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Classics for teens

It’s hard to recommend classics to your teenage children without running the risk of turning them off forever (just the fact that it’s coming from you might be enough…). The Guardian has a clever answer: a list based on the ‘If you liked…’ principle. Well worth a look.

The Well-Read Teenager by The Guardian

 

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The House of Ulloa

Unmissable Spanish classic

I cannot recommend this Spanish classic highly enough. The House of Ulloa is funny, clever, progressive and colourful, written by the feisty and daring Emilia Prado Bazán in 1886 and, luckily, reissued in English recently. We meet the gentle, devout chaplain Julián who’s been asked by Don Manuel, a prominent noble, to clean up the sinful House of Ulloa, the country estate of his unruly nephew, Don Pedro. This hilarious meeting of polar opposites takes place amidst magnificently described Galician landscapes and decrepit aristocratic homes.

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Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End

Surprisingly reassuring on a grim subject

I’m not sure how I’m going to convince you to read this book. Most of you will, understandably, want to look the other way. There are details about dying in Being Mortal that will make you shudder and stories about elderly people’s lives that will make you want to cry. But, for me, this book was an eye-opener and surprisingly reassuring, despite it’s grim subject matter.

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My Brilliant Friend

A vibrant and violent coming-of-age story from a mysterious author

What better way to kick off 2015 than with an excellent book by a mysterious writer? Italian author Elena Ferrante, whose real identity nobody knows, creates a perfect microcosm of childhood and adolescence in her book My Brilliant Friend, the first in a quartet. It’s a vibrant and violent coming-of-age story and a portrait of an intense friendship between two girls.

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Bad Sex In Fiction Award 2014

One of my favourite literary awards, the Bad Sex in Ficton Award, was just announced and this year Ben Okri runs away with the prize for the sex depicted in his latest book The Age of Magic.

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