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Short diary, random question.

Mostly for Doctor Who fans, but all suggestions are welcome.

My son is 13.  He hates to read.  Really hates it.

He lately has gotten really into the English sci-fi series Doctor Who.  I never knew he had a thing for sci-fi, but it got me thinking that maybe I can find some good books that will get him reading without resorting to threats of violence or bodily harm.

So, if you are a Doctor Who fan, or a sci-fi fan in general, and you were to imagine you were thirteen again, what recommendations would you make for reading materials?

Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 6:50 AM PT: I want to thank everyone who commented here, I never expected such a response!

It just goes to show you what a visceral memory reading makes for us.  

I have so many leads now, thank you so, so much.  

And, in conclusion, we can all agree that Catcher in The Rye sucks big time.  :)

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fahrenheit 451. (13+ / 0-)

    Aside from its dystopian appeal to adolescents, it has the added benefit of illustrating why we read and what we can lose if we don't.

  •  I buy books for my nephew (6+ / 0-)

    And he's loved em all.

    He might be a little for for HATCHET by Gary Paulson, but almost all boys love it. Also MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN by Jean Craighead Moore (which is dated but still a great boy book).

    Older kids love THE HUNGER GAMES, even boys. Then try UGLIES and PRETTIES by Scott Westerfeld.

    Try CITY OF EMBER by Jean DuPrau (so much better than the movie).

    What to avoid? Anything with a pink cover.

    Explore "Brent's Brain" at

    by BrentHartinger on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 04:31:02 PM PDT

  •  take him to a used bookshop and turn him loose. (12+ / 0-)

    he'll have an armload of books for minimal cost.

  •  We bought sci-fi comic books for our 12 y/o (11+ / 0-)

    grandson.  He totally got into them and then books. Reading anything works if it gets them motivated to read more.

    He also got into The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series...

    Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841

    by SallyCat on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 04:36:18 PM PDT

    •  I just read Diary of a Wimpy Kid myself. I (4+ / 0-)

      thought it was funny.  Laughed a lot.

      •  My son loves the Wimpy Kid books (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coquiero, pixxer, notdarkyet

        they were his first novels actually that he read for enjoyment only. He didn't like the movie as much though. He has the entire series except for the movie book (including the do it yourself book), and now he reads them in like an hour or two and surprises himself with how fast he goes through them.

        Another one he really liked was "The Absolute True Story of a Part Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie. Not Sci-Fi, but another middle school/early high school coming of age tale.. and as a bonus it's on the frequently banned books list! And it can lead into some interesting discussions on Reservations and the problems Native Americans face today.

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 06:23:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Here are some suggestions from my well read 14 yo: (9+ / 0-)

    Probably more fantasy than sci-fi, but highly recommended.
    The Percy Jackson series (don't go by the movie, mine hated the movie, loved the books);
    Castle Waiting (graphic novel, I know, but it is a book); Maximum Ride Series (action, first ones better than later ones) Leviathan(war-ish).
    Gone,Hunger,Lies, and Plague (series)
    Hunger Games,Catching Fire and Mocking Jay.
    Leven Thumps (series-fantasy)
    Fablehaven (series- fantasy)
    The Midnight Charter (cover was weird turned out to be a great book, sci-fi-ish)

    Hope this helps, you are on the right track, though. Finding out what they like is key.

    Oh for crying out loud!

    by 4mygirls on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 04:38:32 PM PDT

  •  we have exactly the same problem (8+ / 0-)

    I know how hard it is to be an avid reader and have a child who just isn't. My stepson is almost 15 now, but he hated reading and loved Dr. Who at 13 too. Sadly, still not much of a reader. We tried some classics like Ender's Game and Stainless Steel Rat, then some more fantasy-like kids books, like one called "The Sea of Monsters." No matter what we try, the results are the same - he reads them but he doesn't love them. He does read his GameInformer magazine from cover to cover though. He's required to read for school now, which (weirdly) he never was when he was younger, so his reading has vastly improved over the last couple of years. Best of luck!

  •  depends on his reading level but... (10+ / 0-)

    I loved Jurassic Park and other Michael Crichton novels. They were always thrilling and he worked hard. Many of my friends liked Animorphs, but that might be a bit too simple. Ender's game was very popular in my day.

    Also these days I think kids are reading Percy jackson (my cousin reads him) and Harry potter is always good.

    I dont know anything about Doctor Who, so I might have completely missed the boat, but I hope this helps.

  •  One of my favorite books is (11+ / 0-)

    The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. He should love it.

     But of all the dazzling stars in the vast Bradbury universe, none shines more luminous than these masterful chronicles of Earth's settlement of the fourth world from the sun.

    NEVER STOP READING BOOKS- Nothing else stirs the imagination or opens a mind to all possibilities.

    by Carla in Sequim on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 04:47:58 PM PDT

  •  Comic books have an EXTREMELY high vocabulary (9+ / 0-)

    content.  Most are second only to science writing. Seriously.
    Have at it - give him all the comics that he can stand.

    Also, check out getting a subscription to a periodical or two of his choice. Lots and lots of options out there for science, sci-fi, weird gadgets, etc.

    Lots of times non-fiction is of more interest than fiction, so mess about there, too.

    And read out loud to him, no one is ever too old for that. Get him started, then leave him hanging on the edge of a plot twist, he'll pick it up.

    But sometimes just read out loud, on and on - your attn and time and contact creates endorphins in his brain. You want exactly this. Throw in as much touch as you can without him noticing it.

    Anything that produces endorphins in the brain when exposed to print as opposed to creating the cortisol/adrenelin response is what you are after.

    Btw, have Masters in Spec Ed and reading is my thing. Got a whole group of inner city boys reading like mad. I know of which I speak!
    Good luck, have fun, keep trying different tacks, and keep the pressure off, the curiosity meter high and the fun paramount!

    Love it.

    "In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder, a secret order." Carl Jung

    by Unduna on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 04:49:53 PM PDT

  •  When I was 13 I read "Jonathan Livingston (7+ / 0-)

    Seagull" about every night for I don't know how many months. Not exactly science fiction, but it's a very comforting story - I guess I needed that for some reason. I also started devouring Tolkien around that time.

    And what were those Uursula K LeGuin series? "Dawn Treader"? Good for that age, I think.

  •  How about the Doctor Who novels? (10+ / 0-)

    "The Democrats are the lesser evil and that has to count for something. Good and evil aren't binary states. All of us are both good and evil. Being less evil is the trajectory of morality." --SC

    by tb92 on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 04:52:16 PM PDT

    •  Didn't know there were novels (6+ / 0-)

      I'll have to look into that for sure.  Thanks!

      I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

      by coquiero on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 04:55:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you search Amazon (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coquiero, pixxer, BlackSheep1

        for Dr. Who, and then narrow your search to books, you will find almost 100,000 books.

        You could order some of the novels, but you might want to just let him browse the list and read the write-ups and order from that.

        On the other hand, you could search your local public library's catalog.

        Shop Liberally this holiday season at Kos Katalog

        by JamieG from Md on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 07:16:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh yes there are (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Pretty much all the pre-1989 stories were written up as novels, and they were targeted to kids his age. There were also quite a few non-canonical novels written during the 1990-2005 hiatus, some of which I've heard are quite good. I haven't been following the series closely enough to know what's been going on with novelizations of the current series.

        If you integrate fantasy with reality, you do not instantiate reality. If you mix cow pie with apple pie, it does not make the cow pie taste better; it makes the apple pie worse. --Mark Crislip

        by ebohlman on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 11:58:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yes, the novels continue (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Both of my children (one boy, one girl--both Doctor Who fans) enjoyed the Doctor Who novels. There are hundreds of them! Which is your son's favorite Doctor? You can find books about any of the Doctors, including the current one, and it looks like classic stories from the 70's are being reissued.
          My son also enjoyed the Percy Jackson series, Harry Potter, the Alex Rider series and all of Gary Paulsen's books.
          Terry Pratchett's books are great, too! He has a line of children's books but his adult novels are also good for teens.
          I second the suggestions made above of Heinlein, Asimov (I was hooked on his books in my teens), Bradbury and the Stainless Steel Rat (by Harry Harrison). Also agree with the suggestions of Star Trek books (the ST:TNG novels with Q are especially fun).
          There's also a series of Star Wars novels that my son liked.
          I agree with FloridaSNMOM that "A Clockwork Orange" is not appropriate for young teens. I read it in college and had a hard time with the violent rape scenes, not to mention the heavy use of slang. Anthony Burgess wrote another book that might be more appropriate, "The End of the World News," but it's much harder to find.

  •  Find some TV/movies/shows he's into, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, weck, 4mygirls

    and see if you can find related books. Dr. Who is a good start, but since I'm not as familiar with that series (ironically though, I've seen most of Torchwood), I don't know what to suggest along those lines. Someone else might have a better idea.

    There are some excellent Star Wars universe books if he's into that.

    I also enjoyed the Shadowrun books. But, to be fair, I'm a big fan of the setting. So I don't know how they read to people who aren't familiar.

    I read a lot of classic sci-fi (actually took a college course on it), and a lot of it holds up surprisingly well as an actual read-for-entertainment, rather than read-for-educational-value. There is "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" which is the oddly titled book-version of Blade Runner. "Fahrenheit 451" was mentioned, that one also held up overall.

    I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy.

    Graphic novels might be a good way to get him into reading too. There are some high quality ones, but I can't think of any sci-fi ones off the top of my head. The two-book series Under the Red Hood is tops for any DC Comics fans though.

    I've heard good things about the following books, but have never read them, even if I'm familiar with the setting: Dune, Neuromancer (the book that defines cyberpunk), Otherland.

    I've been meaning to pick up Otherland, actually.

  •  100 Cupboards (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, Unduna, weck, Angie in WA State

    By ND Wilson. There are two others in the series Dandelion Fire and The Chestnut King. One of my middle school students turned me on to them and they were quite good.

  •  My son is a big sci fi and fantasy fan (10+ / 0-)

    Between 10 and 13, he read books like

    American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
    lots of Terry Pratchett
    Shade's Children by Garth Nix
    the Sabriel trilogy by Garth Nix
    The Golden Compass trilogy by Phillip Pullman
    lots of Stephen King
    Harry Potter, obviously

    The one thing I did right as a parent was to make sure the kid read.

  •  Terry Pratchett's Discworld books (5+ / 0-)

    Very funny stuff, very engaging. He won't get all the side references. (Or maybe he will.) But I bet he loves them.

    I'd guess you've been down the Harry Potter route, and it didn't go anywhere, or you would have said. If not, though, worth a try. They may just suck him in, and the series is like 5000 pages total. That'll keep him busy for a while, if he goes for it.

    George R. R. Martin's Fevre Dream and perhaps The Armageddon Rag.

    And here's a perhaps off the wall suggestion. Daniel Quinn's book Ishmael. Well worth a read at any age.

    •  George R.R. Martin (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Isn't that they guy that wrote A Dream of Fire and Ice?

      Did he write less racy stuff??

      I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

      by coquiero on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 05:17:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A Song of Ice and Fire, but, yes, that's him (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coquiero, ER Doc, Angie in WA State

        The ones I mentioned ought to be fine for a 13 year old who reads Vonnegut.

        What I'd suggest is, any books you're not familiar with, read them yourself first. You won't be wasting your time either. Everything people have mentioned here will be very enjoyable for us grownups too. Great list, people!

      •  Let the kid read Martin's Ice and Fire (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coquiero, BlackSheep1

        It may be racy, but it's not exactly X-rated.

        It's fascinating, it's political, yes there's some illegal sex in there but it isn't explicitly described.  Definitely PG.

        If he likes the series, seriously, let him read it.  He's in high school, right?  Martin isn't writing for young kids but high school -- they can handle it.  I read worse in junior high and I turned out okay.

        I call him Rick Scumtorum because he IS scum: pond scum, with the brain of an alga.

        by Youffraita on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 06:31:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  he may find Ice and Fire a slog, I did the first (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          few times I tried it. Finally forced myself through all-to-date. There are some things I like, lots is depressing. and talk about a cast-of-zillions!

          "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

          by chimene on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 12:24:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  A slog? O....kay. It IS or can be (0+ / 0-)

            difficult to track the who's who the first time through, I'll grant you that.  Cast of thousands, indeed!

            And there are depressing parts, like when almost all of Jon Snow's family is destroyed (or goes into hiding).

            But the various parts read to me like a history of medieval Europe, with dragons.  And a bit of magic.

            IOW, I read Ice and Fire as though it's political history.  (And the Tudors are in there somewhere, I'm quite sure.  The Medici clan is quite obviously represented too!)

            I call him Rick Scumtorum because he IS scum: pond scum, with the brain of an alga.

            by Youffraita on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 01:03:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I am and always have been a (4+ / 0-)

    reader for Sci fi/fantasy

    Some authors:
    Asimov, Lloyd Alexander, Anne McCaffrey, Riorden (young adult), Yolen, Douglas Adams, Card (politics aside- his earlier stuff is good), Pratchett, Robert Asprin, Peirs Anthony
    Some will be found in the adult section, some in teen/young adult. If you don't mind him discovering some adult scenes and themes (at 13, it will seem naughty. . .) add Zelany. If there's a movie, I'd encourage him to read the book of it as well, the original, pre-movie version if possible.

    He sounds like he's straddling that bridge of 'kids books' (aka Harry Potter) and adult books. (and ahead of his peers in reading skills actually.) It can be hard to find good, appropriate books that aren't just targeted. Classics might be another angle. He might find mythology intriguing as a lot of sci-fi & fantasy has roots in mythology and fairytales (if not an out right reworking). Riorden bases his series on Greek and Egyptian mythos, tossing in some entertaining subversions with it. Not sure he's ready for Shakespeare with its language, but the comedies take a lot from mythology.

    I completely agree with him that Catcher in the Rye is boring as hell with a whiny protag. I re-read it recently and couldn't even feel it was particularly great writing. Just MHO, and recognizing my taste is very genre specific. He's probably going to feel a little tortured in his lit classes by what the ed system considers 'classics'. (And I'm a teacher! Science, though, but I've had interesting discussions with the lit teacher about why they inflict- er- teach certain books over others.)

    You might also drop in some of the Readers and Booklovers diaries and ask for opinions. Thur's WriteOn w/SensibleShoes has many Sci-fi writers (including me) and Sun Sci-Fi/Fantasy Club w/ quarkstomper (you might find some suggestions in past diaries there too!)

    I am much too liberal to be a Democrat.

    by WiseFerret on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 05:10:46 PM PDT

    •  have to watch the Piers Anthony for that age. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero, WiseFerret

      Some of it has adult situations in it, especially the Apprentice Adept series. Chaos Mode is good but has a teen who practices cutting and deals with suicide issues, so depends on the 13 year old and what he can handle. I read it about that age, but my son wasn't ready for them at 13. Depends on the kid and the parent and what they're looking for and find acceptable. A rule of thumb I follow, I read everything first, then decide. Just because one series by an author is age appropriate doesn't mean all of them are ;).

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 06:28:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I got into Piers Anthony (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coquiero, BlackSheep1

        at about that age, perhaps a little older (when he started!) because I'm a punster. The adult situations? Flew right over my head. I didn't catch them until I reread them at an older age. I don't think it is really as big a deal as adults make it out to be. Being a teacher has shown me that many teens just tune out what isn't applicable and obvious to them. So if the book is tasteful and not obvious about it, adult themes just pass right by.

        FWIW, Anne McCaffrey's work might need to be pre-read for adult situations (eg- mating dragons = mating dragonriders). I was reading her works as a preteen and didn't really 'get' those parts nor did I care or even get curious. Many of the authors I noted handle those sorts of scenes tastefully, with little or no tawdry detail to inflame curiosity (as opposed to my adventures into detailed romance novels as a teen to 'learn').  Zelanazny is the only one I would approach with some caution for most kids. Although some of the classic 60's sci-fi needs caution because it was targeting the perceived hippie culture.

        It's a pain at that early teen years because often they are mentally ahead of what their maturity and impulses are, so they investigate themes and situations before they are prepared to handle it. Better they explore in books and reading.

        I am much too liberal to be a Democrat.

        by WiseFerret on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 07:34:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree about McCaffrey... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          coquiero, BlackSheep1

          and Piers for the most part which is why I suggested the Xanth series and the Ship Who series earlier ;). Apprentice Adept isn't as punny and has several rape scenes and such in it, to the point that my other half wouldn't read it on audio without a headset if the kids were in the room.
          My 16 year old did read the first Pern book this year without a glitch.
          I also agree on the pre-read, I got Forever by Judy Blume past my parents when I was in 6th grade and I really shouldn't have read that one that young LOL. Mom figured Judy Blume, should be safe enough.

          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

          by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 07:43:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  hahaha (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero, WiseFerret

      You hated Catcher in the Rye too?  Delighted to meet you!

      Pratchett wasn't around when I was that age, so I read Asimov and Heinlein and McCaffrey and LeGuin and Tiptree and like that.

      Also Tolstoy and Dostoevsky and pretty much every other writer I could get my hands on.

      I call him Rick Scumtorum because he IS scum: pond scum, with the brain of an alga.

      by Youffraita on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 06:37:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Amber Novels (5+ / 0-)

    of Roger Zelazny - First book "Nine Princes in Amber"
    Fast, fun, and builds well. World-traveling done very differently.

    Larry Niven's Man-Kzin war series of collected short stories (written by other people in his universe) has a lot of humans beating aliens by being more clever.

    I agree with Adams for British and Clever.

    "All things are not equally true. It is time to face reality." -Al Gore

    by Geek of all trades on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 05:13:54 PM PDT

  •  When I was his age in my sci-fi phase (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, luckylizard, ER Doc, SolarMom, pixxer

    I loved Asimov (Foundation trilogy is outstanding), Frank Herbert's Dune (stay away from the sequels), Tolkien and Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.  Harlan Ellison is also a wonderful, creepy, very imaginative writer.  He might like George RR Martin if he likes that sort of thing.

    I quickly moved on to non-fiction, though.  John McPhee and Tracy Kidder are wonderful writers and long-form journalists who open up the real world in ways as entertaining as any fiction writer I've found.  If he likes history, Barbara Tuchman is a bit of a stretch for a 13 year old, but a compulsively readable writer (A Distant Mirror, about the 13th century, might interest him.)

    He'll find his own interests though, so I agree with the idea above to turn him loose in a good used bookstore.

    When Free Speech is outlawed, only outlaws will have Free Speech.

    by Dallasdoc on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 05:18:54 PM PDT

  •  coquiero, my eldest was like your son-hated (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, Bob Love, Youffraita

    to read.  Perplexed me at the time because not only had I read to this child in the womb & thereafter, the home was filled to the rafters with reading material.

    I recall my child freaking out over a book report due & the book not yet finished.  So I read from the point he had left off & gave an oral synapsis-so that my child could write the report.  (Only time I did this)

    Once puberty hit, the only book that I know my child read & loved was an autobiography of Malcolm X.   Reading was a necessary evil; a means to an end for the rest of school years.


    If it makes you feel a bit better, this changed starting in early adulthood.  Today, at 40, my child reads extensively for work & for pleasure.

    I am a believer in providing opportunities to promote reading (& comprehension).  To that end, I provided subscriptions to fave magazines, comics, short stories & even Clif notes.  

    There's alot of sci fi short stories out there as well as horror genre ala King.  Graphic novels that appeal to a variety of tastes.

     I really like that idea of turning your child lose in a comic book or used book store.

    Funny, how our kids can be.  My other bio child was the exact opposite.  Started early & was always reading- even in a foreign language.  Now, not so much.  Go figure.

    •  Not naming names (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus, pixxer, salmo

      but I worked in the publishing industry for a while.  And some friends' kid Just. Refused. To. Read.

      Clearly it was a case of rebellion.  (The kid once confessed to me, at a party, that he was reading behind his parents' backs.)

      He went on to drop out, get his GED, get his degree...and read.

      Worst thing: MAKE the kid read.  Best: leave nifty, interesting things around.  

      I call him Rick Scumtorum because he IS scum: pond scum, with the brain of an alga.

      by Youffraita on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 06:44:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Totally agree! This: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coquiero, Youffraita, pixxer
        Best: leave nifty, interesting things around
        Heh, when I was still in social work, I would periodically go downstairs to food stamp & health dept & snag pamplets on everything from STDs to drugs to child abuse.  Then I'd just leave them casually around the house.

        When the sons got older (middle & high school), I had a huge basket that I tossed all sorts of books into, including the lovely "Everything you Wanted to Know About Sex" & the aforementioned type of pamplets.  At one point that basket had everything from prison poetry to the metaphysical in it.

        Made sure the really really OMFG ones were in plain view & that basket placed where the most traffic occurred.

        Many many kiddos passed through our doors & not one of them (including my own) could resist sneaking something out of that basket.  I pretended not to notice.

        Made for some lively discussions as well :)

        Heck, I'm doing similar with my child with special needs.  There is alot that just cannot be conveyed or understood (such as puberty or that which is unfamilar thus spooky)

        So, there be dragons and pamplets with graphics and again just about every subject matter in picture/pop up/sign language/word book form laying around the abode.

        •  Kid I mentioned: (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pixxer, BlackSheep1, coquiero

          His dad was a writer/editor and his mother...well, she was writing although not yet published at that time.

          He rebelled by pretending to never read.

          I was, shall we say, closer to his age at that time, and he told me that he actually WAS reading.  But I presume there was so much pressure on him to be a reader that he didn't want to admit it.

          For me it was the opposite.  As soon as I hit high school, I was told I read too much.  (How can anyone read too much?  Not possible!)

          I call him Rick Scumtorum because he IS scum: pond scum, with the brain of an alga.

          by Youffraita on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 08:31:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I know. ALL my life since age 4 re this: (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pixxer, BlackSheep1, coquiero
            I was told I read too much.  (How can anyone read too much?  Not possible!)
            More times than naught by non readers.  Shrug, I'll probably die with a book in hand...without ever saying to non readers "you don't read enough"

            (at least I hope, lol)

            •  Alas, too late to tip you, but YES (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              to every word in your comment.

              At age 4 my mother, the schoolteacher, still thought encouraging me to read was A Good Thing.  This lasted until about 3rd or 4th -- I don't remember anymore when the transition from "Kid is a reader: good" to "Kid reads too much" happened.  But her mother reminded her of how much Mom used to read as a child -- and my maternal grandmother died while I was still in grade school.

              I call him Rick Scumtorum because he IS scum: pond scum, with the brain of an alga.

              by Youffraita on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 12:38:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Here's a vote NOT for comic books (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Not the current ones, anyway.  Contemporary Marvel/DC comics are [a] going through throes of "retconning" (retroactive continuity, i.e., rebooting) and [b] no way in hell for kids -- some of the stuff in there makes The Hunger Games look tame.

    On the other hand, there are many great reprints of older comics.  Marvel has theirs under the "Essential" bracket, while DC's are "Showcase Presents".  I'd start off with copies of Essential Fantastic Four Vols. 1 and 2, myself -- that'd get him all the way into the Galactus saga.  Same with Spider-Man, possibly Thor, and possibly Dr. Strange or Iron Man.

    Other things I'd recommend include The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl; The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien; a whole bunch of stuff at ; and the Baen Free Library.

    Most of all, though, given how much he loves The Doctor, I can't believe no one has recommended Sherlock Holmes.

    Tom Smith Online
    Music In Every Style... Except Dull
    I want a leader who shoots for the moon. The last time we had one, we got to the moon.

    by filkertom on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 05:20:58 PM PDT

    •  If you do go for mainstream Comic Books (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Go check out Ultimate Spider Man (by Bendis). Minimal crossovers, minimal outside continuity, and considered one of the strongest runs of comics in modern times.

      I find a lot of older comics to be a bit too products of their time.

      "All things are not equally true. It is time to face reality." -Al Gore

      by Geek of all trades on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 09:43:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nope, sorry, stopped buying it long ago (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        When they gratuitously killed off Gwen Stacy in a really disgusting manner.  And it really honked me off because I loved US-M, dammit.

        My favorite recent mainstream comics were Mark Waid's Dr. Doom stories in FF, about six years ago, and the five-issue Spider-Man/Human Torch miniseries, which was fun and utterly suitable for any age.

        Non-mainstream, I go all-out.  Heck, I want the rollicking return of Barry Ween.  But, there, I know what I'm getting.

        Tom Smith Online
        Music In Every Style... Except Dull
        I want a leader who shoots for the moon. The last time we had one, we got to the moon.

        by filkertom on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 01:25:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Science fiction is good stuff, and if you find an (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, ER Doc, pixxer

    author you like, there can be weeks of reading other works. I could also recommend Roger Zelazny ("Lord of Light") Poul Anderson ("The Avatar"),  Frank Herbert ("Dune") as prolific SF writers.  In addition, "The Painted Bird" by Jerzy Kosinski, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" by Ken Kesey and "Fear and "Loathing in Las Vegas" by Hunter S. Thompson are works that will hold his attention, BUT all contain adult situations and may not be age appropriate for you son at this time.  You should judge by re-reading, and maybe wait until you are ready to explore the adult themes with him.

    If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.

    by weck on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 05:24:47 PM PDT

  •  Douglas Adams..... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, Mannie, boji, pixxer, Cobbler

    When I was 13, I really like Citizen of the Galaxy by Heinlein.

    That was a long time ago.

    But he seems to enjoy Brit humor so D. Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide should do it...and Vonnegut....My son really like those both when he was 13.

    Glad to hear he enjoys the Doctor. I took my older son to ComiCon when Dr. Who (Baker) was supposed to be there...he was so thrilled! He was about 13 or 14 at the time. He is now -----40----

    Time really is warped!

    Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

    by Temmoku on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 05:42:58 PM PDT

  •  A good author (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc, coquiero, pixxer

    He started writing juvenile sci-fi

    He then went on to write more advanced books

    He won Hugo awards for his writing

    Robert A Heinlein

    You can't go wrong, and it will make him think about bigger issues.  (And by the time he does realize he is learning more than what he intended, he will be engrossed by the book and keep reading)

    Just about ANY Heinlein Book

    But I would start with some juvenile ones

    Space Cadet
    Citizen of the Galaxy
    Starship Troopers

    Then onto

    Stranger in a Strange Land
    The Moon is a Harsh Misstress
    Farnham's Freehold

    BTW: I love Dr. Who, and they do have novels.  The problem is a lot of them build from others and your kid could become frustrated by references from books he didn't read.

    "Stupid is as stupid does" - The republican motto you can believe in as they live it daily!

    by Mannie on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 05:45:46 PM PDT

  •  Lois McMaster Bujold writes wonderful stuff. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, pixxer, BlackSheep1

    She has 3 great series:
    - Vorkosigan Saga
    - Chalion series
    - Sharing Knife series

    all of which are superb, pretty accessible to a smart kid, and great reading or any age.

    At age 12 or 13, though, I enjoyed Jules Verne's "Mysterious Island" and Arthur C. Clarke's "Against the Fall Of Night" (later expanded and revised as "The City and the Stars").

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 05:53:29 PM PDT

  •  The secret for getting kids to read (really): (6+ / 0-)

    This is the secret. I have three sons, all of them voracious readers. This way works best when you start young, but it works at any age. I have persuaded other parents to do it and it works well.

    When my oldest son was five, I ran into a person who worked for DC comics. We were chatting and she mentioned that she taught her son to read by giving him comics and refusing to read to him.

    My son ADORES superheroes (even today, and he is 20) and so I bought him a pile of comics. He brought one over for me to read to him and I said nope. I would read any book he wanted to him, I told him, but he had to read the comics on his own.

    Within a month, he could read. Within three months, he started reading books and magazines. By the time he was in 7th grade, he wanted to read QBVII. When he was a sophomore in high school, he read Dante's Inferno for fun. (really.) As a senior, he  read the Sound and the Fury for fun.

    He was admitted to every college he applied to. He attends one of the most selective in the country. And he still reads comics. (My second does too, and he is straight A's and applying to Yale. My youngest does too, and he is straight A's.)

    Now, I'm not making a direct line between comics, grades and college. But don't underestimate them.

    For a 13 year old, get him graphic novels. (These are basically comics written like the best of books. You can find them in college libraries, believe it or not) Here are the ones my oldest son recommends for a 13 year old:

    1. V for Vendetta
    2. Watchmen (tanked by Time as one of the top 100 novels.)
    3. Ex Machina Vol. 1
    4. Sandman
    5. The Dark Night Returns
    6. Maus (A major league book, but in comic form.)
    7. Top 10: The Forty Niners.

    Finally, remember -- you might not ever get your son to read Tolstoy, but it doesn't matter. The more he reads, the more he will want to read, even if it is graphic novels. And it is easy to move from graphic novels to broader fantasy, which is probably what you should hope for as the next step.

    And a kid, I learned about Archimedes Principles of Buoyancy and the Battle of Hastings from Batman. They have a lot of information in them you might not imagine.

    •  Fokozatos siker: when I was a kid, a Batman (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      comic book, with Robin's challenge to escape from a dungeon using a tennis racket and a golf ball fascinated me completely....

      LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 09:54:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This was my parents trick (7+ / 0-)

    They set up one shelf on their bookshelf and informed that I was FORBIDDEN to read those books, they were for grownups only.  They stocked it with books like Catcher in the Rye.  Simply put, they made reading naughty...and it worked like charm.  By the time I figured out the trick, I was already hooked.

    The key is, you gotta put books on the shelf that are sorta naughty.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 06:01:10 PM PDT

    •  Airport by Arthur Hailey (4+ / 0-)

      For the record, I'm reminiscing, not recommending. But it does have a bit of sex.

      I read that at 11 and couldn't wait to see if I could find more dirty parts. I was too young to realize you only get one or two episodes of titillation in your average grown up book. Plus, even at 11, Jacqueline Bisset was a total knockout to me, and I almost imagined reading the book made her my almost-girlfriend (she starred in the movie, which I had seen).

      I loved the book though, pilots, planes, sex, a bomb. What more could I want.

      Further up I recommended Sirens of Titan. Now that cover was intriguing and titillating.

      ...the train's got its brakes on and the whistle is screaming.

      by themank on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 07:15:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As a former K-12 librarian, I recommend (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc, Ted Hitler, coquiero, pixxer, NYmama

    reading together and out loud with him.  Both these have been proven to increase reading, vocabulary and comprehension.  I used to always read the books my kids did and we would have lots of conversations about them.  This increases interest. Now for types, boys like comics, there are many comic format books, non fiction (nature, drawing, sports, cars), and sci fi as you say.  Also recommend Harry Potter which I saw bring hundreds of kids who never liked to read to books, and the Hunger Games trilogy.  Then go to the movie and compare them, how were they the same, different.  Read all the time in front of him.  If you read something interesting, read it out loud to your family.

    •  Something my family did... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero, notdarkyet, pixxer, BlackSheep1

      Once everyone read the book, we'd cast it, discuss what special effects we'd use, what we'd keep if we were making it into a movie and what we'd get rid of, etc. It was fun, promoted critical thinking, and sometimes you had to go back and reread a passage to really figure out if you'd keep it or leave it on the editing floor.
      My mom kept casting Leonard Nimoy as the Grand Wizards, like Alannon in Sword of Shannara. She had a thing for him at that point LOL. Doesn't work as well if the book has already been made into a movie recently but... then you can discuss what you would have done differently.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 06:35:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Never too old to be read to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero, notdarkyet

      I agree that reading together and out loud is a great family activity. When our kids were young, we read to them every day. Even after they could read for themselves, we continued to spend at least a little time reading to them before bed through middle school. It was a special time together. Now that our younger child is in high school, I rarely read to her but it still happens occasionally when she could use a little help unwinding for sleep. In fact, before we had kids, my husband and I would sometimes read Sherlock Holmes stories to each other!
      We also make heavy use of audiobooks in our car, especially on long car rides. There are many Doctor Who audiobooks, many of them read by the Doctors themselves.  

  •  Your son might be too old for this (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Youffraita, coquiero, boji, pixxer, BlackSheep1

    but I got this advice from a friend and it worked with my kids.

    At official bedtime, allow him to be able to read in bed for another half hour or go to sleep.  Read or sleep.

    Have some of the great suggestions around and before you know it you'll be yelling at him to go to sleep because he won't stop reading.

    This works well in the 8-10 yr old range when you control their bedtime more, but you have a chance at 13 at least on school nights.

    Good luck.

    I reread Catcher in the Rye recently because of my kids and while I thought it was great in high school, it is truly awful now.  Hundreds of pages of whine, whine, whine from a boarding school brat.  Interesting to read how much more independence teenagers had in those days. though.  Our high school eliminated it this year from the freshman curriculum.  It is not really relevant to this generation-many better choices in coming of age novels.

    •  I don't know how old you are (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ted Hitler, coquiero, boji, BlackSheep1

      but I remember reading Catcher in the Rye way back when...and it was still whine whine whiny rich NYC boy.

      As a non-rich non-NYC dweller, I just didn't relate.  I have always hated that book.

      I call him Rick Scumtorum because he IS scum: pond scum, with the brain of an alga.

      by Youffraita on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 06:52:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe it was the inapproriate (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Youffraita, coquiero

        subject matter back then.  I couldn't believe I ever liked it on the reread.  It was torture getting through it hoping to rediscover the lost appeal.   I was a middle class public school brat living out in the desert, so maybe it was intriguing reading about boarding school and NYC.

        Hanging out in bars in high school is a mixed message for a school assigned book and seems implausible now, especially since it sux.

        You were probably just smarter and less gullible than me in high school.

        •  Thanks. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          coquiero, pixxer, BlackSheep1

          By the time I read it, I'd already read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (which I loved) and Mean Streets (I forget who wrote that one) which I also loved.

          So Holden Caufield came across as an entitled brat with no particular appeal or talent.  And I didn't think the novel's writing compared well to Hinton or (whoever wrote Mean Streets).

          I call him Rick Scumtorum because he IS scum: pond scum, with the brain of an alga.

          by Youffraita on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 07:15:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I can't say how much I hate Catcher. Taught it - (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          want to go back and apologize to every single kid I put through it.

  •  How about Dr Who books? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, pixxer, BlackSheep1, NYmama

    I would also recommend Isaac Asimov's short stories.   Length is a problem for shy readers, and he has some beautifully engaging ones.

  •  Short story anthologies (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, themank, slapshoe, pixxer, NYmama

    A lot of the books mentioned are too long.   The good thing about an anthology of short stories is that you can skip over a story that you don't like and move on to the next.   Eventually you find a style and author that you like.

    If the cover makes you cringe (big-breasted girl fighting aliens) then it is probably about the right book...

    •  That is how I started (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero, pixxer

      I bridged from kids books to adult novels with a few years of short story collections of horror and scifi. HP Lovecraft, etc

      I still have very fond memories of scaring the crap out of myself with some of those stories. Good old fashioned creepy horror, not some of the newer 'bloodygore and Satan' stuff.

      I agree with you. The immediacy of short stories is significant. They have been overlooked in this post.

      ...the train's got its brakes on and the whistle is screaming.

      by themank on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 07:26:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, short stories! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero, pixxer, NYmama

      I went through loads of collections of horror stories as a teen, esp. those Alfred Hitchcock anthologies (long out of print, I'm sure), also sci-fi. That way the lad might find more authors he likes and move on to their novels, if any. I also concur with the graphic novel recs.

      "I believe they talked of me, for they laughed consumedly."--George Farquhar

      by slapshoe on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 07:31:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Graphic novels (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, boji

    Graphic novels -- particularly ones which tie in to book series or by authors who've written book series -- are a good way to 'drag' someone into reading, relatively gently.  I don't know anything about Dr. Who comics, but he might like Sandman, or the Transmetropolitan collections, or any number of other odd, non-superhero comics.  

  •  Oh, yeah. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, chimene

    Heinlein's YA stuff is just fun.  

  •  The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Youffraita, coquiero, pixxer, Cobbler, NYmama

    Not Doctor Who or sci-fi, but full of wisdom disguised as silliness, and lots of puns and quirks.  My children loved it.

    You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. - Wayne Gretsky

    by lu3 on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 06:36:25 PM PDT

  •  I come from a family that reads - all of us, my (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, pixxer, Cobbler

    youngest sister learned to read 'dick and jane' books when she was four, us older girls taught her how the summer I was between sixth and seventh grade - because she kept pestering us to tell her 'what does this say'...

    all of which is to show how much reading and books have been a part of the background of my life all of my life.

    So, when my oldest daughter was born, I started reading to her, first day home from the hospital. I read to her so much, using a variety of hardboard books for infants and toddlers, that one day I came home and found my (then) husband practically jumping up and down in excitement. He couldn't wait to drag me into the house and show me that our 18 month old child could read a whole book, all by herself!

    I tried to let him down easy, thinking your kid is a genius of some sort is heady stuff, even if it only lasts a few minutes...

    What she had done, of course, was memorize the story from the multitude of times we had read it together. It was the start of her life-long love of the written word.

    My younger child, her sister? By the time she turned 9, I was desperate for something to catch her attention. I had tried unicorn and American Girl (westerns for pre-teens) books. Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Comics and graphic novels. If there was a series aimed at girls aged 8 to 12, I either bought it or borrowed it from the local library.

    All to no avail. I was heartbroken, that this inquisitive, smart child would rather hunt bugs in the pasture than read a book any day of the year.


    Then one day, I read about this series of books by a JK Rowling. So I went on over to Powell Books across the Columbia River in Portland, OR and got her a nice trade paperback version of book number one: Harry Potter and the  Sorcerer's Stone.

    That book must have been an inch and half thick, and over 350 pages. She wouldn't put it down. She took it in the bathroom, on the bus to school, out in the pasture. Nine days later (less than two weeks), she was asking me, "Mom, hey, can we go to Powell's and get book number two?"

    I'll be forever grateful to JK Rowling, for turning my recalcitrant tomboy of a daughter into falling in love with words.

    Your son is 13, and may feel too old for Harry, though...

    So here are my recommends (knowing he already likes Dr Who):

    The Robert A. Heinlein juveniles (Starship Troopers, Podkayne of Mars, Have Spacesuit, Will Travel and Red Planet)

    Naomi Novik's Temeraire books (starts with His Majesty's Dragon).

    Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (starting with The Lightening Thief)

    Scott Westerfield has a number of books for younger readers, my favorites are the Midnighter books (starting with Midnighters: The Secret Hour)

    Robert Asprin's Phule's Company

    Isaac Asimov's Elijah Baley & Daneel Olivaw books (starting with The Caves of Steel)

    DKos message me if you'd like a longer list....


    * * *
    I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization
    -- SCOTUS Justice O.W. Holmes Jr.
    * * *
    "A Better World is Possible"
    -- #Occupy

    by Angie in WA State on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 07:06:33 PM PDT

  •  He is about my guys age (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I will cast another vote for Douglas Adams. But for something a little more modern the Christopher Moore vampire books, You Suck and Bite Me, rock. These books are the antihesis of the Twilght books. They are hilarious. Blue prostitues, after hours bowling in the Safeway with frozen turkeys...they are smart edgy absurdist humor that is accessible to a YA reader without being intended for YA readers in the least. In fact, you might want to read them first.

    Newt Gingrich: Believes marriage is between one man and a series of ever younger women. Wife #1 born ~ 1936, divorced when in her mid-40s...Wife #2 born ~1947, divorced when in her mid-40s...Wife #3 born ~1966.

    by trillian on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 07:08:11 PM PDT

  •  I have a friend who is a teacher (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ted Hitler, coquiero, jayden

    Her son had a learning disability, very bright, but a poor reader.  When he was 15 she brought home a porno book that was about two inches thick, with a really racy cover and left it on the kitchen counter.  It disappeared, of course.  And her son's reading skills improved over the next few months.

    I guess it depends on how desperate you are.  

    Not all those who wander are lost.

    by Leftleaner on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 07:11:45 PM PDT

    •  I remember mom being a bit upset when I read (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leftleaner, coquiero

      Bledding Sorrow by Marilyn Harris, a rather dark, violent, graphic, and raunchy romance novel, when I was a pre-teen. Hey, she's the one who left it sitting around!

      Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

      by jayden on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 09:59:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  When my son was a teenager, he wouldn't read (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, pixxer

    either.  I used to read out loud to him every night.  My older kids would listen, too.  We'd gather in one of their rooms and hang out.

    He loved the books by John Bellairs (about a boy named Johnny), which are kind of spooky mysteries. The covers and illustrations were done by Edward Gorey.

    Check them out sometime.

  •  I read Robert Heinlein's books as a child. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, coquiero

    Tunnel in the Sky was a favorite. I have not looked at them lately so it might be they are so outdated as to be humorous rather than interesting. There were some neat books published in the 80s or so called the Science Fiction Hall of Fame: nominators for the Nebula Awards were asked which stories would have been their choice from the years before the Nebulas were awarded. Their choices were good. Fabulous, in fact. It's a fat little paperback.

    One of the greats, but maybe not Dr. Who - A Canticle for Leibowitz. Might want to be a bit older for that one to appreciate the continuity of history and the value of it.

    Day of the Triffids? Creepy but excellent.

    "Maybe this is how empires die - their citizens just don't deserve to be world leaders anymore." -Kossack Puddytat, In a Comment 18 Sept 2011

    by pixxer on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 09:08:26 PM PDT

    •  Day of the Triffids is a great movie. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pixxer, themank, coquiero

      Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven was also made into a movie with less stellar results.

      Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

      by jayden on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 09:49:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I loved Lathe of Heaven on PBS - got the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jayden, themank, coquiero

        book afterwards, in fact.

        Day of the Triffids has been made into more than one video event. I saw one that I disliked a lot - basically neutered the ending -  but the PBS miniseries was extremely faithful to the book.

        "Maybe this is how empires die - their citizens just don't deserve to be world leaders anymore." -Kossack Puddytat, In a Comment 18 Sept 2011

        by pixxer on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 09:59:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Now, wait. What about Potter? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ebohlman, coquiero, NYmama

    Harry Potter has gotten more kids to read than most of the remaining literature put together. I have to assume you've tried this one...

    "Maybe this is how empires die - their citizens just don't deserve to be world leaders anymore." -Kossack Puddytat, In a Comment 18 Sept 2011

    by pixxer on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 09:20:47 PM PDT

    •  There are a couple Dr. Who connections (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero, pixxer

      in the Potter books (at the very least, objects being bigger inside than outside and boarding-school houses having characteristic personality traits).

      If you integrate fantasy with reality, you do not instantiate reality. If you mix cow pie with apple pie, it does not make the cow pie taste better; it makes the apple pie worse. --Mark Crislip

      by ebohlman on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 01:11:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just thought of John Varley. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Air Raid is an amazing story, and it was developed into a larger book, Millenium. Highly recommended, but not everyone's cup of tea.

    "Maybe this is how empires die - their citizens just don't deserve to be world leaders anymore." -Kossack Puddytat, In a Comment 18 Sept 2011

    by pixxer on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 09:29:57 PM PDT

  •  I did a quick scan of the comments (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cobbler, BlackSheep1, coquiero

    and didn't see it mentioned:

    The Tripods Trilogy by John Christopher. The three books are The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead, and The Pool of Fire. They're great books; everyone I've ever recommended them to has really enjoyed them.

    I also liked his book The Lotus Caves.

    A few more:

    ▪ Asimov's Foundation Series is a must read for any young Sci-Fi fan.

    Birthright:The Book of Man by Mike Resnick is a great sci-fi book.

    ▪ Ben Bova's The Exiles Trilogy is another book I enjoyed reading as a kid.

    ▪ Frederik Pohl's Heechee Saga series are also great sci-fi novels.

    The Veils of Azroloc by Fred Saberhagen

    Also, a non-sci fi novel that's great for young teens:

    Only Earth and Sky Last Forever by Nathaniel Benchley

    I could dig up a few more if you'd like.

    Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

    by jayden on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 09:44:00 PM PDT

  •  The End of Eternity - neat time travel (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, coquiero

    and paradoxes and all that. Asimov. Great book.

    "Maybe this is how empires die - their citizens just don't deserve to be world leaders anymore." -Kossack Puddytat, In a Comment 18 Sept 2011

    by pixxer on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 09:55:14 PM PDT

  •  my 13yo LOVES Pratchett, and picked out the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, NYmama

    Bartimeus and Eragon trilogies completely on his own. I haven't been able to read the Eragons myself (shudder) but he liked them (and he HAD heard LotR by then, I think); but the Bartimeii (sic) are LOTS of fun.

    Heinlein JUVENILES; Cherryh as above; Neil Gaiman and Pratchett's Good Omens, Gaiman's Sandman graphic novels and Stardust...

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 12:37:37 AM PDT

  •  Many of my students have gotten hooked on (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Incarceron--it's dystopian sci-fi. I would suggest you go to your local library--assuming your town still funds quaint institutions like that--and have the librarian run down some titles for you. They are usually really good at matching kids and books.

  •  Has your son shown any interest in non-fiction? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My two daughters had very different ideas of what was fun
    to read.  My oldest loved sci-fi and fantasy, classics like
    Dickens and, God forbid, popular girlish nurse Jane books.  She read fiction almost exclusively.

    On the other hand, my youngest loved first person narratives by hikers, singers, athletes, dancers, etc. and whenever she could,  she'd  buy "how to" magazines about  everything from crafts to scientific experiments you could do at home.  She was also into biographies and travel books.

    Your son  may well enjoy reading non-fiction.  It certainly wouldn't hurt to pick up a few non fiction books from the library to see if he enjoys them.  I bet he'd like reading about "heroes" and adventurers.  If he enjoys puttering around with things electronic or building stuff,  there are lots of diy books for young people.

  •  Comic books (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, Unduna

    My mother was a reading education guru.  Really, she got her PhD in it, wrote books, gave seminars, was a tenured professor - the real thing.  And, my brother hated to read.  As nearly as I can tell, there was no reason for it beyond the simple fact that he was a large, very active boy who thought sitting still and doing what he was told was a terrible waste.  Anyway, after tests and failed tutoring, she hit upon a strategy that worked.  She bought him comic books.  Lots of them.  Mostly involving some form of fantasy.

    He was hooked.  Not only did he start reading, he discovered pleasure in it.  He credits the stimulation with changing how he viewed reading and education.  We're in our '60's now, and he still speaks of it from time to time.

    Thinking about this now, I remember there were no examples that were explicitly pornographic, but anyone familiar with the genre knows that it would be fair to describe them as titillating.    I never talked with her about that aspect of their attraction, but she was a very practical woman.  I am sure that she would have walked through fire for the result she got.

  •  They *do* write Doctor Who books, you know. :-) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But stuff like Lord of the Rings and His Dark Materials is also wonderful.

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