Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Shaped My Childhood

toptentuesdayThis week’s theme is “Top Ten Books in X Genre,” and I wanted to write about some books I don’t typically write about, but not in any genre I was too unfamiliar with. So instead of picking a genre, per say, I chose to write about the novels that first got me into reading: the ones I read in grade school!

Top Ten Books That Shaped My Childhood

anneofgreengablesAnne of Green Gables series – Let’s just start with the best (and my most favorite) on this list: Anne of Green Gables! I’ve written about my beloved Anne already on my blog, so I won’t repeat myself, but I do want to say that this is still my favorite book of all time, and I can’t wait to have my own daughter to share these stories with :)

 

 
charlotteswebCharlotte’s Web – What a lovely book. Some images from this book that still pop up in my mind from time to time are buttermilk baths for pigs and newborn baby spiders floating around everywhere (I hope that doesn’t discourage any would-be readers: it really is a wonderful book!).

 

 
walktwomoonsWalk Two Moons – I honestly don’t remember much from this book except that I was enamored by it for months. I believe my best friend owned it and of course since she was a year older than me I looked up to her in so many ways (the reason I read Anne of Green Gables was because she read it first). I should reread this one day.

 

 
harrypotterHarry Potter series – I tried narrowing this down to one Harry Potter book, but they all tend to blend together. I read the first three for a book report project in fifth grade and I remember not being able to put them down (I can still see myself sitting at our dining room table reading about the Chamber of Secrets). As is the case with most readers, I still love this series, although the last movie adaptation disappointed me. I’d like to reread Harry Potter sometime soon :)

 

thegiverThe Giver – Another book I’ve talked about on this blog, but still one of my all-time favorites and a book I often recommend to my adult friends, The Giver is one of those novels that effortlessly forces you to think about how it applies to the real world. As an elementary school student reading it for the first time, I longed for my teachers to say, “When you finish your work you can read silently at your desk,” so I could finish following Jonah’s fascinating coming-of-age tale. And apparently there’s a movie version in the works!

 

wheretheredferngrowsWhere the Red Fern Grows – Ahh, the first novel that made me cry my eyes out. My 3rd grade teacher read this out-loud to us every afternoon and right from the first chapter I was in love. [spoilers!!] When Old Dan and Little Ann died, all of the girls in our class–myself included!–were crying into our tissues, and I’m sure even the boys must have felt sad. I still love this book, though. I’m a big sucker for tear jerkers.

 

rainbowfishRainbow Fish – I think what drew me to this book so much was the colorful and iridescent illustration on the cover, but the story has such a simple and meaningful moral to it that stuck with me as well. It is a very nice story that highlights the values of being different and sharing with others.

 

sidewaysstoriesSideways Stories from Wayside School – This is probably the most unique entry on this list, but there were several stories that stuck with me all throughout elementary school, most notably the one involving the hypnotist. I also enjoyed Louis Sachar’s other novels, Holes and There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom.

 

 

blackstallionBlack Beauty/Black Stallion – I do not believe I actually read Black Beauty, but my sister and I were both in love with the film. We watched it all the time growing up. But I did read several of the Black Stallion books.

 

 

littlehouseLittle House on the Prairie series – The first series I fell in love with. I especially loved reading these books outside in my backyard on a nice summer day :) I have not read this books since I was a child, and I would love to revisit them soon!

What were your favorite childhood books? Make your own post or share with me in the comments :)

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Assigned Reads

toptentuesdayThe actual topic for today is “Top Ten Covers I Wish I Could Redesign” but I wanted to answer this one instead:

Top Ten Books I Was “Forced” to Read

Here is a quick list of the books I was assigned to read (from 6th grade through college) that have stuck with me ever since. A lot of these I still consider some of my favorite reads. These are listed in chronological order (not as in date published but as in the date I first read them).

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  • The Giver by Lois Lowry – This is the novel that first got me into dystopic young adult reading. It is a page turner for all ages, and I even heard that they are planning to make a movie soon.
  • Our Town by Thornton Wilder – This may have been the first play I ever read. My 7th grade Language Arts class read it together and although I have not reread it since, the themes and motifs surrounding life and death still hang on to me.
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare – Ahh, my first ever Shakespeare read. This is still by far my favorite Shakespearean play, and it too is responsible for my deep love of all things Shakespeare. I have reread this play plenty of times (although I don’t think I’ve ever seen it performed!!). Once during a 4 hour drive from Tallahassee, FL to Walt Disney World, Matt (who was not yet my husband) and I read Hamlet aloud to pass the time. He fell in love with it too ;)

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  • The Lord of the Flies by William Golding – My 9th grade English teacher assigned us so many good reads (including this book and the following one). I wish I appreciated having that class then as much as I do now. Lord of the Flies is a classic. I haven’t met many people who have not read it, and I recommend it to anyone and everyone.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand – Whether you like French literature or not (I guess it isn’t for everyone), you will enjoy this comedic play. I loved it when I read it in 9th grade, and I still loved it when I watched the Gérard Depardieu film version a few years back.
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Another novel I believe pretty much everyone has read. In one of my American Lit classes in college, we were asked to give the name of one novel that best describes America. Most of the class picked The Great Gatsby. Any one disagree?

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  • 1984 by George Orwell – Another dystopian classic I still love to this day. In my mind I paired it with this following novel…
  • Anthem by Ayn Rand – To me, this novel is very similar to 1984. Although I read it after reading 1984, it is actually roughly a decade older. If you are into dystopian novels, I recommend both this one and 1984 (as well as The Giver, which I listed earlier).
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville – Never in my life would I have read this novel if it was not assigned to me in an American Lit course I took in college. For starters, it’s massively long. And I feel that nearly half of the chapters are solely about the whaling industry. But nevertheless, this is a masterpiece that I feel absolutely deserves its title as an American Canon. I believe many of us can identify with Captain Ahab…
  • Passing by Nella Larsen – For anyone interested in African-American Lit, this was a beautiful novel. I don’t think I was able to put it down. Heartbreaking and eye-opening, to say the least. (If you are unaware of what the term “passing” means, it was used to describe mixed-raced people whose skin was light enough for them to pass as white.)

Everyone loves a survey!

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I came across this fun little bookish survey over at Covered in Flour and it reminded me of my MySpace survey-posting days (Ahh, high school). I had some time to kill this evening so here you go!

Author you’ve read the most books from: Lucy M. Montgomery. I’ve read her beloved Anne of Green Gables series (8 books total) multiple times.

Best sequel ever: I adored Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I remember staying up all night to read it, and even having to take pauses to deal with all the feels. That was probably my favorite novel in the series.

Currently reading: I read Jane Eyre last week (started and finished…I couldn’t put it down), so I am currently in between books. But I will be starting Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in a few days.

Drink of choice while reading: Tea, in a nice mug, or water, if it’s hot outside. Sometimes very rarely I will drink coffee if it’s rather early in the morning or late at night and I need caffeine to help me stay awake.

E-reader of physical book?: I love the smell and feel of physical books, yet I love my Kindle as well. Most of the novels I read are on my Kindle, and I love not having to pick and choose what books stay in France and what books stay in the U.S. Every now and then I will buy a paperback, and of course I have hardback editions of my favorite series (except for Anne of Green Gables…I only have the paperback box set that I received as a Christmas present when I was 12. I love reading those copies the best, but I have the series on my Kindle as well).

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My husband, knowing my quirky love of smelling books as I read them, brought me home this edition of Jane Eyre earlier this week. Guess I have to reread it! ;)

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school: Ahh, I was always intrigued by the mysterious, yet charismatic guys the most in high school, but I don’t know if I would have actually dated one. Possibly, but I think I’d be more inclined to date a Captain Wentworth or Gilbert Blythe.

Glad you gave this book a chance: Jane Eyre, definitely. I was turned off by it for the longest time and fortunately I came across this read-along last month and now I will consider it one of my top 5 favorite novels.

Hidden gem book: I think I’ll go with The Giver by Lois Lowry. I love those types of dystopian novels.

Important moment in your reading life: Just the fact that I was so encouraged to read by my elementary school teachers. They made it fun, we had challenges, and we were always encouraged to read if we finished our lessons early. That stopped once I got to middle and high school, but it was too late by then because I had already become an incurable bookworm!

Just finished: Jane Eyre! I recommend it to anyone and everyone.

Kinds of books you won’t read: Game of Thrones and 50 Shades of Grey type books. I read the first three A Song of Ice and Fire novels and I would be happy to never read another book like them again. I have a hard time getting past the violence, crudeness, and graphic imagery in those types of reads. And do I need to elaborate on my reasons for not reading 50 Shades of Grey type novels? I read the Twilight series in high school and that is already over my limit.

Longest book you’ve read: Moby Dick.

Major book hangover because of…: There are three answers that complete this sentence: Jane Eyre (I am still on that hangover…), Pride and Prejudice (finally got off that hangover after 3ish weeks), and the Anne of Green Gables series (was on this hangover earlier this summer). I only seem to have book hangovers after reading classics. I think it’s because I get all nostalgic and wish I could time travel back to somewhere between 1700 and 1900.

Number of bookcases you own: A lot of my books are e-reader format, but I would say I have at least 4 bookshelves of various heights.

One book you have read multiple times: I’ll pick one that I haven’t yet mentioned, and that will be Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer. My guilty book pleasure (but I don’t really feel guilty about it) is reading historical Christian fiction, and this is my favorite, along with To Win Her Heart by the same author and Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I love the period-era atmospheres, the entertaining characters, and the positive themes. It’s my pick-me-up genre.

Preferred place to read: right now I love reading on my living room couch with the back door wide open and fresh autumn air blowing through the curtains.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read: one of the few favorite quotes I have that I can actually recite from memory is this one by John Keats from his “Ode on a Grecian Urn” (my favorite poem): “Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard / Are sweeter: therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;” It’s become one of my life mottos.

Reading regret: Besides Game of Thrones, like I previously mentioned? Probably waiting so long to read Jane Eyre. It was never assigned to me in high school or college, but I had heard of it sometime after reading Wuthering Heights in 9th grade and just never desired to read it. Shame on me.

Series you started and need to finish: Percy Jackson. I own the first three installments, in French, and that is why I have not yet finished the first book *guilty and lazy*

Three of your all-time favorite books: I have already mentioned four of my top five favorite novels (Pride and Prejudice, Anne of Green Gables, Jane Eyre, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), so I’ll give you the last one: Persuasion.

Unapologetic fangirl for: My first fictional crush, Gilbert Blythe (sorry Miss Shirley) and Peeta Mellark of Hunger Games fame. Yep, unapologetic.

Very excited for this release more than all the others: You know, I do not read a lot of modern novels. When I do, it’s only after it’s been out for a year or two. I remember waiting for Harry Potter sequels to come out while I was in high school, and the anticipation was excruciating! I would love any recommendations for books/sequels that are being published soon!

Worst bookish habit: probably looking up things about a book before I’ve finished reading it. And I don’t mean I go and look up the endings, I mean I just go to Pinterest and type the title of the book in, especially if it has a film adaptation, and then things get ruined…

X Marks the spot (start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book): Super Stitches Crochet. Yay for reference books!

Your latest book purchase: Most of the novels I read are free because–classics! But the last book I bought, which I have not yet read, is another by Karen Witemeyer: Stealing the Preacher (spin-off from Short Straw Bride).

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY too late): I consecutively spent multiple evenings last week reading Jane Eyre until 2 in the morning…