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December 28, 2005 9:39 AM   Subscribe

The boy really liked McSweeney's Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things.... He's in sixth grade, and is very sharp. Though he's recently really enjoyed some larger tomes, like the entire Narnia and Hitchhiker collections, he seemed to be entranced by this volume and I want to find him something similar. My apologies if some of this has been covered before, but can you think of anything that might please him as much as the Noisy Outlaws collection has?
posted by thejoshu to Human Relations (18 answers total)
You can try Egger's other stuff, depending on his interests.. that is, the other McSweeney's volumes (quarterlies, etc.), his novels, short stories, etc. You Shall Know Our Velocity may be the best to start with, as it's lighter than How We Are Hungry and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.

Maybe you could also try the Annals of Improbable Research? Discworld? The Hardy Boys?
posted by kcm at 9:50 AM on December 28, 2005

As a kid my tastes ran along similar lines (sci-fi, horror) and I loved HG Wells. Espeacially The Time Machine.

At that age though I really loved Stephen King. The Stand was by far my favorite. I think I read it over the course of a like 4 or 5 days. I also really liked The Talisman, which has a protagonist around that same age and has a pretty fun plot.
posted by aburd at 9:57 AM on December 28, 2005

I haven't read the collection you're talking about, but I do have a McSweeney's subscription. I think you couldn't go wrong with some Daniel Pinkwater or William Sleator books. Man, those were awesome when I was a kid.
posted by designbot at 11:01 AM on December 28, 2005

I wouldn't leap to more Eggers -- I'd dig up more books by the contributors to Noisy Outlaws. Neil Gaiman has plenty of exciting stuff; I'd particularly recommend Good Omens, co-authored with Terry Pratchett, of the above-mentioned Discworld glory. It's a humorous, fantastic, odd-ball book starring a young, imaginative antiChrist named Adam. Clicking around on Amazon also uncovers The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau (age-appropriate), and stranger things happen by Kelly Link (perhaps not age-appropriate), both contributors.

I would also point him in the direction of Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, who is homophobic and possibly batshit insane, but who managed to write a few seriously brilliant books which appear to me untainted by his crazier notions. (Others may differ, take with own grain of salt, etc etc)

When I was that age, I was particularly fond of "clever" writing, which Noisy Outlaws appears to be. An anthology from The Onion was the sort of thing I was always looking for; alas, I made do with Letterman's Top 10 lists and excerpts from Esquire.
posted by junkbox at 11:05 AM on December 28, 2005

I also liked Orson Scott Card books like Ender's Game. Asimov stories like the Foundation series are cool too (if a little dated).
posted by designbot at 11:07 AM on December 28, 2005

It's clich├ęd, but I also thought Dave Barry was hilarious then too.
posted by designbot at 11:10 AM on December 28, 2005

I third the Ender books. Also, I cannot recommend Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy strongly enough. If he liked Narnia and he's into sci-fi/fantasy stuff in general (hell, even if he isn't), he'll love this.
posted by feathermeat at 11:31 AM on December 28, 2005

He's the perfect age for A Series of Unfortunate Events by "Lemony Snicket".

Pratchet's Wee Free Men and A Hatfull of Sky are also age-appropriate (and in many ways better books than his "Adult" books).

Garth Nix is a great author for that age, similar to Phillip Pullman. Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen are the place to start with him.

Diana Wynne Jones was writing intelligent English fantasy long before the Harry Potter craze started. The Power of Three, The Ogre Downstairs and the Christomancy books are all very appropriate for a 12-year old.

That's the age I read the Earthsea trilogy, by Ursula K. Le Guin. I'd hold off on the later books though, Tehanu and later have more complicated themes than the first three.

Finally, 12 is the perfect age to read The Hobbit. The writing is much simpler than the big trilogy, but some of the humour is a bit dated.
posted by bonehead at 12:11 PM on December 28, 2005

If he enjoyed the HHG series, throw a couple Dirk Gentley books his way
posted by The White Hat at 2:13 PM on December 28, 2005

Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes.
posted by SPrintF at 2:27 PM on December 28, 2005

Seconding the Garth Nix and Neil Gaiman. He may think he's "too old" for picture books, but you could just get him to look at "Wolves in the Walls" in the bookstore and see what he thinks. I love it, personally. Coraline is about a little girl, but that doesn't mean a kid his age wouldn't like it (you will know if a book about a girl is appropriate for this child better than anyone here, obviously).

I think that it was slightly before the sixth grade that I found Susan Cooper. The Dark is Rising Series was profoundly fascinating to me, and I honestly read the whole thing about once a year now as an adult.

Again, depending upon the kid, Holly Black's Tithe may be a bit much now (and in my opinion, Valiant certainly is too much for a sixth grader) but is certainly something to keep in mind. It probably wouldn't have bothered me as a kid, but as before, you know this kid, not me, so I'm just throwing this out there.

People have mixed and often very bitter opinions about DragonLance and Forbidden Realms, but when I was in Middle School I loved the orignal DragonLance books and the RA Salvatore's Drizzt books (specifially IceWindDale and Dark Elf trilogies) were tons of fun for me back then.

Again, looking to a mature kid, but maybe something for the future -- David Eddings. Once again, fun. Not "Great Literature" but definetly books that I loved and still enjoy rereading - The Belgariad, The Mallorean, The Elenium, The Tamuli, whatever in that series of stuff is probably fine.

One of my friends is a children's book editor and probably the biggest expert in Young Adult lit that I could possibly dig up. I will see her tonight and report back with anything else she has to say, although on the phone right now she said, "His parents should vet Tithe first, and definetly Ender's Game."
posted by Medieval Maven at 2:47 PM on December 28, 2005

Maurice Gee? Fantasy/adventure with a bit of a dark twist.
The Halfmen of O is a good start.
posted by Catch at 5:06 PM on December 28, 2005

catch, Maurice Gee's a kiwi author, not sure if he is easy to get hold of outside of NZ?

He does write pretty cool kids stuff though. I think it's because he writes fiction for adults too, so it's not that he categorises himself as a children's author, just that sometimes his books suit kids.

I also second Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Le Guin.

Actually by that age I was actually reading a lot of fiction written for adults. Just about everything else wasn't challenging enough, and it's probably much the same for your young tyke. Just so long as you're careful about avoiding "adult themes", it could be pretty exciting for him to get into books written for an adult audience. I remember the first day I checked out an adult book from the library, very exciting times.
posted by ancamp at 5:37 PM on December 28, 2005

Yup, he read Ender's Game a couple of years ago, if I recall correctly. That's a big one in this family. :)

These are some great suggestions! Thanks, guys!
posted by thejoshu at 7:33 PM on December 28, 2005

Well, on the McSweeney's tip, I'd look at the Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales or Issue #13, or anything by Jonathan Lethem, before thrusting Dave's own fiction (notthat there's anything wrong with that) upon the lad.
posted by staggernation at 9:50 PM on December 28, 2005

ancamp: A kiwi author! You don't say!
There's this great site called, you should check it out sometime. Idiot.
posted by Catch at 10:37 AM on December 29, 2005

lloyd alexander & ursula le guina (tales of earthsea series) were my favorites at that age.
posted by ejaned8 at 5:45 PM on December 29, 2005

whoa, hostile catch. chill out.
posted by ancamp at 1:34 AM on December 30, 2005

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