Hiii! It’s me! I couldn’t get the book I’m reviewing next (The Thousandth Floor) read in time to write about it this week, so I decided to do a book-related tag.
Top 10 Most Influential Books
The following novels/series (and they are mostly series, which is funny because I can hardly stand to read them these days) have had an impact on my reading life. What’s a reading life, you ask?
A reading life is who you are as person who reads. It’s the books you liked at the time you liked them and what that said/says about you as a human. It’s the books that put you in or got you out of a reading slump, and all the novels that convinced you that reading was a worth-while hobby, even when it wasn’t cool to think so and all your friends were out toilet-papering people’s houses (vandals) and smoking the devil’s lettuce. (loljk I have no idea what they were doing, I was at home reading) These books haven’t really shaped who I am as a person, though a few of them did teach me something. It really comes back to keeping the desire to read alive. In learning a lesson, I was inspired to read, which taught me new lessons, etc.
Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park (Kindergarten)
These are the first chapter books I ever read and they absolutely turned me into a reader. I loved Junie B. I thought she was so quirky and interesting; her sass and wit made me lol for days. I remember feeling some sort of kindred to her because she repeatedly stuck her foot in her mouth, sometimes trying to be funny, other times just truly being clueless, and if that’s not your girl…..
Wishbone Series (2nd grade)
My elementary librarian told me to read these (s/o to Ms. Hart. She’s the greatest. Sorry I accidentally stole a book my senior year that I wasn’t even allowed to check out but you let me anyways. I gave it back eventually!!!) The Wishbone books took popular landmark fiction like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, then condensed and edited them to be kid friendly, and had commentary by Wishbone, the dog. These were my first exposure to classic literature like The Odyssey and Oliver Twist. I wrote down the titles of the stories they were based on and kept it until middle school, when I was old enough to read the originals.
Lurlene McDaniel novels (4th Grade, maybe?)
This was another Mrs. Hart rec. The ones I vividly remember reading were Telling Christina Goodbye, Baby Alicia is Dying, and Don’t Die, My Love. (Yeah. They were real uppers.) I was obsessed with them and recommended them to every single one of my friends, who loved them too, which made me feel like a book guru, or something. These were also the first books that ever made me cry. Mostly, I think it’s that these stories were the very first time it occurred to me that not everyone gets a happy ending, even when they deserve one.
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (4th-6th grade)
I mean….. Is an explanation really needed? These were the first fantasy books I ever read. My man friend and I are currently re-reading them aloud together. It’s fun.
So B. It by Sarah Weeks (5th grade)
This novel is about a 12 year old girl, Heidi, with a special needs mother who is taken care of by an agoraphobic neighbor, Bernadette, who can’t leave her house due to past trauma. She travels to an entirely new city on the bus to find out where her father is and learns a lot about herself. Until I read this, I had no idea that some kids had to take care of themselves. I was naïve to the fact that children can have all the love in the world (Heidi’s mom and Bernadette loved her deeply and did the best they could for her) but still have to become grownups, picking up the slack when needed.
Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles (5th grade)
It just occurred to me that this list is really freaking morbid and sad. This was another pretty intense book about a 10-year-old named Comfort who has attended 249 funerals in her lifetime, but still has a lot to learn about death, grief, and moving on. I read this book and thought of my granddaddy the whole time, who died when I was seven but is still very much missed, and cried and cried for Comfort and myself.
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (7th grade)
You may be judging me right now and I’m totally okay with that. Twilight was my transition from children’s literature into YA and omg I loved the shit out of these books. I still do. I make no apologies. They are gold. It’s also important to recognize how they changed the YA market. Twilight was the first YA novel in my lifetime that ever blew. the hell. up. and it paved the way for so many other novels, like The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc. and it sparked so many new readers. (granted, lots of kids read it to trash it and brag about their “more sophisticated” book tastes *rolls eyes for eternity* but, hey: a reader is a reader is a reader)
Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kid (7th grade)
Secret Life of Bees is quite possibly the most poignant book I’ve ever experienced. It put me in such a book slump because I couldn’t find anything to read that filled me up like it did. It’s beautiful, tragic, and touching in equal parts and I am still searching for a book I like just as much. It introduced me to historical fiction, which I still love. If you haven’t done so, read it now. You will not regret it.
City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau (7th grade)
We read this aloud in my 7th grade reading class and I literally cannot tell you anything about it except that my entire class was obsessed with it. We would beg our teacher to keep going, even after the bell rang, and then talk about what had happened/would happen next class. It was the first time being consumed with a book was trendy in my school.
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick (10th grade)
This story turned me into the contemporary-loving human I am today and is still the best one I’ve read to date. I’d gone through so many before this, but all of them came across a little cheesy, or the characters were too obnoxious with problems that were drug out and exaggerated. This is a genuinely good book in addition to being fun and cute. Highly recommend!
That’s it for my list! What’s on yours?
Until next week!