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Thanks to Drew Klavan, Rob Long, Ursula Hennessey, and the many Ricochet readers who have made suggestions, the summer reading list for the three teenaged Robinson males has begun taking shape:
The mandatory pile
One brand new copy, purchased at the full retail price, of Andrew Klavan’s most recent book for young adults, The Long Way Home
Microbe Hunters (One of my boys loves science. We’ll see if he loves science writing.)
Sink the Bismarck (The best way to introduce the boys to history, I figure, is by way of the Department of Blowing Things Up.)
The Once and Future King (I’ve been meaning to read it myself since I was about 15.)
The optional pile
Two additional copies, used, of Andrew Klavan’s most recent novel for young adults, The Long Way Home
A couple of books from the Hornblower series
Another couple from the Great Brain series
Kim. Also a collection of Kipling short stories, most certainly to include “The Man Who Would be King.”
Chronicles of Narnia
If I may, a few remaining questions, the first of which goes to Mrs. Hennesey: Ursula, you spent a decade as a professional sports writer. What sports books would you recommend? Books in which teenaged boys could lose themselves (which is what they’ll have in mind) while being exposed to clean, straightforward prose and a skillful narrative (which is what their father has in mind)? Sports books–it’s tricky ground, I find. Sports writers tend to write for newspapers and magazines, getting their work into print while their audience still recalls the game or match or contest about which they’re writing. Books? Not so much. There’s John McPhee on Arthur Ashe and Bill Bradley, and then there’s David Halberstam on rowing. But those aren’t books by sports writers. They’re books by writers who happened to take six months off to write about sports.
As you’ll see, Ursula, I’m desperate.
My next question I direct to my esteemed colleague, Mr. R.C.B. Long. Kim? Really, Rob? Jeepers. The story is set in a world, the Raj, that went out of existence seven decades ago, the narrative makes heavy use of dialect, and the story line (as I recall) is pretty darned complicated. Maybe some Kipling short stories instead? Or would you contend–and who knows? You’ve met all three of them–that my not particularly literate boys could pull themselves together and make it through Kim on their own, unflogged by their male parent? I’m asking for summer reading suggestions here. If you insist on Kim I will certainly pick up a copy–but let the boys know that it was your idea.
This is your last chance to take it back.