Recommended Reading for Teenagers

Oct 12th, 2012, 09:16 PM
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Recommended Reading for Teenagers

DH and I are organizing a tour of Istanbul, Athens and Rome for a group of parents and high school students. I am looking for suggestions for young adult books that might be set in these cities. DH is a History teacher so is able to provide the necessary historical element for each city but I thought a recommended reading list might be another way to engage them in learning about our destinations ahead of time.
Prior to our tour this year I sent out weekly emails with information about places we would be visiting and encouraged them to do some research on the cities and countries on our itinerary and plan to do the same closer to our departure. Any movies you might also recommend??
Snowflake25 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2012, 03:11 AM
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I have never grasped the concept of "young adult" reading but they might enjoy Lindsey Davis's Falco novels. They are quite well researched. For Athens, there are the detective novels by Margaret Doody starring Aristotle as a detective. Some of Mary Renault's novels are set in Ancient Greece with "Last of the wine" set in Athens. That novel, of course has a love affair between two males. I don't know how old the students are. You wouldn't want parents marching with torches and pitchforks.
Rosemary Sutcliff wrote for young people, so should be pitchfork-proof Her novel "Blood Feud" is partly set in Byzantium (Constantinople)
MissPrism is offline  
Oct 13th, 2012, 06:00 AM
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I highly recommend Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk and Dinner with Persephone by Patricia Storace.
Also, a series of novels by Jason Goodwin featuring detective Yashim set in Istanbul - entertaining and lots of description of the city.
Good for younger readers: Rosemary Sutcliff Roman Britain series and gorgeous versions of the Odyssey and The Iliad, and Jeanne Bendick's Archimedes and the Door of Science.
Other possibilities for your list:
No-Man's Lands by Scott Huler ("One Man's Odyssey Through The Odyssey")
The Third Wedding by Costas Taksis (a nice taste of Greek literature)
Crete by Barry Unsworth (definitely more than a travel guide)
It's All Greek to Me! by John Mole (humorous yarn of an expat's adventure)
The Greek Way by Edith Hamilton (pocket resource for any student of Greek mythology)
Enjoy your trip!
parosblue is offline  
Oct 13th, 2012, 06:01 AM
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Does it have to be YA books? Probably the best source for this type of lit is your children's librarian.

If you can venture forth out of the YA realm there are tons of books high school students can read. For Greece the Mary Stewart books are good - My Brother Michael is set in Delphi.

Got to break off now.
adrienne is offline  
Oct 13th, 2012, 06:26 AM
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Thanks for all suggestions, what a great start to the reading list!! I am quite sure many of them will reach beyond young adult books, but I thought it would be safe to start with them and then add to the list as we go along. I intent to read the books before I make any recommendations so that should save me from the parents with pitchforks
Please keep your recommendations coming!!!
Snowflake25 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2012, 07:49 AM
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parosblue - I was so relieved that I wasn't reading the whitewash chapter in "It's All Greek to Me" in public. I was absolutely killing myself laughing. Even going back and rereading that chapter later on leaves me helpless with laughter.

I seem to remember that Ian Fleming's James Bond's "From Russia With Love" has quite a large part set in Istanbul.

I haven't seen it as I can't get it in the UK but Woody Allen's film "To Rome With Love" may be of interest. There was a thread here a while back
CarrieAnn40 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2012, 07:57 AM
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Paul Theroux's "The Pillars of Hercules" is one of the best historical books ever about the entire Mediterranean area. It's not YA...not even sure what that means.
StCirq is online now  
Oct 13th, 2012, 08:29 AM
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For Rome, Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin might be a good choice.
It really depends on the teenagers and their interests and reading ability. My older son really liked I Claudius and Claudius the God, Julian by Gore Vidal and Augustus by John Williams in middle school/high school
Vttraveler is online now  
Oct 13th, 2012, 09:23 AM
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I just ran to my bookshelf thinking: "I've got It's all Greek to Me, and I want to read it again!" But no, the book I have is Learn Greek in 25 Years, by Brian Church, subtitled "A crash course for the linguistically challenged", which describes me perfectly, and is also very funny.

Many young people are interested in Greek mythology, so anything along those lines would go down well.
Heimdall is online now  
Oct 13th, 2012, 09:26 AM
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Not YA, but they might like As The Romans Do by Alan Epstein.

Pinterest turns up this list of YA books in Rome.
kybourbon is online now  
Oct 13th, 2012, 09:59 AM
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Agree - I don;t get "young adult" books - unless the kids are 11 and 12. High school kids should be capable of reading adult literature - assuming you don't pick out things with very strong sexual content.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 13th, 2012, 10:17 AM
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Pompeii by Robert Harris. Geat pieceof easy to read historical fiction while providing specific details of the Mt Vesuvious eruption and daily Roman life. My teen daughter loved the book and its perfect for vacation.
tengohambre is offline  
Oct 13th, 2012, 10:18 AM
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I wish I had read this or something similar before I first went to Rome and Athens when I was 20.

Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome: E M Berens
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Oct 13th, 2012, 11:31 AM
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Not set in Athens but The Summer of My Greek Taverna by Tom Moore.


An Architect's Rome
Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling by Ross King
The Genius in the Design: Bernini, Borromini and the Rivalry That Transformed Rome by Jake Morrissey
The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr

I second Pompeii by Robert Harris.
adrienne is offline  
Oct 13th, 2012, 02:04 PM
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Perhaps a website might interest.
bilboburgler is offline  
Oct 13th, 2012, 05:40 PM
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When in Rome - a mystery by Ngaio Marsh is fascinating. But then you will have to visit San Clemente. Ditto the Falco Roman mysteries (gives a real flavor or living in a very vibrant, large city - that had a lot of amenities that were not seen again for more than a thousand years after the fall of Rome).
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 13th, 2012, 10:06 PM
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I think the "Agony and the Ecstasy" (biography of Michelangelo) by Irving Stone is a must read for anyone going to Italy. Sorry, I can't recall it's appropriateness for teens.

For movies - if their willing, the MaryKate and Ashley movie "When in Rome" and "The Lizzie McGuire Movie" are both fun and have great scenes of Rome. "Only You" is with a younger Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey, Jr. and has fun scenes in Rome and other parts of Italy (it's rated PG). If their parents are ok with it "The Gladiator" is excellent and will make their visit to the Colesseum come more alive (rated R - sex and violence). There is also the classic movie "Roman Holiday" with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. My kids found it a bit slow, but they were quite a bit younger at the time.
jgg is offline  
Oct 14th, 2012, 11:49 AM
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All Nikos Kazantzakis books are on my opinion very worthy, Kazantzakis was not only a great author but sort of a philosopher him self...
Vios kai Politeia tou Alexi Zorba or as commonly known "Zorba the Greek" might be a good start and a great introduction to Greek mentality -and very pleasant read.
mariha2912 is offline  
Oct 14th, 2012, 08:13 PM
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I second Mariha's recommendation - Nikos Kazantzakis is legendary. Freedom and Death has insights on the Greek/Turk struggle in the 1800s. Possible choice for advanced high school readers interested in history.
Re: the YA comments - as a middle school English and history teacher, I find students to be all over the map these days on reading levels. It has much more to with interest. YA generally are intended for a older elementary and middle school level readers. You'll know the content and vocabulary is appropriate and accessible. On the other hand, some books designated YA have difficult topics and are quite interesting reading for adults, just have a protagonist of a young age (for instance The Book Thief). For high school, a variety of reading levels, YA to adult, would be a worthy list to gather.
parosblue is offline  
Oct 14th, 2012, 09:57 PM
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i second jgg. Agony and Ecstasy is not just about michelangelo but an interesting take on architecture and lifestyle in those times. It is appropriate for teenagers though a heavy read.
And Orhan Pamuk is definitely a difficult read for high school students.
shwets is offline  

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