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Creating a library for a 14/15 year old

(26 Posts)
BecauseImWorthIt Sat 05-Sep-09 11:51:00

DS2 will be 15 in March, and has just started Year 10, the beginning of his GSCE years.

He has few interests, other than the Wii/computer/TV, although he does like to read when he has a good book. (And when pushed into it by me!grin)

But most of the books he has are a little on the childish side now, and I think he's definitely ready for something more 'adult' - but equally I don't want to try and give him something too difficult.

I remember reading Animal Farm at this age, and it made a huge impression on me - and I went on to devour 1984 and Down and Out in Paris and London.

So, lovely well-read MNetters - what authors and/or titles would you recommend for him?

glaskham Sat 05-Sep-09 11:56:01

I recently read 'The guardians of time' triology by Marianne Curley books called 'The Named', 'The Dark' and 'The Key'.... They are like a grown up sort of magical read!! I really enjoyed them all!!

Lilymaid Sat 05-Sep-09 11:58:39

Catcher in the Rye. Congratulations on having a DS who is reading books at age 15!

BecauseImWorthIt Sat 05-Sep-09 12:00:07

Well, when I say he's reading, there is a -- lot-- just a bit of insistence on my part ...

roisin Sat 05-Sep-09 12:47:27

I think if he's a reluctant reader, personally I would be staying on the side of popular contemporary novels written for this age child. He will find them far more gripping, easy to get into, easy to read, and very accessible. If he does develop a more regular reading habit then he may be ready for classics.

What sort of books does he have that you view as 'childish'? Off the top of my head, some of the most popular authors for boys this age are:
Robert Muchamore
Anthony Horowitz
Darren Shan
Chris Ryan
Andy Briggs

Encourage him to read a newspaper too, if you can.

My son is only 12, but reads a massive variety of material from novels written for 8 yr-olds, through to Dickens, Austen, Ian Fleming, Conan Doyle. But if suddenly presented him with a shelf of 30 'worthy classics', books that 'everyone must read', I think he would feel stifled. I adore to Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, as well as classics by Austen, Bronte, etc. but I wouldn't want anyone to dictate to me what I should read, and sometimes read complete junk myself.

Why not take him to the library or bookshop and let him choose himself?

In the interests of simplifying life I suggested to ds1 that we could take all the summer library books back and not use the city library this term, as they have a good library at school. But he was adamant that, though he will use the school library too, and spend a fortune in Waterstones, there are some books in the city library that he needs to read too!

BecauseImWorthIt Sat 05-Sep-09 12:58:43

He's got/read Anthony Horowitz and DArren Shan.

I won't be 'presenting him with a shelf of 30 worthy classics' as I'm only too well aware how off putting that would be! We have lots and lots of books in this house, so probably don't need to buy any more, I just wanted others to advise me on things they loved/think a teenage boy would like.

Stuff I loved may well not be his thing, as I was a massive fan of Jane Austen/George Elliot, etc.

Please don't think I won't allow him to read junk! Any reading is great - I just want to encourage him away from the computer/Wii a little more.

teamcullen Sat 05-Sep-09 13:07:19

they get plenty of meaninful classics to read in school. DD has just gone into year 9 and has brought "To kill a mockingbird" home.

If your looking for books for enjoyment, what about Stephen King and Terry Prachett.

my brother has always been an avid reader and began reading these authers books when he was in his teens and still enjoys them in his 30s

sassy Sat 05-Sep-09 13:07:56

Some contemporary teenage fiction books are excellent: Junk, His Dark Materials trilogy Stone Cold and others by the same guy (Oh god I can't remember his name)

Would he like LOTR? Terry Pratchett often popular with teenage boys

Yes to Orwell also Steinbeck - and let him watch the 1960s films of East of Eden etc.

Catcher in The Rye requred reading for boys at this age I think

Boys often prefer non-fiction, esp well-written biographies of people they are interested in

juuule Sat 05-Sep-09 13:11:03

I second the suggestion that you take him to the library or a bookshop and let him choose for himself.

bruffin Sat 05-Sep-09 13:14:28

My DS 14 next week was a reluctant reader until last year , he likes

Robert Muchamore - cherub
Mark Waldren- HIVE
Skulduggery Pleasant
Percy jackson
Jack Delany - Sorcerers books
Antohony Horowitz
Charlie Higgins - Young James Bond
Eragon books by Christopher Paouli
Maximum Ride series by John Pattison

If you can get hold of any of John Christophers' trilogies like The Tripods are good for teenagers.

I have found what keeps DS going with books is that our local libraries are on line and he can order the books he wants, saves an absolute fortune.

teamcullen Sat 05-Sep-09 13:24:59

Phillip Pulman wrote His Dark Materials
The three books are called

Northern Lights
The Subtle Knife
The Amber Spyglass

Very good read. Im still trying to get DD to pick them up and put Twilight down hmm

BecauseImWorthIt Sat 05-Sep-09 13:27:25

We have His Dark Materials, and have also listened to the audio books as well.

Thanks all.

I am, though, really looking for books that are written for adults, that will act as a transition for him from teen fiction.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a good suggestion, and I know we've got that somewhere ...

roisin Sat 05-Sep-09 14:41:28

ds1 has enjoyed the following that some would describe as adult fiction:
Terry Pratchett
Anne McCaffrey
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Ian Fleming
J R R Tolkein
Ellis Peters
Jasper Forde
Douglas Adams
... mostly all just things we have around the place.

I must admit I'm not really clear what it is you are after?

janeite Sat 05-Sep-09 16:23:05

I would say Terry Pratchett, Stephen King, the Sherlock Holmes stories plus Doyle's Lost World, The Day Of The Triffids, 1984 or Animal Farm.

Maybe stuff like The De Vinci Code, although I've never read it myself, lots of my Yr 10 and 11 enjoyed it when it came out.

A book called Child A (I think) which is inspired by the Jamie Bulger killers.

Deffo Steinbeck - but don't start him with The Grapes Of Wrath, as it may put him off with its relentless misery.

A Clockwork Orange - my Yr 11 boys last year were all raving about that as well (no, we didn't read it in class!!).

BecauseImWorthIt Sat 05-Sep-09 16:24:07

Well, the authors that you have suggested are exactly what I'm looking for, roisin! I don't want teen fiction as we already have loads of that. I always enjoyed reading so just ploughed my way through everything there was at home and in the library, and then when we did 'O' level English, we had a whole stack of books to read through.

The difference now, with GCSE English, is that they have fewere books to read and they don't read them all - just selected passages, which I think is really terrible!

So I suppose what I'm looking for is recommendations for books that are, if you like, 'classic' literature, but that a young adult will enjoy. I know that something like James Joyce/Henry James will put him off for life!

roisin Sat 05-Sep-09 18:33:32

Oh, just another thought, some young people really enjoy reading the shortlists/longlists for book awards.

The other thing that has really inspired my boys is to go along to a literature festival and hear/meet some authors as well as lots of other people who love books.

bruffin Sun 06-Sep-09 18:05:13

I wouldn't push him yet, he is not even 2 years into being a teenager he has got the rest of his life to read adult fiction. I always feel reading is a hobby to be enjoyed and everyones taste are different.

Saying that DS asked about reading The Time Machine by H G Wells as it was mentioned on Doctor Who and I was telling him about the Chrysalids by John Wyndham which I just reread and DH read for the first time and I think he may read that.

thereistheball Mon 07-Sep-09 14:27:59

What about some action / thrillers? There are the obvious ones, eg Flemming's Bond novels, or you could try the latest one by Sebastian Faulkes for something a bit more PC. Or Andy McNab? Maybe a bit too gruesome, I haven't read any so couldn't say.

LadyGlencoraPalliser Mon 07-Sep-09 14:31:16

DH and I are both rather guiltily enjoying Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series at the moment. I bet a 15 year old boy who was even a little bit into history would love them.

JamesDavidsMum Mon 07-Sep-09 18:44:23

I know you have said that you don't want more teenage/young adult fiction but the Tomorrow when the war began series (available on Amazon) by Australian author John Marsden is great, I would read them again if I had the chance (I might just have to get them).

I still love to read YA fiction and was not that enamoured of the classics when I was 15 and up.

Bink Mon 07-Sep-09 18:51:19

I think Clockwork Orange is horrible and it affected me for years. Don't, I say.

We had a great thread on this sort of thing a good while ago - can you dredge the archives?

Anyway, the sort of authors I'd suggest are:

- Alain-Fournier
- Gorky
- Solzhenitsyn (Day in the Life, not the longer ones)
- Orwell, as you say
- F Scott Fitzgerald
- Raymond Chandler
- Laurie Lee

pinkthechaffinch Mon 07-Sep-09 18:57:14

He might enjoy anything by Stan Barstow.

Poss. a bit dated but I enjoyed them around that age, particularly 'A Kind of Loving'. Good working-class romance from a young man's perspective.

janeite Mon 07-Sep-09 20:53:33

Yes, Clockwork Orange IS horrible and it has taken me until this year (at nearly 40!) to manage the whole thing BUT it is also seriously impressively written and unlike anything else and may appeal to teenage boys (as it did to many of my Yr 11 class last year, who read it at home and then told me to read it!) because it is so very different and gripping. I actually think now that it is a work of genius.

OP - how about Lord Of The Flies?

CJ Sansom's books maybe? Especially if he has any interest in history.

BecauseImWorthIt Mon 07-Sep-09 22:50:27

Thanks all - off to check the archives as well!

elkiedee Wed 09-Sep-09 00:54:52

A couple of John Wyndham's books have been mentioned but his work is quite accessible. A friend's then 13 year old son devoured some books by Ursula Le Guin I lent him a couple of years ago - the Earthsea books which have been published for teenagers but are not just teenage fiction, and also one of her well known novels - The Disposessessed?

I've seen reluctant readers enjoy the Adrian Mole books though I don't know if the early 1980s ones would be as funny to a teenager now as they were then (the fictional character is just about the same age as me).

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