Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Top Ten "Gateway" Books

Hosted by the Broke and Bookish the topic for April 1st is Top Ten "Gateway" Books/Authors In My Reading Journey (so your list could be a mix of a books that got you into reading, an author that got you into reading a genre you never thought you'd read, a book that brought you BACK into read). 
1. Dorothy L. Sayers got me into detective fiction.  I have read Agatha Christie, but it was Sayers that really pulled me in. The first one I read was Murder Must Advertise. 

2. Terry Pratchett - I was introduced to his books in college and while the first couple were a bit of a slog [yes I have read the whole series in publication order except for Eric, which I couldn't find], there were interesting and funny enough that I kept going. Unlike many authors, Pratchett's books improved over time and though he started out basically taking a sarcastic look at the fantasy genera, he ended up creating a pretty well realized world and examining some pretty serious issues.  It was Guards! Guards! and Wyrd Sisters that really hooked me.

3. Barbara Michaels aka Elizabeth Peters - two pseudonyms for the same author. The Barbara Michaels books qualify as romantic suspense with supernatural elements or gothics (ghosts mostly), while the Elizabeth Peters books were straight mysteries that usually also had a romance element - including her Amelia Peabody historical mystery series as well as several stand alones. Usually the romance took a back seat to the mystery/thriller element. I really enjoyed most of her books. (Even the non-fiction Egyptology books that she wrote under her real name Barbara Mertz.)  

4. I just did a Top Ten Tuesday REWIND! Childhood Favorites in February and I don't want to tread over too much of the same ground, so I will just include the bulk of that list as my number 4.

5. I like reading non-fiction for fun too, and one of the earliest books in this category that I remember reading just for the heck of it and not because I was doing background reading for some sort of project was The Quest for Becket's Bones: The Mystery of the Relics of St. Thomas Becket of Canterbury by John Butler. It was a fascinating book and fed into my fascination with forensic anthropology - so definitely a gateway drug for me both in terms of reading lots of forensic science books and because I eventually starting doing work in a related field.

6. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard Feynman got me interested in autobiographical and biographical stories about scientists. This was a weird book for me because on one hand it was fascinating as history while at the same time being an appalling vision into the sociology of the time and Mr. Feynman's disgusting view of women. Definitely worth reading, but holy-cow! 

7.  T. rex and the Crater of Doom, which has the worst cover I have ever seen for a serious non-fiction book. This book got me interested in reading nonfiction books about a range of topics in geology - starting again with dinosaurs!  Roar!  

Blogger is giving me absolute fits over formatting for some reason, and my number four is ten+ other books, so I am going to give up at 7 this time.  


  1. Sigh again - not only was blogger fighting with me, I couldn't type either. Sorry, I will fix the typos when I get back to a computer.

  2. Elisa, this is a great list -- Dorothy Sayers, Elizabeth Peters (I've never read any of her work published under the Barbara Michaels name are both wonderful! I've had Terry Pratchett on my must read list for ages, but need to sit down and make myself get into one and read it all the way through. After that I suspect I will be hooked. Don't worry about your typing or formatting. My blogging life is littered with typos of shame.

    1. Thanks. If you liked Peters you should definitely give the Michaels books a try.

  3. Aw, Elizabeth Peters. I have been feeling so fond of her lately -- I'm just finishing a reread of Lion in the Valley, and I love it as much as ever I did. Next up I shall reread Die for Love, which is perhaps my favorite of all her books.

    1. She is one of my go to authors when I am down. After I read Seven Sinners I wanted to be Jacqueline when I grew up, not that I am planning on actually growing up any time soon. Die for Love is one of my favorites too.


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