literature | June 27, 2019

The Washington Post Round-Up of Best Books for Every Age Features Four Lavin Speakers

The time in your life that you read a book will alter the impact it will have on you. The Washington Post has rounded up the best book for every age, a list of recommendations chosen based on the “age-appropriate wisdom they impart.” Included in the round-up are Lavin speakers Angie Thomas, Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie and Ashton Applewhite.  

The Hate You Give, Angie ThomasAge 15


This breakout YA novel tells the story of  Starr Carter, a black high school student who straddles the opposing worlds of the poor residential neighborhood she grew up in, and the mostly white, elite prep school she attends. The tenuous balance is destroyed when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend by a white police officer. Angie Thomas tells a riveting and tragic story of a young girl’s turn toward activism, offering a searing commentary on police brutality, racial inequality, and gun violence in the process.


The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret AtwoodAge 19


Given the current state of U.S. politics, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale feels especially prescient. Like George Orwell before her, Atwood didn’t intend to predict the future, only warn against its many dystopian possibilities. She tells the story of Offred, a woman living in the new Republic of Gilead, where women can no longer have jobs, earn money, or even read. As global birth rates decline, Offred’s only purpose is to breed, her only value lying in her continued ability to get pregnant. The Handmaid’s Tale is a brilliant, haunting, perceptive tale of a woman’s desire to survive and rebel against the state-sanctioned horror and devastation around her.


Midnight’s Children, Salman RushdieAge 71


Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children is a magical story set during India’s transition from British Colonialism to Independence. The protagonist, Saleem Sinai, is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15th, 1947 (India’s Independence Day) and considered a symbol of good fortune and health of the nation. Sinai’s life is inextricable from his country, and perhaps even more strangely, he possesses a telepathic connection with the 1,000 other “midnight children,” all born during the same hour and all blessed with magical gifts. Midnight’s Children is a shining masterpiece of India and its people, told by one of literature’s most singular voices.

This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, Ashton ApplewhiteAge 94


Activist Ashton Applewhite has made it her mission to rebuke the many myths our society peddles us about growing older. In This Chair Rocks, Applewhte takes a radical stance against youth-obsessed culture and the many damaging prejudices borne out of it. With wit and candor, Applewhite chronicles her own personal journey from apprehensive boomer to pro-aging advocate, and  explains how ageism is deeply entrenched in our institutions, our beliefs, and our history. This Chair Rocks inspires readers to usher in a new era of age pride and create a world of equality.


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