Many kids my son's age have no interest in getting a higher education. Gone are the days when a college degree guaranteed better employment. My friend with a Masters in Business is currently unemployed. I have a BA and I am underemployed. The price of college education is proportionately much higher than it was for me 25 years ago when I attended the University of Hawai'i. while at the same time the level of education is much lower. Kids are encouraged to think cutting and pasting articles from Wikipedia.org constitutes a research paper. Nonetheless some young people do wish to be educated. For the striving mind here is my list of the ten top books for teenagers. Read these are you will be well educated:
10) Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh, a coming of age story that is also a period piece. Read about a time when kids were able to roam their neighborhoods without adult supervision. You may have wondered what life was like for people of your parents generation. This innocently written book describes inadvertently just how different those times were. Unlike, "Catcher in the Rye," by JD Salinger, the hero of Harriet the Spy is neither crazy nor sociopathic. She's a regular girl, with friends, peer pressure and the whole teenage experience.
9) The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley is an equally stirring coming of age story in a completely different genre and time period. The main character in this book is male, and the situation far more dramatic. Self reliance is shown as a virtue in this book and in other books by this author. I recommend anything by this author, I also especially liked his books about Flame, a red stallion. The characters in these books don't sit around hoping to be entertained by things like television and iPods, they get out and DO stuff.
8) Main Currents in Western Thought, an compilation. Consider yourself well educated after completing this books. It has snippets from all the famous writers in the English language and some translations. You may find works you enjoy so much you want to go back and explore the whole piece. Don't cheat yourself by reading books about books, read at least some of the real deal to get a fine education. You will understand all of life better when you have an understanding of historical precedent. This is not a book you need to read in order, some of the excerpts are longer than others and each chapter includes an introduction.
7) Mathematics for the Nonmathematician, by Morris Kline. This book does for math what #8 does for history. Even if you never did well in math, this book will explain math. Reading this book will probably give you a better education that the average Math 101 college course.
6) Macbeth, by Shakespeare. If you read one Shakespeare, this one is short, exciting and accessible. The poetry is astounding, if you don't believe me try writing a play in iambic pentameter or sonnet couplets yourself. See? I told you so.
5) Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein. No teenage education is complete with out at least one science fiction book. If you aren't much of a reader, you owe it to yourself to try a least one book in each genre.
4) The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair. There isn't one word in this book that should be reading level for a twelve year old, but the subject matter is severe. It describes a world before unions, a world we may soon be returning to. Unions have their problems, so it is important to see what prompted developments in our country such as workers compensation and liability insurance.
3) The King James Bible, has any other book so effected Western history as this one? See what's in it. Don't weeny out with the paraphrased watered down translations like "the Message." The King James translation is not only the most poetic translation, it is also the only translation with "thee" and "thou" enabling the reader to tell when the word "you" is meant to be plural or singular.
2) Goodhousekeeping cookbook, this is the most basic cookbook you'll ever find, and you will need to cook if you want to get on in life. There is a photograph accompanying every single recipe in this book so you will know what a fried egg is supposed to look like. Find out just how simple (an inexpensive it is) to make your own pizza, bread and burgers. You'll wonder why no one told you before
1) Harry Potter - because kids love him, the books are even more entertaining than the movies.