Thinking About Books that Open Minds
Although with a precocious, voracious 10 year old reader in the house, I’m learning.
I taught some PG-13 novels years ago to ninth and tenth graders and liked it, but I haven’t stayed with it which brings me to this post.
Ove the weekend, I discovered a new NPR series titled “PG-13: Risky Reads” in which authors talk about what the PG-13 novels- the almost adult- meant to their development.
The series moniker reads:
At 13, you crave the adult stuff — the drama, the relationships, the mind-blowing ideas — even if you’re not ready for adulthood. “PG-13″ presents authors discussing the books that transformed and matured their teenage minds.(NPR)
Wolitzer writing about Lisa, Bright and Dark states things more pointedly “Has a book you’ve read ever acted as a gateway to harsher, truer or more literary novels?”(NPR)
As a new series, there are only four installments each with interesting personal connections, or affects, the work had on a future writer.
Meg Wolitzer reflects on John Neufield’s Lisa, Bright and Dark.
Jesmyn Ward and Jodi Picoult talk about Gone with the Wind.
Myla Goldberg looks back at Nevil Shute’s On the Beach.
Emily Danforth writes about Rita Mae Brown’s Rubyfruit Jungle.
Trying to coin a thread that ties the series together I’m going to borrow from Rita Mae Brown and add some. These are books that help growing, widening minds ask questions, begin to seek imperfect answers, and, here’s Brown help “you understand yourself better.”(NPR)
These are books that begin to help us ease into the grey areas that make-up adulthood. In that sentence, I think I just remembered why I liked teaching them.