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Sun Apr 13, 2014, 08:03 AM

Is there an 'angst canon' of books that teenagers read?

"There's an absolutely dramatic difference between what girls and boys read at puberty," says Jardine.

"Boys read angst books, so they read Catcher in the Rye, L'Etranger and books like that. Girls read expanding emotion and sensibility books. Jane Eyre, Dodie Smith's
I Capture the Castle, the Brontes… books about difficult relationships.

"It was absolutely staggering how little teenage angst books came up on the women's list."

Men also tend to cling on to their teenage favourites later into life more than women, Jardine's research showed.


http://m.bbc.com/news/magazine-24833198

Have to say this struck a massive chord with me. I read catch-22, the trial, the stranger, 1984, brave new world, the castle, catcher in the rye all when I was fifteen or so. I had a girl at the time who tried to get me to read pride and prejudice. Lord I tried, but couldn't quite finish it.

I have to say as well that the part about men still liking the stuff the read in adolescence is true as well. I think the same thing holds true for music. I still like the stuff I liked then but most women wouldn't be caught dead listening to the shit they liked when they were kids.

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Reply Is there an 'angst canon' of books that teenagers read? (Original post)
shaayecanaan Apr 2014 OP
Inkfreak Apr 2014 #1
shaayecanaan Apr 2014 #4
Inkfreak Apr 2014 #2
shaayecanaan Apr 2014 #3
enigmatic Apr 2014 #5
shaayecanaan Apr 2014 #6
shaayecanaan Apr 2014 #7
shaayecanaan Apr 2014 #8
PeteSelman Apr 2014 #9
MicaelS Apr 2014 #10
Doctor_J Apr 2014 #11

Response to shaayecanaan (Original post)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 08:46 AM

1. In many of Steven King novels

I read as a boy, the ones where there was a boy struggling with life issues while facing whatever dangers or fears lurked stuck with me. I always enjoyed how he wrote younger characters. I felt I could relate to so many on different levels. The Tailsman was a particularly enjoyable read for me. I regularly reread so many of his classics to remind myself.

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Response to Inkfreak (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 09:18 PM

4. I read a couple of his

The tommy knockers and the dark half. He is a lot better than other pulp writers.

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Response to shaayecanaan (Original post)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 08:51 AM

2. Btw, I read Catcher in the Rye as a young boy.

And it never meant much to me. I dunno, I read it and thought "ok". I realize so many people reference it as a book that struck a chord but I was bored with it. I don't discount it's historical importantance in the literary world.

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Response to Inkfreak (Reply #2)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 09:15 PM

3. I agree there

I wasn't bowled over by the catcher in the rye. It is probably a bit sanitized by today's standards, with the general absence of anything sexual or visceral and the closest thing to a swearword being "phony", which is repeated far too much.

The stranger on the other hand was a huge deal. Pretty m ch every male I know thought a lot of that book.

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Response to shaayecanaan (Original post)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 09:36 PM

5. 3 books that changed my life as a 13 year old

Were "Beautiful Losers" by Leonard Cohen, "Iron Heel" by Jack London, and "On The Road" by Jack Kerouac. I definitely plead guilty to reading them and the authors to this day, though not so much music-wise.

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Response to enigmatic (Reply #5)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 11:44 PM

6. +1 for the iron heel

Definitelyup there with 1984. People tend to mention on the road in the same breath as fear and lloathing in las Vegas. I wasn't huge on either but I did love junky by William burroughs.

Couple of others off the top of my head. The wasp factory is a good angsty book that doesn't hold back. Also maribou stork nightmares, by the guy who wrote trainspotting (but is a much better book). Loved both as a teenager.

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Response to shaayecanaan (Original post)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 01:24 PM

7. Amazing

I clicked on the link from my desktop and noticed the sidebar with a few more books:-

Junkie (1953) - William S Burroughs's semi-autobiographical novel about drug use and dealing
A Clockwork Orange (1962) - violently dystopian depiction of youth culture by Anthony Burgess
Last Exit to Brooklyn (1964) - novel by Hubert Selby Jr about the rougher side of New York in the 1950s
The Wasp Factory (1984) - Iain Banks's dark novel about a violent, disturbed 16-year-old

I actually referenced two of those in my post. So much for taste I guess.

Also another favourite book of mine in the list:- Slaughterhouse Five

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Response to shaayecanaan (Original post)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 01:43 PM

8. Also this article on the Guardian

"The men's list was all angst and Orwell. Sort of puberty reading," she said. Ideas touching on isolation and "aloneness" were strong among the men's "milestone" books.

The researchers also found that women preferred old, well-thumbed paperbacks, whereas men had a slight fixation with the stiff covers of hardback books.

"We were completely taken aback by the results," said Prof Jardine, who admitted that they revealed a pattern verging on a gender cliche, with women citing emotional, more domestic works, and men novels about social dislocation and solitary struggle.

She was also surprised she said, "by the firmness with which many men said that fiction didn't speak to them". The historian David Starkey said, for instance: "I fear fiction, of any sort, has never worked on me like that ... Is that perhaps interesting in itself?"


Little bit judgmental there, Professor Jardine...

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2006/apr/06/books.booksnews

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Response to shaayecanaan (Original post)

Tue Apr 15, 2014, 11:09 PM

9. The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, DragonLance and Stephen King were my teenage books.

I thought Holden in Catcher was just a douchebag. I read a lot of those books as required reading but my pleasure reading was all horror and fantasy. It still mostly is but I've added a bit of non-fiction in there as well. Mafia, Prison, L.A. Gangs, serial killers and a lot of American history.


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Response to shaayecanaan (Original post)

Wed Apr 16, 2014, 12:25 PM

10. When I was a teenager..

I was reading science fiction and thrillers. Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Ian Fleming and others. Never got into the whole angst bit per se. Thought Holden Caulfield needed a good ass-kicking. My Senior year in HS, our English teacher made us read Hesse's Steppenwolf. Got I hated that book, still do.

And you're right about reading tastes. I still read Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, and Ian Fleming.

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Response to shaayecanaan (Original post)

Sat Apr 19, 2014, 09:42 PM

11. Separate Peace and Catcher In The Rye, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

 

are pretty grim and pretty standard.

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