carnivorousgiraffe: Momoko from Kamikaze girls sitting on a porch, reading. (Can't talk)
[personal profile] carnivorousgiraffe posting in [community profile] dreams_library
Hello! My brother is basically extreme-grounded for the next five months or so and he's asked me for recommendations on books he could read while he's stuck at home. I have a list growing in my head but I'd like him to have some stuff beyond what I like/usually read. For example, I don't read a lot of nonspeculative fiction.

He's a huge James Patterson fan, loved Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, and I believe he likes dystopias in general. I would also like to take this chance to sneak in some classics and poison his mind with wacky ideas like feminism, LGBT(+) are people too, or social justice, etc., but subtly, so any recs like that would be nice.
He's sixteen, seventeen in March, and the parents aren't too strict on his reading except when it comes to graphic sexual material (they probably wouldn't be pleased with too much implied sexual material but I think I could sneak that in if the story's good).

Right now I'm thinking:
Tamora Pierce
Terry Pratchett
John Green
Dragonriders of Pern (though it's been a while so I can't remember if there was some vaguely problematic material? I know there were sex scenes in some, but I read them at his age so it should squeak by).
Fahrenheit 451
The Giver and subsequent sequels.

I had others, but I'd have to be home looking at my bookcase to remember them.

Thanks in advance for any recs!

ETA: (either recced or I thought of them after I posted)
ETA2: Holy crap you guys this is amazing! I'm putting up here everything I'm definitely recommending to him because I've read it before, heard of it before, or it sounds perfect but I'll be checking with everything I don't recognize later. Thanks so much!
Scott Westerfield
Neil Gaiman
Maureen Johnson
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Lord of the Rings
Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin
Hitchhiker's Guid to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Book Theif by Markus Zusak
So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Patricia C. Wrede
Artemis Fowl
Dianna Wynne Jones
City of Ember series

Date: 2012-01-10 06:03 pm (UTC)
clare_dragonfly: woman with green feathery wings, text: stories last longer: but only by becoming only stories (Reading: bunny)
From: [personal profile] clare_dragonfly
Has he read 1984?

Neil Gaiman might good, too--American Gods and/or Neverwhere.

If he liked the Hunger Games he might like Divergent by Veronica Roth and Wither by Lauren DeStefano, both of which are dystopias; the latter definitely has some feminist themes.

Of course, I don't have any non-spec fic suggestions, since that's pretty much all I read...

Date: 2012-01-10 06:29 pm (UTC)
clare_dragonfly: woman with green feathery wings, text: stories last longer: but only by becoming only stories (Default)
From: [personal profile] clare_dragonfly
Glad I could help!

Date: 2012-01-10 06:17 pm (UTC)
dhae_knight_1: hugs (hugs)
From: [personal profile] dhae_knight_1
Tamora Pierce might be too... girly for him. I love the themes, but they never really caught on for me. Lloyd Alexander's books about Taran is a perennial favorite of mine. Robin Hobb and Dune might be too boring for him, if he's not used to that kind of writing.

Hmm... Novik's Temeraire might be worth a go, if he'll read historical fantasy?

Date: 2012-01-10 09:49 pm (UTC)
dhae_knight_1: hugs (hugs)
From: [personal profile] dhae_knight_1
Is this where I admit that I never could get through Lord of the Rings and finally gave up after the 13th attempt? While Robin Hobb's Farseer-trilogy is my favorite modern fantasy, and Dune my favorite classical sci-fi? ;-) BTW Dune? Not really aged in terms of language, which I find frankly amazing.

I was thinking Golden Compass, also?

Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles might be too mature for him (not in terms of sex, though), but it's fantastic!

Date: 2012-01-10 06:27 pm (UTC)
jumpuphigh: Dreamsheep in front of bookshelf with text "Books make everything better" (Booksheep)
From: [personal profile] jumpuphigh
Patricia C. Wrede
Anne McCaffrey's Petaybee books (There are 2 sets of 3.)
Sharon Lee & Steven Miller's Liaden Universe books (I have 18 in my library. Not sure how many there actually are.)
Patricia Briggs
Jennifer Fallon's Tide Lords books (I think there are 4.)
Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan books (Tons and tons and tons.)
Catherine Asaro's Ruby Dynasty books (Don't know how many there are. More than I have and I have 4.)
Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief books (4)

Date: 2012-01-10 06:48 pm (UTC)
moonplanet: Dutch cover of His Dark Materials book 1, "Het Noorderlicht" by Philip Pullman (rodepanda_li)
From: [personal profile] moonplanet
Artemis Fowl books?
Mybe Diane Duane's "Young Wizards" series (#1 = So you want to be a wizard)?

Date: 2012-01-10 07:13 pm (UTC)
jain: Dragon (Kazul from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles) reading a book and eating chocolate mousse. (domestic dragon)
From: [personal profile] jain
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler has quite a bit of violence, but not much sex that I can recall, and it's one of the best post-apocalyptic novels ever.

Guardian of the Dead -- Karen Healey

Diana Wynne Jones is always awesome: I particularly recommend Hexwood, which is mindbending in a very satisfying way.

Ursula K. Le Guin writes wonderful science fiction and fantasy. The only books of hers that I don't recommend are the Catwings series (cheesy) and The Word for World Is Forest, which contains some graphic rape scenes that might not be appropriate for a teenager. Some of her other adult books contain sexual content but, as far as I can recall, those scenes tend to be understated and form only a small part of the narrative. I particularly recommend The Left Hand of Darkness and the Earthsea series.

The Book Thief -- Markus Zusak

Date: 2012-01-11 12:10 am (UTC)
jain: Dragon (Kazul from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles) reading a book and eating chocolate mousse. (domestic dragon)
From: [personal profile] jain
Certainly you can point your brother towards particular Le Guin books or series first, but I wouldn't worry too much if he enjoys her work and reads outside those recommendations. With the exception of The Word for World Is Forest (which I did find disturbing), I really don't think your parents would find her books too objectionable.

Date: 2012-01-10 07:56 pm (UTC)
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
From: [personal profile] melannen
What reading level is he at? For a sixteen-year-old boy reading at age level, I would actually stay away from most YA and throw adult novels at him. On the other hand you named mostly YA as stuff he's already read, so maybe he does read below grade level, or just doesn't read much at all? (All the same I'd probably throw him right in with adult SF: most boys I know who started really reading at that age did it because they fell in love with an adult SF series and powered through, not because they were eased in to it.)

...not that there's anything wrong with YA! But I'd say that, say, Animorphs and Patricia Wrede and Tamora Pierce and Artemis Fowl might be too young for him?

Here's some recent adult SF writers that unregenerate het-male-type people I know really love but are also approved of by feminist/lgbt types I know:

John Scalzi
Jim C. Hines
A. Lee Martinez
David Weber (particularly the Honor Harrington books)
S. M. Stirling (particularly the Nantucket series and the Emberverse)
World War Z
Lois McMaster Bujold
Terry Pratchett (who has some longer YA if you want to start him on easier stuff)
Cory Doctorow (ditto with having some YA)
Neil Gaiman (ditto)
Lev Grossman (who wrote The Magicians, often described as 'Harry Potter all grown up')
Jim Butcher

I would actually, um, avoid McCaffrey - I love her stuff too, but it's chock-full of really problematic gender and sex elements, of the kind that sixteen-year-olds can internalize without noticing (which is why so many of us loved it at sixteen, and yet.)

Older stuff that fits the same categories:
Lord of the Rings - he will either bounce right off of this or fall completely in love with it and demand all the books of Lost Tales, one or the other.
Ursula K. LeGuin - who has some great classic dystopias, among other things
Roger Zelazny
Douglas Adams

(I could list more but they get into categories of either 'might not be the best place for an SF beginner to start' (Like Octavia Butler or Samuel Delany) or 'might be too problematic or full of sex' (like Robert Heinlein.))

Also, is he/was he at any time interested in Star Wars or Star Trek? Because they both have some really good, not too difficult to read tie-in novels (and even the not-so-good ones are workmanlike) and if you can get him started on those he will probably never run out. Also many of them are written by people who write/wrote their own good original SF, so they're a good way for a beginner to start finding authors they like without just picking at random.
Edited Date: 2012-01-10 08:01 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-01-10 09:18 pm (UTC)
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
From: [personal profile] melannen
I was never a huge fan of Animporhs but while it's a long series I remember individual books as being pretty short (although maybe they got longer later? I'm way, way behind on those) so that I could zoom through half a dozen in the time it'd take for one full-length novel. So I rec'ed several up there with very long series (Honor Harrington, Emberverse, and the Dresden Files are all over a dozen now, and most of the others have a bunch of books out.)

And yeah, I still read a lot of YA too! But I feel like there is a period when you should be reading lots of adult SF, and then you can grow up some more and go back to YA and know what you're seeing for the first time? Dunno. And it doesn't necessarily talk down to you, but it depends on your brother - a lot of times teenagers are kind of sensitive about the percieved age thing. :P

McCaffrey - yeah. She has gender issues, and there's also the issue where one can read through all her books and count the fully consensual sex scenes on one hand, and even in the cases where it's mostly consensual it's usually a man who has a huge amount of power over the woman's life, and the narrative never notices that this is problematic. So not really a great guide for teenagers.

Date: 2012-01-10 08:33 pm (UTC)
momo: (SH - Sherlock on couch)
From: [personal profile] momo
If you can get copies of Walter Moers' stuff, I recommend that. He's German, but I believe that a few of his books have been translated to English at least. The order (although there really isn't one, but it's the one I recommend) would be

The 13 1/2 lives of Cpt. Bluebear
The City of Dreaming Books

And outside of those I'd say "A wild ride through the night" is pretty awesome, too. (Also by Moers.)

Another must-read for me is "The Bookthief" by Markus Zusak.
Also "My brother Simple" by Marie-Aude Murail.

The Curious incident of the dog in the night time by Mark Haddon
The Chronicles of Narnia

I guess he's already read Harry Potter or has no interest in it?

One would think I could produce more LGBT/feminist books - especially since I care about those topics AND am a bookseller xD I'll think about it some more and might come back to this.

Date: 2012-01-10 08:41 pm (UTC)
momo: (Default)
From: [personal profile] momo
Never mind, you already said he loved Harry Potter xD

Oh and dystopian: The Passage by Cronin.

BTW: Moers writes amazin fantasy novels. They all take place on a continent called Zamonia. (With the exception of "Wild ride through the night", that one's a stand-alone.) There are all kinds of mystical and fantastic creatures in exciting countries. It cannot be compared to Narnia or LotR in any way, because the concepts are quite different but all his books are magnificient (in my opinion ... well, maybe not the Alchemaster's Apprentice as much as the others but still good).

If your brother knew German or French I could rec at least three or four more that actually deal with LGBT topics but I guess that's not the case?

Date: 2012-01-10 08:39 pm (UTC)
angrboda: Close-up of hedgehog bristles, with my username written above (Default)
From: [personal profile] angrboda
I'm currently reading a series by Adrian Tchaikovsky called Shadow of the Apt, which is sort of steampunk-y fantasy. It's basically about a world at war. There's an evil empire and everybody else is struggling to get over their differences to stand against it. A large cast of characters and lots of character development. There are a few sex scenes here and there, but they are not graphic and there isn't very much focus on sex at all in general. Bit gory in places, though.

I also just finished the Terra Incognita series by Kevin J Anderson, which I really enjoyed. It has exploration at sea and a religious war that goes on for decades. Also a large cast of characters, only vague hints towards sex (as in, fading to black before they actually get started) and quite gory in places.

Date: 2012-01-10 09:16 pm (UTC)
fairytales: ([text] live long and prosper)
From: [personal profile] fairytales
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson is a pretty interesting dystopian and not too problematic and a generally easy read (especially for a Stephenson novel). It is more cyberpunk, though, so take this rec with a grain of salt.

Date: 2012-01-10 09:49 pm (UTC)
themis: Leslie Cheung in Happy Together (wkw: cigarettes and chocolate milk)
From: [personal profile] themis
If you're trying to sneak in classics, maybe Things Fall Apart? It's written with great clarity. Or Go Tell It On the Mountain. Or both! They're both great.

Sherman Alexie would also appeal to a teenaged boy, I think! And (this is kind of a weird rec) English, August, which is about a guy dealing with ennui and depression in his Indian civil service job from the 1980s. There isn't any sex because he's rather unlucky, but he spends a lot of time getting high and wanking. I've made it sound horrible, but I promise it's not as crass as that! It's a bit hard to find, though. Hanif Kureishi is easier, and he's brash in a way teeanged me would like.

Maybe Winter's Bone? The style is kind of intricate but the story is really exciting, high stakes, etc.

Also, on an SFF note, Patricia McKillip's The Riddle Master of Hed would probably be good! Maybe also The Last Unicorn; the novel is less sentimental than the movie.

Date: 2012-01-10 10:56 pm (UTC)
aidenfire: hermione is the brains of this operation (hp: the brains of every operation)
From: [personal profile] aidenfire
There have been a lot of really excellent dystopian YA lit released recently, probably due to the success of Hunger Games. A few suggestions:
Legend by Marie Lu
Legend by Marie Lu pits a young female prodigy born into privledge against a streetwise young man fighting against The Republic. There is a lot of action played out in a dystopian future version of the US, and civil disobedience in a Hunger Games kind of way. Super fast moving, exciting, and enthralling! I also like that it has an equally capable male and female protagonist.

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline is another dystopian Sci Fi/future novel that was really excellent! Published as an adult book but has a teenage protagonist. Very well written.

If he's into fantasy, I really enjoyed Poison Study by Maria Snyder. It features a young woman about to be executed, and instead is offered the option to become the king's poison tester. I reviewed both these books here.

(ETA: Both Ready Player One and Poison Study feature LGBT characters in a nice way. And also strong female characters! :D )

I haven't read Divergent yet, but it's supposed to be really good!

I just read Matched this week...I think it's intended more for a female audience but it's pretty interesting's a sort of Giver style society where everything down to your spouse and your career is picked out for you, plus a few elements of Fahrenheit 451 thrown in (there are only 100 Poems saved from the previous society, and having other poems is illegal, that sort of thing).

This is one of my fave genres so if I think of any more I'll let you know! :D
Edited Date: 2012-01-10 10:59 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-01-10 11:01 pm (UTC)
aidenfire: hermione is the brains of this operation (hp: the brains of every operation)
From: [personal profile] aidenfire
And if he hasn't read Ender's Game, he should! :)

ETA: (sorry, keep thinking of new things!) If you google Hunger Games readalikes, you'll get a bunch of really excellent rec lists from libraries and such. I glanced through a few of them and they looked pretty legit! :)
Edited Date: 2012-01-10 11:07 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-01-11 12:26 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] pippin
If you want feminist-friendly books then you might want to be careful with the Tamora Pierce. (And Jim Butcher has a lot of gross kyriarchy stuff too).

Garth Nix - the Old Kingdom series and The Keys to the Kingdom series?

Date: 2012-01-11 06:09 am (UTC)
lauredhel: A pile of Australian books (awwc)
From: [personal profile] lauredhel
I don't think anyone's mentioned Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. (Might cross a very very conservative sex line, but sixteen? I'd cheerfully give it to a twelve-year-old - but then I'm not much into forbidding kids to read books.)

Paolo Bacigalupi (because I'm assuming that if the Hunger Games is good, grimdark is fine).

I'm reading Jasper Jones right now, and it's brilliant. Non-genre.

Revolution, Going Bovine, Beauty Queens, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Zombies vs Unicorns, Jellicoe Road, Incarceron, This Dark Endeavour, Will Grayson Will Grayson, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Marcelo in the Real World, Graceling/Fire...

I should probably stop now.

Date: 2012-01-12 02:14 pm (UTC)
viklikesfic: avatar me w/ trans flag, spiky hair, gender unclear, fun punky glasses & sarcastic expression to go w/purple ironic halo (Default)
From: [personal profile] viklikesfic
Maybe that Cassandra Clare series, city of __? The lead is female but there are cool male characters and a lot of action. I don't think there's sex, maybe some fade to black, and it has some elements in common with Harry potter. Also by leguin, I'm thinking he'd like the Lathe of Heaven and possibly the left hand of darkness.
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