I think I should tackle the “what’s Jane reading these days” questions next. I’ve been asked for YA book recommendations from multiple friends and readers lately, and Jane said I could crib from her reading log. She reads way more than I do, so there’s a lot of stuff on there I haven’t read myself and am itching to—she has intriguing tastes!
• Shadows on the Gulf (oil spill aftermath and other threats to the Gulf wetlands);
• American Terroir (about distinctive regional flavors of particular American foods—how the soil, climate, etc affects flavor and cuisine); and
• The Living Shore (a hunt for rare oysters leads to a deep appreciation of the magic of coastal ecology and how shorelines have helped shape human history).
They’re still on my nightstand awaiting the end of Shakespeare Club, but Jane borrowed them one by one and said they’re all fascinating. She came running out and read me a passage from American Terroir, and said, “Isn’t he just the best writer?” (His Fruitless Fall and Chocolate Unwrapped certainly captivated me.)
Let’s see, what else…she loves mysteries and has read just about all of Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy Sayers. Big fan of Josephine Tey (see my Daughter of Time review) and the Flavia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley. (Here’s a post I wrote on the first Flavia de Luce, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.) And she is especially keen on the Case Closed series: Japanese detective manga by Gosho Aoyama.
Another big hit recently was Girl Genius, a webcomic (some of which is collected into graphic novel collections) and set of novels. We met the author at the Steampunk Convention and the look of the books caught Jane’s eye. She has since devoured the entire eight-and-a-half years’ worth of webcomic archives.
Connie Willis—The Doomsday Book; To Say Nothing of the Dog (and I myself am wild about both of these—the former moving, rich, sad, suspenseful: a female grad student time-travels to the Middle Ages; the latter screamingly funny: an endearingly inept male grad student time-travels to the Victorian era and gets in all manner of comedic scrapes with the locals).
Shannon Hale’s fantasy novels—Forest Born, River Secrets, Book of a Thousand Days, and others—are popular with both my older girls, and our copies are in nearly constant circulation with their friends.
Death by Black Hole by Neil deGrasse Tyson. This was mentioned in the third Penderwicks book and she recognized the author’s name as the host of the NOVA tv show. She says she’d like to read more of his work.
The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time by Jonathan Weiner.
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.
You know I have to mention the Maud Hart Lovelace books. Ain’t just me: I see Jane (and friends) pulling them off the shelf on a regular basis.
The Diane Duane Young Wizards series—High Wizardry, A Wizard Alone, Deep Wizardry to name a few.
James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small & the others in that series. (Such love!)
A caveat about this list: every parent I’ve ever known draws his or her “appropriate reading material” lines in different places. Mine may not be in the same place as yours. Jane is sixteen, and we don’t monitor her book choices the way we do for kids thirteen and under.
Related post: Nonfiction for Teens. Same caveat applies.