Gateway Drugs… I Mean Books: Top Ten Tuesday

April 1, 2014 Top Ten Tuesday 52

Greetings, Bookworms!

It’s April Fool’s Day, but I kind of hate pranks (mostly because I’m extremely gullible and ALWAYS fall for them.) Soooo instead of doing something foolish, I’m going to get listy with it and join the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish with a fabulous topic. This week they have asked us to list out books that were a “gateway” for us. A gateway into reading, a gateway into a new genre, whatever. Fun right?! Let’s do this.


1. Gateway to Time Travel: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I wouldn’t have thought I would be into time travel, but The Time Traveler’s Wife completely blew my mind. It’s one of the reasons I was open to reading Outlander, and life would have been tragic had it gone any other way.

2. Gateway to Dystopian Fiction: The Giver by Lois Lowry. My fifth grade teacher read this to my class and it was incredible. I read it again as an adult and it was still amazing. A world where you cannot see color?! Crazy! (My review)

3. Gateway to Sweet Southern Fried Fiction: Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! by Fannie Flagg. My mom loaned me this book along with what turned out to be one of my favorite Fannie Flagg novels, Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven. I was hooked on the feel-good Southern wonder of it all!


4. Gateway to Margaret Atwood (she should be her own category!): The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (obviously.) I read this for the first time for a college class. It was mind-blowingly awesome, and I’ve been a sucker for Atwood ever since! (my review)

5. Gateway to Hist-ART-ical Fiction: The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier. I absolutely adore historical fiction with an art focus, and I put the blame for that addiction squarely on the shoulders of Tracy Chevalier.

6. Gateway to ZOMBIES: World War Z by Max Brooks. In fairness, The Walking Dead (the TV show) was my gateway drug to all things zombie, but this was the first zombie novel I read. It was absolutely delightful. (My review)

don't say i didn't warn you

7. Gateway to Classics: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I read this book in high school, after a string of novels that had me convinced that all classics were painful to read. I was surprised to find myself enjoying the required reading. It was wonderful!

8. Gateway to Classic British Lady Writers: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. This was another assigned book I read in high school, and again I was surprised how much I loved it. It was like a fancy old timey soap opera. It opened the door to all sorts of wonderful classics written by British women. Fantastic.

9. Gateway to Snarky Memoirs:  Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. A friend of mine gave me this book for my birthday my freshman year in college? Or was it senior year in high school? I don’t know, I’m old. Anyway, I fell in love with Sedaris and the whole snarky memoir genre. Good times, I tell you!

10. Gateway to Reading for the Heck of it:  Emily’s Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary. I read for pleasure as a kid, but this is the first book I remember reading for the heck of it. I was bored one Saturday, and I read the whole book in an afternoon. I was completely enthralled, and I just keep chasing that high…

slippery slope

What are some of your favorite Gateway Drugs Books? Tell me about it, Bookworms!

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52 Responses to “Gateway Drugs… I Mean Books: Top Ten Tuesday”

  1. Isi

    Great list! I have read The Time Traveler’s Wife and I loved it!
    I want to read The giver and The handmaid’s tale soon!

  2. bybee

    Gateway to books about the American pioneer experience: The Little House series, particularly The Long Winter.

  3. Shannon @ River City Reading

    The Giver was such a gateway book for adult books in general for me. I think it just showed me that there can be twists and things might not always turn out like you hoped. I absolutely adore that book.

    • Words For Worms

      It is really great. I almost wish she’d let it stand alone instead of completing the quartet. I mean, I LIKED the rest of the series and it gave some closure, but none of them had the same vibe and they went very allegorical. Ah well.

  4. Megan M.

    I hate pranks and April Fools Day too, for exactly the same reasons. I think most pranks go too far.

    Anyway – even before I finished reading your list I was thinking that I would name my “Gateway to the Classics” as To Kill A Mockingbird. I can’t say I never enjoyed an assigned book before, but when we had to read TKAM, I devoured it. I was so excited to learn about it and then see the film. It was definitely my favorite assigned book.

    • Words For Worms

      You know, I read TKAM as a freshman in high school, but I didn’t really like my English teacher and the fun was kind of sucked out of it for me. Freshman year was the only time I’ve ever gotten a B in English. Sentence diagramming did me in. Because THAT is a critical life skill… (Not bitter, swearsies. Okay, maybe I am bitter. I like As.)

      • Megan M.

        Ha! I also got less than an A for my freshman year English class because the teacher assigned so many presentations that required standing in front of the class that I just… refused to do several of them. I don’t regret it. Don’t tell my kids. LOL

  5. April @ The Steadfast Reader

    I just don’t like happiness – so I hate pranks. 🙂

    I concur that Margaret Atwood should get her own category. I’d designate her AS in the Library of Congress system for ‘awesome sauce’.

    I love Sedaris, but Augusten Burroughs ‘Running With Scissors’ is what brought me into the snarky (and effed up) memoir genre.

    • Words For Worms

      You might be the biggest Atwood fan in all the land! I read Burroughs AFTER Sedaris and was kind of disappointed… It was less funny and more tragic which made me all confused emotionally.

      • April @ The Steadfast Reader

        Yeah… I can definitely see how it would be hard to do them backwards – Sedaris is a lot less tragic. I always thought that the subtitle to ‘Running with Scissors’ should have been: “My childhood was WAY more effed up than yours, trust me.”

        I thought I was crazy Atwood girl too until I looked at her biblography and realized how much I haven’t read! Gonna try to hit some poetry this month.

  6. Megan

    Thank you for listing books from your childhood! While so many “gateway” books are running through my brain right now, I have to say that STARRING SALLY J. FREEDMAN AS HERSELF by Judy. Blum is a one where I still – at 36 years old – get sucked into as easy as when I was 12. In fact – when I was in 6th grade, I was so enthralled in the story that I forgot to get off the school bus at my stop. I realized 10 minutes later. My bus driver was NOT amused.

  7. kristinshafel

    Wow, great list! I haven’t had time to think about this one (March/April are my busiest months at my 2 jobs and orchestras I’m in). You went all out though, girl! Love it! Totally agreed re Atwood, Sedaris, Lowry, and Niffenegger. For your hist-art-ical fiction, have you read The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro? That was a good one, based on the real-life 1990 theft of Boston’s Gardner Museum (largest art heist ever).

    • Words For Worms

      Thank you dear! It wasn’t as hard as I thought, though I did waste a lot of time playing around in Picmonkey. I’m trying to get better at images. I still kind of suck, but I think I’m slowly improving.

  8. Heather @ Capricious Reader

    I almost called my list my Gateway Drugs. GMTA! lol

    I totally forgot to do dystopians. And southern novels. I also forgot snark and historical fic. Darn it. Double darn it. Oh well. I probably could easily do 10 more. Then 10 more after that. GREAT list BTW.

    • Words For Worms

      The greatest minds! Your list was delicious, it lost nothing by the omission of some genres. But, you know. I wouldn’t object to you making another list. And another! 🙂

  9. Samantha

    My introductory Atwood novel was ‘Cat’s Eye’. I think The Handmaid’s Tale would be a great gateway for her in general, though, it’s just sooo good.

    I had ‘The Giver’ read to me when I was in sixth grade (our teacher read books out loud to us during a certain period), but I have a hard time retaining something like a book where I really need to concentrate on the story, so I’m pretty sure I need to read it again. Considering how much I like dystopian fiction, I think I’ll enjoy it more now. 🙂

    • Words For Worms

      Cat’s Eye was is my favorite non-dystopian Atwood. SO GOOD! Also, The Giver totally holds up to an adult audience, and it’s a super fast read. I think you’d dig it.

  10. Kelly from

    Shannon said this already in her post today but The Babysitters Club! My childhood reading was my gateway to reading permanently (if that makes sense) and in that vein I’ll also mention Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume and Roald Dahl. Gateway to the classics – Jane Eyre 100% but also just college! We didn’t read anything of real literary merit in high school and then I got to college and this world opened… I’m convinced I should’ve been born in the Victorian era 🙂

    • Words For Worms

      I loved Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume! I don’t think I’d have read Jane Eyre if it hadn’t been for Pride and Prejudice- thank GOODNESS I did! Jane Eyre is probably my favorite classic.

  11. eli @ the (book) supplier

    LOVED The Giver and The Handmaid’s Tale. What do you think about The Giver movie trailer? I don’t think I included zombies on my TTT, but I’d definitely go with Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry. World War Z read too much like non-fiction for me, and I found myself bored after about 100 pages.

  12. Rory

    Having scrolled through your comments (as well as your post, of course), I am terrible as PicMonkey (Shannon/RCR makes it look so easy). I keep trying to work with it and nothing, I’m not getting anywhere. How can I be decent with Photoshop and terrible with something simple? I didn’t like The Giver when I was young, but did appreciate it as an adult. I don’t know why, but I still don’t care for dystopia, maybe that’s the reason…

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