Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Top 10 adult books for teenagers

Meg Rosoff, the author of How I Live Now, the tale of a 15-year-old American girl sent to live with her cousins in a future England just as a third world war is breaking out, compiled a top 10 list of adult books for teenagers for the Guardian.

Here are a few titles from the list:

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

It's the last gasp of the American Western, pre-second world war, and a 16-year-old year old orphan sets off on horseback to Mexico to find work. This book wasn't published until 1992, but if it had been around when I was a teenager, I'd have lost my mind with happiness. Lots of horses, violence, a disappearing way of life, and wonderful, brutal, poetic use of language.

Maus by Art Spiegelman

If you've never read a graphic novel, this is the place to start. Spiegelman's attempts to talk with his irrascible elderly father about his experiences in Auschwitz form the basis of this vivid, chilling, personal account of life in a second world war concentration camp. The depiction of Germans as cats and Jews as mice somehow does the opposite of trivializing the subject.

Casino Royale and Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming

These two original James Bond books, written in 1953 and 1954, leave the movies and all the pretender follow-up books in the dust. Gritty, sexy, beautifully written and filled with amazing adventures, they date from the heady days of the international cold war, when spies were hard and gadgets were thrilling. The good news is that if you love them as much as I did, there are about a dozen more to follow that are equally good.

Longitude by Dava Sobel

I love books that race along with a great story and impart a big chunk of history while you're not noticing. This book makes the 18th century feel as immediate as last month, and presents science as the creative problem-solving field it really is (not that dull stuff they make you memorise in school).

Click here to see the remaining titles on Rosoff's list.

Rosoff's latest novel, Just In Case, is about a teenage boy who suddenly realizes the fragility of life.

--Marshal Zeringue