Books for Mature Teens and Adults

Theme: Twists and Turns

Beloved - (ISBN: 978-1400033416)

by Toni Morrison

Sethe, a freed slave, struggles with her memories, past experiences, and a “ghost,” Beloved. The ghost’s appearances in Sethe’s life demand that Sethe to be accountable for doing the unthinkable during her slavery: killing her own baby. Sethe’s present day life is filled with heaviness. Are there any circumstances where you can imagine taking the life of a child? Compare the decision Sethe makes here to that of Meryl Streep’s character in the movie Sophie’s Choice, where the mother must choose between her children, sending one to the gas chamber.

Lincoln's Dreams - (ISBN: 978-0553270259)

by Connie Willis

Jeff, a historical novelist, and Annie, a patient at a sleep disturbance clinic, interact when Jeff is writing about the Civil War. Annie seems to be having dreams of things about which she has no knowledge: dreams from the Civil War’s Robert E. Lee’s point of view. This book is full of surprises and reflections on the role of bad dreams for those fighting wars. Do you ever dream you are another person?

The Accidental - (ISBN: 978-1400032181)

by Ali Smith

When an unknown woman turns up sleeping on the couch in a the Smart family’s rented vacation cottage, each family member believes another member has invited her to stay. Amber’s interactions with every person in the family, each told from a different point of view, begins to tell a tale of a family that is not so smart after all. Although Amber saves the son, Magnus, from suicide and helps mother Eve with her writer’s block, something destructive comes into every budding relationship. When the family returns home after their “respite” at the cottage, what do they find at home that represents the true meaning of their “friendships” with Amber?

The Last Time They Met - (ISBN: 978-0316713733)

by Anita Shreve

Time goes backwards in this story of the relationship between two writers, Linda and Thomas. The “old friends” reunite at a conference in a luxury hotel; their story gains depth as the book goes back to their time together in Africa, and finally back to their teenage years. Do feel you must go back and read the story again once you learn Linda’s weighty secret?

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - (ISBN: 978-1579126278)

by Agatha Christie

In this classic Christie mystery, many clues after Roger’s death in the study and the revelation that he was the secret lover of a suicidal widow lead the reader astray. Even PBS favorite Hercule Poirot makes some wrong assumptions as he attempts to recreate the murderer’s motives and action. Why do some readers and critics consider this mystery extremely unconventional?

The Thirteenth Tale - (ISBN: 978-0743298032)

by Diane Setterfield

Author Vida Winter, who is dying, hires an aspiring writer to tell the complete story of her estate Angelfield and its hidden mysteries. Margaret Lea, the prospective author turned sleuth, uncovers ghosts, cast-off babies, and romance. What other classic book and movie heroines does Lea remind you of -- perhaps Jane Eyre?

Passage - (ISBN: 978-0553580518)

by Connie Willis

The Best Short Stories of O’Henry - (ISBN: 978-0679601227)

The Historian - (ISBN: 978-0316070638)

by Elizabeth Kostova

The Lake of Dead Languages - (ISBN: 978-0345487155)

by Carol Goodman

Winter House - (ISBN: 978-0425204658)

by Carol O'Connell

Activities for this Theme

Watch the movie The Sixth Sense, if you have not seen it, for a big jolt at the end!

If you are interested in dreams, check this source to find out what your nighttime viewings “really” mean: