Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday! This is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where a new top ten list hits the web every week!
This week we have a great topic to explore …
TOP TEN BOOKS I WANT MY CHILDREN TO READ
This is a topic which makes me a little sad. I say that because I only have one child who actually enjoys reading. Depressing to admit, but true nonetheless.
How did this happen?
Not quite sure — though I have a suspicion that I’ll lay out in a bit. Honestly, when my children were smaller, they seemed to enjoy books. I read to every one of them as they grew up. I can’t count the number of nights I’d go from bedroom to bedroom spending twenty to thirty minutes reading to one child before then heading to the others to read. We had fun. My children asked for me to read to them (until they were too grown-up for that sort of thing). They even read books on their own, sought out certain series. And then it all changed . . .
What changed is a focus by their school on the students reading so many books every week. A fun hobby became a tedious chore. Soon, my sons revolted against every picking up a book outside of homework assignments. And there really wasn’t anything I could do to stop the trend.
Thankfully, one son hasn’t completely lost his love of reading so far. He prefers graphic novels to fantasy or science fiction, but at least he is reading. But I do hope that one day I can reignite his love for books, convince him to try the ones I’ve listed below, because I believe they would open his eyes to a wider world just as they did his old man.
10. The Time Machine – Jules Verne
The granddaddy of all time travel stories! This story of a Vcitorian era scientist who invents a time machine to save someone close to him turns into a science fiction romp through the future. Definitely, it is action adventure done right, but it also introduces amazing concepts to a new speculative fiction reader.
9. Conan – Robert E. Howard
I fondly recall picking up my first Conan book when I was a pre-teen mired in middle school angst. Life was hard. My problems were insurmountable. Then I got to follow along behind a barbarian who was a self-made king, who overcame his own obstacles by the strength of his mighty sinews. Plus, it was damn good fun!
8. Animal Farm/1984 – George Orwell
Switching gears a bit with these picks, going from fun to ultra serious. These Orwell classics are thought provoking affairs, which totally shocked when I finally read them. The messages here are even more relevant today when the powers-that-be attempt to turn the citizenry against one another while they steal us blind of our money and freedoms. Certainly, it isn’t fun reading, but it is something I hope my children will tackle when they are ready for it.
7. Mark Twain
Tom Sawyer. Huckleberry Finn. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. The Prince and the Pauper. Dozens of amazing short stories. Mark Twain was a writer who helped bring the American past alive for me in a way no other book/film ever did. Certainly, he wasn’t limited to merely illustrating old Americana, but he did it so damn well it is what I always remember him for.
6. The Iliad/ The Odyssey – Homer
This ancient epic was difficult for me to read when I jumped into it in fifth or sixth grade, but it was such an amazing story that it left a lasting impact on my psyche. The legendary lives of Achilles, Phoenix, Menelaus, Agamemnon, Ajax and so many others a brilliant lesson in relationships and battles between kings and heroes.
5. Le Morte D’Arthur
Another epic tale of the past this time centering on the legends of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table. As a lifelong fan of knights and everything medieval, this huge volume was difficult but immensely pleasurable to take the time to complete. It really cemented my love of King Arthur, and I hope one of my children can experience it when they are ready for the grand journey.
4. Alexander Dumas
No, I haven’t read all of Dumas’s works, but The D’Artagnan Romances and The Count of Monte Cristo will always be among my favorite stories ever written. I’ll be the first to admit Dumas’s style of wordiness can be annoying, but his tales are timeless snapshots of a time long past yet so amazing it should never be forgotten, but be revisited by each generation to keep it alive.
3. Foundation — Isaac Asimov
Not everyone loves Foundation as much as I did, but as for me, I have always felt it was the perfect mesh of science and fiction, keeping you turning pages to follow a cool story. Not all science fiction of today’s day and age remember that first and foremost books are for enjoyment, not academic speculation. And I think it is exactly the type of story that might convince my children that reading is fun.
2. David Eddings
I think of David Eddings as the J.K. Rowling of the 1980s. The Belgariad, The Mallorean and his Sparhawk books my generations Harry Potter or Percy Jackson. Nope, Eddings didn’t create anything new or horribly original, but what he did is pen damn addictive YA stories that kept me reading away year and year, which is exactly what I think he could do with my children.
1. The Hobbit/ The Lord of the Rings
Do I even need to explain why I want my offspring to read the greatest, modern epic fantasy series ever written? Suffice it to say I believe every person’s life isn’t complete without, at least, reading this saga once.