Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Top Ten "Gateway" Books/Authors in Our Reading Journey

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.

Tahleen's Picks:

1. The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. I remember buying the first book of this series for a friend's birthday when I was little, and thinking it sounded so good that I asked my dad if I could have a copy for myself. This started off my late-night reading by the light of the hallway, trying to sneak in a few more chapters before going to sleep.

2. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. Specifically, the one with the awesome scary '80s cover. I really have to give this credit to my friend's younger sister, who was (probably still is) a big fan of L'Engle. I kept seeing this book and others by L'Engle around their house, and after buying another L'Engle book for my friend's sister's birthday (I'm just realizing there is a pattern here), I finally figured I'd try the classic Newbery winner. I've since read every book in the Time Quintet, and many other books by L'Engle, including one of her adult titles.

3. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. I remember seeing this book in my high school library and being intrigued by the cover, and the description. After passing it by a few times, I picked it up and started reading the first few pages. Bryson had me at "I wanted a little of that swagger that comes with being able to gaze at a far horizon through eyes of chipped granite and say with a slow, manly sniff, 'Yeah, I've shit in the woods'" (p. 4). I've read almost every book of his, listening to a fair few, since, and it started off my love of humorous travel writing.

Bridget's Picks:

4. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. This was my first real introduction to sci-fi/dystopia; my cousin, who was 15 or 16 at the time, recommended it to me when I was about 12. He's one of only two older cousins I have, and since I'm the oldest child in my family, he's really the one person in my generation that I've really been able to look up to for most of my life. So of course I read a book that he recommended, and I've never looked back!

5. Emma by Jane Austen. Emma is probably the book that really got me into reading classics. I had read Pride and Prejudice in high school and enjoyed it, but wasn't overly excited about it. Later in college, after my fiance took a Jane Austen class, I borrowed all the books from him and fell completely in love with her. Emma was the first one I read, and it made me really want to learn more about the classics!

6. The Stand by Stephen King. This is the book that actually got me in to Stephen King! I had wanted to read It, but my dad thought it would be too scary for me (I was 13) so he had me read The Stand first. Needless to say, I loved both, and have loved Stephen King ever since!

Daisy's Picks:

7. Sarah MacLean: this woman got me into reading historical romances with Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake a couple years ago and it's been true love ever since!

8. Tolkien: Lord of the Rings was my gateway into a love of fantasy novels!

Jen's Pick:

9. Code Name Verity got me out of my reading slump last spring. It drew me in quick and as soon as I finished the book I wanted to immediately reread it to see everything I missed! I'm starting to think every January to March I go through a terrible period of not being able to get into any book I pick up.

Julia's Pick:

10. Kathleen Woodiwiss is the reason 50% of my reading material is historical romance/romance in general. That and my cousin for giving me three romance novels and pretty much commanding me to read them when I was around 12. I feel in love with the romance and haven't stopped since... though my reading tastes have changed over the 15 years that I've been reading them. I've enjoyed every bit of it.

What about you all? What are your gateway books or authors that lead you into a new path on your reading journey? Link up your lists below!


  1. So many good books on this list. A Wrinkle in Time and the Boxcar Children definitely played a big part in making me like reading to begin with, and Sarah Maclean is a huge reason I read romance novels as well! Love the topic this week even though it was SO HARD to choose only 10 books.

  2. Oh, I loved the Boxcar Children series when I was little. We had to read it in the third grade and after the first one I was hooked!

  3. The Boxcar Children was one of my daughter's favorite series when she really began reading. The Stand made my list too. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I loved the Boxcar Children! And of course, Lord of The Rings! Thanks for sharing. =)

  5. Boxcar Children made my list too :) Thanks for hosting y'all! This was a really fun topic.

  6. Wow... Boxcar Children. Haven't thought about that series in ages. I went through those and Encyclopedia Brown like nobody's business.

  7. The Boxcar Children are on my list! And so is the author who got me into romance novels. Fun topic!

  8. There are some wonderful book choices there and a few for me to look up!

    My First TT - Thea @ Gizzimomo's Book Shelf

  9. Some great books on this list. I liked seeing what books each of you chose! Stephen King was so close to being on my list, Bridget! Love him and his books.
    This is my first time participating in Top Ten Tuesday; I had so much fun (and trouble) figuring out my list! :D

  10. I still have to read Code Name Verity! I've heard such amazing things about it.

    Here's my Top Ten Tuesday: http://www.erica.patchwork-press.com/top-ten-tuesday-gateway-books-series-and-authors/

  11. I did my first Top Ten today!!! This one was so fun I couldn't resist! Thanks for the fun idea!


  12. Bill Bryson is the author that got me going on travel writing too, and Walk in the Woods was also my first Bryson. Excellent book that I've read three times!

    Loved this Top Ten: http://janegs.blogspot.com/2014/04/top-ten-tuesday-gateway-booksauthors.html

  13. A bit late in adding my link link but I finally managed today.

    As on many others, Bill Bryson is also on my list. It was really interesting to see what to put on this one. Thanks for the idea

    Marianne from Let's Read


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