Thursday, 12 May 2011

Book doctor

Number 1 nephew does not like books - that is, he doesn't like fiction. (This is baffling to me. How can we be related?) He likes facts & figures, science especially. He needs help with his writing - I don't know why kids are always forced to write if they don't like it, we're not all born to be novelists, just like we're not all born to be plumbers or accountants or athletes, but he'll still have to write at school til he's probably about 16. And good writing comes out of reading good books.

Trouble is, I'm not a 13 year old boy, I don't know what they like. I've tried him on Little Women and What Katy Did to no avail (kidding!) Was re-reading David Mitchell's beautiful Black Swan Green, all about a 13 year old boy and the brutal politics of school & growing up, that he might like, but apart from that...

He's bright & intellectually curious, a bit of a geek, loves the Gadget Show and quantum physics and computer games and karate & fencing & making lego animations & learning languages. I don't really believe boys don't like reading, I just think they haven't found the right book yet. What fiction would you recommend?

12 comments:

  1. Ian Fleming's Bond books. Much better than the films though not as good as the John Barry music.

    I also liked Jack London and Tom Sharpe at that age.

    I'm too old for this post, aren't I?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ah, as I was trying to say, before Blogger went a bit Jedward: would a geek not enjoy The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? Also Lord of the Flies, maybe? And Harry Potter is possibly beneath him, but perhaps Artemis Fowl and/or the Pullman trilogy?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I liked Terry Pratchett's stuff when I was 13, but I was/am a massive dork.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy, definitely, good one. He has the same silly, geeky but good sense of humour. I wonder how it would read to someone today? It was so futuristic back then. There was an article talking about how prescient it was - predicting the internet, etc...

    He didn't like Harry Potter (GOOD) but surprisingly didn't like Philip Pullman either. Will check out Artemis Fowl...

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've never read Terry Pratchett, must check him out.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes, apparently they're teaching shorter texts. At ours there's lots of visual literacy (ie showing them movies to get them to write.)

    I love how they're always going on about the achievement gap at school. Despite this achievement gap, compared with women, men still seem to end up in positions of power with better salaries. Curious, hey.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Might be a little bit young - but if he's behind on his reading you could try
    Alex Rider series (there's a film of the first in the series - Stormbreaker)by Anthony Horowitz.
    Or the Young Bond series - by Charlie Higson.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks, Blackwatertown, good tips. (Charlie Higson is my tutor at university's brother, lame claim to fame.)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Geoff, your comment has only just appeared. Tsk, unreliable Blogger. Not at all too old - boys are still reading them. I think spy books are a good way to get boys hooked. Many into narrative drive and plot and not so much into floaty, arty fine writing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I saw this on Twitter, it kind of sums it all up - why he might be missing out (along with all the others who can't get into fiction)

    ReplyDelete
  11. It's a bit of a cliche, but Huckleberry Finn is ace.

    And, if he doesn't like fiction, lots of great travel writing has facts and figures (and a sense of narrative to keep you intrigued).

    ReplyDelete