This week’s topic: Top Ten “Gateway” Books
These are in order of having read them—middle school up to the present.
The first biography I ever read. Possibly my first taste of nonfiction. I was enamored. I remember sitting in my middle school science lab wishing I was in the library reading Madame Curie.
A lady named Phyllis once gave me a copy of Little Women at her garage sale. She asked if I ever read it, and I told her I hadn’t. She said every little girl needed to read Little Women. I’m so glad she gave me that book. (Oddly, though, I never identified with Jo. Am I the only one?)
3. Hattie and the Wild Waves, Barbara CooneyThis is the book that got me interested in children’s picture books.
I recently re-read this to see if it held up. I’ll post a review here soon.
Just out of college, living in my efficiency apartment, just me, a couch, a TV that got two channels (poorly), and a lot of time to read. I headed to the public library every Saturday morning (my reward for doing the dishes). This is one of the first books I checked out there.
6. The Poet’s Companion, Kim Addonizio & Dorianne LauxThis was one of my very favorite books on poetry and writing. I thought every word of it was perfect. I have no idea what I’d think of it now.
It’s really hard to choose just one book to represent my years and years of reading little else but fiction. This one comes pretty close, I think. It’s especially important to me because I taught English to Hmong high schools for three summers post-college.
Likewise, it’s impossible to narrow down years of poetry-reading and study to one book, but this one meant a lot to me because all of the poems were about her father becoming sick. I read it as my father was beginning his journey with Parkinson’s disease.
This book opened the world of classics to me. Not that I’ve read many classics, other than Austen’s other work, since. I now have a feeling they won’t be so intimidating. Especially since I don’t have to read and analyze their images, metaphors, diction, etc.
10. No Higher Honor, Condoleezza RiceThis is the book that tore down the “fear of big books wall.” To date, it’s the biggest book I’ve read.