RTW: Reading Superlatives

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Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival’ hosted by YA Highway. They post a weekly writing- or reading-related question for participants to answer on their own blogs.

Remember high school (or maybe you’re still there)? Remember Superlatives?  When I graduated so many years ago, I was voted “Book Worm”.  I had to hold my tongue to keep from reminding my classmates that that wasn’t technically a superlative, but I was happy to be picked as something–anything–as I was one of those kids that usually sat well below the Notice Line for most of the voting populace of my class. And since I was picked for that title more for being a writer than for being a reader, it was flattering.

I kind of think of my reading history like a school popularity contest. So, without further ado, please let me present the

Reading Superlatives for the Road Trip Wednesday Class of 2010

Most Memorable Midnight Read

When 14-year-old Tory and her younger sister, Sara, arrive at their grandparents’ farm, Tory can’t wait to spend the summer with their cousin Elijah. But their rebellious 16-year-old cousin Rennie is there, too, and determined to torment Tory and Elijah. Then a ghostly mystery unites the three, and this time it’s Sara who’s left out. Her eagerness to be included leads to a tragedy no one could have predicted.

Most Frequently Checked Out of the Public Library

How did the Morgan horse get its name?
What are the differences between a Belgian and a Clydesdale?
Why are the Byerly Turk, Darley Arabian, and Godolphin Arabian so important?
Find the answers to these and many other intriguing questions in Marguerite Henry’s Album of Horses. The award-winning author of the wonderful stories Misty of Chincoteague, King of the Wind, and Brighty of the Grand Canyon, Marguerite Henry describes in vivid detail the hardworking Shire, the elegant Lipizzan, the spirited Mustang, and many more. Never before have facts about horses been more accessible, and with Wesley Dennis’s classic illustrations highlighting every page, this unique collection is sure to be treasured by horse lovers of all ages.

Most Widely Read Series

First published in 1941, Walter Farley’s best-selling novel for young readers is the triumphant tale of a boy and a wild horse. From Alec Ramsay and the Black’s first meeting on an ill-fated ship to their adventures on a desert island and their eventual rescue, this beloved story will hold the rapt attention of readers new and old.

Bookshelf Clown

With almost 4 million copies sold over 50 years after its original publication, generations of readers have now journeyed with Milo to the Lands Beyond in this beloved classic that Philip Pullman says “comes up bright and new every time I read it . . . it will continue to charm and delight for a very long time yet. And teach us some wisdom, too.” Enriched by Jules Feiffer’s splendid illustrations, the wit, wisdom, and wordplay of Norton Juster’s offbeat fantasy are as beguiling as ever.

For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason. Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams!

and

This is the story of Arthur Dent, who, secnds before Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, is plucked off the planet by his friend, Ford Prefect, who has been posing as an out-of-work actor for the last fifteen years but is really a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Together they begin a journey through the galaxy aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, with the words don’t panic written on the front. (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.”)

Best Romance

Featuring one of her most likeable characters, this sparkling love story set in a seaside resort is Jane Austen’s final finished work. Since Anne Elliot eight years ago rejected the marriage proposal of Captain Wentworth, a penniless naval officer, she has resigned herself to a quiet life at home, tending to the imagined needs of her spoiled sisters and vain father (Austen’s brilliant, utterly conceited creation, Sir Walter Elliot). But when Captain Wentworth reappears in their midst, having made his fortune at sea, Anne must ask herself whether she made the right decision—or allowed herself to be persuaded against her heart. Jane Austen’s last completed novel and her most optimistic and romantic work, Persuasion gives full scope to Austen’s artistic powers, blending sharp wit and warm sympathy, stylistic brilliance and matchless insight. As Margaret Drabble describes in her introduction, it is a story of “perseverance and patience and delayed romance,” affirming the lasting power of love and the rejuvenating power of hope.

Most Likely to Stay My Favorite Forever and Ever and Ever

Hailed as one of the year’s top five novels by Time, and selected as one of the best books of the year by nearly all major newspapers, national bestseller Peace Like a River captured the hearts of a nation in need of comfort. “A rich mixture of adventure, tragedy, and healing, ” Peace Like a River is “a collage of legends from sources sacred and profane — from the Old Testament to the Old West, from the Gospels to police dramas” (Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor). In “lyrical, openhearted prose” (Michael Glitz, The New York Post), Enger tells the story of eleven-year-old Reuben Land, an asthmatic boy who has reason to believe in miracles. Along with his sister and father, Reuben finds himself on a cross-country search for his outlaw older brother who has been controversially charged with murder. Their journey is touched by serendipity and the kindness of strangers, and its remarkable conclusion shows how family, love, and faith can stand up to the most terrifying of enemies, the most tragic of fates. Leif Enger’s “miraculous” (Valerie Ryan, The Seattle Times) novel is a “perfect book for an anxious time … of great literary merit that nonetheless restores readers’ faith in the kindness of stories” (Marta Salij, Detroit Free Press).

Most Influential

When you were a child, your mind was a wild garden of creativity. But as you grew up, that joyful fountain of ideas became blocked by rules and doubts. Author Marshall Cook helps you free your creativity and take your writing to new heights. Cook teaches you how to banish old fears, habits, and excuses and free your muse from its hiding place inside you.

Most Popular (You knew this was coming…)

Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry’s eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

Most Dependable

This is the story of Harry Crewe, the Homelander orphan girl who became Harimad- sol, King’s Rider, and heir to the Blue Sword, Gonturan, that no woman had wielded since the Lady Aerin herself bore it into battle.

Best Book to Share a Deserted Island With

Golding’s iconic 1954 novel, now with a new foreword by Lois Lowry, remains one of the greatest books ever written for young adults and an unforgettable classic for readers of any age.

At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate. This far from civilization they can do anything they want. Anything. But as order collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far removed from reality as the hope of being rescued.

Most Adventurous

Since it was first published in 1987, the story of thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson’s survival following a plane crash has become a modern classic. Stranded in the desolate wilderness, Brian uses his instincts and his hatchet to stay alive for fifty-four harrowing days.

and

Terribly unhappy in his family’s crowded New York City apartment, Sam Gribley runs away to the solitude-and danger-of the mountains, where he finds a side of himself he never knew.

What are your reading superlatives?

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