Reading List for a Mom’s and Son’s Last Year Together

So…while I ponder my own reading list and my re-commitment to nighttime reading on my personal blog, I also thought that it’s not too early to begin thinking about what the children will read on next year—especially our son.

Next year is a hybrid of our son’s senior year.   By “hybrid,” I mean that he could finish this year, except that he has yet to take high school Physics.   I suppose we could complete this over the summer, but our son is also in an interesting plight, for lack of a better word.   He will be 17 in June, i.e., a very young graduate leaving our home to go (probably) far, far away.   I, too, left home as a 17-year-old senior, so I am not as anxious about him leaving…maybe…possibly.   I am convinced, whether fact or fiction, that there is a stark difference between girls leaving home and boys doing the same, and yeah, I want to be sure the maturity is there such that he can thrive on his own.    I also want to be sure that as a budding scientist, he is as prepared as possible for what is coming his way in terms of math and science courses (says the engineer who graduated thank you, Laude (aka “Thank you, Lordie”).

Talking about preparation (or maybe it’s just my last chance at some Mom-son time), I told him that we would continue to read together.  (For those who are thinking, “She reads to her teenage son?!!” you might find the articles here and here very interesting).    I was so excited about some of the reading choices that I had on his list this year, like 30 Years a Slave, primarily because I had not read it.   Then there were other books like Huckleberry Finn that I just looked forward to discussing—again.   However, these same selections—and a couple of others—were on his college class reading list, so we forged ahead into the early 20th century.   Currently, we are working through The Great Gatsby and, believe it or not, The Last of the Mohicans.   The latter we have been reading together for almost this entire school year (it is no wonder that Mark Twain thinks this author too wordy).     We will wrap up this year with The Miseducation of the Negro and The Diary of an Ex-Colored Man—two classics that he would not see anywhere else.

What excited me most—this year and in the year to come–was a feast of ideas and exposure to classic works.   So, having said that, here are my thoughts for next year:


The Grapes of Wrath

Lord of the Flies

Farewell to Manzanar

To Kill a Mockingbird

Why We Can’t Wait

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent

Animal Farm(?)


My thoughts are to add balance to these American novels with classics that cover more globally historical topics, like The Diary of Anne Frank, Cry the Beloved Country or Kaffir Boy, and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.  


I am still pondering another 1930’s-40’s-era like Their Eyes were Watching God or I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, but I want something that might appeal more to a boy’s taste.  Maybe the poetry of Langston Hughes (though I myself am still developing an ear for poetry).   Hmmm…any ideas?

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