Friday 4 November 2011

Top 5: Gateway Books (Plus Follow Friday)

This week for TGIF, Ginger asks "Gateway books: Which particular books opened you up to a new genre?" Here are my top five...

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. My gran gave me a copy of this book when I was little, because I was so obsessed with the musical Oliver! Obviously it went way over my head, but it was the first classic I remember attempting to read. Later, my grandad bought me a whole heap of abridged classics that gave me an even greater taste, and as I got older I returned to them and Oliver Twist and quickly fell in love. By the time I was 17, I was a fully-fledged classic lover, going on to study English Literature at uni.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I've read dystopian novels before - such as George Orwell's 1984, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and P. D. James' Children of Men - and while I did appreciate them, I still wasn't a massive fan of the genre as a whole. Which is why I was resistant to The Hunger Games for a very long time, until finally the hype became too much and I caved. Thank goodness I did, because I freaking loved the series - so much that I decided to give dystopian books more of a chance. 

Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares. When I was at uni, I had a friend who was really into YA. Not gonna lie, I judged her on it. I thought she was too old to be reading silly teen trash, and saw it as, well, really dorky (clearly I was going through a pretentious stage or something). Then, for my birthday, she gave me Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, one of her favourites. I'd seen the movie and enjoyed it (for some reason, I didn't turn my nose up at trashy teen movies as much as books), so one summer day I decided to give the book a go. I LOVED it, and devoured the whole series within a week. Needless to say, it caused me to do a complete 180 in my views of YA , not to mention made me feel pretty damn guilty - and silly - for being so judgey.

Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding. This was the first adult chick lit I read, and what a book to start the genre with! It made me laugh out loud more than any other book I could remember reading, and it still makes me giggle every time I read it. It's such a fun read, and Bridget's inner monologue is so easy to identify with. The experience of reading BJD has made me pick up many a chick lit book, with mixed results.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Ah, Twilight. I have a feeling I'll see this on many lists in answer to this question. It seems that Twilight introduced a lot of people to a lot of things, whether it be reading in general or a particular genre. For me, it was the first paranormal romance I really read. I picked it up not long after I started working at Girlfriend, curious to see what was sending so many teen girls (and, for that matter, adult women) ker-razy. Like so many others, I got completely sucked in, and went on a binge of vampire/paranormal romances for the next few months. Too much of a good thing meant I went off the genre completely for a while after that, but now I like to mix the odd PNR with contemporary, literary and other types of fiction.

P.S. This weeks Follow Friday question from Alison Can Read and Parajunkee's View is: "We want to see what you look like! Take a pic with you and your current read! Too shy? Boo! Just post a fun pic you want to share." Because it's 11.15pm here and I'm not exactly ready for my close-up, here are some pics of me with my favourite author, Charles Dickens, instead. Or the closest I'll ever come to him, anyway.

At Madame Tussauds

At Dickens' house in London

Happy Friday everyone!


  1. It's amazing to see the unexpected types of reads we all end up falling for --- I guess those famous words are true --- we really shouldn't judge a book by it's cover! All fabulous picks, lady!

  2. The Hunger Games was my first dystopian novel as well, and I'm happy to report that so far, I've loved all the succeeding ones I've read. :)

  3. Fun pics!

    My hubby and I have pics like this from Madame T in Las Vegas.

    Aren't those places the best?

    Twilight was the book that brought me to YA. I'm eternally grateful to SM for that.

  4. Cute pictures! I love Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Bridget Jones's Diary! Great choices!

    Here's mine:

  5. Great book pics. I guess you really love Dickens eh? PS cute pics!!

    My TGIF Post

    ♥ Melissa @ Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

  6. Great pics! You're so lucky you've been to London! Hopefully I'll get to go there soon too :) Happy Friday!

    Here's my FF!

  7. Great pictures Belle. I'm in the minority, do not enjoy dystopian.

  8. I like the pictures. I really need to read BJD. I've only seen the movie and I love it but I need to read the book.

  9. Aaaah! You and ol' Charlie! Love it!

    The sisterhood books changed my life! Loved them. :)

  10. Hey there! New follower.

    Haha, I like your pic! Excellent! At least you got to meet an idol!

    You can find my FF here.

  11. Love the wax fun. What's your favorite book by Dickens?
    -Jenna @ Fans of Fiction (new follower)
    My Follow Friday

  12. I looove The Hunger Games, and Sisterhood. <3 Those are cute pictures too. :D By the way, I've given you an award on my blog:

  13. Hopping through. Yay for Twilight. I should read more Dickens. I wish I'd gotten into classical books earlier.
    My Hop

  14. Great pics. For me, Dickens is very hard to get in to. He is a brilliant writer. His novels are so intricate, not a character out of place or without purpose, but I just can't get the feel for him. I have watched the BBC productions of his novels and love watching how wonderfully he worked in setting up the story but I can't read his books. Yet they sit on my bookshelf of beloved classics. Charlotte Bronte is my favourite author, even though Jane Austen wad my window into that world.

    The sookie stackhouse books got me into the para genre and opened me up to many other new genres.

  15. Great pics. New follower. My FF:

  16. Hyperbole and a Half is so awesome! I've followed the link and I'll probably spend an hour reading it now. The Sisterhood books were so great, and for me they came at that weird time when I didn't really want Middle Grade books anymore but the YA stuff was a bit intimidating.

    This is Your Brain on Books

  17. You look adorable! How fun is that wax pic! new follower here!