Last month Common Sense Media came out with research detailing somber news; current American teenagers are reading far less than teenagers from previous decades. Although the reasons for such a decline are not completely clear, the study does point to advancements in technology as playing a substantial role. Lacking data to present a comprehensive trend on teenagersâ€™ reading habits worldwide, one can still venture a guess that as access to technology continues to expand, so too will distractions from reading on a global scale. We ALTs may be lucky enough to be past our teenage years, but the majority is only separated by a few years and regardless of age, we are all deeply affected by changes in technology â€“ especially when it comes to advancements like Candy Crush. Furthermore, many will go on to one day raise children â€“ who inevitably become teenagers â€“ of their own. To personally defy this trend while simultaneously becoming a model for generational slackers, here are five books to read this month.
by Haruki Murakami
What are you doing Sunday, June 8th? If the answer is not, â€œGoing to the next Hyogo AJET Book Club,â€ you have wrongly prioritized your weekend schedule. The Book Club offers insightful discussions on text with fellow ALTs and if the club was not reason enough to read the book, 1Q84 is by one of Japanâ€™s most popular authors and Hyogo native, Haruki Murakami. The story follows two characters on separate, yet connected paths, Aomame and Tengo, the former struggling to maintain her sense of reality and the latter falling deeper and deeper into the world of a seventeen year-old girl. 1Q84 is written like a trail of breadcrumbs, where the reader is continuously drawn into Murakamiâ€™s world, always feeling compelled to follow regardless of the dangers that may lie ahead.
A Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
While those in other parts of the world will be flocking to theaters this month to watch this teary-eyed love story, we in Japan will be left waiting for the best version to illegally appear online. However as we all know, the print version is always better than anything Hollywood attempts to reproduce. So while you are waiting, pick up a copy of A Fault in Our Stars and follow Hazel, a terminally-ill cancer patient, through her dark times that are made brighter with the introduction of a boy named Augustus. Sure to be filled with laughs and an unreasonable number of tears, make sure you have learned and mastered â€œãƒ†ã‚£ãƒƒã‚·ãƒ¥ãã ã•ã„â€ beforehand.
by Stephen Ambrose
If you were not already aware, I am a total sucker for anniversaries (see last monthâ€™s article on Nas and Weezer) and this month is no different. June 6, 2014 will mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the day the Allies bravely stormed the beaches of Normandy during World War II. This same month, author and historian Stephen Ambrose celebrates the 20th anniversary of the publication of his book detailing the very event. If like me all you really know about D-Day is what was depicted in Saving Private Ryan, reading the book goes beyond simply learning about what happened; it honors the memories of all those who fought and died during the invasion.
by Donna Tart
It took Donna Tart eleven years to finally publish her third novel and in doing so she shows why greatness cannot be rushed. Having been selected as the Pulitzer Prize winner for Fiction this past April, The Goldfinch follows the story of a boy named Theo who loses his mother at a young age. In dealing with this traumatic event he finds solace in a painting that reminds him of her. This tragic event and the painting go on to influence Theo, for better and worse, as he becomes an adult. At 771 pages in hardcover this book is not only a literary triumph, but will undoubtedly be a triumph for the reader as well.
Why Soccer Matters
by PelÃ© and Brian Winter
Just in time for the 2014 World Cup we are given the chance to hear about the worldâ€™s most popular sport by arguably its most popular and skilled player. Born in Brazil in 1940, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as PelÃ©, became a household name even to those unfamiliar with soccer and helped further the sportâ€™s popularity. Based on personal stories of his life both on and off the field, PelÃ© details soccerâ€™s positive impact and why it matters not only to him, but to the world.