Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: Top Ten "Older" Books You Don't Want People To Forget About

Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
I've enjoyed seeing other people's Top 10 lists for some time now, and I finally had to give into temptation. For those of you worried about a proliferation of memes on Bookshelvers Anonymous, don't worry. Wishlist Wednesday and Cover Love will continue to alternate every other week, Rewind and Review is only once a month, and I only plan to do Top 10 Tuesday when the fancy strikes me. At the most, you'll run into two meme posts a week, max. (Except for this week, which just happens to have three. D'oh.) To me, that doesn't seem like a lot, but if any of you have questions or concerns, either tell me in the comments or contact me through the form on my Contact page.

Now for this week's Top 10: Top Ten "Older" Books You Don't Want People To Forget About.

10. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins. Did you know that The Hunger Games wasn't Suzanne Collins' first book series? You should. Gregor the Overlander and its sequels are for a younger set, but I proudly admit to reading them in high school and loving them. But be warned, there are talking giant cockroaches, so these books are not for the faint of heart. On the plus side, they're adorable talking giant cockroaches.

9. The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty, United States Marine Corps: Khe Sanh, Vietnam, 1968 by Ellen Emerson White (a My Name Is America book). This is the first book I ever remember making me misty. The My Name Is America books are fictionalized journals of real people in different points in history. This particular journal, as you can see, is the journal of an American soldier in Vietnam. It's a kids book, so it isn't nauseatingly graphic, but the heartaches of war are still clearly represented.

8. Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen and Bahija Lovejoy. No, this isn't a book about that one musical. 7D&7S is actually an old Arab folk tale about one girl who dared to be different. It's like Mulan mixed with Aladdin. You've got the always fun plot of a girl who runs away, disguises herself as a boy, and makes a name for herself in a culture that devalues women. But you also have the very unique Arabic culture that shines through the narrative. For anyone who bemoans the whiteashing of YA lit, I point you very firmly toward this book. Oh, and there's a prince as a possible love interest, and some fantastic comeuppances for some selfish family members.

7. Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell (The Edge Chronicles #1). Did anyone else read these books? Anyone? TEC was the Big Thing in my small circle of friends in middle school. It's like J.R.R. Tolkien meets Tim Burton meets Dr. Seuss, but with fewer stale tropes! (From Burton, not Tolkien. Tolkien is never stale.) The world was inventive, and the creatures were incredibly twisted. Best were the drawings the authors put into the book so that we could see exactly how they meant the creatures and characters to look. And then there was that one guy who would snip off travelers' toes while they slept...

6. The King's Shadow by Elizabeth Alder. It's about a Welsh serf, Evyn, who has his tongue cut out and is sold by his uncle to serve a noblewoman who just happens to be the commonlaw wife of Earl Harold of Wessex. You know, Earl Harold? The guy who fought against that dog William of Normandy in the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.? As a history-loving kid, I devoured this fictionalized account of such an important historical character. Also, I enjoy books with mutes. I don't know why.

5. Piratica by Tanith Lee. Piratica is the story of a girl (Art) who gets hit on the head and remembers sailing the high seas with her mother the pirate. She escapes from her boarding school, gathers her mother's old crew, and commandeers a ship to hunt for a mythical treasure. Along the way, she kidnaps/rescues a white-haired young artist and makes an enemy out of the wicked pirate Goldie Girl. This book has adventure, cunning, betrayal, and courage. One element I love most of all is that Art finds a way to be one of the scariest pirates in all the world without taking a single life.

4. Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce. I put these two together because they're companions. First of all, let me say that I LOVE two-book series. Trilogies are becoming so overdone. Having just two books makes everything so much more streamlined. Second, Tamora Pierce is freaking awesome. Her heroines are always witty and tough, but essentially human. Her world-building is fantastic. And her love interest... Gah, I just want to hug him. Adorable.

3. The Squire's Tale by Gerald Morris (and sequels). Mr. Morris's books retell various tales from Arthurian legend. They're fun and quirky, and I love how they poke fun at the sillier elements of knightly tradition. (For instance, Tristan and Isolde is soooo stupid.) I haven't been able to read the last few books, but I hope to soon.

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This one is less likely to be forgotten, since it's required for school in many counties. Still, it's more likely to be thought about as a stale classic or "just a school book." You can read my review for the full love-fest, but let me just say that I physically ACHE every time I pass this book and can't buy it. As soon as I have money to spend, I'm buying it and holing up in my room with a pack of highlighters. It's just that pretty and just that GOOD.

1. My number one answer for nearly any question will always be The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (my review). It was published in 1998 and therefore definitely counts as an "older" book, as well as an all-around lovely book. The plot line is fantastic, the twists are the twistiest I've ever come across, and the characters are magnificent. This is the book I've handsold the most at my store, to my great pleasure. I strongly suggest EVERYONE read this book. It's the first in a series, and the entire series is... I can't even describe my love for these books. (And if any of you feel the same way, check out Sounis, the #1 fansite for The Queen's Thief series.)

What books would you add?