Wheelhouse Wednesdays- In the Beginning Edition

Posted February 4, 2021 by stuckint in Wheelhouse Wednesdays / 1 Comment

Hi everyone, Wheelhouse Wednesdays was a meme Emily and I started to discuss the kinds of books that are auto-buys for me, regardless of any other factors.

You can find my initial wheelhouse here!

Today, I’m talking about the books that shaped my reading life when I was young, be it a book that I discovered which triggered a lifelong love of a certain genres or were moments I realized I was a reader at heart.

The Books

1- Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson

A lot of these books made the list because of the nostalgia that they illicit. But I can think of no other book more nostalgic than the Hank the Cowdog. I remember being in second grade and sitting down down and my teacher reading the first book in there series to us- she even did the voices! It was the first time I could remember wanting to read a book on my own because I wanted to know what happened in the series.

2- Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

When I was in 3rd grade I was taken to B&N for the first time and I was told I could pick out a book. For as long as I could remember I had loved Black Beauty the movie for so long so when I found the chapter book- the regular chapter book not the classics for young readers. It was the regular 40-chapter 300+ page novel and I was determined to have it and read it. After reading the first page out loud to my grandmother to prove it wouldn’t be too difficult for me to read, I devoured it and I honestly think that was first moment when I realized how much I love reading.

3- Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

was the first book I read that emotionally broke me and I don’t think a single reader ever forgets their first time. This was another case of a teacher reading a book in class and me checking it out to finish it ahead of everyone because I just had to know. Anyone who has read this book knows just how good it is and how utterly heartbreaking it turns out- spoiler alert? Anyway, I vividly remember reading the last pages of this book and being gutted in the best way. I always say I like books that make me feel things and this might have been where all that started.

4- Thoroughbred series by Joanna Campbell

I didn’t grow up with many readers in my immediate family but I have a lot of family members, especially on my dad side, who love to read. At one point, one of my aunt’s worked at B&N and she would bring me books which had been thrown and the covers torn off. She brought me a handful of books in the Thoroughbred series. I, like so many, went through intense horse books phase and this series was a staple of mine. The books basically followed a young girl who lived on a horse ranch and who raised, trained and then raced horses. They were so good and intense. I loved them and still think of them fondly.

5- The Babysitter Series by RL Stine

This was my first real foray into MG horror and sadly it was kind of short lives. A reader in my life intimated that maybe the Babysitter Series would be too scary for me since I was in 6yh grade and start babysitting soon. But being a reader she shared some alternatives with me. Sadly I only read the first book in the series before I was steered away from it but it definitely sparked a love of horror novels.

6- Flowers in the Attica by VC Andrews

Remember the reader in my life who steered me away from the Babysitter Series by RL Stine? Well they pressed two new authors into my hands. Now you might be saying to yourself that it’s kind of strange an adult would urge me at 11 or 12 to stop reading middle grade horror and then encourage me to pick up VC Andrews Flowers in the Attic series and you would be right. Age aside, I devoured these books and I read them over and over until my mass market paperback copies were falling apart. I am not much of a rereader now, but I am fairly certain I read through the entire series cover to cover, six or seven times.

7- Watchers by Dean Koontz

The other book that was pressed into my hands when I was steered away from RL Stine was Watchers by Dean Koontz. At the time, my family had gotten a golden retriever puppy and since this book features a hyper intelligent golden named Einstein it was a good fit and I absolutely adore d it. It was my first real experience with adult horror and I began a deep dive into the genre which mostly entailed alternating between Dean Koontz and Stephen King with a taste of John Grisham as a palette cleanser.

8- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

From adult horror and legal thrillers I was introduced to classics at about the age of 14. I recall vividly going to a family reunion and devouring the 1000+ page book over the course of the week. My love affair with classics lasted from 8th grade through my senior year of high school and I found some formative favorite including Jane Austen, Jane Eyre, Gone With the Wind and The Grapes of Wrath.

9- Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Around this time, I also found Eragon. I knew that I liked dragons but this series made me realize that I LOVE dragons and that continues to this day. I loved the lore surrounding dragons in these novels, the relationship that existed with their riders and would frequently fall asleep after reading good chunks of the series wondering what color dragon I would want to have. It showed me, like Harry Potter did, how immersive reading could be. To this day, I seek out books about dragons and it can be traced back to the Eragon series.

10- The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

All the other books on this list feature titles that I read before I turned 18, but this last title is one from a few years ago when I started reading romance novels with a capital “R”. The Kiss Quotient was a fantastic way to test out the genre and see if it was something I could enjoy. It diverse, features a neuro-atypicak protagonist and had numerous laugh out loud moments. I discovered this one through Book of the Month and have enjoyed the genre ever since.

What About You?

What books made you the reader you are today? What do you think of my list? Let me know in the comments.

One response to “Wheelhouse Wednesdays- In the Beginning Edition

  1. Ann

    The very first book I loved was Go Dog Go! I remember having a penchant for stories about Teddy Roosevelt and his family. Can’t recall titles, but it is kind of odd, since I was born in 1960. I loved the descriptions of family life at Sagamore Hill. I had a love of history from an early age. I was also fortunate to have a wide array of books on custom built bookcases in our home’s living room. And if I may digress, I’ve always lived near a county library! First near my childhood home and later as an adult. How lucky!! I recently bought a set of The Wonderful Worlds of Walt Disney books on eBay. I only have 2 of my original childhood set. The volumes include America, Worlds of Nature, Fantasyland and Stories From Other Lands. Fantasyland of course was a favorite, full of beloved Disney characters and fabulous illustrations. I also purchased a set of The Tiny Golden Library. These are little Golden Books that have stories by Dorothy Kunhardt (Pat the Bunny!) and pictures by Garth Williams. There are some Disney characters featured in these as well. My absolute favorite is Naughty Little Guest. The main character is a little goat who blames an imaginary friend for drawing on the wall! So I guess I have a penchant for childhood books and nostalgia. Jumping to adult years, I am collecting hard cover copies of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I’ve read them all & who knows, may dive back in one day!! I love her writing. Prior to that I remember reading Emmeline by Judith Rossner, a hugely popular American author whose books have all but disappeared. She also wrote Looking For Mr. Goodbar. That was made into a movie with Diane Keaton & Richard Gere. It may have been his first film. A shocking book about the sexual revolution in the early 70s. Back to Emmeline: I read it in English & Portuguese (I lived in Brazil at one point). I would read it again! Anita Shreve’s Fortune’s Rock is along those lines. I’ve read so many books, that I sometimes catch myself rereading one unintentionally! Too many faves to list here. I definitely got the reading bug from an early age & I am always suspicious of people who do not read.

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