Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Top Ten "Gateway" Books/Authors in My Reading Journey

TTT is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week, we have to list the ten books and/or authors who have been the "gateways" to our reading experience. These may be the books that got us into reading, or books that opened up a genre to us or books that have helped us out of a reading slump. So here, below, in roughly chronological order, are my "gateway" books.

1. 25 Fairy Tales

This is the first set of books that my parents bought for me to read. It is all in Mandarin and is a collection of twenty-five very familiar fairy tales such as The Little Mermaid, Cinderella and The Little Match Girl. You can probably say these are the books that got me in love with stories and reading in general. My mother recalled that I would often sit there with a book in my lap and read out loud. My aunts were all amazed I was reading at such an early age but my mother would roll her eyes and say that I couldn't read, it was just that I had gone over the stories so often that I knew all the words off by heart. :P

2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

This is the first book that I picked up by myself and attempted to read (in English that is). Back in grade four, about three months since my migration to Australia, my teacher was reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone to us in class. I remember being bored out of my mind because I had no idea what was going on. We had to sit there, on the floor, cross-legged until our feet would go numb. Everyone else was so excited but I really didn't see the point in it all. So out of curiosity, I went to the library and borrowed the second book out and attempted to read it over the weekend. I think I manage to make it about four chapters in before I had to return the book.

3. Thoroughbred series by Joanna Campbell

This series was my staple read during primary school. I think I went through a whole horse-craze phase because of this series and I briefly considered being a jockey because of these books. I only ruled it out because in grade seven, at 1.7m and growing, I was way too tall for the sport.

4. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

My favourite novel of all time. There isn't enough praise I can heap onto this book. I picked it up in grade 8 and I couldn't believe I hadn't read it before. This is also the book that had me falling in love with the fantasy genre. After this, I simply couldn't get enough. From this, I moved onto Jennifer Fallon, Sara Douglas, Philip Pullman, C.S. Lewis etc.

5. The Diary of Anne Frank

You cannot read this book without being completely and utterly moved. I read it back in grade ten as part of the English curriculum and *shiver* it still haunts me today. This is the book that really opened up the experiences of World War II and made me view conflict and battles in a different light.

6. Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts and all her fabulous works made me fall in love with the experience of falling in love. I can't remember which one of her books I read first but afterwards, I was determined to rifle out every single one of her works that was available in the library. She is a prolific author and in turn, she made me into a prolific reader of romance. I eventually branched out and fell in love with the works of many other authors such as Diana Palmer (though her books always give me mixed feelings), Linda Howard and Elizabeth Lowell. But if I'm in the mood for romance, Nora Roberts is almost always my first choice.

7. Oscar Wilde

Another compulsory read of my high school English curriculum but I really did enjoy it. The Importance of Being Ernest was my first foray into classic plays that were not written by Shakespeare and I really had a blast.

8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Not sure if it's fair for Harry Potter to feature twice on this list but honestly, this series has been the book ends of my reading experience during school. The first two books was the beginning of my reading experience and the final book came out in grade twelve and was possibly one of the last books I read during high school. I was determined not to be spoiled (unlike the sixth book) and despite the fact I had upcoming exams and assignment deadlines, I finished the book in one night, staying up all the way until four o'clock in the morning.

9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

This is the series that really brought me back into reading. I was in my last semester of university and for the five and a half years before that, I really didn't do much reading for enjoyment simply because I didn't have the time. But The Hunger Games created such a huge wave through modern culture that even a hermit like me found out about it. Intrigued, I read it and a) it was fantastic (with the minor exception of the final volume) and b) it reminded me how much I enjoyed reading. Once I rediscovered reading, there was no way I could go back to my former habits.

10. The next book I read

I'm going to keep this last slot open because I'm always going to be in the hunt for the next book that will mark a milestone on my reading journey.

So that is my list! What books did you pick to mark your reading journey? Leave a comment and/or link below and I'll be sure to check it out!


  1. Harry definitely deserves two spots! Both Harry and Hunger Games also made my list this week!

    1. :D Glad you approve! I feel like since Harry Potter has appeared twice in pivotal years of my life, it should come up twice :D

  2. Yes and YES! to Harry Potter, I think that series is going to be a popular one this week. The only other one that I've read on your list is The Fellowship of the Ring (which I loved) but only read very recently. Great list :)
    Here's my TTT post
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

    1. Yes, I have a feeling Harry Potter played a big role in a lot of our reading experiences!

  3. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows was definitely influential on my love of reading! I love that book so much! Great list :)

  4. I had a pop-up fairytale book that I had forgotten all about until just now, should have put that on my list! Oscar Wilde is a great choice too :)

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  5. I love that you said "The next book I read" because that is so true! It 10 years our lists may look a bit different. I love reading and it is a continual journey.

    Kristalyn @ The Sarcastic Palmtree
    My TTT

  6. Great list! I loved reading the classic fairy tales when I was little, and today I still love fairy tale retellings.
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  7. Harry Potter was definitely the first book that I had to finish no matter what time it was or how early I had to get up to go to school the next day. Great list.

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  8. What a wonderful list! We have similar books on each others list! JK Rowling and Suzanne Collins are definite authors that have been gateways into some of my favourite genre's and books! New visitor!!

    Check out my TTT if you have a chance!

  9. Great list!Thanks for stopping by my TTT and following!New follower via GFC.Happy Reading!

    Elena @ Book Lady's Reviews