Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Gateway Books/Authors

This week's Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is about those Gateway Books or Authors in Our Reading Journey who got you into reading, or into reading a genre you never thought you'd read, or brought you BACK into reading.

Definitely this was a fun Top Ten list to consider--I focused on authors because when I find an author who works for, I tend to try to read everything they come out with.  I also had a blast coming up with the right illustrations for my authors.

Donna Leon - Leon's series of books featuring Guido Brunetti sparked an interest in Venice that has taken hold of me and just won't let go.  Now I seek out books--histories, novels, memoirs--about Venice.  Hoping to make it there this fall.




Nevada Barr - I've always liked mysteries, but Barr's Anna Pigeon series which features a lot of National Parks and a lot of hiking got me interested in both.  Now I walk daily and hike weekly, and make a point of planning vacations around visiting National Parks...truly one of America's best ideas! 




Mary Stewart - I'm not much of a Romance reader but my mom used to get British women's magazines from our town's newspaper/tobacco shop in the 1960's and I learned to read by reading the serialized Mary Stewart stories, complete with stirring illustrations!




Bill Bryson - My love of travel and travel memoirs can be traced to reading Bryson's oh-so-snarky travel books.




Jane Austen - Classics don't have to be big, scary, or filled with political ramblings that are incomprehensible to the modern reader.




Daphne du Maurier - I love psychological thrillers and DDM is the mistress of the genre.




James Michener - I love historical fiction and Michener hooked me early.




Margaret Forster - I didn't really start reading literary bios until my dad gave me Forster's bio of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and I fell in love with the genre.




Erik Larson - I love his histories that read like novels; Larsen's books made me go back and read In Cold Blood, the prototype of the genre in which Larsen shines.




Tracy Chevalier - Artifact-based fictionalized backstory. Love it!



13 comments:

  1. Mary Stewart and Jane Austen were big influences on me when I was a teen; I love their books, too. It took me longer to appreciate non-fiction books, but now I can't imagine NOT reading them. Great post.

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  2. Michener was my other choice for an author who taught me that epic, enormous books could be "unputdownable." Those opening pages in "Chesapeake" about the migration patterns of the geese remain with me 25 years after I read the book.

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    1. Chesapeake is on my TBR shelf--now I really want to drop everything and read it!

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  3. I forgot Centennial!! How could I forget Centennial?
    I managed to read this huge tome of a book when I was only 13/14. The series was on TV and I loved the big, sweeping history lesson and personal drama so much I had to read it myself....even the long early chapters all about geology and dinosaurs :-)
    I'm an historical fiction tragic to this day!

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  4. Great list Jane.

    years ago when I was in my teens a read a couple of sprawling James Michener books. I liked them. I particularly remember "Space", which at the time had a fairly big impression me.

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  5. Some great books on your list, Jane, including some by some of my favourite authors.

    I haven't read any of Mary Stewart's Romance books and that illustration with its text just doesn't appeal to me at all - a cold, salty kiss that seemed to last for ever - yuck! But I have just finished reading the 3rd book in her Arthurian Saga trilogy and thoroughly enjoyed it - no long fishy kisses in that book :)

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  6. Interesting and fun list, Jane. I like how books lead us into new things we would never explore otherwise. I would never have guessed that Nevada Barr would get you hiking! How wonderful :-) I love her mysteries, in one of my alternate wish lives I am a park ranger like her. Or a naturalist. I have some of Donna Leon's books so am getting ready to read this series. I do enjoy seeing how Jane Austen pops up on your lists! LOL

    I read James Michener many years ago, Centennial, Poland, are two I remember vividly. I hope he comes back into vogue, he was quite a good writer and I really enjoyed them. It's good to see him on your list.

    I'll have to think about what books have been gateways for me. An interesting post idea.

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  7. I just saw the comment on Chesapeake - I read that one too! Did you go on to read any of the Edward Rutherford books? London, Sarum, etc.

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    1. Actually Rutherford was the author I originally picked, and then realized that Michener had led me to Rutherford. I love his books--London is my favorite, but I also really like Sarum, New York, The Forest, the Princes and Rebels of Ireland. I want to read Paris next!

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  8. For some reason I was always scared to read Rebecca, thinking it was a "girly" book, whatever that means. I found myself loving it, and have read another novel and a short story collection of hers.

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    1. DMM's work is definitely not fluffy and overly romantic, if that's what you dub "girly." On the contrary, I find it sharp-edged, and at times even a-romantic. Rebecca is really a masterpiece of authorial manipulation :)

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  9. What you said in your comment above: 'Rebecca is really a masterpiece of authorial manipulation' describes the book so well. Loved it!

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