DC1 is starting to read grown up books

It’s so exciting!

There is a little bit of bridging going on.  Technically the books zie is reading are probably YA that just haven’t been classified as YA.

The first one, of course, was a Tiffany Aching by Terry Pratchett.  Specifically The Wee Free Men (only $1.99 on Kindle which is a steal!).  Zie followed that up with A Hatful of Sky, which is the second in the Tiffany Aching series.

Then zie read the first 4 books in the Hitchhiker’s Trilogy (zie means to read the fifth, but sort of lost interest, which is understandable since the fourth and fifth books aren’t as good as the original three).

Then, because zie was rereading Meeting and Threshholds I offered up my favorite Nina Kiriki Hoffman, A Fistful of Sky (which DC1 noted has a remarkably similar name to that second Tiffany Aching book, but the Hoffman book came first).  (Don’t read the second in the LaZelle series though– it has a rape and victim blaming which is so uncool.)

Grown-up books are a whole new world of fun.  I’m pretty sure I first started with Agatha Christies as my first fiction experience (prior to that I read the humor section from non-fiction), but once I realized that adult fantasy novels existed, I was hooked on going upstairs to the adult area each week at the library.  Even though a lot of what I read up there wasn’t actually very good.  But some of it was.

What were your first adult fiction books?  What grown-up books would you recommend for a precocious 10 year old?

68 Responses to “DC1 is starting to read grown up books”

  1. omdg Says:

    Technically YA, but how about the Mrs. Peregrine books? I think I read Fahrenheit 451 around age 12, and possibly also Brave New World. To Kill a Mockingbird.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I think Zie read the peregrine books last year. I hadn’t given classics much thought but you’re right. I wonder if they will do tkamb or 451 in school like we did or if they’re banned since we live in a pro-fascist state…

    • Leah Says:

      Those are a lot for 10. I’m trying to remember what I read then — I was also a precocious, voracious reader. I remember reading Catcher in the Rye in 8th grade simply because my teacher told me I was too young for it. Same with The Hobbit and The Crucible. Wrote book reports on all three just to spite her.

      I read The Outsiders for the first time at 11 and had a huge, visceral reaction to it. Still one of my favorite books. I also remember Where the Red Fern Grows as being an early read — again, likely at 11 or 12.

      I’m going to mull on this more . . . Phantom Tollbooth for sure (just reread that last week — totally great and likely more fun for 10 than it is for me as an adult). Maybe some lighter Ray Bradbury? Or save for 11/12/13 age — I got into those in 7th grade and devoured almost all of them. Got into Steinbeck as well during middle school.

      • chacha1 Says:

        Ooooh, yeah, The Outsiders (and others by S.E. Hinton).

        Red Fern: I remember bawling in the bathroom over that damned thing.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I guess technically DC1 did read grown-up books already if you count the Hobbit and TLOTR– zie has actually read LOTR trilogy twice. I’m not sure why since I had a hard time getting through it once, but maybe the sausage-fest was less of a problem for hir. And zie read The Christmas Carol a couple of summers ago because it was on a summer reading list for private school. They read the Outsiders in class last year in 5th grade (in Paradise).

        Where the red fern grows is one of my least favorite books of all time. We read it in 4th grade and I had never wanted to destroy a book before that one. You go into graphic description of a dog being torn apart and then a flower is supposed to make it better at the end? Ugh. Hate that book so much. Catcher in the Rye seemed pretty ridiculous to me– very much a book (like A separate piece which we also read in school) for privileged boys. I wonder if they’ll read Roll of Thunder in school. In high school I complained about the maleness of the curriculum and got it changed (they added They never promised me a rose garden in freshman year and Zora Neal Thurston sophomore year, though both after I’d left.)

        Zie liked Phantom Tollbooth. Also similar stuff like Vale of Tears and Thirteen Clocks. I should probably dig out more Thurber. Zie has probably outgrown the lighter Ray Bradbury (plus the message of the evils of technology in much of it seems really dated). I made a Halloween tree out of sticks and clay in middle school for my Ray Bradbury report. We sure did a lot of art projects.

  2. PS Says:

    Do you supervise their adult-book reading? My parents never did and I definitely read some R-rated material before I was ready for them. For books that are a good transition from YA to adult, particularly if they like fantasy–how about Tamora Pierce?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Hahaha, it’s funny you should juxtapose the two questions. My parents did not monitor my book reading at all (except to recommend stuff). The first in-depth sex scene I read was Tamora Pierce (heroine + prince), which I disliked because it made it seem like all the people who said a woman couldn’t be a knight were right, similar to what people say about women in the military. Also there’s that really squicky older mentor + heroine thing later in her first series after she and the prince go their separate ways sexually, which I disliked because it made it seem like a woman can’t have older male mentors without sex being involved. (I pointed out the passage to our librarian and asked if they could move the book from the JV section to YA.) I can’t believe I still remember these. I hope her later books model more healthy work relationships (and more healthy sexual relationships). They must given how much of a reputation she has as a feminist.

      Probably better for the under 12 set is Robin McKinley (but not deerskin). The hero and the crown also has sex in it, but it went way over my 10 year old head and DC1 also didn’t notice it.

      • PS Says:

        Yes, I think her later books are better in terms of healthy relationships. (Although I was always more focused on the cool magic, so I might just not remember–I’ve read all her books a million times and had to think hard to place some of the relationships you mentioned.) The Circle of Magic quartet and the other books in that universe are definitely better than the Tortall ones, at least on this issue.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I’m old– I read her first series when it came out! The first book (where she goes to knight school in place of her twin brother) was great, and then so much inappropriate icky sex. (Icky as in work/power dynamics for the pre-teen reader planning on going into a male-dominated field.)

        Definitely made an impact, but I stopped reading her after the father figure-mentor/sex thing. (Stopped reading McCaffrey after the hero raped his girlfriend in book 3. Stopped reading Piers Anthony when the lady centaur kicked up her heels and giggled like post-taming Kate for you see she had learned how to treat her husband. Go feminist pre-teen me?)

  3. Leah Says:

    Oh, I totally know some! Just thought of them. William Sleator books. Interstellar Pig is the first one I read, but he’s got tons of amazing ones. They’re technically YA but great, engrossing, fabulous. I read them at 12 with no problems whatsoever and think they’d be fine for 10 year olds. Tons of great exploration.

    Ender’s Game and other Orson Scott Card short stories are something you could ease into. There is some disturbing violence in Ender’s Game (some kids who kill other kids), so I’d be sure you have lots of discussions with DC1 or that it’s something DC1 can handle. Not as bad as Lord of the Flies, which I’d save for a few years.

    What about The Westing Game by Raskin? Witch of Blackbird Pond is another good one.

    I’ll keep thinking. Seems that mostly YA are coming to mind right now, but these are all good ones to devour. I also loved classics like Alice in Wonderland, Swiss Family Robinson, actual Winnie the Pooh (the longer ones — not the little kid ones), all of the Oz books (some sooo weird), Pinocchio, etc.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Oh yeah, Ender’s game. I read that in college and wished I’d had it in middle school. (Too bad the author is such a bigot. The book is still good.) We should probably get it at the library since I gave my copy away and don’t really want to buy another.

      I got nightmares just reading the description of lord of the flies and worse nightmares from seeing the movie trailer. *shudder*

      Zie has not been interested in the Westing Game which I do not understand since I read it in 4th grade and loved it. Zie has started it a few times but never gotten very far, which is bizarre to me. (*starts humming a patriotic tune*) Especially since zie loved Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s library, and similar books. Maybe it’s time to try again…

      Zie was ok with the two Alice books. Read the Winnie the Poohs and Oz books 6 or 7 years ago (and reread a bunch of the Oz’s recently on a trip since I have them on my kindle).

      We’ll definitely look into Interstellar Pig!

      • Leah Says:

        I loved Westing Game too. Still reread it every few years. I’ll look when I get home at my YA throwback shelf of my very favorites. I was also into Willa Cather (tho a bit later, but could be read younger), but I was also really into all prairie books like Laura Ingalls Wilder and tons more.

        All the books by William Sleator are great! I literally read every one our library had.

        Madeleine L’Engle’s books are also fabulous, as noted below. Has DC1 read the Judy Blume ones? The Fudge Series, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, etc? Maybe lower reading level but still fun for the age level. I didn’t mind lower reading level books if the story was fun, especially to juxtapose between heavier reading books.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        There is no shortage of reading at lower grade levels at our house. The Judy Blumes (which I bought as a scholastic set many years back) haven’t gotten many rereadings though. I was never a big fan of hers either, though she was very popular with my classmates. Zie is much more into Jim Benton (Dear Dumb Diary, Franny K Stein, etc.) for that type of book. We live in a post-Captain Underpants world, I guess.

      • Leah Says:

        Lord of the Flies — violent, disturbing, yet still a great book. I also loved Beowulf by Seamus Heaney (the very best translation), but not sure a 10 year old would be ready for that yet. Still read that one every few years too.

        Might also try to find some books from other cultures to broaden horizons. Not thinking of titles just yet, but I’m sure someone will come up with some.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I dunno, we read Beowulf in 7th grade, so presumably zie would be able to do it. I made an edible Grendel’s mother’s arm out of brownie and frosting.

    • Rosa Says:

      There’s a Pratchett with a similar plot (kid playing video games discovers the dying aliens are real) but of course a much more humane treatment of it. I don’t know if a kid now would enjoy it because the tech might be too dated, but I liked it when I read it a few years ago. Johnny and the something.

  4. grrlpup Says:

    I think I read my first adult books when I realized Madeleine L’Engle had some on the adult shelves at the library. And even before that, I loved “adult” humorists who now seem very corny and retro, like Andy Rooney, Bob Greene, Erma Bombeck. None of this is particularly a recommendation!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      re: adult humorists: Me too (I think that last link in the post may be to Richard Armour). I read the entire Bombeck shelf! (Also Jean Kerr… Evidently our librarians didn’t weed that section often.)

  5. Chelsea Says:

    These might seem totally dated now, but I loved Michael Chrichton, John Grisham, Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen in middle school.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      ooh, good calls! DC1 probably is old enough for Jurassic park, and who doesn’t love Dave Barry? (Is John Grisham ok for 10 year olds? I haven’t actually read any of his stuff.)

      • Katherine Says:

        I read some John Grisham in late elementary/early middle school. I don’t remember many of the details, but I thought they were very scary.

      • Rosa Says:

        we tried listening to some Dave Barry on our Christmas car trip and he’s pretty sexist :( I love Hiaasen’s kid chapter books (my kid is kind of meh on them) but his adult books are pretty adult. I mean, I love them too but they are really violent.

        Last year a smart 10 year old girl told me The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Boat of Her Own Making was her favorite book. It is full of the pleasure of big words, too. I’m not sure if it’s marketed as adult or YA. At that age I was reading the Oz books, which might technically be for kids but are not simple reading.

        I read a lot of terrible crap when I was 10 or 11 and getting into adult books. So much terrible sexist “hard” SF. And stuff that I thought then was kids books (Xanth!) but is actually just terrible and marketed to adults. I really appreciate the explosion of YA since then.

        Oh, my child loved (and still loves) Hyperbole and a Half when he was 10. It has a lot of swear words but a lot of it is about being a kid. So YMMV on whether you think it’s appropriate.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Hyperbole and a half is sitting in our guest bathroom. I don’t know if zie has read it or not. DC1 read the oz books ages 3-4.

      • Chelsea Says:

        They are not (!) but I read them at about 12 anyway. My parents also didn’t do much monitoring of what I read starting in middle school.

  6. chacha1 Says:

    Has DC1 already read “A Wrinkle & Time” (or the whole Madeleine L’Engle YA list, really)?
    “The Chronicles of Prydain” or anything else by Lloyd Alexander
    “The Dark is Rising” and others by Susan Cooper
    Mysteries by Dick Francis – I started reading those when I was about ten. I also read some Agatha Christies but they were kind of static for my taste.
    I didn’t get my hands on the Sherlock Holmes stories until I was sixteen or so, but am pretty sure I would have loved them at ten.

    If animal stories are under consideration chez nous, I personally loved the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley; “Lad” and related books by Terhune; anything by Jim Kjelgaard or Jack London; “My Friend Flicka” and its sequels by Mary O’Hara (some tough stuff in there); “Lassie Come-Home” or “Bob Son of Battle” or other very old animal stories. I credit all of those with helping me appreciate animals qua animals and not as little furry people, the way Disney presents them. There are not as many good cat stories, but “The Abandoned” and “Thomasina” by Paul Gallico are great.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Those are all great children’s books that DC1 owns (though, as I told someone who emailed in, zie has not been interested in Over Sea Under Stone). I think we have a post from when DC1 read Wrinkle in Time.

      excerpted email conversation:
      I keep trying to get hir to read Over Sea, Under Stone, but like with the Westing Game, zie just hasn’t bitten. (My original copies are in hir bookcase!)

      Plus, in retrospect, I never liked it how there was just one girl, her book is Greenwich (the skinniest of the group), and everything ends up along stereotypical gender lines. If I’m remembering correctly. It’s been a few decades.

      We’ll have to check out Dick Francis. I think DH has some in his part of the bookself. DC1 did like Alex Horowiz’s children’s books a lot, so maybe more grown-up versions would work too.

      Not sure how DC1 feels about animal stories. I did download some animal classics onto hir Fire (like Black Beauty).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      only mentioned it in passing: https://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/dc1s-reading-buddy-is-awesome/

      Though I talk more about how it isn’t as good as an adult in another post (which happened when DC1 was reading Wrinkle for the first time before reading it for school, but I didn’t say that): https://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/pre-holiday-what-are-we-reading/

  7. middle_class Says:

    I cant even remember at what age I read these but I think I was around that age. I liked animal-centric stories like The Black Stallion series, Call of the Wild, and Where the red fern grows. I also remember Lost Horizons making an impact on me.

  8. accm Says:

    The first ones I read that left a lasting impression were by Sylvia Louise Engdahl, especially the ones with the Anthropological Service. I was probably 10 or 12 when I read them; they’re probably classified at YA these days.

  9. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    Bug (7) just started filching my Agatha Christie books!

    The first really grown-up books I remember were LOTR – which a kind and observant teacher gave me in 3rd grade – and Their Eyes Were Watching God – which I picked out myself because my parents also did not censor my reading.

  10. Practical Parsimony Says:

    When I was eleven, I read the Leatherstocking Tales–The Deerfinder, The Pathfinder, and The Last of the Mohicans. These were on the adult shelves in the public library. I accidentally wandered over there one day and checked out a book I should not have been reading, but I don’t know the name of it now. I don’t know why I didn’t finish the series and read the other two Leatherstocking Tales. This makes me want to read all five of them now.

  11. Taylor Lee @ Yuppie Millennial Says:

    My first adult book was Cat’s Cradle which I read around 10-11. I remember liking at that age the Ender’s Game series, Series of Unfortunate Events, Sherlock Holmes and lots and lots of manga.

  12. Jay Says:

    My first grown-up books were mysteries, many of which I would not recommend due to their profound misogyny (Nero Wolfe..) I read the entire Mr and Mrs North series by Richard Lockridge, which made me nostalgic for a period of NYC life that ended years before I was born. I did read through all of Dick Francis – skip the last five or six, chronologically, because they’re awful. Many have scenes of intense physical suffering that approaches torture (I’m thinking of the Sid Halley books, and “Nerve,” in particular). The Meg Langslow series of mysteries by Donna Adams are light and fun and would be fine for a kid.

    I also read a lot of John O’Hara at around 11 and 12, but I wouldn’t recommend that, either.

    I loved old humorists – as far back as Thurber and Benchley (Robert, not Peter). Wodehouse? I read a few of those somewhere in there.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I just read a few of those (mr and mrs north)! I also bought his non fiction book about his second wife and their cats. Some misogyny though. :(

      https://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/what-are-we-reading-throw-back-edition/ (Later ones talk about mysteries.)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Oh, Thurber! I remember liking Thurber books, although thinking back on it now, I think they might be pretty sexist. I’ll have to re-read and see; I have several. (#2 here.)

      • Jay Says:

        Yup. Thurber is sexist. I was born in 1960. Pretty much everything I read as a kid was sexist. I remember reading Marcia Muller’s “Edwin of the Iron Shoes” when it came out in 1977; it was a revelation. It’s the first in the Sharon McCone series, the first real hard-boiled detective series featuring a woman protagonist. I’ve read the whole series. The first 20 years are spectacular; since then…meh. I wouldn’t recommend it to the under-12 set. Same for Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski series – amazingly good feminist mysteries, great for teens, not so much before that.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Oh yeah, I read V. I. Warshawski for a while. I stopped at some point but I liked them. I’d say that if a series was great for 20 years, that’s a pretty good run. Sometimes they start to suck when the books change too much, or the author lets other people help write them, etc.

  13. Rosa Says:

    I read so many terrible books at about that age. Flowers in the Attic. Clan of the Cave Bear. So much Marion Zimmer Bradley and Robert Heinlein (they are mostly terrible for different reasons, but still mostly terrible) The summer i was 10 or 11 my grandma bought a box of paperbacks at a garage sale for me that was mostly Stephen King – and he was probably the highest literary quality “adult” fiction I was reading, aside from bona fide classics people gave me on purpose. But way too scary for me.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Omg I feel sorry for you at that age. You should have had McKinley and DWJones and norton!

      • Rosa Says:

        It was “whatever was at the used bookstore” for me. God I love the internet and the explosion of better kids books. Asprin and those Theives World anthologies, too – there were a whole shelf of them at the used book store and me & my 4th grade best friend wrote our own knockoff.

        I’m trying to remember the other SF writer I loved in 4th grade. She had kid and adult books. Pamela Sargent? She and Ursula K LeGuin, though I didn’t find LeGuin until later.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I finally got rid of thieves world. I got the entire set at a used bookstore not realizing how bad they were. I have been wondering if zie is old enough for his myth series, but I’m not sure.

  14. Rosa Says:

    sorry to spam you but I just remembered – my kid really likes the All the Wrong Questions books and read the first one at 10 I think. Pretty sure those are marketed as YA but they read to me like adult fiction. I’m not a huge fan, actually (though I loved the Lemony Snickets) but they don’t have the general YA-for-late-elementary problem of being focused on really teen issues (complex moral judgements & relationships to authority, sex as a major motivator). At least not that I remember, though my memory may be suspect.

    And I really loved TH White at that age. I assume I read them at the same time because they were on the shelf near each other. But Miss Masham’s Repose, the Once and Future King a few years later.

    And if she liked Tiffany Aching she’ll like Maurice & His Educated Rodents I bet.

    Another advanced reader I know was super into the adult translations/retelling of Greek myths when she was 10, and there are a ton of great folktale collections written at adult reading levels. We did the Pinkney Uncle Remus as a read-to at an earlier age but kiddo was reading it himself by 10, along with various “front porch” type folktale collections. They lack the heft of the kind of books I enjoyed at that age – who wants to start something you’ll just finish tonight? But that’s a matter of taste, yours might not mind short. I was definitely choosing books by thickness when I was 10.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I was really into mythology and folklore starting age 9 and well into college. After hitting all the standard myths I discovered urban legends long before snopes. Very exciting stuff. My interest was replaced by economics, so I opted not to take the 200 level mythology class as a senior that I couldn’t fit in my schedule as a freshman. Dc1 has not touched those shelves except for the Pokémon and star wars nonfiction. :(

      Found The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents and dusted him off. Will give to dc1 tomorrow.

      I read The Once and Future King while hiding behind a post while the rest of fifth grade was getting a reward movie based on the worst children’s book I had to read in school. So I read about wart and Merlin while they got to have a dogs violent death rewarded with a single red flower. (I assume, having not actually watched the movie.)

      • chacha1 Says:

        My memory is that Once and Future King kicks off with an animal atrocity (in Morgan’s kitchen), which I have not been able to get out of my head since the day I read it, so I hate it forever. I still have the Book of Merlyn but I’m not sure why.

        Red Fern: I agree. I hate writers using violence against animals to provide a life lesson to people. Or for any reason, but especially to show you just how bad a bad guy is (OAFK and see also, or preferably don’t: Apt Pupil, Black Sunday, Who Killed Sherlock Holmes).

        Props to DC1 for reading LOTR so young. I could barely get through it in college. Maybe I should have read it when I was younger. :-)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        younger and didn’t care it was a sausage fest? Not really worth it. So many better books.

        All I remember about the once and future king is the Disney movie! I did read it though!

  15. Leah Says:

    Neil Gaiman? The Graveyard Book was great, as was Stardust. Haven’t read the others yet.

  16. Billy Riker Says:

    If Agatha Christie is an option, I’d recommend a new series written for middle school/YA set in an English boarding school in the 1930s. We’ve ordered them from the UK because they are all available (there are US versions with stupider covers and titles, but only a couple are out so far). The story is told by a girl from Hong Kong who is at the boarding school; she and her best friend (a typical English girl) solve murder mysteries. So there is some interesting discussion about race and gender in 1930s England from time to time as well. The author is Robin Stevens, and the books are in the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries series (detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong).

  17. Mary Says:

    My kids are a few years younger, but I strongly encourage them to read books in their second (and third, but that may not apply to your kids) languages. I think bilingualism/multilingualism has huge benefits and really promote it at home, even though the foreign language books they can read are slightly less advanced than the books they would read in English.

  18. Jay Says:

    What about The Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency series?

  19. ChrisinNY Says:

    My first adult books were probably romantic mystery fiction by Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt as they were around the house. My advanced reading daughter loved Tamora Pierce (especially the Tortall books) and was able to skip past the sex with mentor stuff- just didn’t interest or even affect her. She loved the later Tortall books the most, but thinks the Circle of Magic books are better for younger, but precocious readers. She loved the James Herriot books (All Creatures Great and Small), and the Gilbreth books (Cheaper by the Dozen, Belles on Their Toes) in 6th, 7th and 8th grades. If you can dig up a copies from the library of these, they might be of interest although they are not YA (and most have a “not now” bent): The Diamond in the Window (not the sequels), Children of Green Knowe, Minnow on the Say, Tom’s Midnight Garden.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I should get another copy of Cheaper by the Dozen. DC1 has my Belles on Their Toes in hir bookcase (my old copy) but I’m pretty sure I loaned Cheaper out to someone and never got it back. My sister and I both wanted to be efficiency experts after reading Cheaper. (And we mention it in our post here on washing dishes without a dishwasher!) Zie has all the green knowe books (I got them on a deal from Scholastic)– I really enjoyed them but DC1 hasn’t looked at them yet. Zie just read Tom’s Midnight Garden over break (my old much-loved copy).

  20. Barrayaran Says:

    Very dated (well, and so am I), with all the accompanying gender issues — but when I was 10-12, I absolutely loved the Horatio Hornblower books. Does anyone still read those?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      #2 recommended them to me last year but I just couldn’t get into them. I was involved enough to read the wikipedia plot summaries though!

      I can’t get DC1 to read Swallows and Amazons, so I’m feeling like zie just isn’t into ships/boats/sea stories. But who knows!

      I did put Captain Blood on hir kindle…

      • Barrayaran Says:

        Oh, yes, Captain Blood! I also loved the Scarlet Pimpernel at that age. Starting to see a pattern…

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Scarlet Pimpernel is also on hir kindle. Good stuff! We’ll see if zie bites…

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Man, zie is sooo lucky that zie gets to read Scarlet Pimpernel for the first time.

      • Peter Says:

        For what it’s worth, I read a lot of Isaac Asimov at that age (just started in the junior school library). They’re adult without being particularly focused on sex, and I really took a liking to the universe-building space opera setting from these. I particularly liked reading the Foundation series and I Robot series in order, then watching how he linked them together by the end. Also interesting watching the story-telling evolve from someone who’s editor was paying by the word, with a huge density of ideas, to a famous name who could write what he wanted.
        Might be more stereotypically male-focused though.

        Following on from Hornblower, David Weber has a superb universe based on the Honor Harrington character. He’s done a couple of YA books, but they’re a bit wordy. The adult books are superb if you want an entire universe, but they are set in the middle of galactic war so there’s a certain level of violence. He openly admits to having been inspired by Hornblower and the stories are good and the need to find out what happens next is intense.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        The main problem with Isaac Asimov (whose non-fiction I loved and read a ton as a kid) is that he doesn’t seem to think that women are actually people. In a lot of his fiction they don’t even exist.

        A lot of science fiction is like that–There’s just no women (or what we term, a “sausage fest”), and the women there are aren’t as fully dimensional as the men. (Weber, IIRC, does the one woman surrounded by men thing, but it’s been a while since I tried to read him.)

        Scalzi has been doing a lot to combat this problem these days in spec fiction. Him just pointing out the problem has made big differences on big name people. It’s nice reading books where 50% of the people in them are female, just randomly (though it isn’t random– he counts and makes changes as necessary), and it’s nice reading books where women are characters and not just 2d tropes.

        Male majority fiction is something that if DC1 comes across it hirself, I’m totally fine with it and hir reading it (indeed, most library picks end up this way just because most books are majority male), but I don’t want to recommend them to hir (unless they’re really really really good, which doesn’t happen that often).

      • ChrisinNY Says:

        We did Swallows and Amazons as a family read aloud. The beginning is a bit slow and some of the language odd, but after that and We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea aloud, my kid was hooked.

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    […] There are lots of great books for kids, fiction and non-fiction.  Kids can also enjoy some books for grownups. […]

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