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Hannah Sternberg

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February 23, 2014 - 4:00 pm
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Recent research has demonstrated that young boys are falling behind girls in reading comprehension and that part of the problem may be that they are less enthusiastic recreational readers. There are lots of theories on why this is, and how to correct it, but one of the most common solutions is simply to provide more reading material targeted specifically to boys. Of course, that’s a political-correctness minefield (after all, if we “gender” things like adventure and science, are we now excluding girls from those things?). But the way I see it, there are also plenty of young girls who also crave traditionally “boyish” reading material who are also left adrift in search of their next adventure fix, so everyone wins if more of that material is produced or brought to light.

I was one such girl — as a middle schooler I loved few things more than Indiana Jones, The Mummy, and the swashbuckling tales of C. S. Forester. As a grown-up, I often feel nostalgic for those yarns as I slog through the drier, more nihilistic literary offerings that will supposedly enhance my mind. So, for the next few months, I’m going to review some forgotten gems of adventure fiction. If you have a reluctant reader, maybe curling up with him (or her) and one of these books will inspire the same love of reading that I found in my first fictional adventures. Here’s a list of classics to kick it off.

All Comments   (13)
All Comments   (13)
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Conan - Robert E. Howard.
5 weeks ago
5 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perhaps a good solid dose of Robert A. Heinlein's so-called juveniles wouldn't hurt.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
I learned to enjoy the Landmark series of books in the 4th grade and could not stop reading after that. This is a history series, but the stories of many real life adventurers are as fascinating as many adventure novels. I also read Tom Swift and the We Were There series. Later, I read Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott, and Rafael Sabatini. There are adventures and intelligent heroes galore in the literature for young readers, but few Americans know anything about them thanks to the leftist bias of the schools, libraries, and literary critics of today.

Hannah, you have identified a major problem with education today and it is one I have frequently written about myself. I almost failed 3rd grade because I had zero interest in reading Dick and Jane.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
What got me into reading when I was a kid was the Hardy Boys books.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Starship Troopers." Of course. "Men of Iron." Walter Scott, take your pick -- but for cadet boys, "Quentin Durward" may be most approachable.
I have two complete Sherlock Holmes volumes. I bought one around 30 years ago. The other was a gift to my dad from his brother, dated 1938, and he would lose his brother in an accident in 1947. That one is ceremonial.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
I love that you mentioned King Solomon's Mines, because that's what I was watching on TCM while I wrote this post! You might see some Haggard in a future blog post...
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Of the latter, ONLY "The Sword in the Stone." The rest of the series becomes gloomy, political, and static. I'd recommend Howard Pyle's Round Table retelling first, not to mention his Robin Hood and pirate stories. (Edit: This is a misplaced reply to Ben Hartley below.)
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Werewife: regarding "The Sword in The Stone," I'm inclined to agree with you.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Two Little Savages by Ernest Seton (free on Kindle, but no pictures- the pictures are great, buy the book)
My Side of the Mountain by Jean George
If they are able, just reluctant readers, try "The Father of us All" by Victor Davis Hanson. Really. Great war stories that will also point out much of what's great about western culture-ingenuity, observation, applied science, an emphasis on critique and *what works*, and it's all wrapped un in fascinating tales of fighting against great odds.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
"It’s cheesy,"

WHAT?

"overwritten,"

HOW DARE YOU?!?

"outdated,"

NEVER!

"ridiculous,"

DEFAMATION!

"and wonderful."

Oh, so you have read it - and more of ERB.
Well . . . okay; then you are part of the club and you can tell the truth about the books.
They are all those things, and then some - 50+ books, 1 plot!
They also started me into the world of adventure/sci-fi/fantasy.

And you've got C.S. Forester on your list - so you are definitely on with the classics.

"As a grown-up, I often feel nostalgic for those yarns as I slog through the drier, more nihilistic literary offerings that will supposedly enhance my mind."

Indeed; to the Nth power.
I think 90% of the books I've read in the last decade were written before 1950. If it weren't for Larry Correia and The Monster Hunters, or Harry Turtledove's latest alternate history, I'd day George R.R. Martin had put the final nail into current fantasy/sci-fi for me.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are new books that have positive themes, that ask tough questions and don't answer "who cares, we all die anyway," but more "we must keep fighting the good fight, because *that's what good people do*". Try The Stars Came Back.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Any of the William O. Steele books. Available in Odyssey classics series on Amazon.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
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