Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Childhood Favorites (updated 2019)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week.

This week’s top ten topic is Childhood Favorites  — a topic I featured back in 2013. And you know what? While I might be tempted to add another ten, there isn’t a single one of my original choices that I’d want to remove. So, once more with feeling… ten favorite books from my distant past that have absolutely influenced me as a reader…

1) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. In early readings, I wanted to be Beth (go ahead, psychoanalyze me based on that little fact!), then envied Amy her world travels, but finally came to appreciate Jo in all her prickly glory. Pop culture references to Little Women always make me happy — like when Joey read it on Friends. Classic, in so many ways.

2) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. It just never gets old. Me in 2013: I’m trying to convince my 10-year-old to read it, mostly so I’ll have a good excuse for rereading it myself. 2019 update: The 10-year-old is now 16, and still hasn’t read this book. But I’ve reread it myself, so all is well.

3) From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg. Seriously, wouldn’t you love to run away to live in a museum? This books was responsible for my mad scribblings, throughout my youth, of a whole bunch of half-written stories involving running off to exotic locations and having crazy adventures.

10 kids 1

9 of my top 10 childhood favorites — I can’t believe I still have all of these!

4) Knight’s Castle by Edward Eager. I read this book as a kid and loved it — but years later, all I could remember was that it was about kids entering into an imaginary world throught their toy castle in the playroom. I had no idea about the title or author and was never able to track it down, until my daughter came home with Half Magic by the same author, and something just clicked into place.

5) The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I just adored these books as a kid, and didn’t know enough at the time to be bothered by some of the problematic elements. I loved Laura and her family, the crazy struggles for survival in harsh circumstances, and of course, the love story between Laura and Almanzo. Whoa, those blizzards! I still get cold thinking about the kids trying to get home from school during a wild snow storm. Brrrrr.

merry rose

Merry, Rose, and Christmas Tree June

6) Merry, Rose and Christmas Tree June by Doris Orgel. This story of a girl and her dolls just really stuck with me, and it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I finally tracked down a copy. The fact that it’s illustrated by Edward Gorey just makes it even more of a win.

7) The All-of-a-Kind Family series by Sydney Taylor. My sister and I could not get enough of these books about a Jewish family living on the Lower East Side of New York in the 1920s. Inspiration for many a game of make-believe at our house — we even asked to take on dusting chores so we could play the button game. (If you’ve read the books, you’ll understand).

8) Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White. Oh, come on, admit it — you cried when you read this one, right?

9) Tall and Proud by Vian Smith. I went through a phase where I read everything I could get my hands on about horses.* The only thing better than a horse book was a book about a girl fighting a dreadful illness. So what could be better than this terrific book (out of print now, I believe) about a girl with polio who learns to walk again for the sake of her horse?

*I felt like I should only include one horse book on this list, but it was a close call — so here’s my special little shout-out to the books of Marguerite Henry, most especially, Misty of Chincoteague, Stormy: Misty’s Foal, and Mustang: Wild Spirit of the West.


Horse books!

10) Light a Single Candle by Beverly Butler. In the same spirit as #9, this book about a girl dealing with blindness really resonated with my tween-self’s love of fictional heroines bravely battling illness, disability, or some other dramatic/tragic life event.


It’s really hard to stop at ten (or 10-ish, since I included extra horse books!).**

**I realize that I excluded Judy Blume’s books, which should certainly be on this list — but since I did a whole post about Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret last year (actually 2012), I figure I’m covered already.

What are your favorite books from childhood? If you did a TTT post this week, please share your link!


Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2012

Top 10 Tuesday newTop Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Favorite New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2012

Well, that’s a mouthful, isn’t it? While much of what I read in 2012 was by tried-and-true favorite authors, and still more were books in ongoing series, I did have the pleasure of trying many authors for the first time. Without further ado, and not necessarily in any discernible order, here are my top ten for 2012:

1) Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity, one of my very favorite books of 2012. This is yet another example of a YA novel that should be read by everyone. With an amazingly intricate plot and unforgettable characters, Code Name Verity left me breathless and teary-eyed.

2) Patricia Briggs — I was so happy to stumble across her phenomenal urban fantasy series centering on Mercy Thompson, full of werewolves, shapeshifters, vampires, and fae. The series is well-written and exciting, and I can’t wait for more!

3) John Green — Including John Green in this list may be a bit of a cheat, as I’ve read something co-authored by John Green before 2012 (Will Grayson, Will Grayson, cowritten with David Levithan), but The Fault In Our Stars was the first book I’d read by John Green alone. It left me a completely tear-stained mess, but I loved it immensely and am now on a mission to read more of his novels.

4) Bill Willingham – Author of the amazing Fables graphic novel series, which I fell madly in love with this year.

5) Maria Semple — I loved Where’d You Go, Bernadette, and am on the wait list at my local library for the author’s earlier novel, This One Is Mine.

6) Gillian Flynn – Wow, was Gone Girl an amazing ride! I definitely want to read the author’s two earlier novel, Dark Places and Sharp Objects.

7) Eowyn Ivey — Her descriptions of frontier life in Alaska were so real, I needed an extra sweater. The Snow Child was a magical read, and I’d love to read whatever the author writes next.

8) Carl Hiassen — Believe it or not, I’d never read anything by this bestselling author until my son and I decided to read his newest book for children, Chomp. What fun! I’m not sure whether his adult fiction is for me, but I’ll certainly look forward to reading more of his children’s books.

9) Ransom RiggsMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was weird and wonderful, full of deliciously odd photos. Altogether enjoyable, and I can’t wait for the sequel.

10) Charles de Lint — I know he’s written a lot of books and has a loyal following, but somehow this author had never made it across my radar until I picked up a copy of The Mysteries of Grace, which I really enjoyed. More, please!

I’m looking forward to all the new discoveries that await me in 2013!


Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing Me

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different topic for a top 10 list each week. This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Book I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing Me

Before jumping in, let me preface this post by saying that I’m using “Santa” in the metaphorical sense. I have never received nor do I anticipate ever receiving a visit from Santa. It’s not that I’m naughty (at least not on a daily basis) — I just don’t swing that way, religion-wise.

So onward to the top 10 books I wouldn’t mind receiving this holiday season. Bear in mind that my loved ones usually shy away from buying me books, since chances are either a) it’s something I want to read and I already own it; b) I’ve already read it but thanks anyway; or c) it’s sooooo not my taste — don’t you know me at all? As a result, just about all of the books currently on my shelves are books that I’ve bought myself, and everything else that I’ve read has come from the library. I’m difficult, I admit it.

Therefore, my top 10 list consists of books that I’d LOVE to receive as gifts but either haven’t bought for myself (because I haven’t gotten around to it yet or they’re just not available), OR they’re books that seem wonderful but would feel like too much of an indulgence to buy for myself.

1 & 2) Two pop-culture celebrations top my most-wanted list: Firefly: A Celebration is what appears to be a lovingly produced tribute to Joss Whedon’s Firefly series, filled with photos, scripts, behind-the scenes looks, and more. Buffy: The Making of a Slayer is a hardcover, slipcased edition that is, according to Amazon, “the first authorized, fully illustrated retrospective” of the hit series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Both are priced at about $30, which puts them into my luxury book items category. Unless there’s a huge price drop at some point, I probably wouldn’t get these for myself — but if any family members happen to be reading this, consider this a huge hint droppage.

3) I find myself rather intrigued by Building Stories by Chris Ware, which is a graphic novel that comes in a box and consists of 14 separate pieces that can, if I understand correctly, be read in whatever order you’d like. I’m not sure that I need to own this, but boy, would I like to open it up and play with it.

4) The Rolling Stones 50 by The Rolling Stones. 352 pages, over 1,000 illustrations! It sounds like a real treat for Stones fans, but I’m certainly not die-hard enough to spend $60 on it. I’d be perfectly happy to just look through it once or twice at a friend’s house, to be honest. Still, if it turned up as a gift, I certainly wouldn’t say no.

5) My Ideal Bookshelf by Thessaly La Force and Jane Mount. Can I just tell you that I’m in love with this book? I mean, I really love everything about it. The concept is just lovely:

The books that we choose to keep –let alone read– can say a lot about who we are and how we see ourselves. In MY IDEAL BOOKSHELF, dozens of leading cultural figures share the books that matter to them most; books that define their dreams and ambitions and in many cases helped them find their way in the world. Contributors include Malcolm Gladwell, Thomas Keller, Michael Chabon, Alice Waters, James Patterson, Maira Kalman, Judd Apatow, Chuck Klosterman, Miranda July, Alex Ross, Nancy Pearl, David Chang, Patti Smith, Jennifer Egan, and Dave Eggers, among many others. With colorful and endearingly hand-rendered images of book spines by Jane Mount, and first-person commentary from all the contributors, this is a perfect gift for avid readers, writers, and all who have known the influence of a great book.

Not only that — check out the artwork! I could spend hours staring at these paintings of book spines. And what’s more, you can buy prints of many of the shelves from the artists’ website (… and, if you’re willing to shell out some $$, you can order a custom original painting of your own ideal bookshelf. Love, love, love.

6 & 7 & 8) It’s graphic novel time! I’ve been reading a lot more graphic novels this past year, and the more I read, the more I want to read. My choices here are some graphic novels that have been out for a while. The idea of trying to catch up and read the whole series for any of these is rather daunting. Still, if my metaphorical Santa decided to gift me with one or two of these, I’d be thrilled. My top picks for extravagant graphic novel gifts are:

  • The Walking Dead Compendium 1 & The Walking Dead Compendium 2: These massive paperbacks each encompass eight of the Walking Dead graphic novels and are over 1,000 pages in length, with a retail price of $60 each. I’ve missed the Walking Dead phenomenon completely so far, on the page and on TV, but I’m soooo tempted to dive in.
  • The five hardcovers that make up the Absolute Sandman collection each run about $100. But, hey, it’s Neil Gaiman! Considering the price, I’ll probably rely on my public library when I’m ready to tackle what I’ve heard is a masterpiece. Still, if a gift were to come my way…
  • Bone! It’s the Bone: 20th Anniversary Full Color One Volume Edition! The Bone series by Jeff Smith is marketed as a children’s series, but I found it engaging, funny, dramatic, and wonderfully drawn. What a world! And the stupid rat creatures are, hands-down, my very favorite stupid evil carnivores. My son has the Bone collection in paperback, but this hardcover special edition looks absolutely stunning.

And to wrap it all up, how about a couple more books about books?*455/1queenan1028.jpg

9 & 10) My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop (published by Black Dog & Leventhal) and One For The Books by Joe Queenan. I spend a good portion of each day either thinking about, writing about, or talking about books. These books about other people’s favorite books sound like perfect reading for a bookworm like me.

And there you have it, my top 10 pie-in-the-sky wishes for holiday gifts. Maybe most aren’t too realistic, but it’s awfully fun to fantasize a bit!

Here’s hoping that you find some reading goodies wrapped up in shiny paper with your name on them this year! Happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I just happened to stumble across this weekly event for book lovers, featuring a different topic for a top 10 list each week. So… here I go, jumping in!

Top 10 Tuesday newThis week’s theme:

Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For 2013

More or less in order of how badly I want to read them, here are my top 10 can’t-wait-for books of 2013:


1) Written In My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon: It may be a bit of a cheat to include this book, but this is the one I’m most looking forward to. Book #8 in the Outlander series will have fans in a swoon, I’m sure. The author has mentioned fall of 2013 as the likely publication date, and while I haven’t seen anything more specific than that, I’m putting it on my list and keeping my fingers crossed.

2) All Souls’ Trilogy, #3 by Deborah Harkness: Another one that’s not a sure bet, but boy, would I like it to be. According to the author’s website, this book has neither a title nor a release date, but count me in as one of the devoted fans of the series with fingers crossed hoping for a summer 2013 release.

3) Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger: Book 1 in Gail Carriger’s new Finishing School series, due out in February. I adored Ms. Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, and will absolutely read anything and everything she writes.

4) Tempest Reborn by Nicole Peeler: The sixth and final book in the Jane True series, due out in May.

5) Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs. The next installment in Briggs’s fantastic Mercy Thompson series, starring a shape-shifting auto mechanic and the werewolves and vampires of her acquaintance. Due March.

Tale for the Time Being

6) Fables, Volume 18: Cubs in Toyland by Bill Willingham: I got hooked, big-time, on this amazing series of graphic novels. Literary, smart, funny, and engrossing, Fables has it all. I’m counting the days until I can get my hands on the newest volume, due in January.

7) The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: Neil Gaiman falls into the category of “must read whatever he writes”, and I’ll be sure to read this new book when it’s released in June.

8) A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki: The new novel by the author of My Year of Meats, one of my all-time favorites. I don’t know what it’s about, but I have no doubt it’ll be weird and wonderful. Due March.

9) Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris: I’m kind of over the whole Sookie Stackhouse series, but I’ll still read this final book to see how the author wraps it all up. Due May.

10) NOS4A2 by Joe Hill: Joe Hill writes creepy, scary, excellent fiction. I’m looking forward to sleepless nights when this one is released in April.

Of course, that’s not counting the paperback releases I’ve been waiting for, or all the books already on my shelves that I hope to read in 2013.

Looks like we’re in for a very happy new year! Happy reading, all!