Lists, Reviews

One Thing Leads To Another: A Top Ten List

This week’s top ten prompt is “gateway books” or books that encouraged me to read (as hosted by The Broke and the Bookish). I’m altering the topic a bit and pairing childhood classics I loved with thematically matched adult fiction. So which childhood favorites paved the way for my reading choices as an adult? In no particular order, these are one I’d recommend.

vintage reading

10. If you loved The Witches by Roald Dahl, you should read A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Both feature families who like to talk about witches, both feature orphans who move in with a relative, and the main characters in both are battling evil witches.

09. If you loved Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter, you should read Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Both feature heroines who are relentlessly optimistic and see the best in everybody (even when they shouldn’t).

08. If you loved The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson, you should read Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman. Both feature brilliant girls struggling to accept their current circumstances.

07. If you loved A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry, you should read Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. Both come to sad ends, but both tell the story of the bond between sisters (or two girls who feel like sisters). Both Lowry and Blume are modern icons.

06. If you loved Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, you should read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Survival against all odds while battling a harsh environment features prominently within both books.

05. If you loved My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, you should read Deliverance by James Dickey. In both novels, the characters feel the need to get out of the city and upon doing so, discover an entirely new side of themselves.

04. If you loved The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney, you should read A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams. The characters eat have to discover who they truly are, as well as who their parents truly are.

03. If you loved The House with a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs, you should read ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. John Bellairs’ novels are an excellent precursor to all things Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Lev Grossman, etc.

02. If you loved The Borrowers by Mary Norton, then you should read Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. This one is a bit of a stretch, but both books have people living just out of sight.

01. The Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson and Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon. Ever wondered if you’ve failed to live up to your potential? These books are for you. The devilish Herdman family has to be complimented, per a school assignment, while Grady needs to fulfill the promise his first novel indicated. Zany disasters follow the characters of both books.

Also, do you know I’ve never read A Wrinkle in Time? Am I missing out? Which book made you a reader?

(Image found here, original source unknown)

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  • Allison (Allure of Books)

    ooo….I love your spin on this! I like your Borrowers/Neverwhere match – I would have never thought of it, but it definitely makes sense (to me anyway).

    • Rory

      I’m glad it makes sense to someone else. It’s not quite an obvious pairing, but I thought it worked.

  • Isi

    I haven’t read any of them!
    I liked your idea of recommending adult books depending on your children’s book choices 🙂

    • Rory

      I think our childhood favorites do influence what we love as adults, so it’s a fun list to compile.

  • Finley Jayne

    I loved The Road, I need to check out Hatchet 🙂
    Finley Jayne

    • Rory

      Definitely, if you get a chance.

  • Deb Nance at Readerbuzz

    These are well thought out recommendations. Thank you!

    Here’s my list of You-Can’t-Just-Eat-One Books on My Reading Journey!

  • Shannon @ River City Reading

    I was such a Caroline B. Cooney fan when I was younger, I think I ended up reading most of her books. There was one about a plane crash in a girl’s backyard (I think it was Flight somethingsomething is Down) that I was super obsessed with. I’ve seen the cover of A Hundred Summers, I just might have to give it a try!

    • April @ The Steadfast Reader

      Yes! ‘Flight #116 is Down!’ … I read and re-read so many Cooney books when I was a kid, I think she had a series about vampires too? Those were my gateway to Anne Rice. 🙂

      …and Rory, you’re totally missing out on ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ – I feel like it holds up as an adult, I reread it a few years ago for its 50th anniversary (but skip the rest of the series).

      • Rory

        That actually helps its cause. I didn’t want to commit to a series, but I can handle one juvenile book.

    • Rory

      A Hundred Summers is the perfect, lightweight beach read. I haven’t read Flight #116 is Down, but I’m intrigued. I loved A Face on the Milk Carton – the book and the movie.

  • Letizia

    Great idea and list! I’ve read a lot of the books you recommend to read if you liked the first one, so I’ll have to go back and read the one you based your recommendation off of, haha!

    • Rory

      Thanks! It was fun to try and match them. And they’re children’s book, totally worth a perusal if you get a chance- it won’t take long!

  • Lianne @

    Love the way you approached this week’s topic! I think the only childhood book I read from your list was the Lois Lowry one and I honestly don’t remember if it was that title or another title (it’s been so long ago–where was GoodReads back then when you needed it?! lol). Great list 🙂

    My TTT

    • Rory

      It’s rather depressing, but still lovely. I felt the same way Summer Sisters.

      I know what you mean, I try and remember half of what I read when I was young and I only have vague impressions. It’s like “Did I really read that one…?”.

  • Bonnie @ For the Love of Words

    I totally loved Hatchet when I was a kid and equally enjoyed The Road. Same for The Witches/Discovery but I didn’t read Witches until a few years ago. Man. So many kids classics I missed.

    • Rory

      I’ve actually read a lot of Roald Dahl as an adult, it’s been fun. The series ending for ADoW is coming out soon. I’m nervous.

      Hatchet was really awesome. I used to want that to happen to me. I didn’t exactly love home and a wilderness adventure sounded like a relief.

  • Samantha

    I haven’t heard that comparison of Hatchet to The Road. I really liked Hatchet, that might bump The Road up on my TBR a bit. 🙂

    • Rory

      The Road is really wonderful, but awfully bleak too. It’s not my favorite McCarthy, but it’s very good.

  • Words for Worms

    I love this list!!! I’ve got some books to read, apparently. And yes, you are missing out on something with A Wrinkle in Time. I didn’t read it until a couple of years ago and still loved it. It’s very science-y, which I think a science librarian would appreciate.

    • Rory

      I’m going to have to give A Wrinkle in Time a shot. It’s too classic to miss, plus science-y sounds good.

  • Kelly from

    You brought my childhood back to me! I read so many of those first books in your pairings.

    • Rory

      I get very nostalgic when I think of all the reading I did when I was younger. This topic might be my favorite to date.

  • Christine @ BookishlyB

    I’m going to have to sit down with this later and look some of these up- I seriously loved some of the childhood ones.

    • Rory

      That is what I’m here for.

  • Charleen

    I’ve only read two of those childhood books. But I have read A Wrinkle in Time. The series I had was four books (I think there might be more now?) and I know I liked some better than others, but overall they were good.

    • Rory

      I think I’ll at least try and read the first one, at the very least.

  • Leah @ Books Speak Volumes

    I think the only two books from this list that I read as a child are Hatchet and The Borrowers. Looks like I’ll need to read The Road and Neverwhere!

    • Rory

      You definitely have to give The Road a try, it’s dark, but not horror and it’s wonderfully written. Neverwhere is fun for what it is, but I don’t LOVE it.

  • Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader

    I have been meaning to read The Borrowers forEVER. I can’t keep up with all of the books I want to read. Who can? 😉 Great list here, great recommendations too!

    • Rory

      I can’t get. Occasionally I get really depressed about that.

      And thank you. 🙂

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