Book Tags, Lists, Top Ten

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Written Before I was Born

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This weeks topic is the top ten books I was written before I was born.

Putting these in order was hard. I tried to give this ranking meaning, but it really doesn’t have one.

10. Carrie by Stephen King

Stephen King’s first novel. I love the non-linear style he uses. This novel transformed a genre, so of course it has to make the list.

Buy Carrie

9. Homer’s The Odyssey

I have a love of adventure stories, which this list will make evident. I’m a huge fan of this epic poem because the hero is one who uses his brains more than his man muscles.

Buy The Odyssey

8. Beowulf

I know, it’s not technically a book–it’s another epic poem, but Beowulf the heroic archetype. You need to know about this guy!

Buy Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Bilingual Edition)

7. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Here’s something that may shock some people: even though I’ve mentioned Pride and Prejudice on this blog before, it’s not my favorite Austen novel. I feel like Northanger Abbey displays Austen’s satire better than any other book as it parodies the popular novels of the day. No, the heroine isn’t as likable as Elizabeth Bennett, but honestly, who is?

Buy Northanger Abbey (Barnes & Noble Classics)

6. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

I love this play. Mostly I love this play because I’ve seen it done in drastically different ways. I’ve seen it done in space, out west, in Athens, and in a cardboard box. There are so many different interpretations that I can’t help but love this one.

Buy A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Folger Shakespeare Library)

5. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

I’m talking about the book here, though I love the play as well. The way the book is written, you can tell Barrie’s love for his characters and the people who inspired those characters. You can also tell that he was a man who knew how to fire up a child’s imagination.

Buy Peter Pan (Illustrated with Interactive Elements)

4. Treasure Island by Robert Lois Stephenson

This was the first big kid book I ever read, and I still love reading it. I don’t know what it is that makes pirates so much fun (historically they were terrifying), but this novel knows it. I’ll read a chapter to my kids and find them “sailing away” pretending their boat is a bed five minutes later.

Buy Treasure Island (Unabridged and fully illustrated)

3. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

I love this series. It was written around the time of World War II, and that is very obvious in the way the themes focus on hope and rebuilding as much as they focus on war. With everything that happened in 2020, I think it’s just as relevant today. Just check out Sam’s speech from The Return of the King here:

It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy. How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened. But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.

Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something.

Buy J.R.R. Tolkien 4-Book Boxed Set: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

2. Don Quixote by Miguel D. Cervantes

This was technically the first novel ever written. It’s funny, hopeful, and a joy to read. Also, so many modern novels allude to it.

Buy Don Quixote (Penguin Clothbound Classics)

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

It’s known as one of the greatest books ever written for a reason, folks.

Buy The Great Gatsby

There we have it. What do you think of my list? Feel free to post a link to your own top ten in the comments. I’d love to see your work!


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