Monday, December 16, 2013


I don’t know about you, but the approach of the holiday season puts me less in the mood for penning and more in the mood for reading. As I madly grade student essays and meet deadlines in my own writing life, I find I just want to nestle all snug in my sofa cushions while visions of fictional characters dance in my head.

I’ve made a point to share this particular longing with my students lately, because I think this poor “Social Media Generation” is losing the ability to focus on text for more than a couple of minutes at a time. That is, in fact, what they wrote about in their semester-ending essays: the effect of technology on their lives. Guess what I’m finding as I read these? The very students who seem most tied to their electronic devices are upset about such things as not being taught to write (or read!) cursive. They recognize that their time is being sucked away from them by their smartphones, and that being the generation with the most dexterous thumbs is probably not going to prove to be much of an advantage in the long run. Many of these eighteen- and nineteen-year-olds still value books, I’m seeing, even as they are convinced they have no time to read them.

So, I’ve been looking at book lists lately, trying to come up with good suggestions to help these multi-taskers unplug and read for pleasure. Here are some links that I’m finding to be good places to start:

Goodreads is trusted by young folk because the lists are created by young folk. This is a page with their college-agerecommendations.

American Library Association is a tried and true source for lists for all ages. Here is their 2013 BestBooks for Young Adults.

And because even teenagers cherish memories of children’s classics—especially around the holidays—here is New York Public Library’s all-time “Top 100.”

Happy winter solstice to all, and to all a good book!

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