I love the way they crystallise events and problems, focusing only on what's most important, and the way strong characters shine through clearly, without lots of emotional baggage cluttering their approaches to life - thinking here, for instance, of John Green's Looking for Alaska, and how straightforward the characters are, yet how much depth there is to them at the same time.
I thought of this yesterday when I received my copy of Dear Canada: Hoping for Home - featuring short stories by the likes of Kit Pearson, Jean Little and others (I know I know, I really Do Not need to be adding to my To Be Read pile!) - and realised that I'm willing to drop everything else just to read it.
Also, the folks at Teenreads have just released their Ultimate Teen Reading List of 400 books! Some of my favourites from the list are:
The Princess Bride, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, The Pigman, My Life and Hard Times (Thurber), The Hobbit, The Children of Hurin and The Lord of the Rings, Little Women, The Little Prince, Letters to a Young Poet (Rilke), It, I Am the Cheese and The Chocolate War (Cormier), The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Harry Potter, The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath, Go Ask Alice, Gilead (Marilynne Robinson), Fahrenheit 451, The Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank), The Complete Maus, A Clockwork Orange, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Catcher in the Rye and Nine Stories, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Brief History of the Dead (Brockmeier), Brave New World, The Book Thief, 1984 and Angela's Ashes.
Canadians seem to be under represented, though, and some of the authors have only one or two books listed, whereas I would have included their entire canon, or swapped a certain book (for instance, I couldn't abide Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Birds Without Wings was a much better book; and I always preferred Tender is the Night to The Great Gatsby).
Also, there are too few short stories, and no poetry!
One that I haven't read yet, but would like to, is Big Fish by Daniel Wallace.
Which books would you have added or removed from the list?Answer to the first crusader challenge: the wee lie was that I never bloviate. I don't always, but sometimes I get on my high horse about others' grammar. Good thing I don't do it to their faces - I certainly don't want to end up like Girl #2 on this birthday card:
Outside of card:
Girl #1: Where's your birthday party at?
Girl #2: You know, you shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition.
Girl #1: Where's your birthday party at, bitch?