What could you and your teen read this summer that will promote some meaningful conversations – and not bore either of you to tears?

My friends at Axis.org have generously provided this information:

No matter our generation or age, stories are the currency of human connection. They cultivate empathy, shape our identity, and convey universal meaning to the human condition. If “fiction reveals truth that reality obscures”, what other timeless works of literature might have something incredibly relevant to say to today’s generation? Here’s five classics to read with your teen this summer that surprisingly discuss very modern issues.

  1. Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. 125 years prior to the #MeToo movement, Hardy’s tale of female vulnerability, abhorrent masculinity, and sexual assault seems almost ripped out of today’s headlines.
  1. 1984 by George Orwell. In an age when lies are told so often lunacy is accepted as the new normal, Orwell’s prophetic dream has become an unfortunate reality.
  1. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Mental illness, sexism, and depression. Honestly was this written yesterday?
  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Integrity, compassion, courage, racial healing, and kindness: Just a few of the virtues all of us need more of in today’s binary world.
  1. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: Paralleling today’s “insta-world”, Wilde’s protagonist is universally envied for his physical beauty, yet he’s miserable and lonely on the inside. His “attempt to hide his inner isolation with a projection of outer beauty” might also describe the selfie-generation