"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Top Ten Books that Cover Tough Issues

Hosted by Broke and Bookish   

I just covered a similar post on this topic a few weeks ago, Why Do So Many YA Books Cover Depressing Topics? The list will look very similar.

1. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (Suicide)- I had to put this book first on the list because the popularity of this book with teens.  It obviously speaks to them in a very important way.

2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie (Racism, Alcoholism, Cultural Identity)-The thing I love about this book which covers very tough topics, is that it is very funny.  It spoke to me of the seriousness of these tough topics but didn't weigh me down.

3. The Perks of Becoming a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (Sexual Identity and Peer Relationships)- It has been ages since I read this book but I still recall how poignant this book was at speaking to teens who are questioning aspects of their personalities and sexual identity.

4. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (Mental Illness, Alcoholism, Poverty)-This is a memoir about Jeannette Walls's early years living in abject poverty with parents who were possibly mentally ill and/or alcoholics. The book never lapses into a tone of "woe is me, feel sorry for me" which it easily could have.

5. Split by Swati Avasthi (Domestic Abuse)-Domestic abuse is a tough topic not often covered in teen literature.

6. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah (Children forced to fight in wars)- Beah was forced as a young boy to fight in the Sierra Leone civil war. Given a gun and drugs, he and other children were taught to be ruthless. It is a miracle that Beah escaped and made his way to the USA.

7. Stiff: The Curious Lives of  Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (What happens to our bodies after death)- Sounds gruesome but this book is so interesting and often uproariously funny.

8. Staying Fat for Sarah Brynes by Chris Crutcher (Parental Abuse, peer acceptance)-"An obese boy and a disfigured girl suffer the emotional scars of years of mockery at the hands of their peers." This is a story about the redeeming power of friendship.

9. The Day the Voices Stopped: a Schziophrenic's Journey from Madness to Hope by Kenneth Steele (Mental Illness)- This is the best book I've ever read about the tragedies of and treatments for mental illness.

10. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Rape)- Published over ten years ago this book is still the best at demonstrating the debilitating aspects of rape.

11. Inside Out: A Portrait of an Eating Disorder by Nadia Shivak (Eating Disorder)- This is a graphic biography drawn and written by Shivak about her on-going challenge with bulimia.

12. Stitiches: a memoir by David Small (Cancer, Parental Abuse and Neglect)-another amazing graphic biogrpahy.

13. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (Death and grief)- Grieving is not easy process and it takes time to come to grips on loss and going on with out a loved one.

14. A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss by Gerald Sittser (Grief)-a nonfiction book which is the best book I have ever, ever read on how to cope with grief inside of faith.

15.  Tear Soup: a Recipe for Healing After Loss by Pat Swhwiebert and Chuck Deklyen (Grief)- This book looks like a children's story book but it is amazing in it's simplistic way that it describes the healing process of grief.  This is the book I give as a gift to people who have experienced the death of a loved one.

***Be sure to participate in my first-ever Giveaway contest in honor of my blogoversary.


  1. Great list! There are a few of these I feel I need to add to my to-read list :)

    And you should definitely read Cut; it's insightful but not incredibly gorey, so it's perfect.

  2. Speak is on my list as it's the only one I've read of this bunch. But, most of the others are on my TBR list. Great picks!

  3. Good list! I've seen several posts of this list, and mostly they have quite a bit of overlap (the usual suspects); you've given me some interesting new ideas.

    I don't feel that I have enough unique ideas to post my own list, BUT. I want to share one title I feel strongly about. Pretty Good for a Girl by Leslie Heywood is (nonfiction) about an elite female athlete, in high school, pushing herself and struggling with the stresses felt my an average teenage girl, compounded by her sport. There are eating disorders, exercise disorder, an abusive and inappropriate relationship with a coach, and more. It's rough. But I think it's SUCH an important book for young women - and those who care about them (parents, teachers, coaches) or athletes of any variety.

  4. Awesome list, you've got all the great YA books on there!

  5. Hi Anne,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog

    I've not heard of a lot of these! I almost put 'the sky is everywhere' onmmine but not read it yet and wasn't sure about it! Lol

  6. Great picks!I haven't read 13 Reasons Why but I really need to!

    Here is a link to mine: http://deadtreesandsilverscreens.blogspot.com/2011/07/top-ten-tuesdays-july-26.html

  7. 3 are on my list also. I can't wait to read Long Way Gone.

    I considered doing more than 10 also, :-)

    My Top Ten


  8. Fascinating list! I've read Stiff but I guess I didn't consider it to be a tough issue, I'm a scientist by trade so to me it wasn't that gruesome.

    I also have A Long Way Gone sitting on my shelf at home and have yet to mentally prepare myself to read it. I know that one will be difficult to swallow.

    I've heard great things about Sherman Alexie's work too - I really need to read his stuff some time.

  9. Great list! And thanks for listing the issue they deal with, helped me with the ones I have not read. [:

    Erin @ Let's Evaluate
    following you too now [:

  10. Thanks for following me! I put Delirium on the list because it's dystopian and is a very powerful read. I definitely think it's for mature readers. I highly recommend it and hope you enjoy reading it.

  11. Stiff was a great pick! Good list :)

  12. Wow you came up with LOADS of titles! I'm curious to read a whole bunch of these. New follower.

    Take a look at my post on how to embed links into your comments too. I noticed that you posted the address on my page earlier and I'm spreading the word on how to make your links appear Like This!

  13. If you liked The Glass Castle, I'd love to tell you about one that I thought was even better - and it's coming out in paperback right about now: Mira Bartok's The Memory Palace. Mira's a well-known illustrator, but her memoir about life w/her schizophrenic mother is lyrical and very rich. Here's my review from when it first came out. http://whatsheread.blogspot.com/2011/01/beautiful.html
    I really must read the Beah book: I've been wanting to for so long...
    Great call on Speak - one of my all-time favorites. And although I've read almost all of Chris Crutcher's stuff, SFFSB is the one I haven't gotten to yet.
    Love this list, as they all look terrific and I've yet to read quite a few!
    Thanks so much, Anne

  14. What an amazing list! I've only heard of a handful of these books, and there are some that definitely could be used in a "Tough Issues" display at the library. :) Thank you for the marvelous idea and also for visiting!

    Happy reading!

  15. Speak made our list too. I almost included The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian on my list as well. You did an amazing job of putting together this list - some of these titles I am adding to my TBR list because they were new to me.

    Reading Lark's Top 10

  16. Fabulous list!! We looooved The Sky Is Everywhere. We also recommend Hold Still by Nina LaCour.

  17. NICE! I loved Stiff, and you've got a bunch of others that are on my tbr.
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my list!

  18. I've seen lots of lists today that have The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. Sounds like one I need to read!

  19. I'm planning to read the Glass Castle shortly. Not familiar with the other titles, but I'm intrigued... Stiff and Split seem very interesting.

  20. Uhhhhmmmm I'm telling! You went over 10!! ;)

    Glass Castle is popping up quite a bit and now I'm very very anxious to read it! I haven't read Part Time Indian yet but it's on my TBR list.

  21. I thought about putting Stiff (or any of Mary Roach's works) on my list, but I just couldn't; I inevitably equate "tough topics" as being difficult to get through, and decidedly un-funny. Roach's books are neither of those things, even though they deal with topics that I imagine would make many people uncomfortable. (Have you read Bonk? It's my favorite!)

  22. Great choices.
    Thanks for stopping by and following. I'm following back.

  23. Great list! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  24. OMG! I loved Stiff. It was so interesting and not in the least gross. It is one of the best books I've read.

  25. You listed some very tough reads. A few of those are on my tbr list...

    Here is my Top Ten post!


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