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The W - Print - Reading Suggestions for my Brother
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Lise
Mrs. Guru








Since: 11.12.01

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.00
My 13 year old brother is staying with us for the summer and he's just finished reading the Redwall books. He's looking to read some other stuff, but sadly I am by definition not cool, and so my suggestions are largely ignored or received with much eye rolling. So far the only thing that I've given him that he really liked (but I'm not exactly sure I want him reading the rest of the series) is Ender's Game. He likes Artemis Fowl, but doesn't like Harry Potter because it's not "real" enough. Reading level isn't really an issue, but the material should be PG-13 at the worst.
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edoug
Summer sausage








Since: 13.2.04
From: Maine

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.74
If you know any historical figures or people he might admire get their biographies, if they exist. I'm a long ways from thirteen but I prefer to read about real lives.



Karlos the Jackal
Lap cheong








Since: 2.1.02
From: The City of Subdued Excitement

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.00
The Prydain Chronicles, maybe?

Click Here (amazon.com)

The Disney film The Black Cauldron was (poorly) adapted from these.

--K



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bash91
Merguez








Since: 2.1.02
From: Plain Dealing, LA

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.07
Since it looks like his tastes run towards speculative fiction, I'll limit my recommendations to that genre. Keeping it PG-13:

The Apprentice Adept series by Piers Anthony
The Landover Series by Terry Brooks - I'd also recommend the first 3 or 4 Shannara books but I just don't remember how they should be rated.
Almost anything by Mercedes Lackey, but I'm not sure if they'll meet his realism quotient.
Any of Robert A. Heinlein's juveniles (Double Star, Podkayne, Tunnel in the Sky, Starman Jones, Glory Road, Starship Troopers, etc.)
David Weber's Bahzell Bahnakhson series (Oath of Swords, The War God's Own, Wind Rider's Oath) but they may also be realism challenged.

Give me some time and I could produce a much larger list, but this is a decent starting point.

Tim



Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit. -- Erasmus

All others things being equal, the simplest solution is usually stupidity. -- Darwin Minor
tarnish
Frankfurter








Since: 13.2.02
From: Back in the Heart of Hali

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.93
I'll second Terry Brooks' Landover series. And the first 3 Shannara books are worth a read and shouldn't be any more dangerous than Tolkien.

The Prydain Chronicles might be a little light for a 13-year-old, but I loved them. Same for Susan Cooper's "The Dark is Rising" cycle.

I'd also point you towards Terry Pratchett's Young Adult books (Maurice & his Educated Rodents, The Wee Free Men, Hatful of Sky) and also the regular Discworld series (the Watch books would be a good start).

Neil Gaiman's Stardust is fun, and a 13-year-old might be able to handle Neverwhere, but I think there's some adult language in both.

He might also like Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" series, which is much darker and more challenging than Harry Potter, and probably a little more "real". It's still fantasy, though.

Douglas Adams goes without saying. Even if he doesn't get most of it, the Hitchhiker's guide is the kind of series one can come back to again and again. And the Dirk Gently books are all kinds of fun.

For non-fantasy/Sci-Fi, There's also an author named Julian F. Thompson who wrote some YA books I really enjoyed at that age. The ones I remember are "Simon Pure", "A Band of Angels" and "The Grounding of Group Six".

Two more that I read at that age that made an impression: "A Hero ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich" by Alice Childress and "Fast Sam, Cool Clyde, and Stuff" by Walter Dean Myers. Both were written in the 70s and may not have aged well. "Hero" has some serious adult themes (13-or-so year-old getting hooked on heroin), but it won YA awards, so there
And if he likes baseball at all, you could do far worse than "Shoeless Joe" by W.P. Kinsella. Certainly some adult themes (language, at least one sex scene), but an incredible book.


(edited by tarnish on 29.7.06 1044)
Tenken347
Boudin blanc








Since: 27.2.03
From: Parts Unknown

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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.26
The "Dark is Rising" books are excellent, I wholeheartedly endorse them. And when I was his age, anything by Gorden Korman was a good read, particularly "I Want to Go Home."
odessasteps
Scrapple








Since: 2.1.02
From: MD, USA

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.58

I second the nomination for "his dark materials."

If it's a smart kid, Gormanghast by Mervyn Peake.

Also, give him plenty of graphic novels.



Mark Coale
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Alex
Bratwurst








Since: 24.2.02

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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.88
Maybe "Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman if the Discworld series is too much fantasy for his tastes, although if he likes Artemis Fowl that might not be so much of a problem.
Since the Discworld series has like 20 books in it, I'll specifically mention Guards! Guards! and Sourcery as being particularly good, as is Men at Arms, the sequel to Guards!



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AWArulz
Knackwurst








Since: 28.1.02
From: Louisville, KY

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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.69
It's on the edge of PG-13 sometimes, but the Thomas Covenant Series by Donaldson - the first series anyway - the second is a little further out.

Also, if he thinks Potters' a bit far out, he's probably ready for Asimov's Foundation series. Thirteen's when I read both the first three of those and LOTR - that is because a science teacher took 5 minutes of classtime every day to read from I, Robot and The Hobbit to us.

Joe Alford - a teacher who inspired.



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rinberg
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Since: 30.1.02
From: South Georgia

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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.96
I'll second the Asimov, but expand it to include almost any Sci-Fi he wrote, including short stories and the other series like the Robots series and the Empire series. FYI, Asimov later expanded the Foundation series beyond three books and related the Foundation, Empire, and Robots series within.

As far as more Science Fiction, try Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, and Larry Niven too. They're a little "old school", but like Asimov, they should still be good.

In the Fantasy genre, I'll recommend George R.R. Martin's current series, 'A Song of Ice and Fire'; Robert Jordan's series, 'The Wheel of Time'; 'The Deathgate Cycle' from Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman jointly; or 'The Runelords Series' by David Farland.

Graphic warning: Runelords includes alot of creature blood/gore and one guy is castrated and grows 'em back between the 2nd and 4th books.

Also be warned that the first of the Thomas Covenant books includes a rape scene. While it's not graphic, you should probably read it for yourself before passing it on.



"Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning." --Rick Cook


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Deputy Marshall
Liverwurst








Since: 28.6.04
From: Troy, NY

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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.22
    Originally posted by Alex
    Maybe "Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman if the Discworld series is too much fantasy for his tastes, although if he likes Artemis Fowl that might not be so much of a problem.
    Since the Discworld series has like 20 books in it, I'll specifically mention Guards! Guards! and Sourcery as being particularly good, as is Men at Arms, the sequel to Guards!


I just want to second the Pratchett recommendation, especially for his age (I was about 13 when I read Pratchett and absolutely loved what I read).



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tarnish
Frankfurter








Since: 13.2.02
From: Back in the Heart of Hali

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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.93
    Originally posted by Deputy Marshall
      Originally posted by Alex
      Maybe "Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman if the Discworld series is too much fantasy for his tastes, although if he likes Artemis Fowl that might not be so much of a problem.
      Since the Discworld series has like 20 books in it, I'll specifically mention Guards! Guards! and Sourcery as being particularly good, as is Men at Arms, the sequel to Guards!


    I just want to second the Pratchett recommendation, especially for his age (I was about 13 when I read Pratchett and absolutely loved what I read).


To be fair, Pratchett's come a long way since "Men at Arms" and "Guards! Guards!". There are more than 30 Discworld titles now. More recent novels like "The Truth", "Going Postal", and "Fifth Elephant" are much more obvious in their parallels to our modern world and might be a better entree into the series than the older novels.

In terms of whether he might be too "mature" for a 13-year-old boy, to quote the man himself:

"Have you actually paid attention to what Nanny Ogg is saying, sometimes? It's an old English tradition. You use a kind of code and, if you can crack the code, then you know about it anyway. And in one of the books, Nanny says something like, 'The recipe for a happy life is stand before your god, bow before your king and kneel before your husband.' But [if] the boy understands everything she says there, then he already knows. So it doesn't really matter." from an interview at sfsite.com: Part I & Part II.

"Good Omens" is apparently once again scheduled to become a movie. Terry Gilliam is allegedly set to direct, but can't get Johnny Depp until next summer or something. If done well, it could be obscenely good. Gaiman's "Stardust" is also apparently en route to Hollywood, as is Pratchett's "Wee Free Men".

Oh, and kudos to Lise for encouraging reading in a young'un who could just as easily be watching DVDs & TV and playing videogames all summer.


(edited by tarnish on 2.8.06 2022)
Tenken347
Boudin blanc








Since: 27.2.03
From: Parts Unknown

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#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.26
You know, I had no idea the Discworld books were popular with so many people on this board.
DrDirt
Banger








Since: 8.10.03
From: flyover country

Since last post: 10 days
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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.02
    Originally posted by AWArulz
    It's on the edge of PG-13 sometimes, but the Thomas Covenant Series by Donaldson - the first series anyway - the second is a little further out.

    Also, if he thinks Potters' a bit far out, he's probably ready for Asimov's Foundation series. Thirteen's when I read both the first three of those and LOTR - that is because a science teacher took 5 minutes of classtime every day to read from I, Robot and The Hobbit to us.

    Joe Alford - a teacher who inspired.


I strongl second AWA and add The Elric series by I believe Wolfe. Also Piers Anthony's series of the Incarnations of Immortality, Roger Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber, and the collection of Heinlein, "The Past Through Tomorrow."



Perception is reality
Shem the Penman
Toulouse








Since: 16.1.02
From: The Off-Center of the Universe (aka Philadelphia)

Since last post: 78 days
Last activity: 8 days
#15 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.35
The Elric books are by Michael Moorcock, and they're a great read but perhaps a little too "fantastical" for someone who doesn't like Harry Potter.

Piers Anthony I'm a little doubtful about. I loved the Xanth, Incarnations of Immortality, and Apprentice Adept books when I was a kid, but nowadays I also see that Anthony is a deeply weird guy with a twisted and immature attitude toward sex. (A frequent theme in his books is that men can't control their sex drives, so women have to do it for them -- one step away from "She was asking for it" -- and his novel Firefly finishes with a skin-crawling argument that pedophilia isn't bad if the kid likes it.)

I loved Donaldson as well, but the Thomas Covenant books are *very* dark -- the aforementioned rape scene, for instance.

No such reservations about recommending Pratchett, Lloyd Alexander, or Susan Cooper, though. And it sounds like he might dig the Amber books.

Terry Brooks? *sticks finger down throat*

Besides fantasy/SF, how about some classic mysteries? Sherlock Holmes, Nero Wolfe, Spenser, or Ed McBain's 87th Precinct stuff, for instance.



"I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees." -- George W. Bush, Good Morning America, September 1, 2005

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Tenken347
Boudin blanc








Since: 27.2.03
From: Parts Unknown

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#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.26
    Originally posted by Shem the Penman
    Terry Brooks? *sticks finger down throat*


If you're just talking about the Shannara books then I'm right there with you, but if you've never read his Magic Kingdom of Landover books, you should give them a try. They're about a New York lawyer who buys the kingship of a genuine magic land. All the major characters are pretty likable, even some of the villains, and with the exception of the fourth book in the series, which was a weak offering, they're good reads.
Shem the Penman
Toulouse








Since: 16.1.02
From: The Off-Center of the Universe (aka Philadelphia)

Since last post: 78 days
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#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.35
I read Magic Kingdom for Sale back when it came out. That was enough for me.

In fairness to Brooks, I think the second and maybe third books in the Shannara series were okay. The first one was the most utterly shameless rip-off of Tolkien I've ever seen, and I've seen plenty of Tolkien wannabes over the years.



"I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees." -- George W. Bush, Good Morning America, September 1, 2005

"President Washington, President Lincoln, President Wilson, President Roosevelt have all authorized electronic surveillance on a far broader scale." -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, February 6, 2006
Oliver
Scrapple








Since: 20.6.02
From: Derkaderkastan

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#18 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.70
When I was his age (oh, lordy...I feel old when I say that) I loved reading Paula Danziger's work. She worked on a lot of tween and teenager books. Some of her best include:

Remember Me To Harold Square
This Place Has No Atmosphere
It's an Aardvark-Eat-Dog World
James Doesn't Rhyme With Thames
The Divorce Express
Can You Sue Your Parents For Malpractice
The Pistachio Prescription

Most of them were written in the 80s, but really don't show their age.



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Whitebacon
Boudin blanc








Since: 12.1.02
From: Fresno, CA

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#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.25
I was reading Stephen King and various sports autobios when I was thirteen.



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It's a series of tubes.

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too-old-now
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Since: 7.1.04

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#20 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.51
I also don't think Doug Adam's "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is too much for a 13-year old, and he might really enjoy the humor in it. I agree that this is one that can be re-read and appreciated more as he gets older.

Add me to the list of those that read lots of sports bios as a teen.

He's probably well beyond the Hardy Boys series, but I fondly recall reading most of them the summer I turned 13 - it was the year I inherited a stack of over 30 of them from a cousin who was going off to college. It kept me occupied in the years before cable TV, much less video games or DVD/VCRs.

Please let us know what his/your choices are.

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