Today’s guest post was contributed by writer/blogger Angus Stewart.
Teenage readers! I bring disturbing news: at some point you are probably going to stop reading teen fiction.
I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing and I’m not saying that it’s a good thing, but I am saying that it’s a thing. You can trust me because I’m twenty years old. I’ve been there, I’ve done that, and as far as I can tell, I’ve moved on.
The crossing of the final bridge between the ‘child reader’ and the ‘adult reader’ will be a strange one. Your journey might be long and leisurely and it might be quick and painful, but I can promise you that it will feel strange, if for only the tiniest of tiny moments.
So, when a journey approaches you might do well to ask yourself: ‘how do I prepare?’ Well, unless you are a kind of intellectual adrenaline junkie who relishes the thought of jumping in at the deep end, read on and I’ll recommend some novels which helped guide me into the world of ‘books for big people’.
Bloodsong is Melvin Burgess’ brutal retelling of Sigurd the Dragonslayer’s chapter in the old Nordic Volsunga saga, and although it works as a kind of sequel to Bloodtide you can read it just as easily as a standalone item. The style of the novel is decidedly ‘Young Adult’, but you’ll find enough high drama and terror in here to blow the cobwebs away in preparation for the dark, compelling and often horrible worlds that exist in adult fantasy.
Top tip to human beings everywhere: read H.G. Wells! As an adult reader you may find yourself wanting to grapple with ‘The Classics’. In the English language that means reading a lot of potentially rather dull Victorian and pre-Victorian writers. H.G. Wells works as a great introduction to the roots of the tradition. His straightforward, powerful prose and big scientific concepts collide to create timeless (I really mean it) works of fiction. War of the Worlds was my introduction to Wells, and I’d recommend it as yours too.
Who would win in a fight: a bear, or a shark? A simple and bottomless question. In this novel by Chris Bachelder an entire society ends up revolving around it. A big showdown between the bear and the shark is coming up, and an average American family rushes across the country to see it. Through its simple premise and his (pitch) black humour, Bachelder’s book works as a great intro not just to the adult novel, but into the whole adult world.
Oh golly. What an awesome book. Our hero is Ed Kennedy, a nineteen year-old cab driver. He can’t play cards and is hopelessly in love with his best friend, a girl called Audrey. By total accident, Ed stops a bank robbery, and then someone puts a playing card through his door with four addresses inscribed onto the back. Each address is a mission, and as Ed carries out the tasks and so helps the fellow residents of his backwater Australian town, we see him transform from a loveable loser into a kind of new world hero. Zusak, who is more famous for The Book Thief, is absolutely magical here and his book blends absolutely everything: fantasy and reality, genre and convention, and- most importantly for us- teen and adult fiction.
Angus Stewart is an aspiring writer and amateur photographer, currently studying in the third and final year of his English degree. He grew up in Dundee, Scotland, and moved to Manchester, England, in the summer of 2011.