Thursday, March 29, 2012

Books of my Childhood: Series Edition

While watching my 12 year old cousin immerse herself in the world of Panem, I got to thinking about the books that made me who I am today.  I come from a very small town (read 800 people), the nearest bookstore was a 4 hour drive away and I am old enough that I pre-date online shopping.  My options were limited to the rare (maybe once a year) trips to a bookstore and the tiny school library.  There were books in that tiny room that I read over and over and my appetite for reading so impressed the librarian that the "only 3 books at a time" limit never applied to me.  These are the books that helped me escape, they were my companions in the dark of night, cuddled under the blanket with a flashlight, they were my friends when no one else was.

1. Nancy Drew  These were the books that introduced me to the world of mystery.  Even though there was never any real fear of Nancy (or Bess) getting hurt, I was right there along with them, heart thumping as they unraveled mystery after mystery.  I haven't read any since, but I certain that if I ever have a little girl, I will immediately start collecting this series.

2. Goosebumps  Ah Goosebumps - Horror stories for kids.  I think these were pretty popular even among reluctant readers because they had such an awesome freak out factor.  These were the perfect books for the inevitable winter power outage and were probably the ones to instill my love of reading scary books by candlelight. 

3. The Chronicles of Narnia I must have followed Lucy through the wardrobe at least a hundred times.  I loved this series so much that, back when I still worked at a bookstore, I used my discount to buy the entire series in the hopes that I could read it to my children one day.  I think The Witch and the Wardrobe may have been the very first book to make me cry, peering through blurry eyes, frantically turning pages, hoping for a miracle, then turning back to re-read in the hopes that somehow I imagined it and Aslan has not really died.  I think one of the things that make series like this (and Harry Potter and The Hunger Games) is that they do not talk down to a young audience or assume that they cannot handle emotional deaths.  If you give kids the opportunity to act like adults (once in a while) they will love you for it.

4. Roald Dahl This entry is not technically a series but I couldn't post each title that I loved individually because there are simply too many.  I would re-read every Dahl book that my library carried at least once a year.  They were my first foray into absurdity and the books that paved the way for my love of Christopher Moore.  My favorites were The Witches and Matilda.  Again, the box set of these books was purchased for my future kids LONG before I even knew if I would have any. 

There they are, the series that made me a reader, I would love to hear about yours.

COMING SOON: Books of my Childhood: Stand Alone Edition


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