Like This, Read That, Lists

All Grown Up: A Top Ten List

Often what we read and fall in love with as children sticks with us long into adulthood – this is true of me, at the very least. While beloved classics of my childhood may not hold up under my more discerning adult scrutiny (ahem, Nancy Drew), that does not mean that I don’t get all warm and fuzzy when I think about Nancy’s adventures. The Hidden Staircase and The Secret at Shadow Ranch (revised text) remain my favorite.

Nancy Drew

So as this week’s top ten list is free choice (as hosted by The Broke and the Bookish), I decided to pair classics from my childhood with thematically matched adult titles*. Is it just me, or does it seem like the “adult” in that last sentence is implying untoward things? It’s not.

In no particular order:

10. Lyddie by Katherine Patterson and North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. It is only as an adult that I realized my early literary education was extremely geographically biased (it was all very New England). As I got older, I discovered books set outside of New England. Both of these feature the dangers of millwork albeit in vastly different setting.

09. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare and Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. It’s more than just the suspected witchcraft, both feature a family member that is not entirely welcome or understood within their family or community.

08. Interstellar Pig by William Sleator and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Aliens. Planetary destruction. Brains.

07. Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume and Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. Figuring out all of the shit that comes with being a teenage girl (that boys will never understand).

06. My Teacher is an Alien by Bruce Colville and War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. Aggressive aliens. I seriously loved My Teacher is an Alien when I was younger.

05. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. The Phantom Tollbooth might be entirely to blame for my love of puns, but The Eyre Affair didn’t help.

04. The Positronic Man by Isaac Asmiov and Robert Silverberg and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. I read The Positronic Man in the early ’90s (‘93 or ‘94?) and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? last month. It took me a full month to figure out what book the latter reminded me of reading.

03. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Knowing things you shouldn’t…

02. (Any) Goosebumps by R.L. Stine and IT by Stephen King. If you grow up loving the former, you probably find your way to the latter.

01. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I never realized the full extent of the similarities until Rick pointed them out to me: both are orphaned, both are small and pale, both live with aunts who hold a grudge, both are tormented by the large, glutinous boy of the house, one lives under the stairs while the other lives in a small closet, both are told how ungrateful they are, and both find mentors in kind adults (Templeton and Dumbledore). For the full list, visit Rick’s blog. Please ignore the part where he says Harry Potter is better than Jane Eyre. Because no.

I’ll be honest, this list has been enlightening. I read far more science fiction as a child than I realized. This probably explains my deeply rooted fear of aliens.

What childhood favorites would you pair with adult favorites?

*This particularly brilliant idea was stolen – with credit – from Shannon at River City Reading.

Image Via Buzzfeed.

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