Did you know that October is National Book Month? Did you also know that National Book Month is sponsored by the National Book Foundation, an organization which stemmed from the National Book Awards? While we have only been celebrating the national month since the late 1980’s the first awards ceremony was actually held on March 16, 1950 in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.
In honor of National Book Month here are 15 great reads for young adults.
1. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand: This novel looks into the idea of individualism, which is represented through the elusive character of John Galt.
2. Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard: This futuristic tales follows the plight of Jonnie Goodboy and a small band of humans as they fight alien pilgrims in the year 3000!
3. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: A fantasy novel full of elves, dwarves and hobbits, this novel also integrates the epic moral battle between good and evil.
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Based in a southern town during the Depression, this novel looks at the problems of racism and prejudice through a child’s eyes. The main character, Scout Finch, recounts the trial of a young black man who is defended by her own father, Atticus.
5. 1984 by George Orwell: A novel looking fifty some years into a future full of tyranny and war under an oppressive government. Winston Smith, a London clerk, struggles past the confines of the government.
6. Mission Earth by L. Ron Hubbard: This collection of stories is an expose written by a man named Soltan Gris. Each novel story begins with a disclaimer from the head Censor denying the existence of Earth and the truth of the stories.
7. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe: This novel follows the life of a revered community leader named Okonwo, who is concerned with the old ways and rejects western civilization in his African homeland while his son is attached to the western ways. The clash of the two cultures is used to show the loss of homeland and the destruction brought on by stubbornness.
8. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad: A commander’s journey into the heart of the Congo brings him on an adventure that reaches deep into the human psyche where evil is confronted. The novel looks at greed, corruption and fear that reach far beyond its colonial era setting.
9. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: This novel takes a look into the tortured mind of a killer who tries fruitlessly to justify his crime. Guilt and redemption remain themes along with a commentary on the social conditions of the time.
10. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller: Set during World War II, this novel is told by an airman named Yossarian who is convinced people are trying to kill him. Yossarian spends most of the novel trying to convince his superiors he is crazy so he will not half to fight, but the “catch” comes in that only those who really are crazy are willing to fight and those who are sane have no desire to fight. Since Yossarian’s fear of dying proves he is sane, he must continue going on missions and remains silently incredulous at the hypocrisy around him.
11. The Awakening by Kate Chopin: Written in the late 1800’s this novel examines the life of Edna Pontellier as she re-discovers herself as an artist.
12. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: Commonly labeled as one of the First Great American Novels, Twain uses local vernacular to tell the story of Huck’s Mississippi River adventures with pal Tom Sawyer.
13. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut: One of Vonnegut’s most popular works as uses science fiction to analyze the human condition during a story of time travel. This book led to an increased awareness of war.
14. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton: Lily Barton, a young New York socialite, looks for a husband while searching for a place in affluent Victorian society.
15. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe: Also titled Life Among the Lowly is an anti-slavery novel tracking the life of a slave, Uncle Tom, as he interacts with fellow slaves and slave owners.
What are you waiting for? Head to your local library or bookstore and crack open one of these great books today!
Charlotte Beulow is a contributing writer for Access My Library. AccessMyLibrary.com is a service of Gale. Best known for its accurate and authoritative reference content as well as its intelligent organization of full-text magazine and newspaper articles, the company creates and maintains more than 600 databases that are published online, in print, as eBooks and in microform. Visit Access My Library a href=”http://www.accessmylibrary.com”>accessmylibrary.com.