It's We Recommend, a (sort of) recurring feature where readers write in and ask for book recommendations, for themselves or someone else, and we comply. We used to think this was our superpower, and now, humbled and thrilled by the excellent librarian readership of this blog, we bow to all the people who have great ideas, which you will find (or contribute) in the comments. Need a recommendation? Write to us at thediamondinthewindow (at) gmail (dot) com with the person's likes, loves, reading requirements, and anything else you think we need to know, and we'll do our best to set you up. And look in the comments! That's where the best recommendations are to be found.
This one started out in an alarming fashion, as the subject line said, "I need help!" and I was sure that the email would say, "We're in London, and our wallets were stolen, and…." But no! It was much happier, less mendacious, and more exciting than that. It was this:
The other night I sat next to our fifteen year old grandson and spent most of a long meal discussing Greek mythology. After a childhood consisting of soccer, soccer and more soccer it seems that somehow mythology has gripped him. He is interested in reading more, not only mythology but fiction based on myths. I told him a bit about the Mary Renault books – especially "The King Must Die" because he has vacationed on Naxos many times. He is now very eager to READ but I am worried about getting him in over his head. What do you think? Any other suggestions?
How wonderful is this, I ask you? Very wonderful.
Now to the reading. I know many, many people love Mary Renault, but my kids have been left cold. Still, I think there's no reason he shouldn't go after it. Of course I thought of the Percy Jackson books as well, but they might be a bit young for a 15-year-old. Though Chestnut says they could be good, and some kids that age might really like them. It depends on his tastes—is he someone who likes to read a lot? Is he worldly? One thing I might recommend is branching out into other mythologies, which are amazing. Norse myths, native American myths.
But if he's 15, and he wants to read fiction about mythology—well, here's what might be good (if a little crazy):
Caveat: this is a book for grownups. So it's dirty. And violent. Which might not be OK with you, of course, and if so, I would just go with Percy Jackson's The Lightning Thief.
But, if he's interested in a a crazy novel about a bunch of different mythologies bumping up against one another in modern day America (though the American English goes off the rails at points), this is a lot of fun. And it contains so many cultures that it could set him off to track down all the myths he'll find there.
Clearly, though, I am limited here by my own lack of reading in this area, so I beg of you, gentle (and not-so-gentle) readers: what should this boy read? And also, Mary Renault, yay or nay? Put it in the comments!