Thursday, 13 May 2010

Top Ten Picks - Books that made you discover your love for reading

We have been featured on Book Bookie's blogger monday here so please check it out for an interview on why we started the blog etc.

Over at Random Ramblings the Top Ten this week is Books that made you discover your love for reading. A title I think with a lot of possibilities. Its also interesting to see that I have chosen a lot more books from my childhood and young adult years whereas Chris has chosen more recent books he has read. But we both have horror in our choices.

So our Top Ten

Chris's List

The Window by Carol Ellis

As a child I was often given things to read but never chose anything myself. The limited time I spent reading was on books for school or books my parents felt I should read. The Window was the first book I read for my own pleasure. I must have been 12 years old at the time. The Window was one of a series of short books called ‘Point Horror’ they were basically horror stories written with children in mind. In all I believe I read at least 10 books in the series, possibly more. I do not remember reading most of them. The Window always stuck in my mind although I have no idea why. One day I shall have to read it again to see how much I remember.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

A classic story which I would imagine is known by most people. I studied it in school and I must say it was a book I took pleasure from studying, it was never a chore to read and I believe it was the first work of fiction to really touch me emotionally. Of Mice and Men really showed me that it was possible to learn about life through fiction not just textbooks.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I was not a child when I read this; in fact I finished it less than a year ago. This story spoke to me in so many different ways, it is a tremendous influence in my life and I often think about it. The ultimate literary triumph of good over ignorance and hatred. No bookshelf should be without it.
Mockingbird is a glorious story that really whetted my appetite for fiction and books in general.

Notes from a Big Country by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is my favourite writer who still inhabits the land of the living. I first read this book on holiday six years ago and have re-read it many times since. The book is a collection of articles written by Bryson talking about life in modern America. It is original, clever and hopelessly funny. It is a book that never fails to cheer me up and has me weeping copious tears of laughter each time I read an article or two. If I was stranded on a desert Island and could only bring one book with me it would be this one.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Those who are familiar with my taste in books will know that I am not a fan of classic English literature. My 21st century brain cannot cope with the endless inflection and prose that seems rife in books from that period. I have attempted numerous ‘classics’ in the past and always fail miserably. The one and only exception to this rule is this book. A true favourite I must have been about 16 when I first read it. I loved it instantly. I find the whole idea of the duality of man fascinating and Stevenson managed to turn it into the most chilling of horror stories. Stevenson never had to resort to buckets of gore or monsters under the bed to frighten the life out of me the struggle for survival of the two main characters and Mr Utterson caught between them used to send shivers down my spine. A true masterpiece I will always treasure and a testament to what skill and a great imagination can achieve.

Jess's List

The secret garden and A little princess by Frances Hodgeson Burnett

I have grouped these two books together, firstly because they are by the same author and also because they both have similar themes. At the time I read these I think I would have said that A little princess was my favourite because I loved books about boarding schools and I remember that the girl in it, Sara had a old fashioned doll which had its own wardrobe full of clothes. I loved reading about that doll.

Frances Hodgeson Burnett was born in England but after the death of her father the family were plunged into poverty and eventually after moving to the states, she wrote in order to help support the family. Its certainly interesting that both girls in the secret garden and A little Princess both lose their parents and then suffer in their new circumstances.

The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice

When I was around 15 I went through a real Anne Rice phase when the film, 'interview with a vampire' came out but I was too young to see it. Looking back I'm sure I read these books more for the characters rather than the writing style which I sometimes struggled with.

Forever by Judy Blume

There seemed to be a real Judy Blume craze in my school when I was around 12. I remember there was a heck of a long waiting list at the library for any of her books. Forever stands out because it contained sex. As a result a very dogged eared copy of it made its way around all the girls in my year. Scandalous.

Malory Towers by Enid Blyton

Say what you like about Enid Blyton but I loved her as a child and her faraway books are the first books I can remember reading on my own. I really liked books set in boarding schools and Enid Blyton certainly filled that gap with both her Malory Towers and St Claires books. It was all good natured fun with midnight feasts, studying for those all important exams and important lacrosse matches against rival schools. If I was a child today then I'm sure Harry Potter would have filled that boarding school gap.

The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier

A book read in school by my teacher when I was aged around 10. We didn't study this book or were made to read it aloud to the class. Instead at the end of the school day our teacher (cant remember his name) would read us a couple of chapters. The reason he did this was because another class mate had found it and practically begged him to and the book became quite a favourite with everyone. I read it again a few years ago and thankfully it was still as good as I remembered it.


  1. To Kill a Mockingbird was one of those books I had to read in school and realized the books the teachers picked were actually really good!

    I also loved Interview with a Vampire. It was one of my first vampire books that I read and made me fall in love with the genre.

  2. I haven't read any of these but To Kill a Mockingbird and The Secret Garden. Hated To Kill a Mockingbird (I'm in the minority, I know!), loved The Secret Garden.

  3. So many great choices here. Loved To Kill a Mockingbird.

  4. Great choices, especially "To Kill a Mockingbird"!

  5. Such great choices this week! I almost forgot about Judy Blume -- one of my favorites when I was a tween.

    Interview with a Vampire was definitely an advance 'grown up' book for me. I read that when I was already 16.

    And as always, I'm glad to see A Little Princess and The Secret Garden here :)

  6. OHMIGOD!! I remember reading the "point horror" series when I was a kid! They were awesome!

    The Window was one of my favs!! MEMORIES!! hahahaha I wonder if I still have it stashed away somewhere... hhmmmm

    Thank you. That made my day.

  7. Great list - Especially To Kill a Mockingbird, The Secret Garden, A Little Princess and Malory Towers. All books from my childhood :) I'm now going to check out the Daphne DM link on your page, that caught my attention! I did an Austen "test" too and was Elizabeth Bennet from P&P. Can't wait for the new Jane Eyre film to be released - Looks really promising.

  8. I love the style of your blog, to have both your views is great.

    Of Mice And Men - one of my all time favourites.

    Am I the only person who doesn't like To Kill A Mockingbird though?

  9. Zara & Petty - I cant believe you two didnt like to kill a mockingbird, you really are in the minority there. Maybe theres some kind of online group for people like you ;)

    toryaslim822 & Jullian - interview with a vampire was certainly the first vampire book I read but boy it did take Anne Rice sometimes about 10 pages just to describe a murial on a wall.

    Rachel - I think I had about 10 point horror books at one time. I never see them anywhere now though. Also the books did run along a similar vein, someone killing off teenagers and the killer is normally exposed as the ex boyfriend/girlfriend of the main character.

    sundryandco - I didnt realise there was a new ane Eyre film, the only one I remember was the old black and white one so perhaps an update is needed.

  10. Oh wow! I forgot all about The Silver Sword! I loved that book as a child!

  11. Bethany - if you get the chance to re-read the do, I thought it was still good reading it as an adult.

  12. Oh, I do love Mockingbird, the Little Princess, Secret Garden, and all the Anne Rice novels. I was already a diehard bookworm when I read them though.

    I'm going to look for the silver chair and the big country-- just what I need more books to read!

    thanks for checking out my list, Jess. those fairy books are fabulous and there is one for each color-- not just green. I think there are 12 in the series.

  13. I'm still thinking about my list. Most of Chris' books are books for older people whereas Jess' books are children's favorites. My question, then, is: Did you develop a love of reading at different ages? I've always wondered if those who do not learn to love reading when they are small ever do....

  14. readerbuzz - thats a good question worthy of its own post I think. Chris used to listen to alot of audio books when he was a child to help him sleep (not a good idea as now he cant sleep with noise) but apart from that he really didnt read apart from school. So yes I guess we would have developed our love for reading at different ages. Expect a post on this soon ;)

  15. Great choices. It's fascinating to think about the books that deeply influenced us and sparked our imaginations. I think it says more about the reader than the book.