Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Top Ten Gateway Books

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's prompt is:

Top Ten Gateway Books

I love talking about books.  (Shocker.  I know.)  One of my favorite things EVER is when someone tells me they read a book based on my recommendation and loved it.   It might seem strange, but I also love it when people read books I recommend and HATED THE BOOK WITH A FIERY PASSION.  Why?  Because inevitably a heated discussion takes place about the book, and I come away with a new perspective that I perhaps hadn't previously considered.  Usually neither of us have changed our opinion, but I really, sincerely, genuinely love to hear why people think and feel the way they do about books.  

This is all to say, I take my book recommendations seriously.  I try to put a lot of thought and consideration in before suggesting a book to someone.  These grand, overarching top ten lists can be tricky for me, because they're to such a general audience.  I might suggest a different book to someone once I learn of their tastes and reading preferences.  So for this list, I put in two book recommendations per genre: a more classic book to introduce the genre, and another to give the reader another taste of the diversity within the genre.  Here's my list!

Pick 1: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Pick 2: 1984 by George Orwell
These are very different books with very different themes, but both fall within the same genre, showing the range within Science Fiction.

Pick 1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Pick 2: Graceling by Kristin Cashore
With Harry Potter you get the parallel worlds side of fantasy (where magic exists alongside us unseeing muggles) and with Graceling you see the other side of fantasy where entire worlds and realms are created, in addition to the magic system and races of fictional beings.

Pick 1: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Pick 2: 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma
Twilight has been dealt a lot of slack over the years, but whether or not you agree with its popularity, you've got to admit it's done a lot for the paranormal genre, and still stands as a pillar for the whole vampire/werewolf scene.  17 & Gone stands on a different side of paranormal, dealing with ghosts, and twisting the readers' perception of reality and insanity.

Pick 1: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Pick 2: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The dystopia genre has been so popular ever since The Hunger Games was published.  You really should read that series if you want to know what the genre is about, since so many of the books that came afterwards contain so many parallels to it.  But before The Hunger Games there was The Handmaid's Tale.  It's a slower and infinitely creepier novel, and shows how incredibly thought provoking the genre can be.

Pick 1: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Pick 2: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Both of these books are quite popular, for good reason.  I love my dragons, but sometimes you need a story set in your own world.  These books are primarily about relationships: your relationship with yourself being the most important.

Pick 1: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Pick 2: The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
So, at first the only historical fiction I could think of was set in WWII.  Apparently I really love reading in that setting.  But then I remembered this powerful book I read a few years ago, The Power of One.  It's not for the faint-hearted, but it is certainly a captivating and inspiring novel, and just as beautifully written as the more popular The Book Thief.

What would you add to this list?


  1. I like most of these books. I'm glad you're okay with people not loving some of your recommendations (mostly "The Fault in our Stars"- I'm sorry! It hurts my heart to tell you I wasn't a fan) because 98% of your recommendations are FANTAST. I've still never read, nor will I ever read, "Twilight". I just can't do it.

    But I did want to tell you that I read another Marcus Zusak. "I Am the Messenger." I LOVED IT. I really truly loved it. But I can totally understand how some would love it and some would hate it. I thought it was captivating and incredible and I couldn't put it down. It wasn't as awe-inspiring as "The Book Thief" and was written entirely differently, but that only makes me love Zusak more. He is very versatile. Anyway, add that to your impossible list of books that you should someday read. Just thought I'd give old Marcus another plug.

    Also, have you read any Neil Gaiman? I have mixed feelings about him on the whole but I can't deny that his stories are beautifully written. Sometimes I think he needs some work in plot drawing but the man can write. Read "Stardust" if you want an intro to his stuff.

    1. Hi Chief! I am surprised that you didn't like The Fault in Our Stars. It seems like it'd be up your alley. But hey. To each their own. I haven't read I Am The Messenger, but I've heard good things! I'll have to add that one to my (ever growing) recommended-by-Lizzie to-read list. :)

      I haven't read Neil Gaiman, but I've seen the Stardust movie... (Yes, I just became one of those people who talks about the movie without reading the book first. In my defense, I didn't know it was a book when I saw the movie. But I thought the movie was great! Mike and I actually own it. Good stuff.)


Hi! Thanks for your comment! I am currently being hit by a large amount of spam, so I've upped my comment moderating settings for the time being. I will revert back to more comment friendly settings once the spammers go back to the gutters from whence they came.