Top Ten Tuesday 7: Gateway to Reading Journey

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Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish , the “Gateway books” TTT is exploring the books which are responsible for you developing your love of reading, be it those who got you first into literature, the books which bought you back to literature, or any authors who are now responsible for your depleted bank account and overflowing bookshelves.

My TTT can easily be split into two categories:-

Books which got me into reading:

I first really started reading for myself when I was around 10 years old, I never really had the concentration to sit down and read books. We read Jacqueline Wilson books in class but they never really struck a chord with me, I always found them boring. But then this glorious beast of a series came along.

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1Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone- J.K Rowling

Like most people born in the 1980/early 90s, this series is responsible for the entire mess. I saw the first film the week it opened with my sister and dad and that night, picked up the first book.

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2. The Princess Diaries- Meg Cabot

2. Next was basically what would become responsible for every single one of my friends calling me Mia throughout school. Not because I acted like her (apart from the occasionally clumsy moment), but mostly because I look like the pre-makeover version in the Movie (I bloody wish! Because then I’d look like Anne Hathaway). But yes, I really loved this series. I stayed with it until book 5 when I lost interest and discovered the author’s (in my opinion) better series- but that is next on the list. The Princess Diaries gave me a protagonist to relate to for the first time, just because like me, she didn’t fit the barbie doll image of what is “pretty”- pre-makeover, anyway. I still need to find out how it ends ~.^

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3. The Mediator Series- Jenny Caroll, aka Meg Cabot

So then I discovered Meg Cabot  had written another series. This was really my first adventure into the whole YA Paranormal/Romance genre- however, the protagonist is one of my favourites. Suze is a tough cookie and pretty much became like my role model of how I wanted to be when I was 16. Not a grouchy teenage cow, but certainly someone who took things seriously and stood up for herself.  She was also a hell of a lot less whiny than Mia. Bloody brilliant series, highly recommend it.

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4. Charmed Series- Misc. Authors

When I was 12, my sister got me into Charmed. I become Obsessed. I kid you not. I discovered there was a book series around the show and started reading them all. I recently found my box of them and I have around forty books! Holy moly!!

And the second category is: Books which got me back into reading.

So after those series, I got into my later years of Secondary School, which meant constantly studying for SATs, GCSEs and A Levels. Now, books tend to lose their fun if you spend two hours analysing every single page you read, which is exactly what happened to me. School drained my love of reading from me. I just couldn’t bring myself to pick up a book  “for fun” because all the ones we were reading in school just weren’t my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate them all, some of them were good- but I would never read them if it had been upto my own choice. (Of Mice and Men- John Steinbeck, Shakespeare, Death of a Salesman etc)

So five years later, when I started University, I decided I missed reading. I put out some feelers on my LJ asking my F-list if they could recomend me some books. Lo and behold, in 2009, I got recommended the amazing series which re-started it all.

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5. The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins

This book was like nothing I had read previously and completley blew me away. It reminded me that there can be serious issues in books and it can still be enjoyable. I’d forgotten what it was like to read a book in one sitting and I adored that feeling. The rush of adrenaline. Unfortunatley, this set me up for some pretty high standards when every book in YA started being stamped “The Next Hunger Games”.

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6. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy- Libba Bray

My lovely F-list also recommended this series to me, which helped me to rediscover my love of Fantasy and Magic in books.

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7.  The Book Thief

I’d actually been staring at this book on the shelves for years and years, enticed by that beautiful cover. But I keep fighting myself on it thinking “that’s going to be too sad”. I was wrong but I was so right as well. It became my favourite book.

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8. Can You Keep a Secret?- Sophie Kinsella

This book is actually one I read before I went to university, just randomly, and it is my favourite “chick-lit” book. It’s a laugh a page and absolutely fantastic. It proved to me that, despite society rolling it’s patriarchal eyes at any book branded as “chick lit”, it is worth taking the time to read some of it because it will be some of the best stories you will read.

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9. Neverwhere- Neil Gaiman

Not my first Gaiman, but the first Gaiman which blew me away entirely. I mean I enjoyed stardust but Neverwhere is right up my street. It has everything in it, and I mean everything. And it is the book that convinced me to not stick to “YA” genre and branch out into adult fantasy books more.

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10. Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen

This is probably the one book where the mind numbing school reading came in handy. I tried reading this around 2004/2005 when the movie came out (ugh that movie is rubbish.) but I couldn’t get past chapter 7. Austen’s language went completely over my 15 year old head. However, after studying Emma for A level English (Emma Woodhouse you complete tool), I decided to give this another go. I’m so glad I did. I understood everything. I loved the characters and the world building and Austen’s commentary on her society of that day and how daft a lot of it seemed (I mean come on, Mrs Bennet sending Jane out in the rain in the hopes she’s have to stay at Netherfield is hilariously scheme-worthy). But I’m also glad I read this because it allowed me to go on to read my favourite Austen, Northanger Abbey, which is dripping with satire and sarcasm left, right and centre. It also made me not be so daunted to pick up more of the classics and try reading those in my spare time, which let to me trying: To Kill a Mockingbird (adored it- Attitcus Finch, what a BAMF), Jane Eyre (le swoony), and even A Farewell to Arms by Hemingway.

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