Top Ten Tuesday · weekly features

Top Ten Tuesday // Books I’ve read that pre-date me

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and 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.

This week’s theme is:

February 2: Books Written Before I Was Born

For this week’s theme, I’ve chosen 10 books I’ve read that pre-date me. They’re all books that were published before I was born, some I enjoyed, some not so much, sadly…

Little Women

Penguin classics book cover for Little Women, red cover with scissors on the front

I read this in 2020 on audio but it was first published in 1868, so it predates me by a LONG shot. I watched the film and then listened to the book a few months later and I enjoyed the family dynamics and meta narrative.

The Color Purple

Book cover for The Color Purple. Purple background with two women of color in the foreground.

I read this in either high school or sixth form and I was so moved by Celie’s story that a lot of the little details have stayed with me to this day.

Published in 1982, this is an incredibly powerful novel and one that everyone should read. (It contains a lot of trigger warnings so please check those first.)


Book cover for Emma by Jane Austen. Blue background with yellow  and white chairs

Emma was first published in three parts in 1815 and, like Little Women, it’s another classic that I read on audio in 2020 after seeing the new film adaptation.

I enjoyed the drama and romance and I’m glad I read this after watching the film, as I felt like I knew the characters better in my head.


Book cover for Orlando, red background with blue ribbons

I only read Orlando last week but it was published in 1928. Although I had a few issues with it, there were parts of the story I really enjoyed, especially Orlando’s sense of humour.

Invisible Man

Book cover for Invisible Man, white background with green lines

I read this for a literature module while at university and I remember realising that I had a seminar on it in 3 days and I hadn’t started it.

So I powered through in 3 days and ended up feeling very immersed in the protagonist’s questions and struggles. This was first published in 1952 and discusses racial and political identity in great depth.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Book cover for Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep with a pixelated sheep on the front

This is one of the OG dystopian novels, published in 1968. I read this before I saw Blade Runner, which is based on the book, and I found that I preferred the novel.

I think the film was too hyped up for me, whereas I knew very little about the book going into it and was enthralled by the story.

Oranges are Not the Only Fruit

Book cover for Oranges are Not the Only Fruit with two women entwined on the cover

First published in 1985, this is probably one of the first sapphic stories I ever read. I read it back in 2014 after my aunt recommended it and was really moved by the story.

The Edible Woman

Cover for The Edible Woman with a woman in a bridal dress on the front

This is another book that I read while at university and it offers an interesting discourse on eating meat and animal products that’s rolled up into the story. I wasn’t vegan when I read this, so I wonder what I’d think of it if I read it now…


Cover for Kitchen, pink cover with kanji in the foreground

I read this in 2019 but sadly I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I was expecting a slow-moving, lyrical story about love and loss, but the dialogue sometimes came across as stilted and one character was repeatedly deadnamed.

Fahrenheit 451

Book cover for Fahrenheit 451

I also read this while at university and LOVED it. The meta discourse about books and themes of corruption and imagination were so well integrated into the narrative and the plot had me captivated.

This was first published in 1953 but in some ways it feels like a much more recent novel. Either way, it definitely pre-dates me.

Which books have you read from before you were born? Have you read any of these?

Banner reading: Until next time, Kate

Important links to check out

Black Lives Matter card
Reclaim the Block
Minnesota Freedom Fund
Lebanon card
Donation drives for typhoon Ulysses in PH
Junk Terror bill
Yemen crisis card
Navajo Nation Covid-19 Relief Fund

3 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday // Books I’ve read that pre-date me

  1. I’m currently reading The Color Purple and I’m enjoying it way more than I thought I would! I thought it would be a dry classic but its not

  2. So many great books here! Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is one of my favourites, and I’m glad I read it before I watched Blade Runner as well, as I liked the book more. I read Emma last year after I saw the film because I loved the film so much, and I really enjoyed the book as well.

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