Books for Mature Teens and Adults

Theme: Physical Challenges

Room - (ISBN: 978-0316098335)

by Emma Donoghue

Jack is a typical 5-year-old boy with a characteristically loving mother. Their home, however, is anything but normal: a “room” where they are locked in, totally dependent on his mother’s rapist and kidnapper. Descriptions of their life together reveal his mother’s determination to create a warm and loving environment. When she decides they must escape to save both of their lives, Jack is the vehicle through which the escape must take place. Depictions of his ability to understand an outside world he knows only via limited television create great tension as he fumbles through the only actions that will free them.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death - (ISBN: 978-0375701214)

by Jean-Dominique Bauby

After suffering a rare type of stroke, Bauby can move only one eyelid. He is forced to live in a bell shaped apparatus, but he continues, relying on his personal strength to relearn how to communicate. This book is a result of his “typing” with one eyelid. Read it and be amazed at his ability to be creative and upbeat, despite his physical imprisonment.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - (ISBN: 978-0307454546)

by Steig Larsson

Lisbeth Salander, the “girl” in the book series, is a tech genius. In this first book in the series, she helps censured Mikael Blomkvist, a writer for a successful left-wing magazine, research the disappearance of a girl from a rich corporate family many years ago. He is waiting to go to prison for writing another article whose source he did not check carefully enough. Lisbeth, herself the victim of childhood abuse, comes to terms with her own history by developing a wildly interesting but sometimes violent personality. Once you begin reading this enveloping mystery saga, you will understand its rapid rise in popularity. Why are so many reading this book?

The Lock Artist - (ISBN: 0312380427)

by Steve Hamilton

Determined to overcome his inability to speak, caused by a childhood trauma, Mike becomes an expert at picking locks. His home is prison, and his companions are inmates. The book, a first person narrative Mike writes because he cannot tell it orally, proceeds as a mystery. Readers fit together the pieces of the puzzle that explain what happened to him and how he can use his artistic, literary, and lock-picking talents to free himself from the recurrent dream of his trauma.

Tuesdays with Morrie - (ISBN: 978-0767905923)

by Mitch Albom

This non-fiction account describes sports writer Albom’s weekly visits to a dying mentor. The ironic twist with this book is that the visitor is the student receiving comfort, life lessons, and prophesies from the old man who trails further toward death. What spiritual instruction have you received or can you receive from just listening to those about to make the final journey?

Never Give Up: My Stroke, My Recovery & My Return to the NFL - (ISBN: 978-0470373545)

by Tedy Bruschi

Out of the Fire - (ISBN: 978-1439564455)

by Deborah Froese

The Girl Who Played with Fire - (ISBN: 978-0307454553)

by Steig Larsson

Activities for this Theme

If you like to sew, volunteer to help make quilts for babies in intensive care at your local hospitals.


Craft lovers might like to try making their own care/get well cards using stamping.


Make it a point to regularly visit an elderly friend or relative or to go along with a friend visiting his/her family member.