musings, top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Written Before I Was Born

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

The rules are simple:

  • Each Tuesday, Jana assigns a new topic. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want.
  • Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.
  • Add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s post so that everyone can check out other blogger’s lists.
  • Or if you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment.

Whoever thinks that only new books are better for recommendations, I sorely think we need to have a good conversation. I grew up reading as a child (maybe that’s why I have glasses), and most of the books I had access to at that age were well-loved novels well beyond my years.

For today’s TTT, I will endeavour to share with you beloved series that made me fall in love with reading, and the heroines and heroes who ruled these pages. In no particular order, let’s dig in!

1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (1908)

I can’t be a proud Canadian girl if I didn’t grow up reading one of our most beloved stories preserved through time. While I haven’t grown up in the PEI, reading this series helped me almost imagine what it would’ve been like, especially in the early 1900s.

If you too love Anne, the spunkiest redhead of her time, then you should also definitely check out the TV series Anne with an E! I highly recommend it, and it’s not just because I absolutely ADORE this girl, but because this series actually did a good job bringing her to life while discussing some great modern issues.

2. Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene (The Secret of the Old Clock – 1930)

I can trace my love of mysteries as an adult to all the Nancy Drew books I read. I was obsessive in reading all 56 yellow-spined novels which I considered canon in my childhood years. You should’ve seen my surprise when I learned that Carolyn Keene was a pseudonym used by multiple writers. Young Andge was not the most impressed by that.

There is also a new Nancy Drew TV series out and I’m super hesitant to watch it. I thought the movie starring Emma Roberts some years ago was okay but I don’t have super high hopes for these modern adaptations. What do you think?

3. Redwall by Brian Jacques (1986)

Does anyone remember this series? I grew up watching the children’s television program and fell in love with the elaborate storytelling and world these talking creatures lived in. I wanted to be brave like Martin the Warrior, and go on adventures with the hares and badgers. It was one of the longer, tiny printed books I’ve read in my young life, and for sure affected my eyesight but I have absolutely no regrets.

4. Trixie Belden series by Julie Campbell/Kathryn Kenny (The Secret of the Mansion – 1948)

While she may be the lesser known 20th century amateur sleuth, Trixie was brave, adventurous and everything I wished I could be like as a young girl. I loved the family dynamic with her older brothers and the new neighbours next door that eventually formed their Bobwhites crew on multiple adventures. She felt like someone I could actually be like whereas Nancy sometimes felt so much older and more worldly than I’d ever be.

Later books in the series were also written under a pseudonym, Kathryn Kenny, with different authors contributing to their adventures. At this point, young Andge was starting to think all amateur sleuth stories were written in such a fashion.

5. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)

This post wouldn’t be great if I didn’t mention its name and inspiration. I loved reading this crazy, one-of-a-kind book and its sequel when I was little. While I read most of the classics, this one stuck out, especially the wacky nonsensical words Lewis Carroll created and was eventually added into the English dictionary (just take a look at the Jabberwocky poem). Are you much of a fan for this classic? (I won’t take offence if you don’t haha)

6. Night World by L.J. Smith (Secret Vampire – 1996)

I loved this series as a pre-teen heading into high school, especially in the wake of Twilight and the renewed interest in vampires, werewolves and other mystical creatures. While L.J. Smith is known for her Vampire Diaries series, I thought this lesser known series of hers was way better. Each story is contained within itself but the current 9 books all connect together, especially books 7-9.

The unfortunate matter is she never finished the series, but that’s something that would take a whole blog post to rant about so I will cut it there (though feel free to rant if you need to in the comments below).

7. The Chronicles of Narnia (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – 1950)

If you’ve watched the film, that’s great and all but the book is SUCH a classic that should be on any classic reader’s shelves. While some of the books are more hit or miss for people, C.S. Lewis’ first published book in these chronicles was full of adventure and a deep moral lesson of sacrifice and familial love. If you haven’t read it yet, I very much recommend at least The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to you.

8. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (The Fellowship of the Ring – 1954)

I’m sure Peter Jackson’s films in the last two decades have left very few people unfamiliar with the creations of Tolkien. I loved his work, but I also am a fan of the man himself. Both him and C.S. Lewis were brilliant creative minds and men of faith and I admire the balance they had as fictional fantasy writers. While these books are ridiculously long at times, it’s worth the read if you loved the world brought to life by the big screen.

9. Mandie series by Lois Gladys Leppard (Mandie and the Secret Tunnel – 1983)

The last of the young amateur sleuth series I read as a child – you can totally tell why I love mysteries as an adult – was this wholesome series following a girl named Mandie as she finds mysteries in her every day life. From boarding school to her travels in Europe to her life at home, I loved the lessons it taught on family, faith and love. It also spurred my love of historical fiction as it isn’t as boring as one may think. The last of the series ended with Mandie in college but unfortunately it is left open ended as Lois passed away after its release.

10. Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (A Study in Scarlet – 1887)

Last but not least, I devoured the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and other stories and it is no secret it is a standard for detective portrayals and crime solving, even in modern times. The legacy left behind by a fictional detective and his friend/sidekick from London has changed the world, and it definitely blessed me with the love of mysteries beyond young girl sleuths.


Wow, what a nostalgia trip! Some of these series I haven’t thought of in ages but they each shaped me in some way into the person I am and the books I look to read even now.

I hope you enjoyed some of these, and were maybe even introduced to a series or two. Let me know if you like these choices! See you next week for Top Ten Tuesday.

9 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books Written Before I Was Born”

  1. I read “Mattimeo” (Redwall #3) when I was in middle school and couldn’t figure it out (I think mole-speak confused me), so I never read any more. I discovered them again when I was an adult and now I own almost the entire series. Even had Redwall paper flowers as one of my wedding centerpieces, because my husband loves them just as much as I do! (Although he actually loved mole-speak as a kid, lol).

    My mother’s favorite series was the Trixie Belden series, and I’ve never seen anyone else mention them! It’s always Nancy Drew.

    And Mandie brings back a buried memory – I think I had one book (involving a teapot?), but could never find any more of them to add to my collection.

    https://booksareonlythebeginning.wordpress.com/2021/02/02/ttt-books-written-before-i-was-born/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow I adore the idea of Redwall paper flowers 😍 thanks for sharing about that.

      And yes, Trixie is so underrated compared to Nancy! It helped that the publishers did a reprint in the 2000s so it created some more awareness for a younger generation. But I always felt like a little bit of an old soul at heart so it fit for me as a series.

      You can see I love amateur girl detectives as a kid!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Catherine@basedonthebook Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s