Welcome back to Top 5 Tuesday, a wonderful meme by the equally wonderful Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm! This week’s topic is “Top 5 Books I Don’t Talk About Enough.”
I will admit, this category stumped me for quite a while. After all, if I like a book, I’m obviously going to shout about it to the heavens, right? I’m not sure if there’s a book that I don’t talk about enough. It took a lot of searching through my bookshelves and rereading old blog posts and looking through my GoodReads shelves to figure out what I haven’t talked about enough on this blog. So, without further ado, have a gander at the books I don’t talk about nearly enough!
Airman by Eoin Colfer
I’ve probably read this book a dozen times. It’s a wonderful story, and a very quick read, too, even though the book looks a little intimidating when you first pick it up (it’s about 400 pages or so). It’s the classic story of good vs. evil, but with a little bit of a steampunk twist. Not actual steampunk, mind you, but you get a very steampunk-y feel out of the story when you read it, particularly due to the Martello Tower and the actual Airman suit itself.
I reviewed this book a few months back, and I think I’ve mentioned it in a few other blog posts, but I don’t think I’ve given it the respect it deserves. Eoin Colfer is an amazing author, and while the book itself is rather simple in terms of language, and the characters may be a bit too exaggerated (the villain is certainly dastardly, and the hero more than excels at anything he attempts), it remains one of my favorite books to this very day. It’s certainly worth reading at least once. You may not find it as great as I did, and that’s okay. It will remain on my favorites list for a long time.
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
This is, hands-down, my all-time favorite kids fiction book. My sister, being the absolutely wonderful person she is, even got me a t-shirt with the cover of this book on it. She had no idea I had been eyeing it about a year earlier but never bought it. I was so happy, and she was happy she’d remembered my favorite book.
I haven’t reviewed this book on the blog yet, because I don’t think I can do this book justice. It’s full of puns and ferocious wordplay that I have yet to see in any other novel. It’s easy to follow. I was first introduced to this book in fifth grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Drumgoole, read it aloud to us, one chapter at a time. I remember being absolutely entranced by it, and when the bookstore on base (I was living in Germany at the time) didn’t have the book, I had to wait until summer when we visited my grandma in Mississippi to purchase a copy for myself.
I try to reread this book at least once a year, because, just like Airman, while it looks really long, it’s a pretty quick read. There are a ton of wonderful line-art illustrations, too, and they really bring the characters in the novel to life. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up from the library, and soon you’ll find yourself adding a copy of it to your bookshelves because you won’t want to live without it. (Honestly, though, I’ve yet to hear anyone say anything bad about this book.)
The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell
Okay, so I may be cheating here, but The Edge Chronicles were a large part of my childhood. While a lot of people (including myself) were reading A Series of Unfortunate Events, I was also reading The Edge Chronicles. You thought ASOUE was depressing? Try your hand at living on the Edge. The characters were well-developed, and the way the story was developed was heartbreaking.
This is a series of nine books, but technically it’s a trilogy of trilogies. The first three books deal with Twig, the second three deal with Twig’s Father and how he came to be, and the last three books deal with Rook and what happened after Twig released Sanctaphrax. I think they’ve relabelled the books so that they are in chronological order, but when they were first released, chronological order was 4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9. It was a little confusing.
There are some really detailed illustrations throughout the novels, and the storyline will keep you entranced until the end, or at least so it was with me. If you’re looking for a series that not many people have read (at least in my own experience), take a look at these. They may be written for middle/early high schoolers, but they’re still a great series in their own right.
The Lost Years of Merlin by T. A. Barron
Again, this is a series, so I’m probably cheating. But at this point I don’t particularly care. I discovered this series in eighth grade, when my aunt gave me The Great Tree of Avalon as a Christmas present. I read the book, then discovered there were prequels, and promptly went out and bought them. They’ve renamed the series and the individual books twice since I originally read them, but that shouldn’t deter you from picking them up. (I had to hunt for the last two matching covers on eBay because they were out of print by the time I finally attempted to complete my collection!)
This is the story of a young boy who discovers the lost island of Fincayra, and comes to find his true name and who he is destined to be. Obviously, since the title of the series includes the name Merlin, this is about Merlin’s beginnings. This has been done several times over, but I’ve always loved the King Arthur myths, and seeing a different take on Merlin’s beginnings is interesting.
If you’re a fan of Camelot mythology, or simply a fan of sassy teenagers, I’d suggest picking this one up. It may be a little dated (it was originally written in the 90s, after all, nearly 20+ years ago), but I think it still holds up really well. And once you’ve read these, you’re all set to read The Great Tree of Avalon series (which, I think they’ve renamed entirely and have as a continuation of the Merlin series; honestly, I don’t know what’s going on with the publisher but I’ll take whatever of Barron’s writing I can get!).
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
This is a series I was obsessed with for a little while. I think the first two books are by and far the best (with, obviously, the first book being the best), but I’m not even going to mention any of them aside from the first one.
I’ve always been a Peter Pan fan, and seeing Peter’s beginnings in a different way is refreshing. I love the entire concept of Starcatching, and I love the way the girl in the novel is not your stereotypical damsel in distress. She’s smart in her own right.
The illustrations in these books are also very detailed and entertaining. At one point, the villain flies a giant bra as his ship’s sails, complete with an illustration so we don’t have to imagine it in our head. How cool is that?
It may be written for younger kids, but I think that for anybody with even a passing interest in Peter Pan, it’s well worth the read.
So, I realize that all of these books are more YA fiction or younger. I think that’s because I’ve bragged about a lot of the books I’ve read lately, and because the majority of the books that I’ve read in the past six years have been for class, so these are all pre-college readings. I’ve still read some books on my own time (obviously), but I’ve already talked about all the great ones I’ve read on this blog. These are ones I’ve either mentioned briefly or not at all, and I think they still deserve a place on my shelf and should be read by others, too.
Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with me, or do you have a different opinion? Please let me know in the comments!
And as always, keep reading.