Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Heavy-Metal Books

The exterminator came today to lay down some bait for the ants, who (as they do every spring) had moved into the neighborhood on a truckload of mulch and set up housekeeping inside the walls. While he was here, we somehow got to talking about books. He doesn't read much nowadays, but he fondly remembers enjoying some rip-snorting sci-fi adventures by the likes of Arthur C. Clarke. I happily gave him my well-thumbed copy of L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth, assuring him that the book is pure fun and way better than the movie. (He claimed to have liked the movie. It takes all kinds.)

When I told him that I review kids' books for a Harry Potter fan site, he started asking me what I would recommend for his kid. I asked him what his kid was into, and he said "skateboarding and heavy metal music." For a moment I was stumped. Then the ideas started flowing. Some of these are books I have reviewed, some I have only seen in bookstores and thought about reading. But I hazarded to suggest them as something a member of the tattoos-and-piercings crowd might enjoy reading. And now, for those of you whose kids also belong to that set, I share the same list of recommendations with you (plus a few titles I might have mentioned had I thought of them):
  • Tithe by Holly Black: The first book in a series of dark, gritty, urban, modern fairy tales.
  • Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr: Likewise an edgy, tough fairy tale, complete with a playlist of hard rock songs to read by.
  • The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld: The start of the spooky, hip, slightly goth teen series called "The Midnighters."
  • I Am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak: A moving story narrated by one of today's wild young people.
  • Black Tattoo by Sam Enthoven.
  • City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, also the first book in a series. I'm getting ready to read these last two.
This is just a place to start. I'm not about to judge anyone for liking heavy metal music. It's not a cultural stream in which I prefer to swim, but they have just as much right to enjoy a good book as anyone. If these books can lead them to develop a habit of reading, more power to them!

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