Book recommendations for advanced teen reader by educators or library science professionals?

My son (age 13) is a very prolific and advanced reader and I am almost out of suggestions for him to read so I am turning to some "older" titles and wonder if any educators/library science professionals have thoughts on whether these books are age appropriate for "content"(I know the ability to comprehend is there). I read these books MANY years ago and by my recollection he should be fine but I thought I would get professional opinions - Fahrenheit 451, 1984, Brave New World? - Also do you have other recommendations (he tends to lean towards fantasy type books), preferably NOT books published in the last 2 or 3 years. Thank you for your help!


7th Floor Pen - I don't have an objection to books published in the last 2 to 3 yrs we just have spent many, many, hours in a bookstore or library during that period so my thought was that we would probably have come across a vast number of those books. He has read alot (but not all) of the Tolkein & CS Lewis. I don't think there would be too much that we would find objectionable unless there are graphic sex details. As I recall the Scarlet Letter is not extremely graphic, however a 13 year-old boy has less interest in undying (or dying for) love then mutants & monsters (Wuthering Heights is probably out). I think Frankenstein was a GREAT suggestion (thanks Lauria) & plan to pair it w/ something along the lines of "Spare Parts for People". My thinking for "Brave New World" was that paired w/ "1984" it would give us some compare/contrast material for what the world was imagined to be & what it actually is. Thank you for the suggestions & hopefully my addtl info will lead to more!

Update 2:

Lauria - He has read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (and the Middle-earth books and Simarillion) and all the Chronicles of Narnia - I'm not familiar with some of the others but will check them out! I definitely plan on doing Frankenstein with some factual science books about bioengineering. Thank you for the very thoughtful suggestions!

Update 3:

7th Floor Pen - I forgot to mention that he does have a VERY keen interest in writing - I am currently trying to find writing workshops for him at our local University.

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    As a librarian, I don't see a problem with your son reading any of the books you've listed. The content of 1984 is a bit disturbing, but not overly violent; it might make a good source of discussion for the 2 of you.

    Here are some suggestions for other titles:

    Animal Farm by George Orwell

    The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

    The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien

    Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

    The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

    The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis

    Alice in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

    The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

    Spellsinger by Alan Dean Foster

    Anything written by Isaac Asimov

    Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King (not a horror novel)

    Hope these suggestions help!

  • 1 decade ago

    Addendum (and at the beginning, no less):

    My question about recent literature arises out of the sheer volume of work published. And some of it is very, very good. I would stay away from John Irving if sex is out (it's not "graphic" but it is also not vague.) If your son wants to write, then I would go with short stories (although they will be much more difficult to monitor for content.) A cheap way to get short stories is to get anthologies. Also, as a young writer, a short story is a form that is more approachable, whereas a novel is daunting and (potentially) limitless. Some suggestions (anthologies and authors):

    "The Best American Short Stories" (Yearly and one for the 20th century)

    "The Granta Book of American Fiction"

    "The Norton Anthology of..."

    Raymond Carver (Complete collection available)

    Truman Capote (Complete collection available)

    John Updike (Complete collection available)

    John Cheever (Complete collection available)

    Tobias Wolff

    Richard Ford, esp. Rock Springs

    William Faulkner (Complete collection available)

    Ernest Hemingway (Complete collection available)

    He might be interested in "My People's Waltz" by Dale Ray Phillips, as much of it is narrated by a young man around your son's age. It is not explicit, in my opinion.

    If your son wants to write, the quality of what he reads and what he learns about writing is more important than anything else. I believe that most writing teachers will tell you that great writers are great readers. You learn more by reading than you do by listening to a teacher... and I AM a creative writing professor, so I'm not knocking the profession!

    I don't know how much farther your 13-year old can go into reading more difficult material and not come across content that a parent might find objectionable. So much of the experience of literature, anyway, depends more on life experience than on intelligence or mastery of vocabulary. For instance, I don't believe that many thirteen year olds will relate to _The Sound & the Fury_ as well as someone twice, or three times, that age. The same might be true for _The Sportswriter_ which I first read when I was 17. I only have begun to appreciate it, as a father, now that I am older.

    I also have too many questions to ask before I can begin to suggest books. For instance, what do you consider objectionable? I know dyed-in-the-wool Southern Baptists who call/email me and complain that their 19-year old college student is reading _The Scarlet Letter_ and _The Crucible_.

    So, if you want your child to read more complex novels, there are many issues to think about. Language, violence and sex are only the surface problems. I don't think any 13-year old should read _American Psycho_ or _Portnoy's Complaint_ but I look forward to teaching the book to 20-year old students (and even more to the non-traditional students, of 30 or 40, who bring so much more perspective than I have, because they were alive in the time period depicted.)

    For starters, try Tolkien's books (although it sounds like he may have read them.) Jerry Spinelli wrote some fine books that should be a mix of more challenging language and vocabulary, without having to expose a middle school student to the more graphic and disturbing scenes you would find in other novels. The problem I have with fantasy novels is that they often do not evoke the type of artistic experimentation and breadth of vocabulary that can be found in literature (yes, I know that some writers do, but then, some erotica writers are also gifted wordsmiths.)

    You could also see if your child has an interest in writing. If so, perhaps you could suggest that, for every novel they read, they try to write a short story that imitates the diction, syntax and style, as well as some elements of setting/plot/character. You could also have them read some short story collections!

    Another thing... why the prohibition against reading material published in the last few years? That jumped out at me. Oh, and _Brave New World_ is not necesarrily "objectionable" but younger readers may have a hard time grappling with some of the concepts and recognizing that all of the ones presented may not be "the best" choices/solutions.

  • 4 years ago

    Some fairly best books which might be generally learn via adults, however that I have learn and love are: Water for Elephants (Historical fiction) The Kite Runner (Historical and functional fiction approximately Afghanistan) A Thousand Splendid Suns (By the equal creator as The Kite Runner) The Lovely Bones (relocating tale approximately the demise of a woman) Lord of the Flies (It's a conventional, however an overly intriguing one that is been a base for lots of technological know-how fiction novels at present corresponding to Gone via Michael Grant.

  • 1 decade ago

    These are relatively recent books...maybe the past 20 years of so...

    Orson Scott Card has the Ender series and the Ender's Shadow series which he may like. It's more sci-fi than fantasy though.

    My 16-year-old son likes the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind and the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.

    Another series my son loved was The Dark Tower series by Stephen King...not horror, but fantasy. It may be too graphic for your son though. The language and sexual situations may be too much.

    I thought of another by Stephen King, The Talisman. It isn't as graphic as some of the others by King. It has time distortions and jumping around in time/space. It's quite good.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    wuthering heights

    ah, brings back memories of when i was 15 and read it. I too was an advanced reader. I have lots of suggestions if you like for me to think about it for a lil bit

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