Ten Old Books I Love

August 16, 2022 Top Ten Tuesday 55

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Old Books I Love (graphic)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The meme was originally the brainchild of The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Ten Old Books I Love.

Ten Old Books I Love

Depending on your perspective, I’m old—at any rate, I’m past my mid-century mark. So by definition, the books I read and loved when I was young are now, well, old. (I don’t think of myself as old, though!)

That said, even as a child, I tended to read as many older books as current releases. So here, listed alphabetically by title, are ten books I love that were already older than I was when I first read them, and must certainly count as “old” by now. All are books I will gladly read again (and have), which is what constitutes a favorite for me.

  • Anne of Green Gables (L. M. Montgomery), and the whole series, really. Also The Blue Castle and some of her other books.
  • Gaudy Night (Dorothy L. Sayers), and most of the other Lord Peter Wimsey books.
  • Gentian Hill (Elizabeth Goudge), along with A City of Bells, Pilgrim’s Inn, The Rosemary Tree, and several of her other books.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis), and the other Narnia books (except The Last Battle, which is not a favorite.)
  • The Lord of the Rings (J. R. R. Tolkien). Also The Hobbit, though I don’t love it in the same way.
  • Little Women (Louisa May Alcott). Also Eight Cousins, and to a lesser extent, the sequels to both of those.
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel (Baroness Orczy)
  • The Secret Adversary (Agatha Christie), and a number of her other books. (Did you know that The Secret Adversary is 100 years old?!
  • The Secret Garden (Frances Hodson Burnett). Also A Little Princess.
  • Twelfth Night (William Shakespeare), along with a number of his other plays. (Yes, I read plays for fun sometimes.)

Honorable Mention

These didn’t quite make the cut, for various reasons. In some cases (*), I loved the book when I was younger but haven’t reread it in many years — though I may well read it again in the future. In other cases (**), I felt I had put enough children’s books on the list already; otherwise, it would have been in the list above.

  • At the Back of the North Wind* (George MacDonald)
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer* (Mark Twain)
  • Ballet Shoes** (Noel Streatfeild)
  • Frenchman’s Creek* (Daphne DuMaurier) Rebecca is good, and so is Jamaica Inn, but I loved Frenchman’s Creek in my youth.
  • Jane Eyre* (Charlotte Bronte)
  • Nine Coaches Waiting (Mary Stewart), along with several of her other books. This one was edged out by The Scarlet Pimpernel only on the basis of age, and because I thought my main list really ought to have at least one 19th-century novel on it! But in terms of how often I reread them, Stewart’s novels would win.
  • Swallows and Amazons** (Arthur Ransome), and several of the sequels
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea* and The Mysterious Island* (Jules Verne)
  • Winnie the Pooh** (A. A. Milne). Also The House at Pooh Corner.
  • The Wizard of Oz** (L. Frank Baum)

This is where I should probably admit that there are a great many classic novels that I never read, and several that I read but didn’t enjoy. (Sometimes I think we do a disservice to our teens and young adults, making them read great novels before they have the maturity and experience to fully appreciate them.) And there are some that I keep meaning to read that I believe I will love, but haven’t gotten around to yet. Jane Austen falls in the latter category, and I really hope to pick up Pride and Prejudice before the end of the year.

55 Responses to “Ten Old Books I Love”

  1. Angela

    I didn’t read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe until I was an adult, but I loved it and will still reread it occasionally.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      It’s such a wonderful book (even if Lewis did lay on the allegory a little thickly.) I’ve loved it since I was 7 or 8.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      There are so many good books, it’s impossible to get to all of them. That said, Anne is such a delightful character, and Montgomery’s descriptive writing is so gorgeous, that I hope you do get a chance to read the books.

      • Lark_Bookwyrm

        It’s a delightful early Agatha Christie, set shortly after World War I. As much an adventure as a mystery, and it introduces Tommy Beresford and Tuppence Cooper, who appear in several other books.

    • Cheri @ All In Good Time

      Great list. I devoured the Narnia series when I was a child and have re-read it numerous times since, but I could never stay engaged with the Lord of the Rings books. They seem like something I would enjoy, but his writing style just doesn’t work for me.

      • Lark_Bookwyrm

        Not every book works for everyone, which is why it’s a good thing there are so many books to choose from! I’ve reread both LOTR and the Narnia series multiple times, but my dad was never able to get into LOTR. To each their own!

  2. Nicole @ BookWyrm Knits

    Great list! I considered including Narnia and LOTR (or The Hobbit, more likely) in my list, but decided I talk about them too much to include them. Same with A Wrinkle in Time. Though, reading your post, I’m realizing that I should have included an honorable mentions section with the older books I love that I already blog about too much. 😉
    Nicole @ BookWyrm Knits recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday ~ Old Bookish FriendsMy Profile

  3. Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

    Great list with lost of familiar classics, only a few of which I’ve read. I’m older than you (70 this year!!!) but like you, I don’t feel old. That is until I look at how long I’ve been reading 🙂 I’m not a re-reader at all so I can’t judge faves based on that. It’s mostly a remembered feeling or if I can actually remember the story 10 or 15+ years later, then to me that’s a good read. Thanks so much for the visit.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: some favorite backlist titlesMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I’ve been an avid rereader almost since I could read. I read quickly, and was super fast as a child and young adult, so I finished new books almost as fast as I borrowed or was given them, leaving me little choice but to reread them if I wanted to read at all. Along the way, I discovered that rereading is both comforting and pleasurable; it lets me revisit old “friends” (the characters and stories I love), and the familiarity combined with the escape from the real world is helpful in managing my anxiety. But in some ways, I envy people who are always delighted to start a completely new book. There are times when I just don’t have the emotional bandwidth for that.

  4. Lisa @ The Plain-Spoken Pen

    What a great twist on the topic! Seeing your list, I guess I could put together a list of books older than me that I love. We’re both past the mid-century mark (but absolutely not old).

    I’ve read a good few of those. I can always go back to the Chronicles of Narnia. And I loved The Secret Garden!

    Thanks for sharing, and for stopping by to see my list!
    Lisa @ The Plain-Spoken Pen recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Love That Are Over Ten Years OldMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      We’re definitely not old. No matter what AARP thinks!

      The Secret Garden is such a beautiful, heartwarming book. (Though its attitudes toward race and class are very much of its time, unfortunately.)

  5. Ashley

    I love your list and that you included honorable mentions. I haven’t read Ballet Shoes but feel like after seeing You’ve Got Mail so many times I should.

  6. Lark

    Great choices this week (especially on your honorable mentions list!); I’m planning on reading The Scarlet Pimpernel this year for my classics challenge.
    And Ballet Shoes is my favorite Noel Streatfeild novel. 😀
    Lark recently posted…House Made of Dawn by N. Scott MomadayMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Ballet Shoes is my favorite Streatfeild book, too. Not that I’ve read all of them, but so far, it remains my favorite. I hope you enjoy The Scarlet Pimpernel. I’m about due for a reread.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Me too. There are three literary deaths that bring me to tears Every. Single. Time. Beth’s is one of them. (The other two are Matthew Cuthbert, and—don’t laugh—Dobby.)

  7. Katherine

    So many wonderful books on your list! I loved Eight Cousins but for some reason never really connected with Little Women. The Secret Garden is another favorite and one I reread in the last few years and enjoyed just as much as I did when I was a child.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      The Secret Garden will never grow old! I know some people have a harder time connecting with Little Women. It can get a bit preachy, particularly initially, and I think that puts people off. But I still love it, and reread it every 5-10 years. (I reread The Secret Garden more often than that!)

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I have a collection of facsimile Oz books by Baum (Books of Wonder brought out all his Oz books in facsimiles of the first editions), plus some of the vintage Oz books by other authors. They were such a delightful part of my childhood! I find I don’t reread them as often as I do LOTR or The Secret Garden, though, which is why The Wonderful Wizard of Oz only got an Honorable Mention.

  8. CurlyGeek

    The Secret Garden is a favorite book I keep coming back to, and the Oz series was my favorite as a child. I only read Anne of Green Gables as an adult so I don’t think I could fully appreciate it, but The Blue Castle is one I’m planning to read, as several bloggers have recommended it. Thanks for sharing your list.
    CurlyGeek recently posted…Ten Favorite Books Published Over Ten Years AgoMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I just finished rereading The Blue Castle, which I love. Montgomery’s descriptive writing may come across to some modern readers as “too much” or overblown, but it’s gorgeous. And I love the main characters, and the overall plot.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I’m about due for a reread of the Anne of Green Gables series, myself. And LOTR, though I’m planning to do that one in audio, with the new editions read by Andy Serkis. I reread Little Women a few years ago… probably in 2020, come to think of it!