I have always been a reader. From before my third birthday, I was entranced by the wondrous paper collections of words and images. As with anything, there are those books and those authors who have had a particular effect on me in some way, whether it has been them opening my eyes to a new reading experience or igniting my love for a particular series.
The topic of today’s Top Ten Tuesday is Gateway Books and Authors. These are the books and authors who have opened a door to something new or important to me.
I think I had been watching the series on the TV, so in my 11 year old wisdom, I decided to read Herman Wouk’s Winds of War. I think it took me about two weeks to get through it.
While I’m sure I probably didn’t quite get it all (after all, I was barely in double figures), I do remember being totally drawn into the story – this was probably the first time I can recall this happening.
Not sure it was the most appropriate read for an 11-year-old girl, now that I think about it. My abiding memory of this book was the reference to “dangling genitals” in a plane crash scene. Hmmmm.
2. The first series that caught my attention
Those of you who grew up in the 1980s like me, the first book series that caught your eye was the Baby-Sitters Club. I can remember ordering them through the Book Club at school.
Does anyone else remember how exciting it was to get the newest installment in the series? I sure do.
Looking back, they did tackle some things that you didn’t often see then – divorce, chronic illness, adoption. All very heady for my younger self.
Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series were the first real adult fiction books that had that Wow! impact on me. I got them the minute they came into print, read them the minute they came into my possession. This was the series that probably fostered my love of reading book series in order, and what sparked my early-adulthood interest in true crime reading.
It was also my first sight of a strong, ballsy female character. I have always wanted to see these made into a film series, but I fear it would never quite hit the heights of the books for me.
Debbie Macomber’s Midnight Sons series – I read all six books from start to finish in one night as a teenager. They had the awesome old school Mills and Boon covers.
I think my sister and I both did this. Debbie Macomber was definitely my late-teenage catnip!
I re-read them recently, and the fashion is questionable and I am sure there was a mullet in there somewhere, but it still brought back great memories. I have done the back to back series glom since, but this was what started me on that path.
Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha – My straight contemporary-loving mind was fairly blown when I got hold of this deliciously filthy book. It had everything I generally steered clear of: dystopian worlds, multiple partners, generous lashings of kink.
Reading this and its subsequent series mates has made me want to read more from the urban fantasy/dystopian world. And HOLY CRAP, YOU GUYS!! The sexytimes (of which there are many) are So. Freaking. Hot.
6. and 7. The authors that have made me want to be one when I grow up
Being from Australia, it is always wonderful to read stories about places I know and people that I can relate to. I love that Sarah Mayberry has such unapologetically Australian characters – there are no over-the-top caricatures to satisfy the myth of what we are apparently like, just simply regular people who happen to be from the island continent. I also adore getting to see my adopted home town of Melbourne as well when I read one of her stories. This has made me want to do this as well, to tell the stories of my town.
Now I have my sister to thank for introducing me to Kristan Higgins. She had a couple of them, which I borrowed on a trip home to Sydney. I just adore her books and the people and relationships written within their pages. I love that her heroes and heroines aren’t always Disney-perfect, and the way in which her characters interact is so real – you can imagine having conversations like that with your own friends and family. These are the kind of characters I want to inhabit the pages of my own books – real, relatable and humorous.
I love the humour, emotion and realism that both these wonderful authors weave into their stories. I’ve spent many a night cry-laughing and making good book noise as a result. I can only hope to have some measure of the impact on others that these two authors have had on me.
8. The first book that made me bawl my eyes out
I don’t often cry while reading books. TAC commercials, animal shows, questionable daytime TV – put those in front of me and I will be red-faced & blotchy in no time.
However, that changed when I read April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay. It was so emotional, the pages fairly pulsating with a real love and grief at a situation that seemed so manifestly unfair. I, to this day, remember sitting on my mother’s living room floor reading one passage and tears were streaming down my face.
While it didn’t send me out on a mission to find books that would make me cry (anyone who has seen what I look like crying – during and after – knows it is NOT a good look), it showed me that I should not be afraid to show that a book can affect me emotionally.
9. and 10. Books that made me want to foster a love of reading in my own child
Possum Magic by Mem Fox and Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd – both beautifully written and illustrated tales, simple stories that have very vivid and joyful memories for me as a young reader. These are books that I will always buy for someone who is having a child, or for a budding young reader.
Comment below with those books and authors who have been your gateway to something new and exciting.
The Top Ten Tuesday book meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.