Hello bookworms!! Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top 5 Tuesday is top 5 books that got me into reading.
I have always been a reader, but there were definitely years where I read less. Giant peaks and troughs over time as I got busy with other things, and then came back to reading. Usually the coming back was due to reading something amazing, which reinvigorated my love. So, these are some of those books!!
Top 5 books that got me into reading
The Baby-Sitter’s Club – Ann M. Martin
Around the age of 9 was when I started to absolutely tear through books. Now, I’m only 95% sure that this was the series that started it, but I can hand on heart tell you I read ALL of these series around between 9-15. Yes, Scholastic was one of my first loves:
- The Baby-Sitter’s Club (including Mysteries, Super Mysteries and Super Specials)
- Baby-Sitter’s Little Sister (which likely explains why I love Karen so much in the new adaptation)
- The Gymnasts
- The Saddle Club (and Super Editions)
- Teen Power Inc (which devolved into every Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys book in existence)
- Sweet Valley series (including Twins, High, University and Thriller series – these got dark)
- Goosebumps (this one really spiralled into R.L. Stine in general, and then a lot of V.C. Andrews)
- Roswell High (yes, because I loved the TV series so much)
- Clearwater Crossing (ok, so I only read up to book 16 in this series, but I couldn’t get any of the others)
I spent so much of my childhood and teen years combing through the one (new) bookstore and three second hand bookstores looking for more of these books. Then when I was 19 and about to go overseas, I just gave them all away. I’m honestly kicking myself, still.
Pawn of Prophecy – David Eddings
OK, so it’s not that I wasn’t a reader when I was introduced to this. But I was only reading contemporary, mystery and thrillers, as evidenced above. I’m sure I’ve told this story before, but it’s one of my favourites, so you’re getting it again.
When we lived in town, we had neighbours, Anne and Jerry. Anne was a librarian at the local town library. They didn’t have kids until I was in my late teens, but I used to spend a fair bit of time over the fence at their house as a child.
One day when I was visiting, I was about 11 or 12, Anne and I were talking about books, as we were wont to do. Anne recommended some fantasy books to me. I admit, I kind of shied away at the time, but I trusted her judgement, so I took home her copies of Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey, Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb, Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind, and Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings.
While I read most of the others, I absolutely devoured The Belgariad. And then I read anything and everything by Eddings that I could get my hands on. The Mallorean, the companion novels Belgarath and Polgara, The Elenium, The Tamuli, and finally, The Redemption of Althalus. (Weirdly I never got into The Dreamers series.) This love then transferred to Isobelle Carmody, Raymond E. Feist, Garth Nix, Sara Douglass, Terry Pratchett, and my love of fantasy was instilled into my very soul.
Looking for Alibrandi – Melina Marchetta
I don’t know about you all, but I loved English in high school. Our curriculum when I was a student seems to be a bit of an anomaly, even back then. From Years 7-10 we got to pick classes based on interests. For example, one of my favourite English classes was when I was in Year 8. I did a semester on “Animals in Literature”. The books that we read for this class were things like Charlotte’s Web, and Black Beauty. I always asked for the extended reading list and got to read things like Redwall for extra credit. (PS: How underrated is Redwall as a series?!! I loved it so much.)
However, when we got to Years 11 and 12, it’s all about Shakespeare, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, the Brontë’s, Ernest Hemingway, and Elizabeth Gaskell. You have to read that heavy, classic literature. Which honestly, I quite liked, but it does take the joy out of reading somewhat when you don’t get to pick what you read, and then you have to analyse it as opposed to just enjoy it.
We did study one YA contemporary book though: Looking for Alibrandi. This is honestly one of my favourite books of all time. It speaks to me in ways that very few books do, and I just genuinely love it. It totally encapsulates what being a teenager in the 90’s is about, or any time, and I cannot recommend it enough. I must have read this book 50 times, and it never gets old, it just gets better.
Back After the Break – Anita Notaro
So, I moved to the UK when I was 19 on a working visa. I had deferred uni, because I didn’t know what I wanted to study (I got in to do Communications / Journalism). And I worked really hard the year after school to save money for flights and to cover me until I had a job, etc. and I also completed a Diploma in Hospitality Management. When I got to the UK, I ended up in a village (no joke – the population of the district that has three villages located together is 304 people) with no library or local shops. I didn’t take any books with me, and ereaders weren’t a thing in 2003. And all of my salary was going to food, alcohol and savings so I could see Europe on my time off anyway.
So I didn’t read anything for about 6 months. However, I took a trip to Edinburgh on a weekend off and stopped in at a WHSmith. I had never really heard of “chick lit” before – and honestly it’s a term I hate, I use adult romance/contemporary now – but they had a whole section of it. So, I browsed for a little bit, and while I probably bought a couple of books, the one that stands out most for me is Back After the Break. I have read this book so many times I know what’s coming, and instead of shielding me, it makes me cry more. This book is definitely one of my most memorable forays into (non-fantasy) adult fiction though.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor
In 2015, I was an adult: I worked an adult job, I lived in an adult house, and I was in an adult relationship. It was a time. I mean, I still am an adult with all of those things, but I guess the difference between then and now is that I didn’t really know YA existed. The term “Young Adult” wasn’t a thing when I was in high school. There were kids books, teen books, and adult books. So imagine my utter delight when on a trip to a bookstore, while seeking something new, a staff member recommended Daughter of Smoke and Bone to me.
Let me stop you here – because there was no utter delight at the time. In fact, I’d say there was more confusion than anything else. Why was I being recommended a series for teenagers? Sure, I’d read Twilight to see what the fuss was about… but it wasn’t something I wanted to read every day. I bought it, but this book sat unread on my shelf for about 18 months.
Moving on to 2016, I was book shopping again, spoke to another employee and was recommended this book again. I was surprised and admitted that I had it, but I hadn’t gotten past the second chapter. “Persevere” is what she told me. She then proceeded to sell me the second book, as well as Solitaire by Alice Oseman and Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas. And my life was forever changed.
Thanks for hanging out on my ridiculously long post this week. If you read to the end, you’re a star, and I hope you enjoyed seeing all the little steps along the way that lead me to here, which is my blog, bookstagram, and being absolutely ensconced in the world of fiction.
Please don’t forget to link to one of my posts (not my home page), or comment your link below, and I will link back to all of your posts as soon as I can!!
What are 5 books that got you into reading?