Sunday, November 25, 2012

Top 5 Sundays #30 - The Books that Started Your Book Addiction!

This week's Top 5 list are those books that started my book addiction and, oh, did they ever! I was always an avid reader - I think by the time I hit grade five I had read every book in our school library and the good ones at least twice - but it was a select few that really let got me into the reading craze, allowed me to figure out what it was I was looking for in a good book, and taught me about my own tastes in reading material.

So, without further ado, my list!

#5 - Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

When the movie Queen of the Damned was released, I fell in love with Stuart Townsend's portrayal of the vampire Lestat. Naturally, like any good book nerd, I wanted to read the book the movie was based on for comparison purposes - and then meant starting at the beginning. Interview is not my favourite book is the series - Lestat is right when he says that Louis whines a lot - my favourite book is actually a tie between The Vampire Lestat and The Tale of the Body Thief. But Interview was my first step into the world of vampires; it gave me my first taste of them as something other than dracula and Buffy bad guys and really gave perspective on a species that really can live forever.

#4 - Witches of Eileanan by Kate Forsyth
For my thirteenth birthday, one of my friends gave me a $10 gift card for Chapters and, one day after a sleepover on the way to drop me off at my dad's work, my grandfather took me to the bookstore and stood patiently near by as I picked out my book. It was my very first time buying a book for myself in the adult section; all past books having come from the Teen and Children sections. Luckily for me, it turned out to be a great book that left me wanting more! Incidentally, the next four books in this series was given to me as a Christmas gift later that year by the very same grandfather who stood by and watched me pick this out. For the memories attached to these books alone...they are priceless.

#3 - Never Ending Story by Michael Ende
I found this in my school library in grade four and read it because it looked like a challenge - I'd never read a book that long before! Its length aside, however, between its pages I found a world full of magic and adventure that gripped my imagination tight and took me on one heck of a ride. I loved how this book turned out to be a story-within-a-story - sort of the literary equivalent of Jumanji. These sorts of stories always have such a great symbolism going on - after all, what else is a book but a portal to other worlds, an escape from our reality? I especially loved how the never-ending aspect of the story played out.

#2 - The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
After reading The Never Ending Story, my grandmother suggested seeing if The Hobbit was at the library. It was, but when I went to check it out the librarian said she thought it might be a bit too hard for my reading level. I admit, after that it was a matter of pride that I not only read it, but understood it too, thank you very much. (Ha, take that, Mrs. McDonald!) I loved that the idea of someone unassuming and apparently unheroic leaving the security of the life and home he knew to go out on a quest with virtual strangers to reclaim a lost treasure, a lost heritage without any real concept of the dangers and hardships that might lie ahead. Like Bilbo would one day go on to tell his young nephew, “It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

#1 - The Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin
Like pretty much every girl, I went from Dr. Seuss and Disney Classics to The Babysitters Club. I knew all their names (Kristy, Maryann, Stacy, Claudia, Dawn, Jessie and Mallory) and what their jobs were in the club. I even knew the order the rotation of narrators went in. I had my favourites (Maryann, with Dawn a close second) and my less-than-favourites (not a fan of Mallory and Jessie - just could not get into their perspectives). I loved that the story lines all dealt with real life issues any kid could face - Maryann having a boyfriend, Stacy coping with her diabetes, Claudia dealing with the death of her grandmother, Maryann and Dawn having their families merge, Kristy's mom remarrying and on it went. It was a great window into lives that might have been, all tied up in the bonds of friendship and teen years. It was awesome, pure and simple.

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