I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought that putting together today’s list was HARD. Not because I have a shortage of favorite backlist books (in fact, I have too many), but because this feels momentous. The selection is important, because I don’t want people to forget these books – but it felt like cheating to put in books that no one is likely to forget (I’m thinking Neil Gaiman here). Anyway… as you’ll see, my list is a mixed bag.
Top Ten ‘Older’ Books I Don’t Want People to Forget
1. A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter – THIS. BOOK. Was my childhood. I mean that quite literally. I’ve read it over 25 times, and its gentle, beautiful story of a stubborn girl growing up in rural
Indiana in the early 20th century will always be a favorite. It should be one of yours, too.
2. Sabriel by Garth Nix – There’s a wall in this story: a wall between magic and the ordinary. And if the darkness that’s gathering beyond the wall is let loose, it’ll be the end for all. Wonderful prose, and another favorite.
3. Chalice by Robin McKinley – I adore everything Robin McKinley, but of her recent books, this is one of the least-celebrated. Its abstract focus might keep it out of the limelight, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it for someone who likes books that are quietly intense.
4. The Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen D. Randle – Bullying, silence, and deliberately making the hard decisions… sounds like a contemporary YA, doesn’t it? This one needs to be read by anyone who considers themselves a fan of that subgenre.
5. Briar Rose by Jane Yolen – There was a time when I devoured everything WWII-related, and this story, melding that subject matter with a retold fairy tale, is not quickly forgotten.
6. Magic for Marigold by L.M. Montgomery – You may know Anne of Green Gables, but do you know Marigold?
Montgomery wrote precious few standalones, but this coming-of-age classic full of family dynamics and youthful capers is possibly my favorite of her books.
7. The Merlin Conspiracy by Diana Wynne Jones – If you can believe it, I had never read a Diana Wynne Jones book until I studied abroad in
Spain. This madcap adventure was love at first read, and usually the one I recommend to others (if they don’t express interest in Howl, claro).
8. The Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger – This book is a heartfelt epistolary tale about baseball and growing up in the shadow of war. It is not to be missed.
9. The Once and Future King by T.H. White – I first read my mother’s old paperback copy of this Arthurian tale at age… 10? Its complexity and epic scope mixed with humor and coming-of-age tale made it a favorite.
10. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck – This was a 10th grade Honors English book at my high school. It’s an important book, and one that not many of my peers have heard of, much less read. If you have any interest in pre-Communist Revolution China, historical or cultural sagas, or would like to, this is the book for you.
What are the books that you don’t want people to forget?