Books for Mature Teens and Adults

Theme: Backwards, Forwards, Or From A New Angle

Girl with a Pearl Earring - (ISBN: 978-0452287020)

by Tracy Chevalier

Have you ever looked at a famous painting and wondered what the story was behind it? Chevalier fictionalizes what little is known of painter Johannes Vermeer’s life. The result is a slow paced read, the story of the girl named in the title and found in the painting against the backdrop of the details of the artist’s domestic scene. Draw a picture or paint a painting and see if your friends or family can decipher the meaning behind your picture.

Happenstance - (ISBN: 978-0140179514)

by Carol Shields

Two parallel novels, one from the wife’s point of view, and the other from the husband’s, examine at least partly what makes up a marriage. Each member of the marriage struggles with sexual temptations as they age. Read either partner’s recitation first; simply turn the novel over and start from the back (or front) to read the others. Have you ever had temptations to do things that you know are wrong? How did you handle your temptations?

Objects in Mirror are Closer Than They Appear - (ISBN: 978-0307587947)

by Katharine Weber

Find out if the mirror image of the title on the cover is related to the plot development as you follow Harriet. She is visiting Anne on a scholarship and finds dark things in Anne’s present and past. Harriet herself must look backwards at her own life before she can be of assistance to her friend. Have you ever had to help out a friend who was making bad choices? What did you do to help your friend?

Slaughterhouse Five - (ISBN: 978-0440180296)

by Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut sets out to describe his experiences in the firebombing of Dresden during World War II. His satirical tone and lack of a real narrative creates an original look at the effects of the war on those involved. Meanwhile, ever consistently continuing his ongoing use of science fiction, his exploring through time, Billy Pilgrim, appears randomly throughout history, zooming back, going forward, and showing up in the middle. Rated as one of the best English novels of the 20th century, this book has a longer title that displays Vonnegut’s tongue in cheek attitude. Can you find the longer title?

The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution - (ISBN: 978-0618619160)

by Richard Dawson

This non-fiction selection traces biological development backwards in reverse chronology. First looking at our human ancestors and continuing back to trace our origins through mammals and then back to other life forms, this book telescoping through the past appears in the form of a journey in reverse. Forty tales or episodes make up the trip! Enjoy this scientific but highly readable zoom into the past!

Girl in Hyacinth Blue - (ISBN: 978-1878448903)

by Susan Vreeland

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels: A Love Story - (ISBN: 978-0061997167)

by Ree Drummond

The Robber Bride - (ISBN: 978-0385491037)

by Margaret Atwood

The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century - (ISBN: 978-1439112892)

by Ian Mortimer

Activities for this Theme

Pick one of your favorite drawings or paintings and have the entire family create what they believe is the story behind it.


Serve a backwards meal to your family. Have dessert first, then the entrée, and then a salad!