Friday, April 15, 2011

Top 10 "unsuitable" books for teenagers

Patrick Ness has written two books for adults, (the novel The Crash of Hennington and a short story collection titled Topics About Which I Know Nothing). He published The Knife of Never Letting Go, his first young adult book, in 2008. It won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Booktrust Teenage Prize. The sequel, The Ask and the Answer, won the Costa children's fiction prize, and was followed by the final book in the trilogy, Monsters of Men. His new novel, A Monster Calls, will be published next month in Britain.

For the Guardian, he named a top ten list of "unsuitable" books--that is, books best read when people tell you you're too young for them--for teenagers, including:
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

The obvious first choice, but not necessarily because of its literary reputation. It needs to be read when you're young. If you first meet Holden Caulfield when you're too old, the desire to give him a good slap might impede your enjoyment.
Read about the other titles on the list.

The Catcher In The Rye appears on David Ulin's six favorite books list, Nicholas Royle's list of the top ten writers on the telephone, TIME magazine's list of the top ten books you were forced to read in school, Tony Parsons' list of the top ten troubled males in fiction, Dan Rhodes' top ten list of short books, and Sarah Ebner's top 25 list of boarding school books; it is one of Sophie Thompson's six best books. Upon rereading, the novel disappointed Khaled Hosseini, Mary Gordon, and Laura Lippman.

--Marshal Zeringue