Top Ten “Gateway” Books

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

This week’s list features gateway books, or books that somehow sucked us into reading. It could be a book that sparked an interest in a new genre or brought you back to reading after a hiatus. I read a lot up until college, during which I only picked up books for fun during holidays t home, so I see my personal reading history broken into two time periods: books I read when I was a younger kid through high school age and those I’ve read in the last few years after graduation. So for this list, I”m going to focus on the books that led me to re-discover genres I loved and find new ones. Here they are:

TTT 4-1-14

1. Fantasy: When I was younger I loved The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis as well as The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein, but hadn’t picked up a great fantasy novel in awhile until a few years ago when I read the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey.

2. Fairy tale retellings: I’m not sure I know anyone who didn’t like fairy tales when they were young, but when I read Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley a few years ago, I fell in love with them all over again. More recently, the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer has renewed my interest because of her refreshing and modern twists on familiar fairy tales.

3. Mystery: I have always loved mysteries, from Nancy Drew to Agatha Christie. But, I hadn’t read one that realy captured my attention in awhile when I picked up Kathy Reich’s Deja Dead, the first in the Temperance Brennan series that the TV show Bones is based on.

4. Epistolary novels: This is less of a genre and more of a style format, but I have always loved books told in letters or diary entries, with the Dear America series being my absolute favorite as a kid. One I picked up recently that reminded me how much I love this style was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. If you can, listen to the audiobook of this one since there are individual readers for each character and it really makes the book come alive.

5. Contemporary Fiction: When I was younger I basically tried to read all of Sarah Dessen’s books, but my favorite was probably Keeping the Moon. I hadn’t picked up this genre of book in awhile when I read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (my review here) and it reminded me just how emotional this genre can be.

6. Paranormal/Urban fantasy: I didn’t read any books about vampires or werewolves when I was younger, but after reading the first book in the Twilight series, I knew I needed to find something with a little bit more of an edge to really see if I liked the genre. When I came across Patricia Briggs’s Alpha and Omega series, I was hooked.

7.  Dystopians: For me, it all started with Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Since the, I’ve pretty much grabbed any and all YA dystopians and recently have begun to think I’m actually getting a little burnt out on the genre. I may take a brief break from it, but I’m sure I’ll be back soon since I have so many favorites in this genre.

8. Nonfiction: I’ve never been a huge fan of nonfiction, but I read Bossypants by Tina Fey last year and realized that I might be missing out on some great nonfiction books. Now, I’m on the lookout for Mindy Kaling’s book for my next foray into nonfiction.

9. Steampunk: Again, I’m not sure if this is a genre all on its own, but its unique enough that it gets its own spot on my list. I’d never read any steampunk until I picked up The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge. I don’t hear much about this book, but I really enjoyed it and have gone on to pick up many other steampunks I’ve loved (such as Stormdancer, my review here) because this book introduced me to the genre.

10. Historical fiction: If you’d asked me when I was younger what my favorite genre would be, I would’ve said historical fiction (because of the Dear America series mentioned in #4 on this list). But, in the last few years I really haven’t read much other than The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak that I really loved. Any good suggestions for this genre?



  1. Great list! Yes, I agree wholeheartedly that Guernsey Literary should be listened to on audiobook… I loved that version, and think I would have missed out some if I had read it on my own. The Hunger Games introduced a lot of us to Dystopia I think. I’ve still got Bossypants, The Book Thief, and Mindy’s book on my TBR list – I think we have a lot of similar interests in books!

    Here’s my TTT!

    1. Yes – I love reading your lists and reviews because we read such similar things! 🙂 I’m glad someone else has listened to Guernsey Literary on audiobook and can appreciate it with me – it might be my favorite audiobook ever because it was just so well done in that format.

      1. I might have to agree with that statement, EXCEPT that right now I am listening to the audiobook of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The narrator is phenomenal, and I feel like I’m getting so much more depth and understanding of the main character by hearing the words versus reading them. It’s probably right up there with Guernsey as far as audiobooks go.

  2. This list is fantastic. I really need to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, The Book Thief is a beautiful novel. If you liked that, you may like Prisoner of Night and Fog (coming out April 22nd). If you have interest in women’s suffrage, A Mad, Wicked Folly is incredible!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s