Is Reading an Answer?

Recently I was staying at a small hotel. It was a rainy afternoon so to pass the time I browsed through a glossy magazine kindly left beside the squidgy sofa. Aimlessly I flicked past pages of immaculately tended gardens, trendily decorated houses and the latest fashions. Then I spotted an article listing 20 books every sixteen year old should have read –

A time of Gifts, The Great Gatsby, Tom Brown’s School Days, Wuthering Heights, I Capture the Castle, My Family and Other Animals, The Hobbit, Flashman, The Pursuit of Love, The Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, Anne Frank’s Diary, Lucky Jim, A Passage to India, The Thirty-Nine Steps, The Best of Saki, The Kite Runner, Nicholas Nickleby, Northern Lights.

I have read nearly all of these, many during my teenage years. How many of today’s teenagers read books? And if they do – are these the ones they should be reading to give them a sense of responsibility and set their moral compass? I wonder.