Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme/feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.
Top Ten “Gateway” Books/Authors In My Reading Journey
so your list could be a mix of a books that got you into reading, an author that got you into reading a genre you never thought you’d read, a book that brought you BACK into reading
Oh gosh, what a lovely topic and I am glad that Ren let me take over this week because I have some FEELINGS on the matter. :D :D :D (In hindsight, I have to say that it was quite difficult to come up with ten items.)
Long story short: I think my interest in books started just after my first year in primary, because we moved and my mum got married and suddenly we actually had money for books! And also my new school had a “library” (it was a tiny cramped room, but I loved it). I devoured everything I could get my hands on, from old books that my dad had kept (my favourite childhood book is so old, it has no ISBN) to what was popular with kids my age at the bookshop. So here goes, in no particular order:
1. Enid Blyton. Now, I think I mentioned Germany’s taste for young girls’ literature in a different post already, and Heaven knows Germany loves Enid Blyton. I only ever read her St. Clare’s books, but boy did I love them. They’re set in a boarding school and I think that is actually my favourite literature trope ever. BOARDING SCHOOLS! I love them. And I love the series, though, you will laugh, I’m not a fan of the English originals. I tried reading them, but they’re just so different to the German translations, it’s really odd when I read them. Germany went ahead and changeda lot of things to make the books more German, so that’s why. Germany also went ahead and had a billion additional sequels ghostwritten. I think there are currently twenty-seven books in the German series, though I may be wrong. Quite a change from the original six!
2. Die Drillinge. That one is a book by a German author that I used to read over and over again when I was a child. In fact, I still read it occasionally. I got it from my (step)dad, and I can only assume that it used to belong to his sister, because it’s really old and kind of falling apart. But I adore it so much. It’s about a family who has triplets and they can’t afford them (they were only expecting one child!), so they keep two of them and the third one grows up with the grandparents. It’s quite a heartbreaking story because the twins are rowdy and loud, whereas Theda is quiet and shy. Eventually the parents want Theda to come live with them again and the twins make her life really hard, but in the end it all turns out well! Ugh, I may be tearing up, because this book pushes all my buttons and I adore it so much. It definitely encouraged me to read more of the old books that some neighbours gave me.
3. Gail Carriger, whom I first heard about when my friend Ruby swooned over her Parasol Protectorate books. I adore her books (and her characters — VIIIIIIEEEEEEEVEEEE!!!! Excuse me, I have to go wallow in some feelings because I’m in love with Genevieve) and her writing and it was her books that made me want to read more in the steampunk genre, because it is quite fascinating, let’s be real.
4. Else Ury. Frankly, I have no idea how I got my hands on books when I was a child, really. My family doesn’t read, but somebody must’ve taken an interest in providing me with reading material, no? Else Ury’s books were among them and to this day I regret giving them away to a person that I thought would cherish them, but then didn’t. If you’re not familiar with Else Ury, she was a German author who wrote a quite a few books for young girls (I swear, about 95% of what I read when I was a kid was solely Backfisch literature) before she was deported to Auschwitz. I utterly loved her Nesthäkchen series about Annemarie Braun, the spoilt youngest child of a doctor’s family, but also her books about a set of twins were very important to me and made me yearn for more books.
5. Twilight. I know, I know, there’s a collective shudder going down all our backs, isn’t there? Trust mw, I feel the same way. Still, though. There was a time when I barely read anything during my teens except for the books I already owned, but Twilight made me want to read again. For what it’s worth, the German translation made up for some of the editing errors that the original suffers from.
6. Cecila Ahern. Now, I don’t actually read much by her, but I have read a handful of her books and it was those books that made me branch out to chick lit (god, I hate that term, but I love the books). Ahern’s books are a bit too heavy on the romance for me, but if it weren’t for those books, I would have never touched German chick lit (surprisingly good when I do read it!) and I never would’ve started to grudgingly like the genre in general.
7. Anne of Green Gables. Who hasn’t read these books? Anne is an amazing character and I love her to pieces. I still remember standing in front of one of the shelves at the “library” in our school and picking out the sequels that I didn’t own. I remember eyeing the other books on that same shelf because obviously they were similar. I haven’t reread Anne in a very long time (though I rewatched the films with Megan Follows not too long ago >.>) and I forget about her quite a lot, but her story is a wonderful story that made me want to read other stories.
8. Know Not Why, which I suppose was my gateway drug into LGBT fiction. I wasn’t opposed to anything before (as if, I’ve read enough slash fanfic to horrify billions of homophobic people), but I had never consciously sought out LGBT fiction. Know Not Why changed that. It’s an adorable tale about, well, two guys, and maybe it’s unrealistic and maybe it’s just too sickly sweet, but ALL THE FLUFF GIMME ALL THE FLUFF I JUST WANT THE FLUFFIEST OF FLUFFY FEELINGS. (Also, the author, Hannah Johnson, is great and amazing and hilarious and did I mention this book was self-published?)
9. The Old Kingdom series aka the Abhorsen series. I’m one of those people who tends to just grudgingly like things. I didn’t want to like this series. I didn’t! But I fell for it and it’s so wonderful. I suppose it doesn’t really count as a gateway drug, but events like these — when I am determined to dislike something and then end up loving it — have taught me to accept that changing your opinion is okay. And it’s okay to branch out and read other books with similar themes (though Heaven knows I have been unable to find anything about necromancy that comes even remotely close to these books, woe). And it is also okay to branch out and not like the books you end up reading. It’s okay to like some books by an author but not all of them. I think that is an important lesson to learn for a reader. Incidentally, I stumbled over The Old Kingdom partly because of another book. I say partly, because those years that I spent barely reading any books? Yeahhh, Harry Potter fanfiction was my jam, not even going to lie. Which brings me to the last item on my list:
10. Last, but never ever least: Harry Potter / J.K. Rowling. God, I hope I don’t write too much of an essay now, oops. This post is already long enough. In short, Harry Potter has given me so much. I met all of my closest and favourite friends through Harry Potter. A lot of my personal identity has to do with Harry Potter (oh this sounds awfully weird now, but I wouldn’t be the person I am today without Harry Potter, that’s all I mean). If it hadn’t been for Harry Potter, I am 100% certain that I would not love the books I love today and I would not have taken a renewed interest in reading. Harry Potter is what actually kept me reading throughout all the years when I felt like nothing could ever interest me. I don’t know how often I’ve re-read the books but they have a very very special place in my heart and my reading experience. I think I would’ve been extremely lonely without Harry Potter by my side, and I would never have truly come to appreciate the beauty of other worlds. Sure, I was reading all those children’s and girls’ books before I turned eleven, but Harry Potter gave me a new side of the story; it gave me fantasy, both as a genre and a personal trait. Without Harry Potter I never would’ve read Garth Nix’s books, I never would’ve come to love magic in literature and I never would’ve identified as an actual reader, not just a person who occasionally reads a book. I just really love Harry Potter for all that it has given me, in all aspects, and I am grateful that my uncle and aunt decided to get me the first book for my eleventh birthday. :)
And now I wonder, what are your top ten gateway books or authors?