Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Blog Tour: Kirsten Hubbard's "Into the Past"

Kirsten Hubbard, author of Like Mandarin (which releases next week!!) is here to share some of her favorite books through the years. I agree with a lot of them (The Babysitter's Club, Holes, The Princess Bride) but I'm ashamed to say I still haven't read Watership Down.

Age 6.

I had to ask my twin sister Danielle about this one. We spent first grade in Vancoucer, Canada, where we read a ton of Ramona Quimby books, Garfield books, Polk Street School books – I particularly remember Spectacular Stone Soup – and I know we began our The Babysitters Club obsession by the year's end.

But the book that stands out most was called The Curse of the Squirrel. ("you were totally obsessed," Danielle says.) I don't remember much about it, except there was a famer, a dog, and (surprisingly!) a cursed squirrel. It might have been the first chapter book I read. It's out of print, but you can buy it for seventy cents here. I did not know it was by the prolific and award-winning Laurence Yep until I Googled it thirty seconds ago.

Age 11.

I was reading much more advanced books by this point, but I'd have to say There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom by Louis Sachar.

Everyone knows Louis Sachar's Holes. That's the Newbery Award-winner that catapulted Middle Grade author Louis Sachar into everybody's bookshelf. But my sister and I were obsessed with Louis Sachar, and read every book he wrote, from Someday Angeline to his masterpieces of absurdity, the Wayside School books. But There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom is a favorite she and I share. It'sabout a ostracized fifth grade boy named Bradley Chalkers, unlikely and often hard to like; but with the help of the school counselor, a new friend, and his collection of itty bitty animal figurines, learns he's worthwhile.

Like all Louis Sachar's brilliant books, it's laugh-out-loud funny even as it gets you in the heart. Though it's been about 18 years after I first read it at age 9, thinking of it still makes me want to cry. In a good way. I credit this book for encouraging me never to disregard any kid, especially the one all the other kids scoot their desks away from.

Other age 11 favorites: To Killa Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare,Jurassic Park by Michael Chrichton, and everything by Roald Dahl. I also read a ton of books about the bubonic plague, particularly The Pit by Ann Cheetham.

Age 16.

This one's easy: Watership Down by Richard Adams.

I actually wrote about ( my love for Watership Down a few weeks ago. Watership Down is an epic adventure novel about bunnies. Talking bunnies. But not clothes-wearing fantasy creatures like the Redwall mice. No, the rabbits of Watership Down are rabbits in all the important, familiar ways – they just live in complex societies allegorical to our own. The novel follows a young rabbit named Hazel and his prophetic brother Five, as they lead a band of outcasts from their home warren across the perils of the England countryside. I first read it at fifteen, and have reread it over a dozen times since; I even included it in my college entrance essay. Watership Down is a fantastic, unforgettable book. Plus, it will make you look at rabbits differently for the rest of your life.

Other age 16 favorites: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (especially The Voyage of the Dawn Treader), The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle,Watchers by Dean Koontz, Wolf of Shadows by Whitley Strieber, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris.

Age 21.

To be honest, I still might have named Watership Down at 21; I don't think I read Lolita, which I now consider my all-time favorite novel, until I was 22.

So, here are a few books that affected me in my college years. Atonement by Ian McEwan. I read it on my first backpacking trip through Central America at age 20, and it proved to me the power of writing in a way no book ever has. The Princess Bride by William Goldman. It's like the movie, gone to eleven. Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector was this tiny novella assigned in one of my college lit classes, and it killed me. My sister introduced me toJimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware, a graphic novel that is so beautiful and intricate and poignant, I could stare at it for hours, except crying that long might dehydrate me. And, just in case I didn't genre-hop enough, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. If you've read it, you'll know why.

Thanks so much, Kirsten, for stopping by! I can't wait to read your debut, because if her blog it will be awesomely unique and entertaining!


  1. I read tons of the Babysitter's Club books. But my favorite was the Laura Wilder Ingalls series.

  2. Love the guest post! I've read quite a few of the books Kirsten mentioned. However, I haven't read Watership Down, but I really want to now. The premise of it sounds great!


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