One of the joys of home education is the massive opportunity to invest in good books for the children (and me) that encourage thought, silence of the soul and goodness. Simcha Fisher’s post about books for young adults begins with what can only be described as insitutional emotional manipulation “everything we read had to be about two or more of the following, the Holocaust, suicide or bulimia…”
Having typed up my oldest sons A level essays (he has only recently learned to type – so much for school) I was always somewhat disturbed that just about everything he had to write about involved some sort of depression, self harm and dark misery of the utterly pointless kind. How it was supposed to be helpful or encouraging of maturity in any way completely escaped me.
I want something better for my other children and wish I had been savvy enough and brave enough back then to pull him from school.
Simcha’s list include books I have read and loved.
Another one of her choices is A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller which is available in audio here. I loved this book. It’s got a weird feel to it at times but it has that deep rooted truth that makes the story real much like Lord of the Rings has, although both books are completely different in style and story. I also have Leib and the Horse Woman but I haven’t read it yet.
The Don Camillo books are brilliant. I read them in my teens and now my dh loves them. They give a genuine and funny insight into Italy after the war and my favourite book Comrade Don Camillo gives a funny and poignant insight into communist Russia and the ordinary people who had to find ways to survive there. Why not let young adults see the horror of those times without bashing them over the head?
She then returns to C S Lewis with the Out of the Silent Plant trilogy although Simcha leaves out That Hideous Strength. I loved these books but I must admit I found Perelandra hard going and I…erm…skipped a bit. ahem. Anyway the trilogy is good but I think it would suit the older end of teens.
I would add some classics like the works of Jane Austin
Crime and Punishment and Conan Doyle books
For lighter reading my older children have enjoyed the Regina Doman retelling of fairy tales for older people
I must write a blog post on the joy of a good murder. But before I do there’s Fr Brown. Now I am going to say something – brace yourself Chesterton fans – I don’t think all the Fr Brown stories are that good. But the ones that aren’t are still way better than some of the stuff you could be inflicted with otherwise so this isn’t a terrible diss of G K.