Top 10 Picks: Books That Made Me Discover My Love of Reading

Top 10 Picks is a meme hosted by Jillian @ Random Ramblings, in which she picks a new topic each week and we have to create a list of our top 10. This week’s topic is the top 10 books that made us discover our love of reading.

There’s no particular order to my list, but each book kept me hooked and positively influenced the way that I view literature. Some are remembered fondly as old friends, some still hold places of honour on my list of all time favourites. All helped turn me into a bookworm 😀

Awake and Dreaming by Kit Pearson

One of the best stories dealing with family that I’ve ever read, and there’s a nice blend of the supernatural mixed in. It’s a very heartwarming story, and Theo – the main character – is an easy character to connect with. Awake and Dreaming was published in ’96, so I assume I was about 9 or 10 when I read it, since it was a Christmas gift from my Nannie and it was new. This book was also my first introduction to Canadian lit.

The Baby-sitters Club by Ann M. Martin

The series that started it all. I devoured these books, and one of my earliest memories of reading involves the first one. I think I owned most of the books, and I know I owned all the super specials and super mysteries. I was never as in to the Little Sister books, but I did read a fair amount of them. I just really enjoyed that the story revolved around the lives of four friends (later, ten). It was all pretty ordinary, too – nothing crazy or supernatural (unless you count them being permanently in eighth grade, even after summer vacations).

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

I could go on and on about this book, so I’ll make sure to keep it short and simple. I read it for the first time around grade 4, and I related so well to this book it was crazy. I grew up in a small town like Jesse, and I spent most of my days out doors in the woods. My brother and I constantly used our imaginations and came up with crazy games and places. The friendship between Jesse and Leslie is also written wonderfully, and this book was the first time I came across an ending that was not all happiness and light.

Everworld by K. A. Applegate

While I never read Animorphs, I did read this series by K. A. Applegate. It was one of my earlier introductions into fantasy, and I can remember being fascinated with all the different Gods and Goddesses that showed up from various cultures (I was very into ancient cultures – still am, in fact). It’s a later read for me – starting in grade six – but the series is one of the reasons I began reading larger works of fantasy and fueled about two years of intense reading. I never did finish the series, and the books are incredibly hard to find now (and I can’t find the five I did own). Someday I’ll manage to find and buy the whole thing.

On Stage Please by Veronica Tennant

I started ballet lessons when I was seven, and continued right up until my first year of University. This book was like the holy grail of novels for me when I was younger. I believe I read it around the same time as Awake and Dreaming, and for a long time these two books occupied large spots in my mind. I wanted to be the main character in this book. I even auditioned for the Winnipeg Ballet School because I wanted to be like Jennifer and follow the dream of becoming a prima ballerina. It didn’t help that book was written by Canadian ballerina Veronica Tennant. She was a ballerina and wrote books – how could I not love On Stage, Please? When it began looking like I wouldn’t ever become a professional ballerina, I remembered the love I got from reading about it and turned more to books as a hobby.

The Circle of Magic by Tamora Pierce

The Circle of Magic books were the first ones I read by Tamora Pierce, but I went on to devour the Alanna books and the Wild Magic ones. Kick butt characters, entirely new worlds to explore and magic. These books had my imagination working over time and I just wanted more. I lost track of her newer stuff once I’d caught up, and moved on to other books in the wait time, but I made a point to read the four books in The Circle Opens. Tris, Briar, Sandry and Daja were like old friends. How could I not read more about them?

So You Want to be a Wizard by Diane Duane

This one led me on to seek out even more books dealing with magic, until I discovered that there were sequels! The magic in Diane Duane’s series is just so much fun (when it’s not being incredibly serious), and her characters really stand out. This series was one of the first that really let me know that I saw books as an escape. The more it was unlike the real world, the more I liked it. Oh, and have I mentioned that I’ve been reading this series for eleven years? I read So You Want to be a Wizard in 1999 and the ninth book was only just published this month. I can’t believe I’ve been this patient!

Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal

Do I really need to explain? These books were like a “must read” for anyone that grew up in the eighties and nineties. I was kept reading by the fact that there is so many of them! I turned into a bookworm just to get through the mass amounts (same with The Baby-sitters Club). But they were enjoyable at the time. I can’t quite bring myself to re-read any, because I don’t want to ruin the illusion of how amazing they were 😉

The Hollow Tree by Janet Lunn

This one had me searching out historicals and female-oriented adventure stories once I was done. Phoebe travels across a great distance, often by herself, through the woods, in order to get to Upper Canada during the American Civil War. The book had everything: adventure, romance, drama and loyalty to family. I wanted more like it!

Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

I recieved the third book for my thirteen birthday, and had to constantly wait for each new book after that. Second only to the Young Wizard series in wait time (six years), Harry Potter is one of my all time favourites. Again, it was the magic. Rowling’s world building is simply amazing, and this series gave me a crazy love for books that take place at boarding school.

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10 thoughts on “Top 10 Picks: Books That Made Me Discover My Love of Reading

  1. I LOVED So You Want To Be a Wizard! I haven’t thought of that book in forever, though.

    I’ve never liked the Circle of Magic, but I love Tamora’s other books. And Harry Potter is, of course, fantastic. Great picks!

    • Thanks! The Young Wizards is one of my favourite YA series, it’s just so much fun. I really liked the action, and descriptions of magic in the Circle books, and since they were the first Tamora books I read I’m pretty fond of them. My favourites by her are probably the Wild Magic books, though.

  2. Wow, Bridge to Terabithia — such a great book. I also read that when I was a kid, and loved it so much!

    Everworld was really good too. I actually read that one first before I started on the Animorphs series.

    Great to have you with us this week!

    • Thanks!

      I think Bridge to Terabithia is one of the books that influenced my love of reading the most. It’s just such an amazing story.

  3. wait wait, other people have read the So You Want to be a Wizard books?!?!?! omg i thought it was just me and my little sister, ive never heard anyone else talk about them! i adored them, especially the early ones. when they started being about her little sister who actually turned out to be a more powerful wizard (and there was inter-planetary travel maybe?) it didn’t quite work as well for me.

    but the scenes where she’s a whale in the hudson river…oh gosh and so many others stick with me in a powerful way to this day!

    • I absolutely LOVE the Young Wizards series. Books 1, 2, 4 (Ireland? Yes please!) and 5 are my favourites. I’m like you, though – no one ever talks about them so I’m always amazed when other people know what series I’m talking about! I was surprised my bookstore even got the newest one in stock, they rarely carry the older ones on hand. I’m seriously thinking about re-reading them all; it’s about time I stepped back into that world 🙂

  4. Interesting list– I’d like to read some of the fantasy ones. I’ve only read the Harry Potter series — but I’ve watched the Terebithia movie.

    :o)

    • If you enjoyed the movie of Bridge to Terabithia, you’ll like the book. The movie is one of the best book to film adaptations I’ve seen – it’s kept very, very close to the book. Ans definitely pick up So You Want to be a Wizard! It’s awesome 🙂

  5. Over and over, among teachers, I hear Babysitter’s Club as the wonderful series that sent them off into the world of the book. These are, sadly, mostly out of print. I must try one of these.

    • Scholastic is actually re-issuing the series. The first book is already out, and the rest are set to follow. You could probably always pick some up at a library, too – I’m sure most still carry them.

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