Friday, January 20, 2012

11 Books to Celebrate on Coming of Age Day

Remember the day you became an adult? Maybe you walked across a stage and threw your cap in the air, or maybe you strapped on some tefillin and read from the Torah. Maybe you are Mentawaian and got your teeth chiseled. Every second Monday in January, the Japanese celebrate Coming-of-Age Day, when all those who have recently turned 20 drink, party, and go crazy. In honor of the big day, why not drink a toast to your lost youth and think back fondly on it with the help of these excellent coming-of-age books (most of which you can read in a few days or less).

  1. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

    Before Forrest Gump, there was Maniac Magee. You’d think a young-adult book about an orphaned kid who runs away would be all preachy and schmaltzy. Ok, it’s a little preachy. But Jerry Spinelli does not let the story descend into a lecture about the danger of running away. It’s easy-to-read, light fun about a neighborhood legend every kid wanted to be like in some way or other growing up.

  2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

    An instant classic, Tree is in its eighth decade of publication and still as beloved as ever. Bright young lady Francie Nolan tries to find her place in the world after growing up with an alcoholic father with no money to send her to high school. The tree of the title is a Tree of Heaven that grows in an abandoned lot near Francie’s home and, like the protagonist, refuses to be cut down.

  3. The Body by Stephen King

    Yes, Stand By Me was originally a novella; a Stephen King novella, no less. People that aren’t horror fans may not know King is an incredible writer, and he wrote The Body the same year as The Running Man, another classic. Here, four boys head off on a search for a dead body, and… Well, you’ve seen the movie.

  4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    Containing one of the most noble characters in all of American literature, Mockingbird is the story of a black man on trial for his life in rampant-racism Alabama in the Great Depression. Six-year-old Scout and her brother Jem lose their innocence as they witness first-hand the ugliness of racial hatred. Despite the weighty subject matter, Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning story is at times funny, heartwarming, and beautiful.

  5. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

    You will cry when you read the end, or your heart is made of stone. Young Billy Coleman lives in the Ozarks, hunting with his prized coonhounds Old Dan and Little Ann. The two beloved dogs stick by him through thick and thin, his constant companions. And then, one fateful night, they encounter a mountain lion on a hunt and… Suffice it to say, where the red fern grows is between two graves. So sad!

  6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

    In a house desperately in need of some testosterone, four sisters grow up together in Civil War-time New England. There’s Jo the tomboy; Meg, the oldest and prettiest; Beth, the perennially ill; and Amy, the spoiled youngest. There’s ever so much drama over boys and going to parties, but if you were ever a young girl with sisters you’ll feel right at home reading this.

  7. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

    It takes a special kind of work to satisfy readers for over 100 years. Mark Twain’s Great American Novel is the tale of Tom Sawyer’s pal who heads down the Mississippi River and all the colorful characters he runs into on the way. Overprotective school boards that ban this book overlook the fact that the main character is anti-racist, as was its author.

  8. What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

    Realizing your parents do not have it all together is a major milestone on the road to adulthood. Fifteen-year-old Evie Spooner swoons for handsome vet Joe and yearns to be romanced and fall in love, but the painful realities of human relationships soon set in. Illicit affairs, murder trials, and terrible secrets fill this thriller sure to appeal to the young girl in you.

  9. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

    Blanket statement: You can’t reach your full potential as a male unless you read Hatchet as a boy. Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson must survive a biplane crash in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a windbreaker and a hatchet. In a veritable triumph of the American spirit, Brian conquers his fears, comes to grips with his parents’ divorce, and lives the wild and free life alone in the mountains that boys looked out of the classroom window and imagined.

  10. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

    There’s a title that screams "teenage girl." It’s the sixth title by chick-lit star Sarah Dessen, and many consider it her best yet. Heroine Macy bottles her sorrow over her dad’s death while "sa-woon"-ing over hunky coworker Wes. It’s a simple plot kept afloat by great dialogue, funny scenarios, and a realistic approach to Macy’s grief.

  11. A Separate Peace by John Knowles

    You may be inclined to dog this book because some English teacher made you read it for class. Now might be a good time to give it another shot; maybe your literary taste buds have changed. To refresh your memory, this is the one about two polar-opposite young guys at a prep school in New England who strike up an unlikely bromance, until teenage jealousy drives them apart. Modern-day readers might find it on the slow side, but the rise and fall of their relationship is beautifully crafted through the mundanity of a student’s life.

Taken From Accredited Online Colleges

No comments:

Post a Comment