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I’m obviously not the only bibliophile who reads a book and thinks, “Wow! I wish I’d read this when I was younger.” I know that I would have appreciated some books even more as a younger reader. I know that other books that speak to me now would have spoken even louder back then and maybe clarified some decisions and smoothed some paths. We’ll ignore the fact that many of these weren’t even published when I was younger. So here’s my list of the Top Ten Books for My Younger Self!
Fun Middle-Grade Books That My Younger Self Would Have Loved
Five on a Treasure Island (The Famous Five #1) by Enid Blyton
The Saturdays (The Melendy Quartet #1) by Elizabeth Enright
The Penderwicks (The Penderwicks #1) by Jeanne Birdsall, read by Susan Denaker
The Mysterious Howling (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1) by Maryrose Wood, read by Katherine Kellgren
Bloody Jack (Bloody Jack #1) by L. A. Meyer, read by Katherine Kellgren
Books About Travel to Inspire My Younger Self to Explore More
Adventures in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella Bird–I remember being a single girl interested in taking a National Outdoor Leadership School course but I never got brave enough to do it. Isabella Bird traveled the world alone in Victorian times. Her story might have given me the encouragement I needed to put myself out there. My husband and I travel pretty extensively now but I sometimes think of how many more places I could have already visited if I’d started earlier.
Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman by Alice Steinbach–Alice was traveling in more modern times but I still found her inspiring.
Books That Might Have Pushed Me Toward a Different Career Path
Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok, read by Grayce Wey–I can be very guilty of choosing the easiest path. That’s how I ended up at my college, even though it wasn’t the right fit for me. The school offered me enough scholarships and grants and my boyfriend and oldest friend went there so I tagged along. There is a lot to love about Girl in Translation but one of the things that made it a 4.5-star read for me was the way that Kimberly forged her own path in her new country. My younger self could have used some of that inspiration.
Mama Makes Up Her Mind and Other Dangers of Southern Living by Bailey White–Like most readers, a lot of people who know me think that I should be an author. I’ve never felt particularly inspired to write anything, but one of my uncles did read this and tell me that this is the kind of book I should write. I think he’s correct. If I am ever inspired to start writing, I can see myself sitting down to write these same kinds of funny vignettes about everyday life. They’re the kinds of stories I love to tell so it makes sense that I would write what I know.
A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly–I can’t express how much I related to Mattie Gokey, the main character in A Northern Light. She’s a beautiful writer with big dreams but she lives in a tiny town in the Allegheny Mountains. Throughout the book, she realizes that she might not be able to write about city people doing city things but she can write about what she knows. She can make those same city people care about farm girls who get married too young and die in childbirth, or the devastation that follows the loss of a farm animal when a farmer is barely feeding his family from one winter to the next. Mattie and I are probably separated by 100 years but I related to her so much.
That’s my list! Have you read any of these? Did they inspire you or make you laugh? Which books did/would you choose? Link up every Tuesday at That Artsy Reader Girl!