Tuesday 1 April 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Gateway Books/Authors'

So this week's topic is 'Top Ten Gateway Books', which is a pretty broad subject. Therefore, I've split the list as to me the term 'Gateway' incorporates a lot!

Gateways Into Reading:

1. 'Matilda', Roald Dahl.

As an author, Dahl generally was probably my first favourite. But this book was the first one that I can remember loving and really relating to on so many levels. I loved the characters, the inclusion of magic, the writing style, the story, everything! I used to read it again and again, and then later, it went on to be one of my favourite films too! This story to me is just perfect and that is why it is a gateway book. Other Roald Dahl favourites included 'George's Marvellous Medicine', 'James And The Giant Peach' and 'Witches'. 

2. 'Mr Galliano's Circus', Enid Blyton.

This is another one of those authors that a lot of children end up reading. I did because my Dad was a pretty big fan of the 'Famous Five' series, but this book given to me by my Nan was definitely my favourite. So many adventures in one book! I had never been to the Circus, but I used to love the idea of it and Blyton was masterful in writing how amazing life would be if, like Jimmy, I was ever to join! Of course I'm nowhere near talented enough to be in the Circus but whenever I was feeling a bit low, this book was my form of escape and it made me happy. I did use to have a soft spot for 'The Enchanted Wood' series too, with Moonface and The Faraway Tree. The idea that climbing a tree and reaching the top would take you to a magical land that often changes was a really fun one!

3. Jacqueline Wilson.

Now if I were to pick a few of her books, I would say 'The Story Of Tracy Beaker', 'The Worry Website', 'The Illustrated Mum' or 'Midnight' were my favourites. But Jacqueline Wilson for me was a Gateway author because she handled so many sensitive issues that children face, through the eyes of those children, in a wonderful and relateable way. I would always look forward to reading a book of hers and I never found myself disappointed by any of her work. The book cover I've included is 'Midnight' because it was always my favourite (thanks to it's inclusion of a character who loved Fairies) but I think if I were to really think about it, I wouldn't be able to think of a book of hers that I didn't love!

Gateways Into Classics:

1. 'Pride And Prejudice', Jane Austen.

Now up until this point I had been a fan of reading, but when I read this book for school and loved it while others found it boring, I realised that reading for me was a bit more than a hobby. Of course we analysed it to death as you do in schools, but I really loved this story and read it many times afterwards for pleasure! I was told many a time that I wouldn't enjoy reading classic books because they were dull or meaningless, but I found quite the opposite with the ones I've read and it was this book that started that for me! I haven't actually read any of Austen's other work, I guess I've never got round to it. That needs to change!

2. 'The Secret Garden', Frances Hodgson Burnett.

I actually first saw the movie before reading the book. I was pretty young when I watched it and didn't understand it all but when I read the book I loved it! I remember my family being rather surprised when I asked to buy this book, rather than one of the younger ones on the shelf, I think they thought I wouldn't enjoy it and the cover was the only thing that attracted me. They were wrong though, I love this story, the characters and Burnett's writing!

3. 'To Kill A Mockingbird', Harper Lee.

This was another book that we studied in school, and another one that I really loved. It was a gateway book to the idea that a story could introduce a very important theme or message, and convey it in a sensitive way. The characters in particular I thought were written very well and I loved them. I was joined by many more people than with my previous school study in loving this book and I found it intriguing that it was labelled as a 'classic' despite not being set a really long time ago. So it was also a gateway into the idea that a book doesn't have to be centuries old to be considered timeless!

Gateways Into Fantasy/Paranormal:

1. J.K Rowling.

Now I will just say the author here because we all know her hugely popular Harry Potter series is the one I'm on about! Fantasy books or books about the Supernatural have become a firm favourite genre of mine. This series was the series that started that off! From the moment I picked up my first Harry Potter book in the School Library, I realised that I would always love books that included magical creatures or distant far-off lands, and that has been true ever since. So rich is Rowling's magical world (bought to life by some fantastic movies) that I will never stop loving it, or the characters that reside there!

2. Tamora Pierce.

I have raved about this author so much in previous posts, and I don't think I will ever stop. She bought the idea of Fantasy as a genre into my life. These were the first books introduced to me by my ever reliable friend (who also acted as a Library, seriously her house was full of books) and she had the whole collection. I got through them quickly and yearned for more whenever I finished one. If you haven't read anything by Pierce yet, I suggest you do! Her ability to make you fall in love with a world, a character, a romance sub-plot is just wonderful.

3. 'Eragon', Christopher Paolini.

I mentioned this book a couple of weeks ago as one of my favourite Fantasy books. The reason why is because it was so epic and made me feel especially proud that I got through it and understood it all. I loved this series, and it comes under the 'Gateway' category because it got me back into reading for enjoyment after a bit of a long break from it! The books that came after in this series were great too, though I've yet to read inheritance. It's on the list, don't worry!

4. Darren Shan.

Now I loved Fantasy up until this point, but Darren Shan introduced me to a darker, more horrifying sub-genre. And I loved it. The first book of his that I read, 'Cirque Du Freak' was a perfect introduction to the world of Vampires, a creature that I hadn't really encountered in books that I had read previously. Shan's writing was so captivating though that despite some of the gruesome happenings (and the inclusion of a rather terrifying spider), I was hooked and read the entire series very quickly! I also recommend the 'Demonata' series, Shan's ability to think up the appearance of strange creatures is fascinating!

So there you have it! My ten 'Gateway' books/authors that I've encountered on my reading journey. I can't wait to read everyone else's responses! Next week's topic is the 'Top Ten Most Unique Books I Have Read', which is a great one to do.

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