Top Ten Gateway Books/Authors
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday focuses on the books that turned us into book lovers – books we read as children that have stayed with us, books that got us back into reading after a drought and books that introduced us to a new favourite genre. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday puts a spotlight on those books and authors that we credit with our bookishness.
1. The book that started it all: I remember this book vividly from my childhood and it’s the first book I can remember being obsessed with. I must have been around 5 years old, possibly younger. Alpaca (by Rosemary Billam) is a faded toy rabbit who fears losing his place as favourite toy to newcomers. This is the original Toy Story and I’m saddened to see it’s no longer in print.
2/3. The authors I grew up with: I could never pick just one favourite book from my childhood, but I could probably identify a few authors/series that I collected as a child that shaped the reader I’d become. Roald Dahl and Jacqueline Wilson are the two most obvious choices for me. Roald Dahl are the classics that most generations have read and adore, from James and the Giant Peach, to The Twits and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t read some Dahl. I’ve already written of my love for Jacqueline Wilson novels – she touches on sensitive issues children face while growing up in an honest way, she doesn’t patronise her young readers, and I think we all appreciated that.
4. The books I will always love: I think a lot of the TTT lists are going to contain this series, they were a massive part of my generation and are definitely a modern classic that are sure to be adored for many years to come. I began reading the series when I was 9 years old and finished it at 16 when the last book was released. I am of course talking about the wizarding world of Harry Potter, fantastically written and loved by children and adults alike, I’m sure to reread these forever… in fact I proudly “fangirl” over this series; defending it and pretty much shouting from the rooftops that everyone needs to read it, everyone!
5. The first “issues” book that made me cry: I read quite a lot of “issues” books and one of the first I remember is the Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman. I should really thank my school librarian for this one, she encouraged us to broaden our horizons through reading and was never afraid to promote “issues” books in school. I’ve wanted to get my hands on this series for some time for a reread, mostly to see if their meaning translates into adulthood.
6. The series that never failed to pick-me-up: We all go through difficult times growing up and one of my go-to books when I needed a comforting word was the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. There are so many of these books and I only own a few but you are guaranteed to find a short story to make you laugh, cry, celebrate, commiserate and everything in between.
7. The first book that shocked me: We Need to Talk About Kevin (by Lionel Shriver) was one of the first serious “issues” books I read that really shocked me, definitely made me think and encouraged me to read more novels outside of my comfort zone, especially novels inspired by real-life events. It also got me thinking a lot about human psychology and sparked an interest in that field that would continue for some time. Basically, by the end of this book I was pretty much:
8. The book that got me into reading again: Throughout my late teens and college years I definitely stopped reading as much as I did when I was younger, the reading bug had left me somewhere between the “required reading list” and the “recommended reading list”. I spent so much time reading textbooks and academic papers that even the thought of reading “for fun” just wasn’t fun anymore. The first series I picked up when I graduated in 2012 was 50 Shades of Grey, most likely because of the media hype that was surrounding the books. This was my first journey into erotica, as well as being the series that reawakened the Book Geek within.
9. The book that introduced me to historical fiction: Before reading this series I definitely would have considered historical fiction to be a major snooze-fest. I became hooked to the BBC TV show first and then discovered it was based on a series of books called The White Queen (by Phillipa Gregory). I snapped up the entire series and devoured them. Not only am I far more open to historical fiction but I’ve discovered I now have an interest in history in general, who knew?
10. The book that got me into dystopian/fantasy novels: Once I found the Book People I was buying series and collections by the box-load (literally) and this is when I came across The Hunger Games. Fantasy and dystopian novels were entirely new to me and I very quickly became addicted. I read the three books in four days and quickly moved on to The Mortal Instruments and Divergent, I’m am always on the lookout for a good dystopian or fantasy read, so feel free to recommend!