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A Reader of Fictions: Top Ten Older Books I Don't Want People to Forget About

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Top Ten Older Books I Don't Want People to Forget About

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Alright, y'all, the time has come for another Top Ten Tuesday where I can show off a bunch of fancy books I've read! Oh yeah, baby! Prepare to bask in my genius. Or something. Oh, also, you can see the variety of things I read. Anyway, I chose to define 'older' as older than me, so books had to be published in 1987 (my birth year) or before to be included, mostly because the first book I thought of to include happened to be published in 1987.

1) War for the Oaks - Emma Bull

First Published: 1987

Why? Emma Bull's novel War for the Oaks is one I came across on some list of obscure but amazing fantasy novels, and actually got around to reading, a rarity for me. War for the Oaks was first published the year I was born, but it didn't feel especially dated. I mean, sure, people aren't going to be toting cell phones and so forth, but you know how some things can be old and still feel awesome and some can't? This one can. It's about faeries, which are totally not my favorite paranormal creatures at all. However, it's also about music and, from what I remember, there's some nice romance in it. I really need to reread this, because I loved it and so I can talk it up better. If you like urban fantasy, you really ought to read this, since it's a pioneer of the genre.

2) Watchmen - Alan Moore

First Published: 1986

Why? Do I really need to argue for why everyone should read Watchmen? I feel like the fact that this is pretty much the only graphic novel to make it on to lists of 'best books ever' should draw attention. Graphic novels generally get siphoned off into their own category, one viewed as lesser by critics. This one, though, could not be ignored, and, on an unrelated note, I hope graphic novels gain more respect in the future. It's still mostly Watchmen and Maus that have garnered immense respect from people that wouldn't ordinarily read a book with pictures.

3) The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster

First Published: 1961

Why? Okay, this one and Watchmen are probably the biggest stretch. I mean, what are the odds anyone would actually forget either of them. Well, probably low, but I would be so incredibly sad if that happened. I included this one, because I think it would be pretty easy for an author so famous for just the one book to fall through the cracks. Besides, we might not forget it exists, but people might forget to read it and that would be a damn shame.

4) BAAA - David Macaulay

First Published: 1985

Why? If these books were in order of 'most endangered,' BAAA would come first. I suspect this one might drop out of awareness pretty soon. This seems to have occurred to the Norton Anthology people, which is why, I like to think, it was put in the Norton's Anthology of Children's Literature, despite not being, so far as I know, particularly influential or popular. It would have made more sense to put Macaulay's book The Way Things Work in there, for which I think he's most famous. BAAA isn't perfect because it's marketed to the wrong age group, but otherwise it is one of the best dystopias I've ever read, dark and insightful. You probably won't find this one at your public library. :(

5) The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

First Published: 1955

Why? Again, this one may not seem in too much danger of disappearing from our collective conscious. I mean, come on, there's a freaking movie, right? And it has Matt Damon. We would never forget Matt Damon (or Jude Law). Actually, I think movies can, perhaps, in the long run do more harm than good for some books. When they first come out, the movie tie-in edition attracts new readers, sure, but, after that, people might forget the book exists. Plus, the movie isn't nearly as good as the book, so, those that don't like it, will likely not feel motivated to read the book. Fun fact: did you know that this is actually the first in a series? And that the series has 5 books?

6) The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Elizabeth George Speare

First Published: 1958

Why? I read this one for school, so it's probably not too endangered, but I had to put it on this list, because it meant so much to me as a child. Oh, heck, who am I kidding? It means a lot to me now. I hate the pilgrims. Like that time period is my least favorite to study, and Colonial Williamsburg was like hell on earth for me. But, somehow, I LOVE this book. I've reread it I don't know how many times. Also, I had NO idea until just now that this book was written in 1958! When I checked it, I though it would be early 90s! Talk about standing the test of time, right?

7) The Daughter of Time - Josephine Tey

First Published: 1951

Why? I read this book for a college history course, a brilliant one where we read fiction instead of history. Oh, what a marvelous respite that was. Anyway, while mysteries will never be my favorite genre, I was very impressed with Josephine Tey and have been collecting her books as I find them. My collection is still a paltry three books, including this one, the only one I have read thus far. I hope that Tey's not forgotten. It seems like Agatha Christie outshines all of the other classic mystery authors when there's enough love in our bibliophiliac hearts for all of them.

8) The First Circle - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

First Published: 1968

Why? Before someone points this out, no I didn't mistype the title. It was originally published as The First Circle, but they changed it for this new edition with the pretty cover. I HATE when publishers do this, but this cover is so much better than the others. Anyway, Solzhenitsyn is wonderful. I've read several of his books, and he's just so amazing and cynical and sarcastic and angry. I love it. He will likely be remembered for One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, but I fear his longer works, not forced on students, might be forgotten. His books are, for the most part, very intimidating length-wise, but they're well worth reading. If you have an interest in the gulag system, Solzhenitsyn's your man.

9) Darkness at Noon - Arthur Koestler

First Published: 1940

Why? Oh, did I mention the gulag system? Here's another book that takes on some of that, as well as the whole Soviet Union communism fail. Obviously, everyone isn't as morbidly fascinated by this subject matter as I am, but if you ARE, then you need to read this. Also, Darkness at Noon is pretty short, as in under 300 pages.

10) The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

First Published: 1860

Why? I tried to steer away from books published so early that their sheer existence in recently published editions shows their ability to not be forgotten. Still, I had to include this, because it was, by and large, awesome. Wilkie Collins is not a classic author I've heard much about, even though he's worlds better than some others that I've read. Also, and this has no bearing at all on the conversation at hand, but this Barnes & Noble Classics cover ranks among my favorite covers ever. Isn't it gorgeous?

Link me up! Share your TTT if you have one, or just tell me what books you fear could be forgotten.



Blogger M.A.D. said...

Interesting list of books, Christina!
At one time I really meant to read BAAA, but then forgot all about it - thank you for the reminder <3

October 2, 2012 at 1:06 AM  
Anonymous Jamie said...

I read The Witch of Blackbird Pond when I was younger!! So good! I have the Woman In White on my shelf! Must get to that soon!

October 2, 2012 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger Angela @ Reading Angels said...

I think I may have read The Witch of Blackbird Pond when I was younger, it looks familiar, but I don't remember much about it.
The rest are all new to me ;P

October 2, 2012 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Woo! I will beat people over the head with my favorites for TTT!

October 2, 2012 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Right? Every time I reread The Witch in Blackbird Pond I am still somehow caught off guard by how good it is.

October 2, 2012 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yay! Hope you find something new to love!

October 2, 2012 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

Oh my dear, you are oh-so-fancy! I haven't even heard of most of these, and not read a single one *hangs head in shame*. Fab idea having books older than yourself though :-D

October 2, 2012 at 3:41 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I believe I read The Witch of Blackbird Pond when I was around ten or eleven, but it's been years so I don't remember much about it. I should pick it up and do a reread soon. :) I do remember liking it a lot at one time, but that's about it. Haha.
I have The Woman in White on my list for the classics challenge I'm doing next year. I've heard so many great things about it. I can't wait to read it! ^^


October 2, 2012 at 6:42 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

OMG, I had totally forgotten about The Witch of Blackbird Pond! I loved that book as a child, too, and really need to re-read it.

Ooh, Darkness at Noon is such a great book! Seriously, y'all, if you're into gulag stuff, definitely read it; it is well worth it.

I definitely plan on reading the books I haven't read yet from this list (because I super enjoyed all of the ones I HAVE read that you mentioned), so thanks, once again, for helping me with my never-ending book pile. haha :)

October 2, 2012 at 9:09 PM  
Blogger Kara_Malinczak said...

I loved The Witch of Blackbird Pond when I was a kind. Do you really think people are going to forget about this one though? I almost feel like (as far as children's books go) this one is as famous as The Secret Garden and James and the Giant Peach. I'm glad someone included it on the list though.

Also, I had not heard of the first book on your list, but I love that cover and it sounds like a really interesting book. I think I might like it, so thank you for bringing that to my attention.

October 3, 2012 at 12:22 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

OMG! I totally forgot about The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I actually did read that one, which is shocking b/c as I stated on my page I hardly read until a few years ago.
Thanks for stopping by my page.

October 3, 2012 at 1:06 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

*does fancy dance*

October 3, 2012 at 10:59 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yay! I'm so glad! I hope you love both of them!

October 3, 2012 at 10:59 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

You so should, Heather!

Also, I'm so glad you've read Darkness at Noon.

BAM! You need MORE books, Heather. MOAR BOOKS.

October 3, 2012 at 11:00 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Hmmm, maybe, but I don't think I would ever have heard of it if I hadn't had to read it in like fifth grade for school. I guess I feel like if it ever got taken out of use as a school book, it could fall by the wayside. BUT if it is that safe, then HURRAH!

I love that cover too, and from what I remember, it first the book.

October 3, 2012 at 11:01 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yay! I love all of The Witch of Blackbird Pond love on this post.

October 3, 2012 at 11:02 PM  

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