Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is:
Top Ten “Gateway” Books/Authors In My Reading Journey
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).
My tastes have varied over the years but I owe a lot to certain authors that I read in my youth. They shaped most of my reading preferences for better (and worse). These are the authors that have had the most influence over me at various stages of my life so far.
1. Enid Blyton
I adored Enid Blyton when I was a youngster. Can probably credit her books for really getting me into reading in a big way. I was always encouraged to read by my mum and she bought me tons of Enid Blyton books. Loved them all – the Famous Five, the Secret Seven, Malory Towers, St Clare’s, the Naughtiest Girl – you name it I (probably!) read it.
2. Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret Garden was hands down my favourite classic. The story spoke to me – I loved that the main character actually was a horrible little girl for most of the book, I loved Dickon and his animals. I loved the whole mystery of the locked up garden. It was a perfect fit for me and really encouraged me to try some of the other classics.
3. J. R. R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings is probably the book that has been the most influential for me. It spawned a love of fantasy which forever influenced my reading preferences. It was my first ‘adult’ read (even though I was only nine!) and it completely and utterly captivated me. LotR me into fantasy but at the same time I found other series to be a bit flat compared to the scope of this book. Definitely a gateway book and author both.
4. Stephen King
I am an unashamed Stephen King fangirl to this day. It was Stephen King who really got me into the horror genre. My favourites were It, The Stand and The Dead Zone but I loved them all really.
5. Lois Duncan
I was addicted to Lois Duncan books as a teenager. Stranger With My Face was my favourite but I also loved Down a Dark Hall, The Eyes of Karen Connors and Daughters of Eve. I have always enjoyed thrillers and Lois Duncan really gave me my first taste.
6. Christopher Pike
Rounding out my teenage years was Christopher Pike. I read all of his books (or at least all that I could get my hands on!). Looking back he was probably a little Stephen King-lite but I still really loved his books. Remember Me, Chain Letter, The Midnight Club and the Final Friends trilogy were my favourites. Although I credit Stephen King as my first foray into horror (yup I read King first!), Christopher Pike really solidified my addiction to the genre and was a definite gateway author.
I also read a lot of Sweet Valley High, Sweet Dreams and Babysitters Club books but although I enjoy the odd romance it is not really my go-to genre so I can’t really credit these series as being ‘gateway’ books.
7. Richelle Mead
Vampire Academy series is the series that really got me back into reading YA again. I had drifted away from the genre when I hit my late teens/early twenties. Vampire Academy really encouraged me to try and read other YA books and I haven’t looked back. It also got me out of a pretty significant reading slump and it was through this series that I first discovered Goodreads (looking for similar series)!
8. Kelley Armstrong
Her Women of the Otherworld series got me into reading urban fantasy/paranormal books. I had developed a bit of an aversion to it after reading some really bad pseudo-porn series masquerading as paranormal. I pretty much stuck to high fantasy or historical fantasy for years. However, I saw Kelley Armstrong being highly recommended so I gave her series a try and ended up getting hooked. Ilona Andrews soon followed and I now really love the genre.
9. Karin Lowachee
As much as I have always loved the fantasy genre I have a different relationship with science fiction. Read and liked a lot as a tween/teen but as I got older and I became more discerning (and stopped reading so many Star Trek and Star Wars books) I found I could barely tolerate reading the genre. I must stress this is not because it I consider it sub par in any way – it was more that my tastes seemed to completely change and I found science fiction left me pretty cold.
Reading Karin Lowachee’s Warchild series changed that for me. Her characters felt beautifully real to me and the connection I was missing seemed to fall into place. I have since tried many other sci-fi series I gave up on previously and thoroughly enjoyed them so I owe a lot to this author for bringing me back into the fold!
10. Josh Lanyon
I had read a couple of m/m books prior to reading the Adrien English books but this series is really what got me sucked into reading the genre. I only reading got into reading m/m last year but I have found it to be something I really enjoy.
It is a much different perspective from the usual m/f romance stories which I feel can become a little stale and stagnant the more you read. Doubtless, I will probably feel the same the more m/m I read but the Adrien English series will always stand out for me. It combined a relatively new genre (for me) with the more familiar mystery/thriller setting that I have always enjoyed.
Well that is my list. Noticeably absent are the Harry Potter books and the Hunger Games trilogy. They are incredible books and are counted amongst my very favourites but I read Harry Potter as an adult and I already was a big fantasy fan. As for the Hunger Games, I have always loved dystopian settings so although the books were wonderful in every way, they were not ‘gateway’ books for me.
I had a lot of fun thinking up books for this list. There were so many I could have chosen, for example I did not put Watership Down or To Serve Them All My Days even though both books were hugely influential for me, and there are a lot of others I also would like to have included.
Getting my list down to just ten was really difficult. I am looking forward to checking out my fellow bloggers choices (I will likely find many new reads this way so it’s a win/win) and I will probably see many books I forgot to include!