Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten "Gateway" Books/Authors In My Reading Journey

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is Top Ten "Gateway" Books/Authors In My Reading Journey.  I've always been a reader, so it's not that any one book or author was responsible for getting me into the library and cracking some spines.  However, there are some books and authors who got me out of reading slumps or encouraged me to try something different:


The Ten O'Clock Club by Carol Beach York - This was the first chapter book that I read by myself.  It was sort of my graduation into the world of novels from picture books.  To be honest, I remember nothing about it... but I read it decades ago, so that's understandable.

The Norby Chronicles by Janet and Isaac Asimov - These books were my first exposure to science fiction.  I think I read them when I was around 9 or 10.  Before that, most of what I'd read had been contemporary fiction.  These books showed me that science fiction could be pretty cool (and I probably wouldn't have read books like Ender's Game if I hadn't gotten a start with Norby).

Wren to the Rescue by Sherwood Smith - I read this book when I was about 13.  As far as I can recall, it was my first exposure to high fantasy (at least, it was the first exposure that had a real effect on me).  I'd never known that fantasy could be so amazing and imaginative.  It inspired me to try to write my own novels (none of which went anywhere, unfortunately).

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë - I didn't read an awful lot in high school.  There was too much assigned reading, and too much of it I didn't particularly like.  I had to read Jane Eyre in my first year of university.  I didn't think I'd like it; I assumed it would be another boring classic.  But, to my surprise, I loved it.  After that, I kind of went on a classics kick, reading books I thought I would enjoy (rather than those that were assigned).

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare - After having read (and been bored by) A Midsummer Night's Dream, Julius Caesar, and Hamlet (in high school) and Hamlet (again... in university), I was about ready to say bye-bye to the Bard.  But then I decided to try reading Much Ado About Nothing.  I'd really enjoyed the movie, so I thought I could probably get through the book.  I loved it.  After that, I read The Tempest for no reason at all, other than that I wanted to.  I enjoyed it as well.  Maybe if the schools didn't pick the dullest Shakespeare plays to teach, they wouldn't turn so many kids off.

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai - This was the book that introduced me to novels in verse.  Before reading this one, I was only vaguely aware that such novels existed, and I wasn't sure they were even my thing.  But I haven't been able to get enough of them since.


Beatrix Potter - When I was really little, we always had Beatrix Potter books around... which is kind of funny, because we didn't actually own any (that I can recall).  But we borrowed well-used copies from the library many, many times.  My early childhood is filled with memories of talking rabbits, foxes, and hedgehogs... thanks to this wonderfully imaginative author.

Beverly Cleary - Her books were some of the first ones I read on my own.  My favourites were those about Ramona Quimby (though I did read a number of the others).  My first experience of staying up late to finish a book came with Ramona Quimby, Age 8.

Nick Bantock - His books are about visual stimulation as much as they are about reading.  Griffin & Sabine is a unique reading experience (and one that's not readily reproducible with an e-book).  At the time those books came out, they were pretty different.  I hadn't realized that a book could be like that, and that the reading experience could be so immersive and yet so low-tech at the same time.

Diana Wynne Jones - She's probably the closest thing to a "favourite author" I've ever had (based on the number of her books that I've liked).  Her books probably did more to introduce me to the concept of fairytale and myth re-tellings than any other author.  Fire and Hemlock is still one of my all-time favourites.

1 comment:

  1. I love novels in verse but I haven't read Inside Out and Back Again. I've had my eye on it, but now I will have to look for it at the library. Jane Eyre is one of my favorites too! :)