Books for Mature Teens and Adults

Theme: Mistakes

Bonfire of the Vanities - (ISBN: 978-0312427573)

by Tom Wolfe

After a Wall Street banker mistakenly takes the wrong exit on his way to visit his mistress, he crashes into a young African American. His resulting romp through the criminal justice system reveals the complications of the American legal process and the richness of New York life.

Cry the Beloved Country - (ISBN: 978-0743261951)

by Alan Paton

During apartheid South Africa’s rule, a young black man takes a wrong turn and ends up accused of the murder of a white man. He and his family’s fervent but powerless attempts to keep their family together occur against the backdrop of the unbelievable culture of historical South Africa. Kumalo becomes an everyman figure, caught up in his “fate” and unable to escape. Have you ever been in the situation where a small mistake seems to snowball?

Last Night in Twisted River - (ISBN: 978-0345479730)

by John Irving

A young boy wallops his father’s lover after mistaking her for a bear. The father and boy’s lifelong attempt to escape the lover’s husband’s wrath results in a life in various venues, the father cooking, and the boy learning. As with all of Irving’s novel, the rich character development and intricate plot twists make this a book you will not be able to put down. Because of frank sexuality, this book is recommended only for very mature teens.

The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs - (ISBN: 978-1400095087)

by Alexander McCall Smith

This second book in a new series by Alexander McCall Smith features a not-so-famous philologist who ventures through life doing nothing but making mistakes! His snafus contain some element of deliberation including practicing veterinary medicine without the training or diploma and presenting himself to be someone he is not on a Mediterranean cruise. If you enjoy laughing at someone who cannot laugh at himself, you will be sure to enjoy other books featuring philologist Dr. Mortiz-Maria von Igelfeld.

The Undomestic Goddess - (ISBN: 9780385338684)

by Sophie Kinsella

After suffering a nervous breakdown caused by a mistake in judgment, attorney Sweeting escapes with a train ride to nowhere. In her new location, people mistake her profession and she ends up with a job as a maid. Follow her as she attempts to do her duties with no knowledge of housekeeping, sewing, cooking, or maintenance.

At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances - (ISBN: 978-1400095094)

by Alexander McCall Smith

The Bible Salesman - (ISBN: 9780316117517)

by Clyde Edgerton

The Fourth Hand - (ISBN: 978-0345449344)

by John Irving

The Last Best Hope - (ISBN: 9780446519908)

by Ed McBain

Under the Boardwalk - (ISBN: 978-0446615808)

by Carly Phillips

Activities for this Theme

What are some favorite movies about mistaken identities? Make your own list and compare it with this one


Read about the some of the biggest mistakes made by scientists