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Books read as a child /adolescent - Libraria of my youth

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
So we have a thread about what people are currently reading but what about the books that we read in our youth? Let's discuss those here.

As a topic starter let me start off by dropping a giant nostalgia bomb - Scholastic Book Fairs. Anyone remember those? (Or is it just me?)
 

Ixo

"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)
There’s a Little Golden Book (I think it is) about a scruffy sailor dog I remember liking. The copy I remember reading was missing the cover for some reason.

I loved Choose Your Own Adventure. Was too big of a weenie for the Goosebumps branded ones though.

Got a big soft spot for Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet. I know I read the sequel, but couldn’t tell you much about it. More of the same sort of thing I think.

Grandma and Grandpa had a big collection of Berenstain Bears books, but I mostly remember Grandpa reading those to me and my cousins. He’d ad lib parts as he went it was the best. (“And then Brother Bear went downstairs for a beer.” “He did not.” yelled Grandma from the other room.)
 
Great topic. Can't wait to check back in here and see some great titles I assuredly missed.

From memory my favorites are:
  • The Hobbit
  • Westside School is Falling Down
  • Encyclopedia Brown*
  • Batman Which Way (Choose Your Own Adventure-like)
*No idea which books Encyclopedia Brown Books I read. A quick google search tells me there are 29 books in this series!

Choose Your Own Adventure-likes
There are two books that I read as a kid that are Choose Your Own Adventure-likes (I think). But I don't remember the titles of either.

The first is a sort of RPG Choose Your Own Adventure. I believe your character had simple stats and would take damage / deal damage as you went through the book. You kept track of stats on scratch paper. Its possible the front or the back of the book had a character sheet similar to D&D; but much simpler.

The second is a Choose Your Own Adventure -like. In this book you are a normal kid, but if you take a certain path you can become a beast or a werewolf (experimented on by evil scientists). In my minds eye the book has a full color cover and is not the traditional Choose Your Own Adventure book. This one is probably lost to time. I did a google image search for Choose your own adventure books and nothing looked recognizable.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Choose Your Own Adventure-likes
There are two books that I read as a kid that are Choose Your Own Adventure-likes (I think). But I don't remember the titles of either.

The first is a sort of RPG Choose Your Own Adventure. I believe your character had simple stats and would take damage / deal damage as you went through the book. You kept track of stats on scratch paper. Its possible the front or the back of the book had a character sheet similar to D&D; but much simpler.

The second is a Choose Your Own Adventure -like. In this book you are a normal kid, but if you take a certain path you can become a beast or a werewolf (experimented on by evil scientists). In my minds eye the book has a full color cover and is not the traditional Choose Your Own Adventure book. This one is probably lost to time. I did a google image search for Choose your own adventure books and nothing looked recognizable.

I had a bunch of these, my sister had bought them and left them to me when she moved out. Gave them back to her later, I think she sold them? No idea.

Only two of them were the simple variant, most of them were RPG books. I guess they are the same you remember. Two pages of stats, your HP, Dexterity and Luck. Fields for your equipment, rations, and for the special ability that depended on the book. For example, in one you were a mage, and you could choose a bunch of spell charges (I think five) from more than ten spells. These included attack spells, but also utility stuff like shrinking or growing yourself or monsters, or making yourself invincible. Another one had you as a Samurai (I still have the book, and tried to run a session a few years ago on TT 2.0), where you could choose one of five special skills.

They were pretty fun, but also hard. There was one especially, which I have never legitimately beaten - there was an unskippable part where you needed three magical trinkets, which were hidden in specific places. I never had all three, and died. Or more precisely, even than I considered that unfair and just acted like I had them.

Also the Lone Wolf books, which are the RPG variant, except that they were a continuing series. In the first book, you choose a bunch of stuff, including some special abilities. In the second book, you could add one more ability, and carry over your equipment and boni from the first book, and so on. You became pretty strong, as the series went on.
 
This inspired me to go through my box of "kid books" in the garage as well as some that are in the house so here are the ones that I have kept over the years-

Roald Dahl - The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, The Witches, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, The Magic Finger, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Esio Trot, The Phantom Tollbooth, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Dirty Beasts, The Enormous Crocodile, The Twits, the Vicar of Nibbleswick, The Giraffe the Pelly and Me
Anansi the Spider- Most of the books I got there didn't make the trip back from Kenya, but I did keep this one. Really wish I'd held onto more of those.
EB White - Stuart Little, The Trumpet of the Swan, Charlotte's Web
The Cricket in Times Square
Bunnicula
Brian Jacques- Redwall, the Bellmaker, Mossflower, The Long Patrol, Mattimeo, Salamandastron, Mariel of Redwall, Martin the Warrior
William Steig- Abel's Island, Dr De Soto, Dominic
Beatrix Potter- I am way to lazy to list all of these.
Asterix comics (I got into these when I lived in Europe and Africa)- Uh, I still have about 20 of these so not typing them out
How Come? by Kathy Wollard, looks like this has a newer edition which is cool.
Explorabook- holy crap I'm amazed this is intact.
Garfield books- I had a lot of these! Only a couple are still with me.
Charles Dickens- We'd read these as a family, my dad was an actor and always did spectacular character voices. Oliver Twist is probably the one I remember the most fondly. Bonus: I wanted to do a book report on Great Expectations in fourth grade and my teacher tried to prevent me because it was "too advanced" and she "didn't want me to keep reading". I don't know exactly what happened in that parent-teacher meeting but pretty sure my mom ripped her apart. I got to write about it.
Eloise- this book made me desperately want to live in a hotel and cause chaos

I have vague memories of several others but can't remember titles or details now. Darn.

Westside School is Falling Down
Do you mean the Wayside school book? That's the one where the school was built sideways. I liked this but had forgotten about it until now, thank you for the reminder!

As a topic starter let me start off by dropping a giant nostalgia bomb - Scholastic Book Fairs. Anyone remember those? (Or is it just me?)

This was my introduction to the concept of borrowing ahead on my allowance.

Grandma and Grandpa had a big collection of Berenstain Bears books, but I mostly remember Grandpa reading those to me and my cousins. He’d ad lib parts as he went it was the best. (“And then Brother Bear went downstairs for a beer.” “He did not.” yelled Grandma from the other room.)

Ooh yeah I forgot about these! And that's an amazing childhood memory.
 

clarice

bebadosamba
As a kid, i read almost exclusively comics - a lot of Turma da Mônica, Tio Patinhas, Pato Donald and Mickey. A lot.

As an early teen, outside of D&D and 3d&t manuals (ah, i was SO obsessed with the phantasy world of 3d&t and the associated comics), i read a couple of phantasy books. My fondest memory are from reading Neverending Story and Momo.
 
Do you mean the Wayside school book? That's the one where the school was built sideways. I liked this but had forgotten about it until now, thank you for the reminder!

Yes. I meant Wayside School is Falling Down. I looked it up on google to get the book title and managed to put it in wrong. I didn't know that there are multiple books in the Wayside series. 3 I think.

And in case anyone cares I think the RPG Choose your own adventure book I was thinking of is Fighting Fantasy.

I grew up in the US but spend kindergarten in Australia. The Australian school I went to had a series of books there called Grug which I really liked as well.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
As a topic starter let me start off by dropping a giant nostalgia bomb - Scholastic Book Fairs. Anyone remember those? (Or is it just me?)
One of the first (and few) times that I recall getting in trouble as a child was when I took $100 to a Scholastic Book Fair and spent it all. I can't recall exactly how I ended up with the money, but I had it in my head that it was fine, and then was surprised when I got in trouble. The teacher called home concerned to my mom and said "Are you aware your son is here with $100?" I think this was in Grade 1, although it may have been later.

Anyway, I read voraciously as a child. One of the first books I can recall really enjoying is The Hobbit. I was in Grade 3, and as a reward for finishing my math lesson early I was allowed to take a book from the class shelf and read it and I chose that one because it had a pretty mountain on the cover. I think it was a fairly formative reading choice.

Other than that, I remember reading a ton of Hardy Boys (both the originals and the edgy 90s relaunch) and various game books, including Encyclopedia Brown, the Nintendo Adventure Books, and the Clue books. Later, I started reading a ton of Star Trek and Star Wars books, many of them second-hand; I have a massive collection. Eventually, I joined the Science Fiction Book Club and started ordering a ton of random sci-fi and fantasy, both new and old, in the mail.

Oh, and I also used to read a lot of collected newspaper strips. I had a ton of Calvin and Hobbes, and a complete collection of the numbered Garfield volumes, which I used to re-read every summer.
 
One of the first (and few) times that I recall getting in trouble as a child was when I took $100 to a Scholastic Book Fair and spent it all. I can't recall exactly how I ended up with the money, but I had it in my head that it was fine, and then was surprised when I got in trouble. The teacher called home concerned to my mom and said "Are you aware your son is here with $100?" I think this was in Grade 1, although it may have been later.

This is delightful.

Eventually, I joined the Science Fiction Book Club and started ordering a ton of random sci-fi and fantasy, both new and old, in the mail.
I'd forgotten about this until now, but my parents were for some reason super-against these mail book clubs. I could go to the library, I could save up money and buy books, I could do the Book Fairs, but for some reason mail was off-limits.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
There's something I haven't thought of for a long time...
I'd forgotten about this until now, but my parents were for some reason super-against these mail book clubs. I could go to the library, I could save up money and buy books, I could do the Book Fairs, but for some reason mail was off-limits.
Maybe because some of those mail order companies have some predatory business practices.
 
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Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I was all about Roald Dahl. I was a sensitive kid who didn't like mean things happening in books but somehow Dahl's humour managed to be the spoonful of sugar to get me into darker storytelling. It helped a lot in books like Matilida, with its very relatable lead.

Also was Goosebumps crazy for a while. I hated horror but loved monsters and it was sort of my in.
 

karzac

(he/him)
I was a big Roald Dahl fan as a kid, as well as EB White, Bunnicula, The Borrowers, Captain Underpants, Gordan Korman and of course Harry Potter (although I was on the older end of the Harry Potter fandom - I believe I started reading them around when Goblet came out, so I would have been 14)

I'd like to shout out a couple of fairly obscure books that had a huge effect on me to this day. First, The Number Devil which is a narrative exploration of mathematics. I remember it being very weird and trippy, but I think it played a big role in my love of math. Similarly, Whose Bright Idea Was It? which is about inventions in all sorts of fields and is a big source of my interest in science, history and trivia.
 
The Borrowers

I completely forgot about those books! I don't know if I ever owned any but definitely had them from school or the library.

Similarly, Whose Bright Idea Was It? which is about inventions in all sorts of fields and is a big source of my interest in science, history and trivia.
That cover is so familiar! I wonder if a friend had this book and I just don't remember it? Seems very much up my alley.
 

zonetrope

(he/him)
Lots of Louis Sachar and Judy Blume (mostly the Fudge books, but some of the ones for teens too), plus Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli and Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary (RIP!) about 50 times apiece.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Scholastic Book Fairs
I used to look forward to these with every fiber of my being.

A lot of the stuff I read as a kid has already been mentioned (Goosebumps, Encyclopedia Brown, CYOA, Redwall, Wayside School) but if/when I remember more I'm coming back.
 

Rosewood

The metal babble flees!
(she/her)
My childhood reading reflects a lot of yours! Some of these probably don't hold up too well in the 21st century... these were almost entirely from the library.

Laura Ingalls Wilder
Roald Dahl
Phantom Tollbooth
Nancy Drew: the older editions with the yellow spines
Judy Blume
Lizard Music, The Portmanteau Book
Beverly Cleary. Some aspects of these were old-fashioned even when I was a kid. I remember a scene from Ellen Tebbits where she rolled up her long underwear under her ballet dress and I could not picture it at all.
A long animal phase when I was a pre-teen. Black Stallion, Marguerite Henry, E.B. White, several whose titles I can't recall. Where the Red Fern Grows traumatized my dainty squeamish developing brain.
At least one of the Boxcar Children books

I've loved comics since I was old enough to read. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of reading through the old Duck and Archie comics from my grandparents' basement, that they had bought for my mom and aunt when they were kids, and had kept against just such a future occasion, I imagine.
 
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Rosewood

The metal babble flees!
(she/her)
You didn't, though! You have it in your very first paragraph along with the Dahl stuff. Juster passed away not too long ago.
 
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