What a fun topic! Also fun: me finally having enough time and lack of wrist pain to participate in TTT again, albeit still a little late because I got distracted by reading books instead. I'm sure as soon as I actually finish writing this, I'll think of even better styles/tropes/settings/styles etc. that I love, but these are the first ones that came to mind, so we're gonna have to call it good enough.
1. The Fate of Mercy Alban - Wendy Webb
Made me want more: audiobooks
Specifically, it opened my eyes to the world of audiobooks not read by celebrity narrators. Prior to this, I only saw their appeal if you got to listen to the voice of someone you liked (specifically: David Tennant). This was the first book that really made me appreciate how good character voices (and accents!) help you imagine the story when you don't have words to focus on.
2. Shelter Me - Catherine Mann
Made me want more: romance novels (to cast my favorite TV ships in)
This is the first time I realized that romance novels could be...good, specifically for scratching my shipper itch when there was no new TV, if I cast them right. (a.k.a. I was into the Under the Dome TV show and needed more Soldier Mike Vogel in my brain, but the actual Stephen King book sounded awful)
I have since rolled back around to giving mass-market romance a wide berth unless I'm desperate, but the standalones that are so popular now? Ideal for processing my emotions now that I'm too old and weary to wade into the unvetted, no-QA-department world of fanfic.
3. Everything Beautiful in the World - Lisa Levchuk
Made me want more: student/teacher romances (ideally in YA, none of that hot-n-sexy-taboo-romance version)
I started shipping Will/Rachel on Glee in season 1, back when the show had no attractive teenage boys for her to date but did have a hot and dedicated teacher, so I read this specifically to remind myself why student/teacher romances are not good. It thoroughly backfired and now this trope is my niche interest.
(In retrospect, this one is actually not a great example of why I like them -- on top of adultery, it's both heavy on the physical aspect and low on emotional connection -- but something about it at the time still really flipped that switch)
4. Don't Let Me Go - J.H. Trumble
Made me want more: m/m romances
Another one technically inspired by Glee (#Klaine4eva), I had only read a few books with gay main characters and/or a same-sex relationship before, which varied from "OK" to "pretty good for what it is," until this came along and WOW. This was 9 years ago and I still only have about 30 books tagged lgbt on my Goodreads shelves (reserved for when a same-sex relationship is the focus), because I still really have to be in the exact right mood, but prior to 2011 my track record of being in the mood was Never, so...progress.
5. James Herriot's books
Made me want more: vet memoirs
I read the (American) set before I was 13, and it started a lifelong obsession with vet memoirs. My library was too big to ever read "the entire children's section" the way kids in books often did, but you'd better believe I read every single vet memoir that both the public and my university libraries had, across a span of at least 15 years, before I'd finally scratched the itch. And I'll still read one on occasion.
6. Griffin & Sabine - Nick Bantock
Made me want more: books with removable letters or other objects (luckily, now there's a list for that!)
Other kids found The Jolly Postman first, but I was enchanted by this on my mom's bookshelf long before. Even though I didn't understand the content, I loved the idea of real letters and postcards you could take out of envelopes glued to the page. Been obsessed w/ this style ever since.
7. Album of Horses - Marguerite Henry
Made me want more: horse books by this author! (pref. illustrated by Wesley Dennis)
Six-year-old Me briefly went to an in-home daycare after school, and the woman's daughter had this incredibly enchanting hardcover, full of captivating paintings of beautiful horses. I was completely transfixed. When I found it again in the school library, and saw how many OTHER horse books with beautiful paintings she had written, there was no turning back.
8. A Little Bit Wicked - Kristin Chenoweth
Made me want more: celebrity memoirs
I'd been reading memoirs for a while, of both pets and interesting-sounding people, but this was the first one I heard about from a celebrity I liked -- and now I am so glad it's increasingly common for celebs to release books about themselves, because every year I find new ones that appeal to me.
9. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour - Morgan Matson
Made me want more: road trip stories
Not technically the first road trip book I read or even loved (that honor goes to Zig Zag 3 years prior), but the first where it was teens on their own, and the first after I actually began driving without my mom or dad in the passenger seat. The more I drove, the more I began to see the appeal of such trips, which I could trace back to my awesome experience with this read.
10. Halfway to the Sky - Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Made me want more: hiking stories
I've always liked hiking, though I don't do it as often as I'd like compared to walking on paved trails. I actually read this one because I was interested in the mother-daughter relationship, but I fell so in love with the descriptions of nature and thru-hiking that I started seeking out more and more stories about backpackers. This is one of my newest favorite themes, in fact, and they're the BEST exercise inspiration!
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