Given that Chris and I are both avid readers, it is no surprise that our children are too. When they were little we practically lived in our local library. When we moved to Oxford, the literary festival became an important event in the calendar, and in the last four years, the Hay Festival has become essential to us. And when Beth and Claire recently moved their bedroom round, their pride and joy was the book corner they created - wall to wall books arranged so the spines are colour-coordinated. Books really matter in this house.
However, up until recently, most of the books they've been interested in have been young adult or teen fiction. Occasionally one of them will pick up one of mine or Chris' books because it's grabbed their attention, but usually if I make a recommendation they don't bite. I've tried not to push my thoughts on what to read too much, as my dad, the English teacher, often used to bombard me with books I should read and then question me intensely about my thoughts on them. Instead I've been hoping that one of these days they might want to start reading the books I read.
Beth turned 16 recently and has decided she wants to do English Literature for "A" Level next year (hooray). When I mentioned that perhaps it was time she started reading some classics, she thought about it for a bit and then set me a challenge. She'd read my recommended books, if I read hers. So we've set up our very own book swap. A book a month for 2015. She gave me her list on Thursday, complete with two line summaries and a rating, and I gave her mine yesterday (though my summaries were not as concise or as neatly written). We've both agonised over our lists as we've had to exclude books we love and changed our minds about some of the books we've included. Beth's already read my first choice ("The Colour Purple" by Alice Walker) and I've dipped into hers ("All the truth that's in me" by Julie Berry) which is great so far. I can see this is going to be a lot of fun, even if I do have to read some zombie books.
Several people expressed interest in our lists, so here they are:
Beth's list for me:
January - "All the truth that's in me" by Julie Berry.
February - "Deadlands" by Lily Herne.
March - "Thieves like us" by Stephen Cole.
April - "Will Grayson, Will Grayson" by John Green.
May - "Clockwork Angel" by Cassandra Clare.
June - "Raven's Gate" by Anthony Horowitz.
July - "The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender" by Lesley Walton.
August - "Timeriders" by Alex Scarrow.
September - "Paper Towns" by John Green.
October - "Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan.
November - "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins.
December - "Skullduggery Pleasant" by Derek Landy.
My list for Beth:
January - "The Colour Purple" by Alice Walker.
February - "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte.
March - "The Heart of the Matter" by Graham Greene.
April - "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen.
May - "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens.
June - "Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson.
July "The Humans" by Matt Haig.
August - "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte
September - "Oranges are not the only fruit" by Jeanette Winterson.
October - "Cloud Atlas" by David Mitchell.
November - "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood.
December - "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver.
We'll let you know what we think.