)

seaviewplease Sat 02-Jul-16 07:56:40

Not adult really but has she read Harry Potter? Dd1 read these (now doing English Lit at Russell group uni) and swears by them, she can't believe her fellow students haven't read them. They get quite sophisticated as the books progress.

Dd2 likes diaries and lighter stuff. As far as teen stuff she loved Fault in her stars (correct title?). Not classic I know.

I second Animal Farm. Also The Invisible Man - very short and quite exciting.

Can you trawl the charity shops with her to see what interests her?

ClownsToTheLeftOfMe Sat 02-Jul-16 08:03:27

Madame Bovary and Therese Raquin both favourites of mine.

Or the Claudine books by Colette.

Savagebeauty Sat 02-Jul-16 08:09:11

Great Gatsby, or The Colour Purple?
I much prefer American fiction.

ClownsToTheLeftOfMe Sat 02-Jul-16 08:10:11

Another one, Love for Lydia by HE Bates.

And not terribly old but the Vet books by James Herriott are funny and interesting.

Or Poldark.

Savagebeauty Sat 02-Jul-16 08:11:17

clowns I love Love for Lydia!!!
And JH still makes me laugh.

neolara Sat 02-Jul-16 08:12:04

To kill a mockingbird. Catcher in the Rye.

ClownsToTheLeftOfMe Sat 02-Jul-16 08:14:00

Yes! To F Scott Fitzgerald.

I also remember going through most of the PG Wodehouse books as a teen.

And I know Just William is perceived as for children but they are so brilliant I'll still occasionally read one now. They just get better and better grin

UnfitMotherr Sat 02-Jul-16 08:16:48

Handmaid's Tale...amazing book, I wish I'd read it as a teen.

yomellamoHelly Sat 02-Jul-16 08:20:01

Boy in the Striped Pjamas
Maggot Moon
Fahrenheit 451

Bottomchops Sat 02-Jul-16 08:20:12

I found Graham Greene a good "in". Brighton Rock: crime and gangsters. Travels With My Aunt. How about some Raymond Chandler?? Great stories.

everdene Sat 02-Jul-16 08:40:03

I would say Rebecca- she'll recognise the first line so it'll make her feel cultured wink.

Then the plot is so modern and twisting - finding out about the VD etc - it really brought 'old books' alive for me (I was about 16 when I read it).

TwentyOneGuns Sat 02-Jul-16 08:44:31

Thank you, there are some great suggestions here. She has actually done some of these at school and didn't mind them, it's just encouraging her to try them in her own time. I think sometimes the 'classic' label can be perceived as 'dull and worth' when that's rarely the case.

Need to get Zoella or some other cool YouTuber recommending a few reads, she'd be on them like a shot then! DD tells me Zoella is now doing a Book Club with WHSmith, be interesting to see what's on her list.

RoseDeGambrinus Sat 02-Jul-16 09:01:43

Yes to To Kill A Mockingbird and Rebecca. I was wondering about The Woman in White - it's quite long but good fun.
Not all 'classics' but I read as a young teen:
Sherlock Holmes
James Herriot
My Family and Other Animals
Three Men in a Boat
Pride and Prejudice
John Wyndham
the Mapp and Lucia books

I wonder if Cold Comfort Farm would be amusing at that age.

Scarydinosaurs Sat 02-Jul-16 09:05:55

Some ideas here

queenoftheboys Sat 02-Jul-16 09:15:24

15yo DS has recently read and enjoyed Animal Farm and 1984, To Kill A Mockingbird and The Great Gatsby.

Also Day of The Triffids and The Chrysallids a couple of years ago.

He also read One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich for school and ultimately loved it, but doubt he would have persevered if he didn't have to!

YesterdayTomorrowToday Sat 02-Jul-16 09:18:06

Animal Farm is a good one. Also. Not quite classics but a bit chunkier with more grown up themes, has she tried any Michelle Magorian?

queenoftheboys Sat 02-Jul-16 09:20:47

And not classics (nor's the John Wyndham really) but he regularly rereads the Hitchiker's Guide books and Terry Pratchett, but he's a bit of a sci fi/fantasy nerd smile

cdtaylornats Sat 02-Jul-16 10:58:16

The Hobbit
Lord of the Rings
39 Steps
King Solomons Mine's

cdtaylornats Sat 02-Jul-16 11:00:03

Meant to add - if she has a Kindle/ebook/tablet the classics can be downloaded for free and legally and safely from Project Gutenberg

Muskey Sat 02-Jul-16 11:06:16

Dd is 12 will be 13 in September. She is reading Dr Jeckyl and Mr Hyde it's a short book which I think helps and she is loving it. She has also read Frankinstein, The Time Machine and most of Jules Verne books. When we read Jane Eyre together (which I genuinely thought she would like a bit of romance, mad woman in the attic etc) she absolutely hated it.

mysteryfairy Sat 02-Jul-16 11:12:26

Dark literary fiction worked well with my teen DSs. Iain Banks The Wasp Factory and Ian McEwan The Cement Garden for example.

They liked In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

Margaret Atwood books like Alias Grace and The Handmaids Tale might appeal more to a DD.

I have an English degree and by 14 had read classics widely - all of Jane Austen and the Brontes, Dickens, Orwell etc etc plus loads of other lighter stuff - everything Agatha Christie had ever published for example. My DD loves English too and is also 14 but I find it impossible to get her to do the same. I think there is just too much social media and a prevalence of young adult literature so there are too many easy distractions!

I recently found I had enough nectar points to buy DD a kindle paper white with 3G! Man in Argos laughed when I said I would be paying with points but I honestly did have them, must have mounted up over a couple of years. Hoping having a specific device will help and she did read a lot on a recent school trip to France but all YA focused.

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