"influential" novels for 15 year old mature reader.

(24 Posts)
wigglybeezer Mon 31-Oct-16 20:09:54

DS1 is 15 and has asked for ideas to extend his reading. He likes books that explore ideas, concepts, philosophies so has enjoyed classic sci-fi like Ray Bradbury but also enjoyed The Great Gatsby. I have suggested 1984 but would welcome other ideas, European novels or 19th century even. I find it hard to narrow down so interested to see if the same suggestions come up more than once.

Woollymammoth63 Mon 31-Oct-16 20:11:40

If you look in smiths they have a classics section with catch 22 etc in good range

KeithLeMonde Mon 31-Oct-16 20:12:53

The one that springs to mind immediately is Neuromancer by William Gibson, if he hasn't read it.

Lucked Mon 31-Oct-16 20:18:28

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Metamorphosis by Kafka

Cherryskypie Mon 31-Oct-16 20:21:02

Atlas Shrugged is drivel.

Brave New World
1984
Some Margaret Atwood

JeepersMcoy Mon 31-Oct-16 20:22:15

I am currently reading Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky, which I would heartily recommend if he fancies some serious SF. If you want classics then along with 1984 you have Fahrenheit 451.

I remember getting into a series called Duncton Wood around that age. The covers make it look really sappy, but it is a really dark and interesting fantasy series about a load of religious zealot moles. Strange amd somewhat disturbing.

Also I discovered Terry Pratchett's disk world books early to mid teens and they are rather fun.

Would second William Gibson too...

Jenijena Mon 31-Oct-16 20:23:36

Flowers for Algernon.

SittingAround1 Mon 31-Oct-16 20:32:19

Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
The Stranger - Albert Camus
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
Animal Farm - George Orwell
The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith
Vanity Fair - William Thackeray
There are loads of Russian ones as well - if he's up for it Dostoevsky
War & Peace - Tolstoy
The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham
David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
Empire of the Sun- J.G Ballard

PhantomPringles Mon 31-Oct-16 20:37:09

Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder (not sure if it is too girly, but it is definitely a thinker)

VestalVirgin Mon 31-Oct-16 20:38:44

The Handmaid's Tale comes to mind.

Egalia's Daughters is also a book one should have read, although it is not fun to read. (To me. But the same applies to most suggestions here.)

Hmm ... philosophical sci-fi ... I haven't read the original Frankenstein novel by Mary Shelley, but I think it might be interesting to your son. While it is often used as basis for cheap horror movies, I have heard the original book was rather philosophical in exploring the implications of creating an artificial sentient being.

Woollymammoth63 Mon 31-Oct-16 20:42:38

Also Google 100 books or classics to read before u die .
Da just turned 15 has read most of them on the thread he a very avid reader..also Thomas Hardy , Never let me go, he likes war books like Goodbye to all that, also B Cornwell books, Farenheit 451,

SittingAround1 Mon 31-Oct-16 20:42:53

Yes I recommend Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It is quite philosophical.
Bram Stoker's Dracula is also good.

girlwithamoonandstaronherhead Mon 31-Oct-16 20:46:54

To kill a mocking bird
Uncle toms cabin
Alif the unseen
Anything by Charles dickens

northcoastmum Mon 31-Oct-16 20:48:17

Fahrenheit 451, The Handmaid's Tale, Heart of Darkness, Waiting for the Barbarians, The Book of Negroes, Station Eleven, The Kite Runner, Things fall apart, To Kill a Mockingbird, Day of the Triffids, Catcher in the Rye, The picture of Dorian Gray, The Road (Cormac McCarthy), Balzac and the little Chinese seamstress...I could go on and on! Some of these come with a content warning depending on the maturity of your son in relation to sex and violence.

wigglybeezer Mon 31-Oct-16 20:54:41

Some of you have confirmed ideas I have had too and suggested others I had forgotten about, we definitely have Neuromancer somewhere for a start. Thanks.

HarrietSchulenberg Mon 31-Oct-16 20:55:14

As a linguistic challenge, try Russell Hoban's Ridley Walker. It's one of my favourite books but takes a little while to "find" the language.

ImperialBlether Mon 31-Oct-16 20:55:51

Google 100 cult novels, that sort of thing. He should read whatever he's interested in, but look at that author's influences to extend his range.

thisismyfirsttime Mon 31-Oct-16 21:00:12

Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wasp Factory, Jekyll and Hyde and The Collector are all fantastic books. At that age I was also really into Angela's Ashes. I liked lighter reading books inbetween the more classic ones, Acid and the Gone series spring to mind. The Good Women of China and Falling Leaves were also really thought provoking and the His Dark Matter trilogy by Philip Pullman.

apintofwhine Mon 31-Oct-16 21:11:19

Try Powell's books. It's an independent book store in portland america, not suggesting that you order from there but their website is great for recommendations and it has a young adult section that offers lots of suggestions

Sadik Mon 31-Oct-16 21:14:38

Ursula le Guin is good for ideas-driven sci-fi - two good ones to start with are The Dispossessed (exploration of what an anarchist society might look like) and The Left Hand of Darkness (traveller comes to a planet where the inhabitants have no fixed gender identity). An interesting read to follow on would be the recent Ancillary Justice series which also uses the idea of a genderless society.

OhTheRoses Mon 31-Oct-16 21:15:44

DD read Atonement at 12. It's been seminal. She also devoured a raft of Sebastian Faulks.

OhTheRoses Mon 31-Oct-16 21:17:41

A book I loved at that age, as did some of my male contemporaries was Cider with Rosie. Jude the obscure is also quite thought provoking.

Sadik Mon 31-Oct-16 21:18:16

Thinking about older influential books - what about Machiavelli's the Prince and also the Communist Manifesto - both also have the virtue of being short & accessible.

And also what about Mrs Gaskell for a 19th C novelist equivalent to Ken Loach - very interesting to read say Mary Barton alongside books about modern Chinese factory working conditions.

VestalVirgin Mon 31-Oct-16 22:12:43

Oh yes, seconding the Ancillary Justice series. It's great.

A Brother's Price by Wen Spencer also explores alternative gender roles, but is, plot-wise, a romance. Which might not appeal.

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