Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday (the first one for February!), hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl!
Is it bad that I’m worried about reading the other responses for this topic because like half of the other blogs I’ve seen submit their TTTs are younger than me, and seeing someone write that The Book Thief was published before they were born would absolutely gut me and make me feel ancient? I was born in 1994, so all books below were published before that date!
1 – Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki
It’s a graphic novel series, and it’s one of my favorite Studio Ghibli films. I received the entire collector’s edition manga set for my birthday in 2020, and read them all in two days. It differs greatly from the movie (well, the events of the movie cover the first 200ish pages, and then the manga continues for another 800 or more), but I absolutely loved it. There is some “fan service” in the manga (as there always seems to be), but it doesn’t bother me because at least Nausicaä is an adult.
2 – The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
I’m sure my husband would read this over my shoulder and be like “You haven’t even finished Wheel of Time; why are you saying it’s one of your top books written before you were born?” and then I’d have to throw a book at him to get him off my back. Because yes, I’ve stalled out on Book 7, and I don’t know why. I blame the pandemic. I do want to try and finish the series before the Amazon TV series comes out, though.
3 – The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
Did you think I’d leave this one off the list? I’ve read The Hobbit and all three Lord of the Rings books so far this year (I’ve skipped The Silmarillion, because my husband’s like “You don’t have the patience or the attention span to pay attention to sixty people whose names are all pretty much the same, so I think you wouldn’t have a good time with that), and maybe I’ll try The Children of Hurin or one of the other books I’ve got sitting on the shelf before the year is up.
4 – Redwall by Brian Jacques
Technically most of the series was published before I was born, because Jacques passed away sometime in the 2000s. And while this series is billed as a children’s series, I’m glad I didn’t try to read it until I was an adult. (Well, I did read Mattimeo as a middle schooler, and I couldn’t understand it so I gave up.) If you’re looking for a series that’s billed as happy-go-lucky woodland creatures have a good time eating and romping around, you’re in for a bad time.
5 – Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
I can’t tell you how many times I read this book when I was in elementary/middle school. Hundreds of times, most likely. I read it until it literally fell apart, and I took it to my school librarian and she gave me this little huff and went “Oh, honey. You can go buy a new one,” and went to throw it into the trash (!!!) but I cried and took it back, and her assistant took pity on me and taped it back together as best she could. (It was already secondhand when I bought it, and I wasn’t super gentle on my books when I was younger.)
6 – The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
I absolutely love this world and the way everyone talks. It’s one of those books that you read when you’re feeling down and you need a pick-me-up. My sister even bought me a Phantom Tollbooth shirt for Christmas a few years ago, and it’s the one that gets the most use in my closet. (I absolutely love graphic t-shirts, and I’ve been able to wear them a lot more in the past year because I’ve been working from home and don’t have to dress up.)
7 – The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun
While there have been some books published in this series in the past few years (long after I was born), the good books in the series were published in the 60s and 70s (you could tell when Braun started forgetting her world and her publisher just saw her as a cash cow, because things start getting very mixed up in the later books and she starts changing things she’d done in previous books, like killing off a fan-favorite character off-screen and he’s barely mentioned).
8 – Dracula by Bram Stoker
I thought about trying to keep classics off this list (because obviously they were published way before I was born), but I love the fact that Dracula was one of the earliest books (if not the earliest book) to use the “letters as a way of telling the story” thing (which I’m sure there’s an actual name for, but I can’t remember it), that books such as Illuminae have used in the time since.
9 – The Autobiography of Henry VIII, With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers by Margaret George
I’ve read Margaret’s Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots books as well, but I really enjoyed her “autobiography” of Henry VIII. While a lot of the book is set in historical fact, she does take a few liberties with some things. (Things I can’t think of at the moments, of course, but they’re there.) This is what launched me on a Tudor history kick a few years ago, and if you can take the length of the book, I’d absolutely recommend these to anyone interested in the Tudor timeline.
10 – Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
My husband has told me several times that they went to go see Jurassic Park in theaters and had to leave because it was terrifying for him (he’s older than I am), and he still checks for ways velociraptors can get into rooms when he enters a room. (Gotta watch out for those sneaky little raptors.) I didn’t read Jurassic Park until just about two years ago, but I’d seen the movies way before then.
There are a few books I wanted to add to this list, but realized they were published very shortly after I was born, so honorable mention to Practical Magic, The Lost Years of Merlin, and Harry Potter.
What’s your favorite book from before you were born? Let me know in the comments!
And as always, keep reading.