Monday, August 8, 2016

Rewind: Ten Gateway Books (Top Ten Tuesday #9)

Via The Broke and Bookish 

August 9: Top Ten Tuesday REWIND -- go back and do a topic you missed over the years or recently or a topic you really want to revisit -- I've made a handy spreadsheet to help (currently in the process of finishing it)

"All of us readers have those books that really started us on our way to becoming book lovers. It could be something we read as young children, or it could be a book we picked up in adulthood after years of a reading drought. Or, it could be an author or book that introduced us to a new favorite genre. This week's Top Ten Tuesday puts a spotlight on those books and authors that we credit with our bookishness."

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling: I think everyone read this in kindergarten. My classmate lent me her copy at recess, I lost it, replaced it, and that was the first time I realized books cost money. But this was also the first thick book I ever read, the first one that didn't have pictures on every other page. And, obviously, it was my gateway to the wizarding world.

2. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden: This was the first "grown-up" book I read, at the tender age of 8. Most of the adult stuff went over my head. I'd previously tried reading my father's hardbound Noli Me Tangere, but only made it as far as the friar losing it over getting the chicken neck instead of the drumstick (or something like that). That was when a whole new world of non-kid books opened up to me.

3. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster: When I got this for my birthday, I thought it was a ghost story because the tollbooth mysteriously appeared... like a ghost. So I refused to read it for months, but I finally caved and was enchanted by how clever it was. I like to think this was my gateway to similar-ish authors like Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams.

4. The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin: My aunt, who lives in the US, likes to buy in bulk and would send me boxes of these books, maybe 10-20 at a time. But those boxes came once or twice a year, and I'd run out of unread books, and that is how I learned to dig through piles of secondhand books in Booksale. 

5. Gossip Girl (series) by Cecily von Ziegesar: Before the TV show came out, I used to beg my mother to let me stay in NBS while she ran errands in the only big mall I knew then. I'd find unwrapped copies of these and read them as fast as possible to try and finish one before she finished her trips to the supermarket and the hardware store. It was my first introduction to what I then called  "chick lit," stuff my parents would never pay for (nor would I ask for them, because of the embarrassing covers and the scandalous (for me) summaries). 

6. Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett: This launched me into a Discworld obsession, but I had to stop after 10 books or so, because everything was blurring together and I needed to get back to the real world. I still love this series, though. I think this was one of the first books I bought from one of the secondhand bookstores on campus. That store was in the social sciences building, and I thought their stock was carefully curated to appeal to a highbrow/pretentious clientele, and this was one of the least intimidating books. I later learned not to be intimidated by all the authors in translation, or by their "critical acclaim," and that by avoiding certain shelves I could almost always get something enjoyable and relatable, and now most of my books come from that bookstore. (Not recently, though, since I'm trying to accumulate receipts for a discount card from one of the big bookstores.) I'm more open to reading new genres or unfamiliar authors thanks to these bookstores. 

7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: This used to be such a big deal on Tumblr, and all my friends were gushing about it, so I borrowed a copy. I learned that I'm not going to enjoy every book that's popular, and that's okay. That had previously happened to me with Twilight, but it almost immediately became cool to hate on the series, so I didn't feel as conflicted as I did with Perks. On a more positive note, this was also sort of my gateway into YA. 

8. The Firm by John Grisham and Without Remorse by Tom Clancy: These were the only novels on my father's bookshelf, mixed in with the civil code, the family code, other legal stuff, and sports biographies. They set me off on a year-long exploration of these two authors, in which I tried to develop a taste for... crime fiction? Thrillers? Whatever the hell they were. I still have a soft spot for John Kelly and Jack Ryan, but I'm not as interested in that kind of fiction anymore. 

9. Skin and Other Stories by Roald Dahl:  This was how I learned that Roald Dahl didn't write for children exclusively, and where I felt his writing fit better. This was also how I got into short story collections. 

10. A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel: Another aunt sent me this for my birthday. It was a slow, months-long read, but this is how I was introduced to  nonfiction and how I learned that some books don't need to be devoured in hours but are better savored in tiny chunks. 

1 comment

  1. Great topic to pick. I have a Roald Dahl book that got me into reading when I was younger. And Discworld is pretty great, though I have yet to read Equal Rites.


© Someday this will be a book blog
Maira Gall