Top Ten “Older” Books I Don’t Want People To Forget About

2 Oct

We all sometimes get caught up in the newest books and forget about all the great books we read over the years. This week’s TTT helps me remember some of the great “older” books I still think everyone should read.

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My YA selections:

1. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

I’ve been ranting and raving about The Diviners for a couple of weeks now. I’ve been telling everyone to read it, but I don’t want people to forget to also read her first awesome supernatural series, the Gemma Doyle books. This first introduction to Libba Bray’s story-building is simply amazing. If you like books about young women during the Victorian era, this book is for you. If you like books about complicated boarding schools, this books is for you. If you like books about alternative worlds of magic… this book is for you. If you like all three then you’ve definitely hit the jackpot!

2. Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

This book blew me away. The story was complex and rich. The lives of the main characters was somewhat disturbing, but also very fascinating. The story is supposed to be a retelling of the fairytale Snow White and Rose Red, but the world building involved is so much more interesting than the somewhat unknown fairytale by the Grimm brothers. It is not a book that should be taken lightly. The characters are troubled and there are a lot of very mature details despite being YA book.

3. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

I love this book. It a sequel to Lowry’s very well-known and much read book, The Giver. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world that  discards those who are less than perfect and the main character is just that. She is worried what fate lies before her and soon begins to unravel the oppressive world surrounding her. I have only read The Giver once and have yet to read The Messenger (book #3), but I have read Gathering Blue a half-dozen times already.

Side Note: Today book #4 of Lowry’s “The Giver Quartet” is being released. If you’ve already read the other three, check you local library or bookshop to see if they have The Son available.

4. Anything and everything written by Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce’s works have provided inspiration for a lot of YA authors (especially those of the fantasy genre). Unfortunately, a lot of YA readers that are actually YA ages have not read her books. They are absolutely the best and my most favorite YA books. A lot of libraries don’t even have them anymore and this is a total shame since they are still very much available to purchase. If your local library doesn’t have the Alanna series please request them to order it and then go from there. Tamora Pierce’s world building is phenomenal. Her characters are realistic and not some over-achieving perfect heroes like in other fantasy series. Her female characters are strong independent and practically modern women. She has a very realistic approach to her books. Even though they take place in the “past” they feel like the are totally relevant to today’s issues. I could write a whole post about how much I love Tamora Pierce, but I think you should just get one of her books and find out for yourself.

5. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

If you are a woman and somehow managed to get to a adulthood without reading Little Women I would be shocked. I also apologize for the great injustice the world has put upon you. No other book has ever made me feel so much. I am a girl. I have sisters. I was raised around a lot of strong women with ideals (some good, some not so much, but all very strong ideals). This book was basically written for me. If you didn’t have sisters, this book will make you want them. There is nothing like the bond between sisters and that has never changed. I wanted to be a part of the March family so bad (still do). I wanted to marry Laurie or runaway to New York with Jo. I wanted to hug Beth and play with Amy. And go to Meg for all that big sister advice I never had access to by being the oldest.

6. Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery

No list of “older” favorite books would be complete without me mentioning Anne Shirley. This spunky romantic child inspired me in so many ways. She was my ultimate kindred spirit. Watching Anne grow from an awkward mischievous child to a lovely caring wife and mother was one of the greatest journeys I’ve ever taken through books. Anne inspired so many girls to speak their minds, not let the boys have all the fun, fall in love as many times as we wish and find our place in the world.

My Adult Selections:

7. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

I had to read this book in 11th grade AP English. At first I thought it wasn’t going to be something I would enjoy, but was quickly proven wrong. The plot involves a murder case against a Japanese American man during the mid 1950s on an island off the coast of Washington state. It certainly isn’t just your typical courtroom drama either. The story delves into the secret lives of some of the characters, racism against Asian Americans even 10 years after WWII ended and the lives of people in a small town. I highly recommend it to everyone. I liked it so much I accidentally bought it 3 times and book sales.

8. A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

The most hilarious look at real life I have ever read. Mayle and his wife retired from their busy lives in England and bought a house with a vineyard in Provence, France. This book and its sequels give the reader insight into the extremely amusing lives of British expats becoming accustomed to the Southern French way of life.

9. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

This is definitely the best book Philippa Gregory has ever written. Everyone knows about Anne Boleyn, but no one seems to talk about her sister Mary very often. Mary was supposedly the mistress to Henry VIII first and Anne stole him away. This novelization of what Mary’s life may have been like is fantastic. If you want to delve into the Historical Fiction genre this is definitely a good starting point. The story is vivid and enchanting. Mary is sweet and innocent, but soon comes to understand the way things at court work. Unfortunately, we already know the outcome of Anne Boleyn’s life, but Mary’s is definitely just as interesting.

10. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Grab a box of tissues. This book is definitely a tear-jerker. If you don’t know what this book is about just by the title I’d be surprised, but I’ll tell you anyway. Henry is a time traveler by force. His genetics actually force him to time travel without any warning. Clare is his wife and despite the difficulties is completely devoted to him. She has known him almost her entire life. The first time they met she was just a little girl and they grow very close. When their timelines converge she is 20 and he is 28. Henry doesn’t know her yet, but they quickly fall in love. Their lives are ruled by the complications of his time traveling and her inability to go full term with a pregnancy (his time traveling gene, having been passed to the baby, prevents Clare from carrying the baby to full term). It is emotional and beautiful and so much better than the formula drivel a certain Mr. Sparks puts out every year. As a debut novel it is amazing. Just thinking about it makes me tear up a bit.


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