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 bloggers’ lists.
- Or if you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment.
This week’s topic was submitted by Rissi @ Finding Wonderland:
What are your First (Top) Ten Books You Reviewed?
(Note: these do not have to be formal reviews. A small sentence on a retailer site or Goodreads also counts!)
Confession first: this isn’t an easy meme for me to complete. See, I’ve been reviewing books for so long, and updating them and revising them and moving them, that my earlier records are a bit skewed these days. Still, let’s give this a whirl, shall we?
To figure this out, I started by searching my old files. The oldest WORD files of book reviews I have (mind you, I used to write using another program, back in the 90s, and many of those files were lost in a hard drive crash) are these two:
(1) “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman (review date 2002). This is still one of my all-time favorite books, which is probably why it seems to be one of the first I put up anywhere (and nearly everywhere), and this could very well be one of the very first book reviews I’ve written. I also know that I have about three more versions of this review, all with different file names.
(2) “The Collected Works of Billy the Kid” by Michael Ondaatje (review date 2002). Michael Ondaatje has been my favorite author since I read his masterpiece “The English Patient,” which I never had the courage to review, because I’m so in awe of it. It makes sense that this file is so old, because I am almost certain that it was the second or third book of his I read (the other being his collection of poetry, The Cinnamon Peeler), and it cemented my adoration for his writing.
After that, there’s a jump in the dates of my files to 2009. However, I know I reviewed other books both before 2002 and between then and 2009. These reviews were mostly for content and consumer review sites that are now all dead (Themestream, Epinions, Ciao, Dooyoo, Helium, and Yahoo! Contributor Network/Associated Content), so there’s no way to know which were the oldest book reviews I wrote for any of them. Then there’s another site which is still alive, that I contributed three reviews to, which is called The Bookbag. Those three reviews are:
(3) “All He Ever Wanted” by Anita Shreve (review date December 2003). How unfortunate that a book I didn’t absolutely adore ended up being one of these older reviews. Still, I know a whole lot of people who loved this book (judging from its reviews and ratings I can see on Goodreads), but (as I entitled my review) I wanted a bit more. (Of course, back then, I was also into warning people away from books I didn’t like.)
(4) “The History of Love” by Nicole Krauss (review date January 2006). In sharp contrast with the above book, I absolutely adored this novel, and it was what made me fall in love with Krauss as a writer. Thankfully, she hasn’t let me down since! I even went so far as to pick up the book she wrote before this one made her into such a popular author, but I never wrote a review for it. Maybe I should correct that oversight?
(5) “One Red Paperclip” by Kyle McDonald (review date June 2007). This is a non-fiction memoir book, and if memory serves, it was the first book I ever got a proof copy of, which they generously sent all the way from the UK to Israel), so although it wasn’t really my genre, I read and reviewed it anyway. Kyle made a TV series out of his book, by the way. Where he is today… who knows?
Not long after this, I started keeping much better records of my book reviews through an excel spreadsheet (that I’m using an updated version of to this day), which you can see by the fact that these have exact dates and not just months or years. According to that file (and minus review of “The Princess Bride” that is listed there as being published in 2009 – WRONG), the next books I reviewed were:
(6) “Divisadero” by Michael Ondaatje (review date February 11, 2009). Ah, Michael Ondaatje – once again, something by my favorite author. This book is fascinating, but in truth, despite it being an amazing read, it is actually my least favorite of his books (but it still gets 4.5 stars). Also, I must have published my review of “Anil’s Ghost” somewhere before I published this one!
(7) “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café” by Fannie Flagg (review date April 5, 2009). On a visit to Oxford and one of its many used book stores, a friend told me I should read this, even though I had already seen and loved the movie. My conclusion: YES, do read the book, even though the movie is great fun, because the book is still a touch better than the film, and this will always be a beloved read, and the novel that turned me on to Fannie Flagg.
(8) “Two Caravans” (aka “The Strawberry Pickers”) by Marina Lewycka (review date April 5, 2009). Interesting that there are two books with the same review publication date. That’s not like me, but maybe one of these two was a revised version of a previously posted review. Also, I know that I read, and probably reviewed, Lewycka’s debut novel “A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian” before reading and reviewing this book.
(9) “The Cutting Room” by Louise Welsh (review date April 11, 2009). Once again, seeing this here on my list just proves that I have some lost records. I didn’t even know Welsh until I read her novella “Tamburlaine Must Die,” which I picked up on a whim on my first visit to Edinburgh Scotland during the festival. That book blew me away, but this one… well, it was good, but much darker than most books I read.
(10) “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” by Kim Edwards (review date April 16, 2009). Oh dear. Another one that I didn’t care all that much for! I know, I know… it was hyped to the hilt at the time of its publication, and lots of people loved it. Still, I have to add this to the list, since I just don’t have the records of other, earlier published reviews.
So, there you have it, my first (top) 10 book reviews on record, and I’m pretty proud to say that there are updated and revised versions of all of them on this blog (links in the titles above).
By the way, I also wrote versions of 48 of my book reviews for the website Curious Book Fans, which is a site that has been sadly inactive since June 2017, but everything I published is still up there. I also wrote a 26 unique reviews of books I’ve reviewed here and on my previous blog, for the website BookBrowse, but unless you’re subscribed to the site, you won’t be able to read my reviews there (sorry). Finally, I have another separate blog on the Israeli news site The Times of Israel, where I put up 38 book reviews and literary articles (so far). I still post there from time to time, but only if I think that their target audience would be interested in what I’m reviewing (because that site doesn’t let me edit my posts, which is a pain).