Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Bring Back Memories

I am honestly such a sucker for nostalgia that I couldn’t resist reflecting on some of my favorite reading memories. I noticed a lot of them come from my childhood and early teen years, so I guess it’s no surprise that I am still super fond of these genres.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Childrens/Early Reader, 276 pages
Published August 23, 2003 by Candlewick Press

There are only a few books I remember my mother reading to me, and of them this is my favorite, and I read it several more times after that. I mostly remember being entranced by the creepy little pencil sketch illustration of the rat Roscuro’s squiggly snout, and begging my mom for one more chapter.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
Childrens/Middle Grade
Published October 16, 1950

On Christmas 2005, my three cousins and I all unwrapped the same gift at the same time: the movie themed box set of all seven Narnia books. I don’t think my cousins were very excited, and it’s certainly not the toy I was expecting, but it gradually dawned on me that this could be a great adventure. I devoured them all. I specifically remember staying inside during recess to read The Silver Chair.

Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
Middle Grade Fantasy, 320 pages
Published June 26, 1997 by Scholastic

I don’t remember the first time I ever read a Harry Potter book, but I do remember the Summer I decided to read them all in order consecutively for the first time. It was the Summer I was turning 11 (I was very hopeful for my letter) and I remember reading late into the night, night after night, sitting on my parent’s leather armchair, making grilled cheese every few chapters. Take me back!

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
YA Paranormal Romance, 498 pages
Published October 5, 2005 by Little, Brown

I have many memories of reading Twilight because I read it so many times between 2008 and 2011 that I lost count. I remember reading book one in two days and then begging my grandparents to buy me the box set. I remember reading in bed with my new iPhone flashlight in the middle of school nights. I remember one Christmas break when I stayed up till 5 am rereading Twilight and eating frozen lasagna and a box of fudge someone gifted my parents. I remember reading Midnight Sun on my grandparent’s computer and then feeling guilty for holing up in the computer room instead of spending the day with them. Honestly, these memories bring back a lot of the pain of middle school. My Twilight memories are visceral but bittersweet.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
YA Paranormal Romance, 319 pages
Published August 1, 2009 by Scholastic

This is another series I was obsessed with starting in middle school and still have a lot of love for. The main thing I remember about reading this for the first time was sitting right next to my grandma on her velvety orange two person couch, blushing as I read the (fade-to-black, thankfully, but still) sex scene.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
YA Dystopian, 441 pages
Published February 3, 2011 by HarperCollins

I started getting into audiobooks the Summer of 2011, during which I was mostly bedridden with a mysterious illness. Delirium is one of the first ones I remember listening to, and I can still hear the narrator’s, Sarah Drew’s, voice very clearly in mind talking about love not being a disease while I stitched in a purple sky on my cross-stich project.

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
YA Contemporary, 313 pages
Published January 10, 2012 by Dutton

I am a big fan of John Green, not just as an author, but as a creator (of vlogbrothers, Dear Hank and John, the Anthropocene Reviewed, Project for Awesome, CrashCourse, etc.) The first video I ever saw of his was reading the first chapter of his forthcoming book, The Fault in Our Stars, and I preordered my signed copy, and I excitedly started reading it the day I got it in the mail even though it was finals. For some reason, I remember exactly what I was wearing when I was reading it at my desk at school: purple tights, floral jean shorts, and a neon green/yellow off the shoulder top.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
YA Contemporary, 371 pages
Published September 16, 2014 by Dial Books

I went to the launch party for this book without having any idea about what it was whatsoever. I was first in the signing line and I didn’t know who Jandy Nelson was and so I was just like… hi. I read the book a few months later and specifically remember the intense book hangover I felt afterword, sitting on the couch in my dorm, staring at the ceiling, wondering why I had to live outside of a book.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Travel Memoir, 315 pages
Published March 20, 2012 by Knopf

This was the first book of the year I read in 2015. It the second of two books that ever made me cry. I remember buying it from Barnes & Noble on New Years Day, sticking it in the giant pocket of my dad’s coat (which I wore for most of 2015) with just the title peeking out, and reading it that night while I ate my regular salad at Jack’s (spinach, balsamic, quinoa, tofu, mushooms, carrots, sunflower seeds)

One of the Boys by Daniel Magariel
Literary Fiction, 168 pages
Published March 14, 2017 by Scribner

I picked up this book on a whim because I liked the little bookseller blurb in the Indie Next catalog. I was first in the Overdrive library queue and I read it entirely on my phone in less than 48 hours, including late into the night and under my desk in my linguistics class. The writing mesmerized me and I remember feeling like a puddle of emotion seeing such an ugly world through innocent eyes.

Do any of these books bring back memories for you?


  1. I can only remember my mom reading me a handful of books too, and I love those memories! Thats impressive that you read all the HP books the summer when you were 11! I was 15 when Deathly Hollows came out so I wasn't even able to try reading them all when I was 11

  2. I wish I had been old enough to be a part of the release parties and such though!

  3. This was so fun to read!! I have to laugh at that Shiver memory, because I remember being so scandalized they had sex, and I was so afraid my mom or sister would see what I was reading. ������

    Wild made me cry, too. The horse scene broke me!

  4. So many good books on this list! I really enjoyed Twilight when it was big. It introduced me to YA. I remember after watching the Twilight movie, I made my husband (then bf) stop at Walmart on the way home, so I could buy the books!