Top Ten Tuesday: Books of My Youth

It’s time for another Top Ten list from That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s topic is “Books I Enjoyed but Rarely Talk About”. Considering that I’ve only been reading seriously for 9 months, all of the books that I’ve really liked have been in a TTT post at some point or other (some multiple times). So I searched a little further back and came up with 10 books that I read back when I used to read avidly, a pastime that had ended by 15 years ago. Only 2 of these books have been on a TTT post of mine before this.

This list is mostly made up of books I read in high school (some for English class, some for myself), with maybe one or two a little later than that. Most I’ve read multiple times, but just not within the last 15 years. I own almost all of these, as I liked them enough back then to buy a copy, and all of them I will most likely again soon and give them a proper review.


Hangman’s Curse and Nightmare Academy by Frank Peretti
There are many reasons why Frank Peretti is my favorite author, and this far-too-short series is one of them. I’ve read both of these several times and love them so much, especially the 2nd one. I only wish Peretti had written more of them.

Obsessed by Ted Dekker
I read this book several times after it came out in 2004. It fed into my serious interest in the Holocaust as a teenager and young adult (as is evidenced by several more of the books below), even though it’s fiction.

Maus and Maus II by Art Spiegelman
In the AP English classes I took for the latter 3 years of high school, we had some assigned books, and were allowed to choose our own classics. At one point, the school librarian came to our class to talk about a list of books that had won or been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) Award in the past, referring to them as modern classics. Our teacher told us that we could pick one of these in place of an old classic. Considering that the books on this list were generally shorter and easier to read…I picked them as many times as I was allowed. Maus II was on that list. Of course, it was the 2nd half of a story, but I liked it so much, I later bought both books.

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
Corrie ten Boom’s story is incredibly inspirational. I’m pretty sure I wrote a research paper using this book in some way. I did a lot of papers and speeches on Holocaust-related subjects in high school.

Night by Elie Wiesel
I don’t really have any to say about this one besides that it’s just more testament to my fascination with the Holocaust. I don’t remember this book very well, so it’ll probably be almost like reading it new when I do get to it again. Also, there are other books of this subject that I read back then, but those I included in this list are the ones I remember the most.

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Ophelia Speaks by Sara Shandler
Like with Maus, this book was one I was allowed to read for English class as a “modern classic.” Though I’m pretty sure it was Reviving Ophelia that had won the award. This book gives a voice to the teenage girls that the other book discussed, and even I, in my sheltered world, really identified with a lot of the essays. Written by adolescent girls with a range of topics about struggling to become a woman–about family, friends, physical and emotional trauma, and much more, I will likely have my daughter read it in a few years.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This is one of the few classics I read in high school that I actually enjoyed (and frankly, one of the few I could actually follow very well). However, being that I was in high school at the time, I definitely need to read it again now, partly because I can read it for pleasure (not having to analyze every chapter) and partly because I’ll most likely pick up on a lot that I missed back then.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
After we read Hamlet, our teacher had our class read this play. I remember thinking how great of a teacher she was, considering how much fun the play is. And then we watched the movie with Gary Oldman and Tim Roth, of which I can really only remember the tennis scene…and papers flying everywhere that I didn’t get the point of. I’ll have to re-watch that after I re-read the book.

The Eagle and the Lamb by Darlene Mindrup
Story time: When I was a teenager, my family took a trip out to Arizona to visit my grandparents. My grandma had a huge collection of Christian romance books, and I read a few while we were staying there. There was one that I remembered liking more than all of the others, but years later, when I tried to find it again, I couldn’t remember the title. I thought it was something to do with “lion and lamb”, so over the last few years I’ve done Google searches for those words and what I could remember of the story, which is just that the main characters were a Roman centurion and a Jewish slave. For a while recently I thought it might have been A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers (it first in a series called Mark of the Lion and was published several years before my family went to AZ), but when I saw the length of that book–it wasn’t exactly the mass-market type romance I remembered reading–I dug a little more and was really excited when I found this book. The cover even looks familiar! Unlike when I came across A Voice in the Wind, I am 100% certain I have found the right one now. This will be an interesting experiment to find out if I even remotely like this book as much as an adult as I did as a teenager. (I still plan to read A Voice in the Wind at some point too!)

Have you read any of these, or are any on your own TBR? Link your TTT post so I can check out yours!

28 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books of My Youth

    • Back then, I figured anything that was easier to read than Nathaniel Hawthorne books were good books. Maybe it was just my immaturity, or maybe I’m just a lazy reader, but I didn’t understand why classics always had to be so hard to read.

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    • It’s interesting to me that while making this list, I know I read many other books back in those days, like mysteries and YA books, etc., but these were the ones that stuck out to me the most.

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    • I do wonder if my memory of liking Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is due as much to the movie as reading the play itself, but I guess I won’t know until I re-read it. Now I’m curious enough to move it up higher in my TBR.

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        • We watched it in class after studying the play, so I had to sit still. Man, this is making me more and more curious.

          I’ve never looked into Waiting for Godot on any level…I think ever since they said on the show Home Improvement that only 4 people in the world understand the play, I filed it away as something not to care about back when I was younger. It’s funny how our minds work.

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        • As a clueless 2nd semester freshman I ended up enrolled in a section of literature/comp that used Theater of the Absurd. I was too shy to go to drop/add and get a different English section so I got a D and had a miserable semester instead! I loathed just about everything in that semester. The Shakespeare plays–comparison purposes, were fine. I also let the snotty teaching assistant convince me I couldn’t write! I’d had A’s & papers read a loud by a prof the semester before who was a published author in two languages! College…. It took me over 30 years to return to writing.

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        • Ugh, I’m so sorry that happened to you! It’s so sad how careless people can be with their words, even worse if they’re mean on purpose. What kind of writing do you do?

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    • Maus is interesting in that it does tell about the author’s dad’s time in ghettos and camps, while at the same time telling about his life afterward. It’s difficult enough to see (in visual form, even) what prisoners went through, but there’s the added pain and sadness in seeing the aftermath, how they struggled to have a normal life afterward, and even how difficult it must have been to relate to people who didn’t go through it all.

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    • The Hiding Place is high on my list of books to re-read. I anticipate having very different thoughts about some of these books than I had as a teenager (hopefully even better, deeper thoughts).

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