Saturday, 19 September 2015

A Great-Uncle Writes...

I'm wondering if anyone out there has any suggestions for books to give to a bright and bookish about-to-be 16-year-old girl (my great-niece). Last year she read and enjoyed Gwen Raverat's Period Piece and E. Nesbit's Long Ago When I Was Young - so this is a girl whose reading extends, happily, way beyond recent fiction.
 I'm wondering about My Antonia, So Long See You Tomorrow, The Member of the Wedding, True Grit? Funny they're all American...
 Any ideas?

12 comments:

  1. When I was 16, I loved the Blandings books, Point Counterpoint by Aldous Huxley, Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart, Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and all Conan Doyle, including the odder, non-Sherlock ones

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ah yes, some good possibilities there - thanks zmkc.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Virago Press used to have a handy volume with Emily Eden's The Semi-Detached House and The Semi-Attached Couple. I believe I gave my copy to a niece, then aged something between 15 and 18. The same niece, a bit older, surprised me a bit by greatly enjoying Mr. Midshipman Easy

    ReplyDelete
  4. Much about the behavior of 16-year-old girls is unpredictable, including reading choices. After a steady diet of Harry Potter for several years, my daughter idly picked up a copy of Crime and Punishment and was entranced for the next week, even forgoing her weekly viewing of America's Next Top Model. Other favorites during the same period included Pride and Prejudice, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and of course the next installment from Hogwarts. Dickens and Twain got the cold shoulder.

    Seeking to make sense of this, I phoned her today, 12 years later. In her view, many girls that age are feeling acutely the conflicting demands of family, friends, culture and just want to be swept away into another world. The nature of that world can vary from week to week, as can most everything about a 16-year-old girl. Foreignness, in the broadest sense, is probably the best guide. True Grit sounds good to us.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sorry, another American one, but 'To Kill A Mockingbird' should be must-read for everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks to all - Emily Eden a fascinating suggestion, and I've never read her myself. Your daughter's perspective is very interesting, Waldo, and I'm sure she's right - the appeal of another world. I suspect Dickens and Twain appeal more to male taste (generally speaking). To Kill a Mockingbird, Ron, is now so deeply embedded in English schools that it's the one book you can be sure every youngster has read. I've no idea why this is, but there you are...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Cather's My Antonia and her O! Pioneers are excellent choices.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Cather's My Antonia and her O! Pioneers are excellent choices.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great - I think one of those will definitely make it to the final cut...

    ReplyDelete