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Recommendations please for noble-minded and literary nephew 20

(68 Posts)
traviata Fri 06-Oct-17 08:52:55

My DN is captivated by noble tales of self-discovery and a search for authenticity, especially against a wild or epic backdrop, and he is nurturing a dream of discovering life's truths through 'life on the road' instead of buckling down to his mundane studies. Americana features strongly.

What else might he enjoy reading?

He has read all of Cormac McCarthy, William Maxwell, Faulkner, 'Into the Wild' by Jon Krakauer, 'Stoner', 'On the Road' & 'Motorcycle Diaries', George Orwell 'Down & Out in Paris & London', and he has probably read Camus and Sartre.

Cantseethewoods Fri 06-Oct-17 08:59:17

The Northwater

BakerCandlestickmaker Fri 06-Oct-17 09:03:58

I have a teenaged nephew who was very taken by All Quiet on the Western Front, he always cites it as the best book he has read. It doesn't fit your brief but it's a story of a young man growing up in war, food for thought for those of the same age now.

senua Fri 06-Oct-17 09:09:33

Touching the Void. Joe Simpson

traviata Fri 06-Oct-17 09:09:46

The North Water looks great thanks - I missed it when it came out a couple of years ago.

'All Quiet..' is an incredible book, thank you for suggesting it, but I think DN is likely to have read it.

traviata Fri 06-Oct-17 09:11:43

yy to Touching the Void.

as it happens I am currently reading one of Joe Simpson's later books - This Game of Ghosts - which I borrowed from DN's shelf! It is heartbreaking stuff, a climbing death on every other page.

senua Fri 06-Oct-17 09:18:05

His list is very male and macho, can we get some females in there?
An article from Oprah

traviata Fri 06-Oct-17 09:21:59

Good point Senua and I was thinking about Cheryl Strayed's 'Wild' to add to the list.

The books in the Oprah article sound like they are mostly quite domestic or restrained (eg Forster) - where are the books by women with a wildness at their heart?

traviata Fri 06-Oct-17 09:24:38

There are mountaineering books by women, of course, I might investigate some more of those, but sometimes memoirs don't have the literary punch of fiction.

SukiPutTheEarlGreyOn Fri 06-Oct-17 09:33:16

Somerset Maugham's The razor's edge is about a young American's spiritual odyssey. Also Bruce Chatwin's 'Songlines' and John Fowles 'The Magus' - both were resonant of travel and discovery when I was you DN's age.

chewiecat Fri 06-Oct-17 09:34:33

Fear and loathing in Las Vegas by hunter s thompson

PerkingFaintly Fri 06-Oct-17 09:39:47

How about Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible? Missionary family learning about themselves in Congo.

Or Margaret Craven's I Heard the Owl Call My Name.

traviata Fri 06-Oct-17 09:52:56

I will look at these, thank you.

Something elegiac would be ideal.

traviata Fri 06-Oct-17 09:54:15

has anyone read Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez?

PerkingFaintly Fri 06-Oct-17 10:09:55

I assume he's already read Jack London?

And surely there'll be some Hemingway? I've only seen the film of The Snows of Kilimanjaro, but that seems to tick the boxes.

Siegfried Sassoon, Memoirs of a Foxhunting Man?

Primo Levi's If This is a Man?

And although it seems almost the opposite of your description, for some reason Toni Morrison's Beloved came to mind. It's certainly about the human condition.

SukiPutTheEarlGreyOn Fri 06-Oct-17 10:10:09

Forgot to mention 'into the wild' (Jon Krakaur) and 'the beach' (Alex Garland') and 'Vagabonding' (Ralph Potts) which includes pioneering women of vagabonding. Robert Byron's 'The road to Oxiana' is both a travel classic and describes a young man's journey. Agree there aren't enough titles suggested by by woman so maybe look at Mary Wollstonecraft's 'Letters from Sweden, Norway, Denmark' and Jan Morris 'Coast to coast'? Also recommended is Clare Holtham's 'The road from Herat' which is a hybrid of poetry and photography from her travels.

traviata Fri 06-Oct-17 10:51:21

Mary Wollstonecraft is a good call. Along with the American West, Scandinavia has a particular appeal.

traviata Fri 06-Oct-17 10:58:42

who is that well-known woman writer who went to Antarctica not so long ago?

I don't mean Sara Wheeler, although she has written a very good book about Antartica and also a biog of Apsley Cherry-Garrad which might appeal to DN.

ChiefClerkDrumknott Fri 06-Oct-17 11:04:07

The Sherston trilogy by Siegfried Sassoon. Based on his own life experience pre-, during and post- WW1. It starts as the story of a fairly idle, privileged, upper class man with vivid descriptions of hunting and cricket, and follows him through the horrors of war to a recovery hospital and his PTSD. Foxhunting man is one of my favourite books, it made me cry the first time I read it. I try to read it this time of year every year

Cakescakescakes Fri 06-Oct-17 11:34:19

Paul Theroux’s travel writing - classic vintage travel literature.

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick - fabulous award winning book about contemporary life in North Korea. One of the best most eye opening things I’ve ever read.

MyBrilliantDisguise Fri 06-Oct-17 11:35:43

He has to read John Steinbeck! East of Eden and Grapes of Wrath are amazing.

babybarrister Fri 06-Oct-17 11:36:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

traviata Fri 06-Oct-17 11:46:57

some brilliant suggestions, thank you

Saffronwblue Fri 06-Oct-17 11:52:10

Robyn Davidson , Tracks. very powerful . A young woman walks across the Australian desert with camels.

Richard Flanagan The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

or for a complete change of tone, the comic travel writer Tim Moore is really funny and sets off on quite bizarre adventures. Frost on My Moustache is a joy.

Your DN sounds lovely.

Dinosauratemydaffodils Fri 06-Oct-17 12:47:54

Nan Shepherd's the Living Mountain.

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