[Top Ten Tuesday] – #14 – Top Ten Gateway Books In My Reading Journey

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. I thought this would be a fun way to share a condensed version of potential rambles and thoughts that I have.

This Week’s Theme:
Top Ten Gateway Books
In My Reading Journey

Initial Thoughts:

So April Fools, right? I had this thought of throwing off readers by stirring the pot and delving into choices that would sound absurd as a gateway book…but I can’t make cookie cutter judgments without reading the novels that I’d likely nominate. Alas, another run of the mill list will be produced. But more importantly, this journey of a list is more of a throwback and overall progression of gateway books corresponding to a particular age group. The books listed are in no particular order in each category and link up to their respective Goodreads sites.

Age Category: Zygote – Preschool

thoughts: just chillin’ like a villain.

0. N/A

Age Category: Elementary School (Morning SK – Grade 8)

thoughts: seeking out reads with minimalist required effort.

No titlethe bfg - roald dahl (cover)oh the places you'll go - seuss (cover)

1. Jean Marzollo – I Spy

The gateway book of all gateway books. A picture book with stellar one liners that could keep me occupied for several minutes (or longer). This is literally your average child’s treasure trove of reading during library period (if you had this at your school). I remember there were only a few copies available and no one would share…

2. Roald Dahl’s BFG & Dr. Seuss’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

I didn’t particularly read a lot either author to begin with but I do remember these two in particular (and the old-school Lorax movie). You can’t be at fault for picking up any of Dahl’s or Seuss’ books. Literally, just grab one and enjoy.

animorphs cover chicken soup coverharry potter - jk rowling (cover)

3. Katherine Applegate – Animorphs

I actually don’t remember how many novels in the series I read (not many) because I also watched this show whenever it aired. And as one of my first true dabbles in science-fiction, it seemed pretty rad and entertaining at the same time – so props for that. Additionally, it’s cool to see actors of way back then still somewhat relevant. Well, actually, it was more of an “Oh, hey, it’s that kid!” when I first saw Shawn Ashmore  in the X-men franchise but also more importantly in The Following (which still sort of gives me the hebejebes.

4. Jack Canfield – Chicken Soup for the X Soul

Not particularly memorable stories in the lot of these books (I think I’ve only read the original “…for the Soul” and “…for the Teenage Soul”) but they were still very present during this phase of growing up. I think there’s a lot of feel good contemporary content (for the most part, at least) in these books that make it easy reading and one of the earliest realistic fiction reads I can think of.

5. J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter

Ah yes, I remember when this blew up and I was one of the first kids at school to bring Bertie Botts. Then I got super lazy and didn’t continue reading this past the third novel after discovering how easy peasy it was to just watch the movie. Now I’m not saying it’s a replacement…but my adolescent mindset certainly favoured running around like an idiot outside and gaming as opposed to reading (except this might be a bad sample size to make this comment to…)

Honorable Mentions: Kenneth Oppel’s Silverwing. Gertrude Warner Chandler’s The Boxcar Children. R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps.

Age Category: High School (Grades 9 – 12)

thoughts: development of sci-fi elements as my core reading interest while growing to enjoy writing more (had a fanfiction.net account…) although creative writing class was a real bitch.

margaret atwood - oryx and crake (coer)handmaids tale cover coraline cover

6. Margaret Atwood – Oryx and Crake // Handmaid’s Tale

I just realised how much high school novel studying was a driving force behind my speculative fiction/science-fiction in my reading (beginning early with John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids) and ending with Handmaid’s Tale – with a sleuth of other books intertwined therein (namely P.D. James’ The Children of Men and Ayn Rand’s Anthem.)

7. Neil Gaiman – Coraline

For the most part, you can do no wrong with any Neil Gaiman novel. Some of his novels are more content heavy than others (in my opinion, at least), but Coraline is a good quick read to introduce anyone into his mind.

Honourable Mentions: J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and other sci-fi placeholders like George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

Age Category: University

thoughts: I didn’t really read that much until the latter half of my studious career. Most reading was business-oriented textbooks. Super fun right?

acts of resistance - pierre bourieu (cover)divergent - veronica roth (cover)hunger games - suzanne collins (cover)

8. Pierre Bourdieu – Acts of Resistance: Against Tyranny of the Market

This was an assigned reading for apparently thought-provoking business ethics discussions in my third year of study. Can’t say this really got me back into reading since I rarely understood the radical thinking this book delves into, but it was still a read that I can say returned me to holding an actual itty bitty paperback – not that massive three-pound textbook nonsense.

9. Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games // Veronica Roth’s Divergent

Both of these novels came at a time when my gaming ventures was stagnating (not saying I’ve stopped gaming though). Truthfully, I think it was the first trailer of The Hunger Games that really perked my interest due to my relative enjoyment of the Battle Royale film. I think this might have been the book that got me back into reading. And although the trilogy was already released, I decided to wait until each movie came out prior to reading each next instalment.

This isn’t the same for Divergent (because I didn’t know there was a movie deal at the time) so I just devoured the first two novels and the third one on the day Allegiant came out. It’s one of the first trilogies that I actually tried to finish and one that made me complain about novels to Savindi. So what does this result to? I’d say Allegiant is my gateway book into the whole concept of critical review blogging.

bookcover-more-than-this-patrick-nessbookcover-the-5th-wave-rick-yanceyBook Cover - Backward Glass by David Lomax

10. Patrick Ness’ More Than This, Rick Yancey’s The Fifth Wave, David Lomax’s Backward Glass

So before I actually started reviewing/rant blogging, I wrote reviews to two of these books way in advance as a way to vent out my thoughts. They’re all somewhat unique additions to my speculative/science-fiction additions and reads that I enjoyed quite a bit. And with the near-end of one chapter of schooling, my enjoyment of reading generally returned and here we are: me spamming my keyboard and you reading said nonsense.

Age Category: Meandering Adulthood

10.1. Just chillin’ like a villain (always)…but truthfully: undefined and always looking for that next read to spark interest in a particular genre or particular narrative element that speaks to me.


So yeah, this is more of a throwback post than any introduction to x genre list. Did you read any of these books in any phase of your life? Think I should have read something else in a particular agegroup? Shoot me a message and we can keep the dialogue going!


28 thoughts on “[Top Ten Tuesday] – #14 – Top Ten Gateway Books In My Reading Journey”

  1. Quick question – did you get around to finishing the HP books?! Love reading your posts, there’s definitely more female than male book bloggers out there from what I can tell, and less again who read similar books to me, I like getting a male book geek perspective, not many of my guy mates are big readers either! 😦


    1. Nope. Definitely did not finish HP — although I can say that I’ve watched/skimmed the movies on more than one occasion? I think it’s pretty much down to willpower and my general fandom (more-so the former) at this point to want to read the full length post-film.

      And thanks so much! I’m definitely trying to make it a mission to coerce more of my guy friends to join the reviewing bandwagon (but efforts have failed thus far citing inability to string words together — which is a terrible reason in my opinion cause all I’m doing now is button mashing…) You should definitely keep nudging people to consider reading. I think all it takes is the proper book and potentially an upcoming novel adaptation trailer to incite some curiosity.

      It’s also quite doozy for me to choose what to read (and invariably review) since I can generally see trends what people read (not being judgmental at all though) and it’s these particular novels/hypes/genres that garner the most attention in my narrow mindset of what I’ve seen. So it’s good in a sense that there are these trends that push me to consider otherwise when picking up my next read because all things considered: I enjoy discussions and talking things through!

      ^^^^^^^^ that was long. I apologize (but not really).


      1. Argh!! (We’re having a book geek fallout here just to keep you in the loop) Please tell me you intend to finish them at some point? The movies are a pretty good adaptation to be fair but they definitely don’t compare to the books! Peeves doesn’t even exist in the movies!! I try to read the books first before I watch a version of them, but if I ever do it backwards I still try to get my hands on the original. I mean, it’s HP we’re talking about here. THAT should have been on your bookish bucket list last week!

        It’s interesting to see a guy’s perspective because I sometimes think of you guys as a different breed entirely (when it come to literature). I don’t know if guys would read and/or enjoy the same books girls do, do you read our soppy teen romances and ‘get’ our book-bfs we have soft spots for, or do you roll your eyes and think they’re lame? R x


        1. Well I don’t want to say no definitively but it’s highly unlikely? But however you spin in, nothing ever truly compares to it’s novel counterpart (although I thought Catching Fire was pretty stellar in that regard…). It’s truly just entertainment value forgone since I already watched it. I mean, to be honest, I’d rather read the novels before watching a movie too. But dude I was like super young and running around up to no good and playing video games. No time for that! Alas, laziness prevails, again!

          What a paradigm shift in table topics now.

          Okay, it’s definitely a plausible take to consider that guys read different things than girls and vice-versa. But realistically, I find, if something sparks an interest — why not give it a chance? Even the most damsel-in-distress, love-hexapentawhatevergon, dystopian novel with 5% plot, 1% char-development, 5% action and 89% (useless) damseling will still garner some form of male readership even at the slightest margin.

          Aligned with reading or any form of entertainment medium, some individuals so easily pass things off as “oh that’s so random” or “oh this is dumb/pointless/unnecessary”. So when you translate these ideas into book form, I can understand why you might see the jokes about misunderstanding the love story in Twilight (i.e. “Still a better love story than Twilight” meme). It’s all in perspective and it returns full circle to what they enjoy reading (i.e. pages of action and thrilling sequences versus pages of awkward moments before two individuals have their first romantic moment idk).

          So while I can’t speak for the majority, I can just say that in passing — some things are enjoyed more/less by others and that’s fair. Because in the end, to each their own.

          ^^^^^^ Man, sorry for another long reply LOL… (I had more content to go into buuuut my head started to hurt).


          1. …You’ll read them some day, I can be pretty persuasive… lol

            “…damsel-in-distress, love-hexapentawhatevergon…” LOVE IT.

            I feel my response is inadequate to your essay, but basically I was going to say this conversation has sparked a bit of an idea, you could talk about books you love (top 5, top 10…) that are stereotypically regarded as being for a female audience… Interesting, no?

            R x


            1. Responses are never inadequate!

              I could, maybe, do that in a future Top Ten freebie but I’d have to work out books that I can actually back. There are definitely some thoughts in the above replies that spark interest in further potential discussion posts that I could maybe use for my Think Aloud tag. But I guess I need to figure out how to approach it without sounding pompous or anything…


                1. Nah. I’d take ownership of the ranting.

                  It’s certainly one of those potentially iffy topics that probably simmered in my mind but you brought it to my attention! But definitely let me know if you have more potential ideas we can work out and throw back and forth (and maybe we can start a weekly/monthly discussion topic/prompt/meme out of it)


  2. Anamorphs! I totally forgot about them… and now I’m I will have to find them in the backs of our dusty shelves for new generations… I wonder if you can get the show on DVD these days?


  3. I really like the way you organized your post. It was easy to see your journey through reading. I didn’t even think about the Chicken Soup for the Soul books! They definitely played a part in my reading development. Neil Gaiman was a close contender on my list too, so I’m glad to see some appreciation for him here. 🙂


    1. Thanks! Always great to see ideas that flow out of my keyboard smashing make sense with some degree of logical flow. The only negative I truly had with the Chicken Soup series is that I guess non of the stories really stuck to me the way full-length stories do. But they’re otherwise great reads.


  4. Gosh, for a time there, it wasn’t possible to be part of a group without having a chicken soup book geared toward you. Chicken Soup people covered their bases.


    1. I was actually generally fine with the beginning and the end of Allegiant (off the record: I am not one of those fans who sent hate mail to Roth). It was the middle portion that kind of killed it for me. 😦 But all things being equal, assuming the middle portion was Allegiant was “okay”, I agree that Insurgent was the weakest of the three (except that cliffhanger ending though; ugh, I remember reeling at that moment).


  5. I love that you got to share your reading journey through the various reading stages in your life. Yes to Chicken Soup for the Soul, gosh, those were the days. I forgot to include that in my list… 🙂


  6. YAY Gaiman! Oh yea and Patrick Ness, love him! Although I’ve never heard of More Than This so I’m gonna have to check that out. I’ve been wanting to read some of Atwood’s work, especially The Handmaid’s Tale, I’ve read a lot of good stuff about it.
    Great List and great taste 😉
    Thanks for stopping by yesterday Joey xoxox
    Michelle ~ Book Hangovers Blabs Books


  7. Great list!!! The Handmaid’s Tale is on my list too but I couldn’t get into Oryx and Crake. I keep thinking that maybe I should give it another go but I’ve never really got around to it. I’ve only just discovered Neil Gaiman’s writing but I’ve started to work my way through his books. I absolutely loved Neverwhere and plan to read Coraline with my class some time this year!


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