Top Ten Tuesday #6 :: The Top Ten “Older” Books You Don’t Want People To Forget About

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers there at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join!

Today’s topic is The Top Ten “Older” Books You Don’t Want People to Forget About. I excluded any “classics” from this list, just fyi!

1) The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster

This book is very witty and clever; even though I’ve only read it once, I still remember how tongue in cheek it was. There were so many puns throughout the book that, even though it’s supposedly a children’s book, adults would probably get far more enjoyment out of it. I think I probably loved it more because I WAS an adult when I read it; a child definitely wouldn’t catch all the humor. If you haven’t read it yet, do yourself a favor and pick it up. It’s a hard book for me to really describe, as much of its magic is in its pages. What I can say is that I’m sure you’d find SOMETHING to enjoy about it!

2) Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

This one was a surprise for me, as it was on my Required Reading List for my YA Literature course in Graduate School. I enjoyed most of the books I read for Grad School, but this one turned out to be a favorite. It’s a book that focuses on the burden of unwanted attention, and includes a pretty sweet love story to boot. Audrey was completely relatable and realistic, and fully drawn. Even though the references to the clothes, music, etc. will date the book a bit in the future, I still think the story will continue to speak to readers. This was a book that put a smile on my face, and in my opinion, you can never have too many of those!

3) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

I don’t read very much adult fiction, but this was a book that had been recommended to me several times by a friend, so I finally picked it up. Aside from the “love conquers all” romance, this book made fantastic use of the idea of time travel. Once I started it, I was pretty much glued to Clare and Henry’s story. But OH the ending! I’d been forewarned to have the tissues handy, which was a good thing, because this book turned me into a sobbing mess. But it is undoubtedly one of the best books I’ve ever read.

4) A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz

This was another book that was recommended by a friend of mine, and was one I was completely unfamiliar with when I checked it out from the library. But I was soon pulled into the story, about an orphan girl in the early 1900s, who is adopted by a set of sisters. The sisters want Maud for one reason only: to use in their staging of dramatic seances. The book is told through Maud’s POV, and we get to see what those early seances were like firsthand, because Maud’s job is to pretend to be the person the sisters’ wealthy patrons want to see. There’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff, a lot of historical flourishes, and a really fascinating main character, which all combine to make this a heck of a read.

5) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

All right, I know: This book is a Printz Honor Book! How could anyone forget about it? Honestly I’m not sure. This is a pick that I chose simply because I wanted to remind people of its existence, because this is seriously one of the best books I have ever read. When this book was first released, I was working at Barnes & Noble, and they were really pushing it hard. Out of curiosity, I checked it out (one of the employee perks!) and took it home.  Several hours later I was a giant sobbing mess with a whole box of used tissues sitting around me, blubbering about this book. Let me tell you, I have never hand-sold a book like I did The Book Thief! This book has a unique narrative and an interesting storyline: it takes place during World War II, and the Holocaust plays a role, but that’s not all this book is about, and to say it is does it a disservice. All I know is that if you haven’t read it, you need to do so immediately. But have those tissues handy!

6) Impossible by Nancy Werlin

I have mentioned previously on this blog just how much I love faerie books. Impossible is – and isn’t – a faerie book. It was another required reading title for my YA Literature course, and was another that I absolutely loved. Nancy Werlin used the famous Scarborough Fair poem to craft the plot for this book, and she did it in a very unique way. There’s a family curse, some impossible tasks, and a rather headstrong and stubborn main character, who was quite delightful to read about. There’s also a really sweet romance that made me smile quite a lot. For those of you who aren’t big on faerie books, this might just be the faerie book for you!

7) The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

I don’t know if this really counts as a “backlisted” title, but it IS older, and I definitely don’t want people to forget about it. In my opinion, this series is the one that brought about the resurgence of mythology-themed YA titles. Percy Jackson is probably my all-time favorite narrator, and while the original series (of which The Lightning Thief is a part) is geared toward that MG age group, the new series, Heroes of Olympus (which I’m anxiously awaiting the next installment of; come on UPS, bring me my book!), is definitely aimed more toward YAs, simply because Percy and Co. are sixteen years old themselves. These books are full of characters with quick wits, funny oneliners, and loads and loads of death-defying adventures. Percy is snarky, heroic, and so wonderful he makes you wish he were real; never has a boy with Dyslexia and ADHD looked so good!

8) Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

This was another required title for my Grad School coursework, this time for my Fantasy Media and Literature for Youth course (yes, I’ll admit it: my courses rocked!). I was familiar with the title, but had a complete misconception about the book, mostly because of the movie version, which I also hadn’t seen. I wrongfully assumed that this was manga! Silly me! What it is instead is a fabulous story about a headstrong girl, a crazy wizard, and a magical castle. I pretty much smiled my way through this book; I loved the snark, the humor, and the way that Sophie drove Howl crazy. I loved Calcifer and the magical door and the showdown with the Witch of the Waste. Basically I just loved this book, and I think you would, too! So go read it!

9) Stardust by Neil Gaiman

I was late to the Neil Gaiman game. The first book I read was actually Good Omens (which almost made this list), and then I tried my hand at American Gods and Neverwhere, and while I enjoyed them for the most part, it was Stardust that I completely fell in love with. When the film version was released (featuring a young Ben Barnes prior to his Narnia days), I decided I’d go ahead and read the book prior to seeing it, as is my usual method. What I found was a book so full of magic that it reminded me of a fairy tale, particularly with the search for a falling star and the star turning out to be a girl. Tristran’s entire journey seemed straight out of my favorite fantasy novels, and I basically ate it up like candy. I’ve since read more Gaiman (most recently The Graveyard Book, which I really enjoyed), but Stardust remains my favorite. I’d love to get some time in my reading schedule to give it a re-read!

10) Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

I’m wrapping this list up with yet another former required reading title. What I loved about this book was the fact that a) it wasn’t set in the US and b) featured characters of color doing something fantastical, which generally doesn’t happen. I mean, let’s face it: books about magic generally feature white characters. And while Sunny was born in the US, she no longer lives there, so the entire book had a very different feel about it. The world-building is phenomenal, the magic used is unique, and the entire premise of the book is amazing. Sunny has to withstand some very difficult things, from her parents’ expectations to the constant teasing from her classmates regarding her “disability”. I loved the look at Nigerian culture, and all the talk about their Spirit faces and their abilities. This is another one that I’d LOVE to re-read at some point, because the details are unfortunately a bit hazy. But if you want a fantasy novel that’s different from the norm, give this one a try!

So those are my choices for this week. What are yours? Please link me!

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23 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday #6 :: The Top Ten “Older” Books You Don’t Want People To Forget About

  1. Kayleigh says:

    Yay for including Howl’s Moving Castle! It’s one of my all time favourite YA books by my all time favourite YA author, and I love when I hear that other people have found it! The movie is delightful too, although very different.

    • Merin says:

      Howl’s was seriously awesome. I wish EVERYONE would go out and read it!

      • Kayleigh says:

        I find a way to include a Diana Wynne Jones book (usually Howl’s) into most of my TTT posts. So it’ll take awhile, but hopefully some sort of pay it forward situation can occur!

        Have you read the sequels? They’re not as amazing, but they’re pretty great in their own right.

      • Merin says:

        Not yet! I’d like to do a re-read of Howl’s, and then read the sequels back to back. Kind of immerse myself in the world for a bit; I think that would be fun. :)

      • Kayleigh says:

        Any excuse to reread Howl’s in a good one! Have you read The Crestomanci Series? It was my go to fantasy series before Harry Potter became a thing (or at least a thing to me).

  2. Yes to Time Traveller’s Wife! And I don’t think anyone will forget The Book Thief :-)

  3. I had totally forgot about The Phantom Tollbooth- great choice.

  4. Great list! The Book Thief made my Top Ten this week too.

  5. I really really want to read Akata Witch – it sounds wonderful, and you’re not the first person to suggest it either, strangely enough.

  6. Oh, great list! I LOVE Audrey, Wait! I still recommend that one so much. I also really love The Time Traveler’s Wife and Impossible.
    My Top Ten

  7. Impossible is such a great book! loved it too. The whole time I pictured the Elfin Knight as Richard Armitage! Love him! lol. ;)

    J’adore Happy Endings

  8. Jay says:

    Nice list. You have a couple that I’ve read (the one’s with the word “thief” in the title) and I’ve been trying to get to read Neil Gaiman for awhile. (I have American Gods on my Nook) “A Drowned Maiden’s Hair” sounds really interesting. I’ve never heard of it before…

  9. Brittany says:

    Yes, The Phantom Tollbooth! I actually bought it as a used bookstore to reread (whenever that will happen) and I had it on my list… before I scrapped it because my list was pathetic haha.
    Great choices!! I definitely agree with the ones I’ve read.

  10. I’ve also listed The book thief. There was no way that I could forget about that one. Stardust is such a sweet book :)

    My TTT @thedailyprophecy

  11. Yes to the Phantom Toolbooth and Stardust! great list! Here’s Ours

  12. Laura says:

    Great List – I absolutely love Stardust, Percy Jackson and The Book Thief!! My TTT is:

  13. stuckinva says:

    I wanted to like The Time Traveller’s Wife…but after I finished the book, I set it down and thought to myself, “yeah, I really didn’t like that book”. I can’t even tell you *why* I didn’t like it…I just didn’t!

    I still need to read The Book Thief. I’ve heard such good things about it!

  14. Quinn says:

    I have to say that I don’t really connect to Neil Gaiman books. I actually liked the movie Stardust more than the book. Don’t hate me! :)

    I love the Percy Jackson series!!

    Quinn from Quinn’s Book Nook

    • Merin says:

      I liked the ending of the film better than the book, because it was happier, and I’m a sucker for happy endings. I don’t think Neil Gaiman is as good as many of my friends do, but for the most part I have enjoyed almost everything I’ve read by him. So no hatred! :)

      And Percy is just fabulous. ♥

  15. The Phantom Tollbooth was one of my favorites in childhood. I really need to find a copy and reread it. The Time Traveler’s Wife was one of my more recent favorites, and yet I forgot to include either one of these on my list.

  16. Shelver506 says:

    I love your list! I just added Audrey, Wait! and Stardust to my to-read list, and I squealed over your inclusion of The Book Thief. (It’s on my list, too!)

    My TTT:

  17. Pingback: Stacking the Shelves #19 –

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