søndag den 2. august 2009

What to read next?


No, not me, but two young girls I know.

They are great readers (even in English), and now they want to move on from Harry Potter, The Borrowers, Lord of the Rings etc. One of them has read To Kill a Mockingbird and loves it.
The other girl has begun to read Scandinavian crime fiction.

So what I want is some suggestions - not "young adults" but adult fiction of good quality which is neither too advanced nor hard-boiled.

Which English books should they move on to? The more suggestions the better.

20 kommentarer:

Beth F sagde ...

Do consider Nothing but Ghosts for them. Perhaps some classics: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Jane Eyre, Little Women. Hummm. I need to think a bit. If I come up with something else, I'll be back.

Uriah Robinson sagde ...

Roseanna: Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo
Death on The Nile: Agatha Christie
The Hound of the Baskervilles: Arthur Conan -Doyle
Daniel Deronda; George Eliot
The Woodlanders: Thomas Hardy
Lorna Doone: R.D.Blackmore

Uriah Robinson sagde ...

Another one
Cider with Rosie: Laurie Lee

R/T sagde ...

Almost anything by Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, and--to a certain extent--Mark Twain. And, of course, C.S. Lewis ought to be included.

Dorte H sagde ...

Thank you very much for all your great suggestions!

Beth (and everybody else): do come back if you remember more good ones.

Rob Kitchin sagde ...

If you want something contemporary with strong female characters try something by Lauren Henderson (Too Many Blondes or Dead White Female) or Terry Pratchett's witch books (Wyrd Sisters, Equal Rites, Witches Abroad). You could also try Philip Pullman's Dark Material trilogy which seem to be very popular.

Dorte H sagde ...

Rob, Pratchett and Pullman may be really good suggestions! I will send them on.

betteskov sagde ...

I loved Pullmann and will strongly recommend him, too! For the girl who enjoyed "To kill a mockingbird" classics seem to be the way to go. In addition to Austen, Brontë, Dickens and Lewis, what about "Little Women"? Poe could also be of interest, given that they liked fantasy, or perhaps "Frankenstein" or "Dracula"? Comparing the latter to Twilight would BTW be an amazing essay to do in English class, focusing on the roles of women then and now :-)
For more contemporary books, there is "Life of Pi", I think the author is called Yann? I started reading Paul Auster as a teenager and kept coming back. I think "Mr Vertigo" and "Moon Palace" are the most suitable for younger readers. Nick Hornby is another of my favorite authors. I can recommend "About a boy" and "A long way down". So many books, such a long life ahead :-D

Dorte H sagde ...

Jane: great ideas!
I will send them on while I think about what to recommend for you :D

marco sagde ...

Two exceptional, for different reasons, "young adult" novels (or rather, novels from the pov of girls more or less their age) :

Dodie Smith "I Capture the Castle"


Shirley Jackson "We Have Always Lived in the Castle"

don't worry, the Castle in both titles doesn't mean they're Harlequin Romances!

Dorte H sagde ...

Marco, thanks!

I don´t know Dodie Smith, but I agree that Shirley Jackson writes excellently (and she is not at all romantic). Her short story "The Lottery" is brilliant.

Kerrie sagde ...

Some Daphne du Maurier perhaps
or look for John Marsden (Australian author- there is a series- TOMORROW WHEN THE WAR BEGAN which is very popular with mid teens here)
or perhaps John Wyndham (day of the Triffids etc)

Belle Wong sagde ...

It's not crime fiction, but one of my favourites when I was young was SE Hinton's The Outsiders. I saw it at the bookstore today and was tempted to pick up a copy, even though I know I have a couple of copies at home already.

Madeleine L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time series was another absolute favourite of mine. I also enjoyed her Austin family books.

And the Anne of Green Gables series, as well as Emily of New Moon series, by LM Montgomery were books I reread all the time (still do).

Dorte H sagde ...

Belle: fine ideas. My daughter knows and loves Montgomery, but I don´t know about her cousin. I also loved The Outsiders when I was young.

marco sagde ...

since you said "not young adults"
here's a glowing review of one (though not of the Harry Potter mold). I've read a couple of her stories - "Singing my sister down" was heartwrenchingly beautiful.

Dorte H sagde ...

Marco, of course my statement "not young adults" was a sweeping generalisation. Thank you for your recommendation which certainly seems to be something special!

Maxine Clarke sagde ...

I think Kerrie's suggestion of Daphne Du Maurier is excellent (Rebecca is the most famous and I think the best; if they like that there are other excellent books by the same author to read, eg My Cousin Rachel and Jamaica Inn. Her short stories are also excellent - Don't Look Now and The Birds were both made into famous films).

I think some of the suggestions are a bit hard even for native English speakers - eg Daniel Deronda is extremely long and quite mature - for a first shot at Eliot I'd recommend Silas Marner as it is short and a more dramatic tale - or Mill on the Floss, longer (but tragic) but perhaps of more interest to a younger adult than Deronda or my all-time favourite (perhaps of all novels ever) Middlemarch - which might do if they develop a taste for the author.

I would recommend Animal Farm by George Orwell, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte. Like the others I've recommended, they all have a good plot and yet have quite serious messages or themes - and none of them is too long. One thing I have learnt when introducing younger people to the very good literature is not to start off with something too challenging, long or potentially dry. Once they get to like an author or style, they can then move on for themselves. (I nearly had Austen destroyed for me by having to read her at school - luckily only one book. When I read one for pleasure in my early 20s (Emma) I loved it and read and loved all the rest.)

Happy to provide more ideas at any time!

Dorte H sagde ...

Maxine, thank you for all these great suggestions. Based on the ones I have read myself, I know you are at least close to my daughter´s taste.
Actually, I had dug out Northanger Abbey for her, but somehow it has disappeared from the shelf (where do books go when they go off????)

Maxine Clarke sagde ...

My daughter enjoyed Northanger Abbey recently and, before that, Pride and Prejudice - but I think she enjoyed P&P because she had seen the TV series first (Colin Firth version).

Yes, where do books go? Good question!

Dorte H sagde ...

Maxine, the really annoying thing is that her sister gave her a CD with Pride and Prejudice, and when I saw how much she enjoyed it, I promised I would buy Northanger Abbey for her if she read the novel. Buth as our vicarage is huge and we are living in the cottage right now because it is having a new roof, it is probably easier to buy a new copy than hunt for it for years. (I may try our school library first - they ought to have it in the English section, but you never know).