Audible, Amazon.com’s audiobook division, has a fun list of readers’ first book crushes, the books that caught their attention and made them fall in love with reading, either for the first time, or more in love than they were before. Here are five that come to mind for me:
1. Arrows of the Queen trilogy by Mercedes Lackey. Lackey is the queen of guilty pleasures on my shelf. This trilogy was one of my first grown-up books, and it’s safe to say that it changed my worldview in a huge way. I discovered that not all fantasy books had to involve girls wearing chainmail in the snow and muscly dudes wielding gigantic swords, which made me more interested in the genre than I’d been before. This trilogy also introduced me to homosexuality – seriously, I was unaware of homosexuality before I read these – which is a topic Lackey has never shied away from.
2. “Oathbreakers” and “Oathbound” by Mercedes Lackey. She’s a beautiful blonde mage! Her companion is a revenge-driven warrior! Together they fight evil, with the help of a big intelligent magical wolf thing! (And they’re not lesbians, although some fanfic probably begs to differ.) I still get a kick out of the shameless “girl power” vibe in these books.
3. Animorphs. I never finished the series because I outgrew them before Applegate finished writing, but the forty-some books that were available while I was in the demographic were awesome.
4. “The Other Boleyn Girl” by Philippa Gregory. This is the book that solidified my interest in historical fiction. It’s far and away the best of Gregory’s books (although “The Constant Princess” was alright) and oh, is it juicy. This is my type of beach reading: chock-full of scandal, romance, and betrayal, but fairly well-written and long enough to keep me invested for several hours.
5. “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead” by Tom Stoppard. Okay, yeah, there are several things wrong with this item. First of all, it’s a play, not a book. Second, I still don’t understand it as well as I should. Third, the primary reason for me having a crush on this book is because of Gary Oldman, Tim Roth, and the question game.
Have you guys seen this movie? You should.
6. “Timeline” by Michael Crichton. Crichton was another early “grown-up” author for me. I found copies of “Congo” and “The Lost World” for a quarter each at garage sales, asked for “Andromeda Strain” and “Sphere” for holidays, and checked out any remaining books (“Airframe,” “Disclosure”). “Timeline” may be my favorite – yes, it even ranks above the Jurassic Park books, although barely. A team of scientists gets trapped in the Middle Ages and has to find a way back to the presence, all while fighting off evil knights and learning Old English and siege tactics. (Do yourself a favor and never see the movie. If you’ve already seen it, try the book, please. It’ll make everything better.)
How about you? What books were you in love with?